Prior to the arrival of the Grandparents, I explained the structure of the session to my students. I reminded students of the sorts of questions they could ask and the sort of topics that we wanted to find out more about. Some of the children who did not have guests coming had brought in photos to talk about instead - so they shared their stories with the class. Then I got the kids to sign their names on the back of certificates Kym (another Year 1 teacher) had made to give to our guests.
- What is your name?
- When were you born? and
- What was your school like?
Once everyone had been introduced we divided into smaller groups. In these groups students asked questions and listened to more detailed stories. Some guests even brought photos and artifacts with them. After about 5 minutes, the students rotated to a new grandparent/grandfriend and asked some more questions. This continued until everyone had had a chance to speak to all the guests.
As we still had a few minutes before we were due to have our picnic in the school's native garden, we sang a few songs for the grandparents - good oldies like "On the Good Ship Lollipop" and "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".
We thanked our guests for all their help and gave them their certificate. Then we headed out for our picnic. The picnic was lovely and it was a nice way to conclude the time with our guests.
As the kids had learnt so much during their chats, I didn't want to lose this valuable information. So when we came back in after lunch, the kids wrote down what they learnt in their Integrated Studies Books. I was amazed by how focused they were. They worked silently without me saying a word! As they finished off, I got them to jot down on a post-it note what they liked or didn't like about Grandparents Day. It was great to see their feedback. They were all very positive about the experience. Some of the comments were:
"I did like it, but I wanted to get more old people. But it was the best."
"I think it was good because it was a lot of time with them."
"I liked it because it was a bit like chatting - a conversation."
"I liked it all."
"I liked it because we were in groups and I was with my best friend and her granny first."
The class then paired up with each other and read the notes that they had made about what they learnt. Once they finished with that partner they found a new partner and so on, until I could see they were becoming unsettled. I think they enjoy sharing their work with each other like this.
Because everyone had worked so hard, we had a bit of a treat in the afternoon. We went out into the playground and did some skipping and hopscotch - both games from the past. For the last 15 minutes of the day we read a story called "Grandpa's Surprise" by Rosalind Beardshaw.
What a busy day!!
Feedback from Grandparents was positive - they enjoyed the experienced and had fun reflecting on their memories from their early days. We teachers also loved the day. It makes the learning so much more meaningful. The challenge now is to get the whole school to participate next year!