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Family Literacy Night

Madi Upah- NWP

Written by Madison Upah
May 19, 2021

Wow! An event that I had been worrying about for months came and went just like that and I would do it again! This was a wonderful experience for me and for the families who participated. I was on a team with two other teachers from my school and our mentor was also a teacher on our campus. I am so glad I was doing it with other people I could talk to and bounce ideas from. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was going to do and how I would hold the event. We decided to start as a group and separate into breakout rooms to do grade-level appropriate writing. While families logged on students were able to write poems about things they liked, they would share them in the chat once they were complete. I read every poem submitted and I was really impressed with how well they did with the prompt. It has been a while since the event but one still sticks out to me, the student wrote about cilantro. If I needed to I don’t think I could write a poem about cilantro and make it memorable but this student did. He said he didn’t like it and added descriptive words that made me really picture his reasons for not liking it. From there we split into breakout rooms and were on our way!

I am a kindergarten teacher and opened the night up to all kindergarten students at our school. I had 11 RSVP but only 7 attended, at first this disappointed me because it was such a small amount that wanted to participate. After the event, this was something I was thankful for. With a small group, I was able to hear from every student and discuss their writing with them. We read the book “The Lion Inside” by Rachel Bright and Jim Field, I loved everything about this book and so did the kids. I highly recommend this book to all early elementary teachers. While reading I like the students to participate so anytime there was a growl or a roar or squeak in the book I would read and they would copy. After reading, students were given the sentence starter of “I feel brave when…” they were asked to complete the sentence. Before they wrote on their own I modeled my sentence with proper writing conventions that we practice in kindergarten. I wrote, “I feel brave when I try new things.”  They said things like when they get a shot, on the first day of school and, riding a bike without training wheels. I remember that someone told me they feel brave when they try new foods and she drew a picture of steak because that was the most recent new thing she ate. She was nervous to share hers so her mom helped her. I completely agreed with what she said, I don’t like steak either but it is awesome she tried it. This made her smile and more willing to share after I shared. All of them came up with a time that was a big milestone in their lives but may seem small to us and huge to them. The prompt they were given had no right or wrong answers so they were able to pick something that meant a lot to them. I am always so amazed at what these kindergarteners come up with.

This event gave me a chance to speak with students and get to know those in other classes which I really loved. I see their faces every day but now I am able to tell you something more about them than just their name. After the event parents sent me pictures and thanked me for holding the event for their family which meant so much to me. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to do this and allowing me the opportunity to give each child their own copy of the book. It was special for all of us involved. This is something I hope to do again in the future!

(I have pictures but they have student faces so I do not want to post on the blog.)