Friday, May 31, 2019

Grandparents Day celebration is an all-day event at Raymond Elementary School

By Briana Bizier

The classes at Raymond Elementary School looked a little different last Friday as approximately 300 grandparents and grand-friends joined students for a day of collaboration and celebration. 

Students working on their texture murals during the celebration
Grandparent’s Day, a long-standing tradition at Raymond Elementary School, offers families a unique chance to participate in their young children’s education and to have some fun at the same time.

Many schools have a grandparent’s celebration,” explained Beth Peavey, Assistant Principal at RES. “However, the way we do it is unique because our grandparent’s celebration runs throughout the day.”

To keep the school and parking lot from being overwhelmed with grandparents and grand-friends, different grade levels host their grandparents at different times of the day with the younger classes hosting their guests earlier in the day. When grandparents and friends first arrived at the elementary school on Friday morning, they were escorted to the gym and treated to coffee and donuts, which were generously donated by the Good Life Market and the Village Donut Shop. The guests also received an exclusive early screening of the iMovies RES classes have created in collaboration with students from Jordan Small Middle School. The iMovies will premier June 7 at Jordan Small Middle School’s annual awards ceremony The Raymonds.

Regardless of their grandchildren’s grade level, all grandparents and grand-friends had the opportunity to share lunch with their child, to visit their child’s classroom, and to join their child either at recess or for a trip to one of this journalist’s favorite elementary school activities: the Scholastic Book Fair. While not a required part of Grandparent’s Day, the book fair is an important source of fundraising for RES. Revenue from the fair is used to support everything from field trips to art supplies.

Sage Bizier and grand-friend Brian McCowan
at the Scholastic Book Fair
I really loved the book fair,” said Sage Bizier, a third grader at RES, as she proudly displayed her “Guide the Spookiest Places in the World”, a gift from her visiting grand-friends Brian and Patsy McCowan of Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

Visiting grandparents and grand-friends of first graders at RES were treated to a special performance of poems and songs. Gathering to perform poetry and music is a monthly tradition for the first-grade classes at RES. This Friday, their May poetry and songs were also incorporated into the first grade’s Grandparent’s Day celebration.

In Ms. Begin’s third grade classroom, Sage and her classmates painted seashells with their grandparents and grand-friends. These shells will later be decorated with positive messages and then hidden around the school for younger students to find. The third graders also had a chance to share their recent academic work with their grandparents. Student Ayden Strom logged on to a classroom computer to read his “twisted fairy tale,” a traditional fairy tale with a unique twist, to his grandparents.

I chose the three little pigs,” Strom explained, “but, instead of pigs, I wrote about three little otters. Otters are my favorite animal.”

Reading creative work was also a highlight for visitors to Mrs. Pelletier’s second grade classroom. Grandparents and grand-friends with students in second grade were treated to a poetry reading where the second graders shared their original work. The children and their grandparents then collaborated to write their own poems and, finally, they participated in an engineering exercise. Each team of children and grandparents was given a paper plate, water, and biodegradable packing peanuts and then challenged to build the tallest tower possible in eight minutes. The biodegradable peanuts stick together with water, although there were some complications. “When the packing peanuts get wet, they compress,” Pelletier explained. “So, some teams used a lot of water and then found their towers getting smaller and smaller!”

Of course, not every child has grandparents or grand-friends who were able to attend on Friday. “If students don’t have grandparents coming to visit, they are usually ‘adopted’ by another visitor,” Peavey explained, describing how visiting grandparents often spend time with several of their children’s classmates during the course of the day. My RES insider Sage Bizier reported that she was happily “adopted” by visiting grandparents last year when her family was unable to make the trek to Raymond. RES staff and volunteers also visit the classrooms during Grandparent’s Day to offer extra support to any students who may be feeling left out of the fun.

For first and second grade teachers Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. Vangelist, Grandparent’s Day was also the perfect time for their students to work on a large, collaborative art project. The first and second grades are currently completing a combined author study focusing on the imaginative work of Eric Carle. After their grandparents had departed, the first and second graders ended their Friday by working together to create a mural using unconventional artistic tools like brooms, cups, and balls to add paint and texture to a red and orange background. The students will later create their own animals to display on the mural.

Grandparent’s Day is a great chance for students to connect to their grandparents,” Peavey said. “It’s also a chance for the grandparents to see their grandchild’s school. Grandparents don’t always have that opportunity.

And the children are always really excited,” Mrs. Peavey concluded. “They all come to school saying, ‘Yay, my grandparents are coming today!’”

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