Literacy Night Event
“Oh look everyone, our special guest has joined our Zoom room! Welcome Dr. Seuss!” my colleague said as I popped into the online classroom. I waved hello with my Dr. Seuss mittens, tipped my hat, and smiled back at the faces on the screen.
Students came off unmute with a quick “hello” or occasionally, “I know her, that’s Mrs. Hoogeveen!” My zoom pep rally was the best way to get word out about our school’s online literacy night event. I introduced myself, gave out event information and got the students excited about the supplies they would be receiving for this big event. I waved a quicked goodbye, left the zoom room, and popped into another one.
I also promoted the event by creating a flier that teachers posted on Classdojo, Google classroom, and Parent Square. The flier included the zoom link and other information about the event. It was created in English and Spanish since those are the two main languages spoken in our community.
Leading up to the event, I met with my school’s Art Leadership Team, in which I am also a member of, and proposed my event to them. Everyone was so supportive and wanted to help out with whatever I needed. Teachers helped me put 100 bags together for the event which included paper, glue, googly eyes, pompoms, pipe cleaners, and scrapbooking paper. By the end of day one’s bag pick up, the bags were completely gone! We made another 100 for the next day, and again- gone! By the event night, we had made over 275 supply bags for the students.
The night of the event approached quickly and I was so excited and ready. I had asked two of my colleagues to help assist with the zoom room and managing the zoom chat. I started the session 20 minutes early and immediately felt my heart flop- no one was here yet. For just a moment, I was nervous no one would show. I took a deep breath and after five minutes, students started to show up. By the time of the event, we had over 100 attendees on zoom! Almost everyone in attendance had 2-4 others with them. I smiled, waved, and said hi to as many kids as I could. The event started without a hiccup!
“Welcome everyone to our virtual zoom night! I am Dr. Seuss, or also known as Mrs. Hoogeveen, and we are so excited you are here!” I beamed to the faces of families on the screen. “Now, I know you are all excited for our read aloud, but to get us started on our event, the first grade class has created a dance for us!” I presented the Youtube video that the class made about the life cycle of a plant.
“Wasn’t that wonderful! Let’s give first grade a round of applause! Next up, we have some keynote speakers presenting about Earth Day!” Another set of students had recorded what Earth Day was and why it is important. Families clapped and used the zoom features to show their appreciation.
“Onto the main event, “The Lorax” written by Dr. Seuss, I mean me!” I chuckled slightly and noted the faces laughing with me. As I read the story, I had the students participate in hand gestures with me. We used our hands to make a phone that the character was holding as he listened to the antagonist. We expressed our shock and emotion as the main character wiped out a forest, poisoned the air, and polluted the lake water! And although the book was a little long, everyone did a great job in listening and following along in the story.
“Now it is time,” I started, “for you to take the last Lorax seed, and with your supplies, create your own, new Lorax world!”
Families set off on using the supplies to create their own world. Creativity was demonstrated by everyone. From the 2nd grade teacher who created a 3D version of the Lorax world, to the kindergartener who drew it out. When they were finished, I encouraged students to raise their hand to share their work. Many students wanted to verbally share what they did and why, which brought smiles to everyone. I took plenty of pictures and encouraged students to drop their work off at school so that we could display it when they came back from distance learning.
This event was such a success, that my principal announced that she would like to have one every year!