Students at Francis Howell Central Elementary didn’t let a pandemic and safety guidelines keep them from their annual Grandparents’ Day celebration. This year, groups met in Zoom Breakout Rooms, rather than physical classrooms, to keep the 10-year tradition alive.
In a typical year, grandparents of second graders would be invited into the building to view their grandchild’s classroom and visit the book fair. Students would interview their grandparents and fill out a family tree and second-graders would close out the visit by singing some songs about grandparents.
Central’s second-grade teachers worked to incorporate what they could from previous years into the first-ever Virtual Grandparents Day.
“The video sessions lasted about 20-25 minutes and rather than having everyone together at once, we had sign-ups, so that we only had four to five students per classroom on a call at a time,” said Teresa Swaringim, second grade teacher at Central Elementary.
Students shared some written pieces and read their favorite stories. Students were then encouraged to ask their grandparents what school was like when they were little and share their favorite memories from second grade. At the end of the call, everyone came back together for a moment of appreciation and thanks.
The virtual nature of the event made it so grandparents who lived further away were able to participate this year.
“We had grandparents join us from New York, Virginia, and Brazil,” said Swaringim. “We were so excited that these grandparents were able to be a part of this event even though they live far away.”
Central’s virtual students were also able to participate, and some of them were at home with their grandparents for the event.
“I think we would all agree that it doesn’t matter whether it is in person or virtual – grandparents take delight in their grandchildren, and children love spending time with their grandparents,” said Swaringim. “The grandparents were so happy and excited to see their grandchildren pop up on Zoom as they joined in from the waiting room. The children were just as excited – giddy and bouncing in their seats when they saw their grandparents.”