Grandparents Day Goes Virtual at Central Elementary

Posted on 10/13/2020
Student video chats with grandparent on Grandparents Day


Central Elementary wasn’t going to let a pandemic and safety guidelines keep them from their annual Grandparents’ Day celebration. After some creative thinking and technological wizardry, students and their grandparents took the event virtual. On Sept. 30, the groups met in Zoom Breakout Rooms, rather than physical classrooms, to keep 10 years of tradition alive.

Student video chats with grandparent on Grandparents DayIn a typical year, grandparents of second graders would be invited into the building to view their grandchild’s classroom and visit the book fair. Together, they would complete some activities and share a special snack. Students would interview their grandparents and fill out a family tree. 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 4-5 students per classroom on a call at a time,” said Teresa Swaringim, second grade teacher at Central Elementary.

After being greeted by a small group of students, teachers placed students and their grandparents into virtual breakout rooms for some time together. 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.

Student video chats with grandparent on Grandparents DayWhile a virtual event may not be the most ideal, there were some definite benefits, as 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 actually at home with their grandparents for the event.

No matter which way students and grandparents participated, the celebration brought smiles to the participants.

“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.”

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