Our school has held Family Curriculum Nights for years. We started with Family Science Night, then added Family Math Night and now we also hold Family Language Arts Night. In the past, we followed the standard Family Science Night format – openers for a half hour, 3 half hour sessions led by a teacher, then wrap up and cookies at the end.
This year, we changed that up a bit. We held our Annual Family Language Arts Night with an open house format. This meant that families could arrive at whatever time worked for their schedule, move through the activities at their own pace, then head home when they were finished. With busy families, this was a highly successful model.
We used a Dr Seuss theme this year. The students picked up a punch card at the front lobby, along with some trivia questions they could work on throughout the evening.
The activities included a photo booth (complete with Cat in the Hat props and a frame), bookmark making, online madlib kind of website, book recommendations and a page for a book to place in the school library. Families could spend as much or as little time at each station they liked.
The photo booth was a hit – a digital camera allowed us to take pictures (we had them printed out over the weekend). We took an old frame from a bulletin board and painted it red.
The students definitely liked the book page. Each student was able to use a prompt to create a page. The pages will be bound together to make a book to place in the library. Students love to see their work and the work of former students, so this will be a hot item!
Our computer lab had a water main break over Christmas, so it just got re-opened with brand new computers, carpet, tables, etc. This generated a lot of excitement for the families to get in and use the brand new stuff. The online website we found: http://www.eduplace.com/tales/ kept them well engaged.
For the book recommendations, we printed speech bubbles. The students were able to pick a book from the library, write a blurb about why this book was worth reading. Now, the librarian can add these to various books in the library to generate interest in them.
In addition to all of this foolishness, our after school program baked Cat in the Hat cookies and decorated them. These were handed out as families were leaving, along with a note: “Thanks for stopping by, please enjoy this sugar high”.
All in all, it was a very successful evening and families were enthusiastic about attending.
Next year, we plan to follow a Paddle to the Sea theme. (The author lived in our town!)