From keepers of family traditions to gift-givers to bakers of favorite recipes, grandparents play many roles in their grandchildren's lives. Grandparents' Day is a time to celebrate these special relationships, as well as a time to teach your students about what life was like when their grandparents were their age.
Student Work Showcase
Give your sixth-graders a chance to show off their best work while their grandparents are visiting. To facilitate this sharing time, put on an open mic event where each student shares an assignment with the group. For example, students could share paintings or pottery from art class, poems or stories they wrote or math tests that received good grades. You can also push desks together to create tables, decorate the front of the room with lights and serve tea to create a cozy atmosphere. After the presentations, display student work around the room so the guests can get a closer look as they visit with their grandchildren.
The Grand Tour
A highlight of Grandparents' Day for many students is showing their guests around their school and giving their grandparents an idea of what their school days are like. Give the students free time to take their grandparents on a tour of the school, sharing their favorite parts of the day and introducing them to friends and teachers. Back in the classroom, the grandparents can share their observations about the school and how life for the students is similar or different to their sixth grade years. Giving your guests a chance to share with all the students can be a valuable time of instruction about a different time and place.
The Grand Trivia Challenge
Even the closest families may have generation gaps in their cultural knowledge. To help them explore these differences, you can create separate quizzes for the students and their grandparents. The student quiz should include trivia about cultural elements of their grandparents' youth, such as historical events, popular musicians, significant inventions and sports. The grandparents' quiz should feature similar categories, but focus on the students' generation. The students and grandparents can work together to complete the quizzes, then discuss their answers. Though the discussion may begin in the classroom, grandparents and students can continue sharing stories and information long after Grandparents' Day concludes.
Memory Show and Tell
Giving grandparents a chance to share something with the class can make it extra special for both them and their grandchildren. When your class sends home invitations for Grandparents' Day, include a note asking the guests to come prepared to share a favorite family story their grandchildren may not know. As part of the classroom activities, grandparents can take turns sharing their stories with the class. The Legacy Project, an organization that celebrates inter-generational relationships, explains that hearing a variety of stories will give students a panoramic picture of another time as well as teaching them about their own family history.
Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.