Family Literacy Event
Gratitude in the time of a Pandemic
As we all know and understand, this last year has been a strange and unprecedented one. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down and has changed lives forever. When beginning to think about what to do for a family literacy event I wanted it to have a theme that we had been missing the last year; something that we possibly had pushed to the back of our brains due to staying home and being confined to ourselves. Gratitude.
I started with my own students in my Resource program. We spent about four weeks on a “Thank A…” assignment. Students chose someone to thank and were instructed to write a thank you letter to them. We started with a verbal brainstorm session, then moved onto writing on google slides. I gave my students many ideas of who they could write to. Farmers, teachers, mail carriers, grocery store employees, firefighters, police officers, healthcare workers, and more. Service members of the community have stayed vulnerable this entire pandemic no matter the circumstances. I wanted my students to show compassion towards our community service members. I also understood that many of my students families were in this population. Many of my students families are laborers and have gone to work every day in person to keep their families going. To tie in the theme we completed a few directed draws of postal workers, nurses, and firefighters thanks to “Art for Kids Hub” on Youtube. I encouraged my students to write in English and their home language, even though they all chose to just write in English. In the end we got some great “thank yous”.
When planning this event my mentor and I wanted to make sure the theme of “gratitude” was prominent. We wanted to bring in the social emotional aspect of gratitude. We have been stuck inside for over a year thinking about our own day to day lives. This was a chance to remember our community heroes who have been out there despite the conditions. We also wanted to bring in all languages. We planned to give our participants the opportunity to share their writing in any language they wished.
I designed the flyer with the same images I had used for my writing lessons, as well as the same directed draws. We wanted to have a variety of inclusion with a rotation of activities. I have attached the flyer to this post to show what we had in mind. I wanted to give participants the opportunity to see examples of gratitude, have time to write with their family, share with the group, a read aloud, participate in directed draws, and of course raffles! The book I chose is, “Who Are Our Heroes? A reminder to say “thank you” in the time of Coronavirus & Beyond written by Eliana Melmed. Our raffle consisted of “Target” gift cards. We chose “Target” because it is a well-rounded store. Families could buy clothes, books, or groceries; whatever they needed. The literacy event was set and ready to go.
When it came to the literacy event night our hopes were high. Unfortunately, we did not get any participants. Although I sent out a parent square invitation to all families, shared it with my students on our Google Classroom, and asked general education teachers to share no one showed up. Of course this was a letdown. I took away many lessons from this though despite the negative turnout.
For the future I would want it to be in person. Of course this means having to have restrictions lifted and schools fully back in session. My site just returned to campus a couple of weeks ago. I suspect that many of our families are burnt out with being online, thus causing a lack of motivation to attend anything online. I also planned this event the same week of our state testing. This was a mistake. Although testing is during the school day, I feel that families begin to not pay attention to school announcements once testing has begun/is over. Mental note taken! The next lesson I learned was that RSVPs are crucial. My mentor and I sat for an hour waiting for someone to show up. RSVPs would help me to know if anyone was coming and how many exactly. My last note is that the earlier the better. By May many people are thinking about Summer vacation. Holding an event like this earlier would be beneficial.
Overall, I am proud of the event we planned. I will use this event in the future and in my future lessons. I am grateful for my mentor’s advice and help along the way. I learned a lot from the planning of this event and look forward to holding it in the future.
Jamboard for event all ready to go…