Apr. 28, 2021 --
Women’s History Month and Black History Month came together at Gearity Professional Development School’s first ever virtual Math and Literacy Night on March 24. After a last-minute cancellation due to school shutdowns last spring, teachers and staff at Gearity worked hard to create an online version that would still be meaningful for parents and fun for kids.
Title 1 Lead Literacy Teacher Darrell Lausche organized the evening which consisted of two rounds with four concurrent sessions so parents could select what they most wanted to learn. There were breakout rooms for kindergarten through 2nd grade parents and 3rd through 5th grade parents on both math strategies and literacy.
“We wanted to make sure that parents understood what their kids are experiencing in the classroom each day,” said Mr. Lausche. The sessions provided explicit instruction and sample lessons using reciprocal teaching, which is Gearity’s primary literacy strategy as outlined in their Building Level Action Plan.
The primary grades session used a book on Barack Obama to demonstrate how reciprocal teaching works while the upper grades used a book about Michelle Obama. Two teachers worked together to model predicting, clarifying words or phrases for meaning, questioning the author, and summarizing the text.
In the math sessions, the primary grades focused on strategies for approaching and breaking down story problems while the upper grades provided resources for mastering multiplication and division facts. “We know that students have to have those facts mastered to free up their brains for harder work when they get to middle school,” said Mr. Lausche.
The evening ended with a Q&A session with Principal Patrick McNichols which was especially helpful as the district’s 5-day-a-week learning model was about to be implemented.
Because the evening event includes a meal when conducted in-person, the school secured coupons from Rascal House pizza to give each family $5 off an order. Rascal House also donated a $25 gift card that was raffled off to a parent. Students were in on the fun too with raffle baskets filled with books, literacy and math games, pencil, Gearity Kindness t-shirts and manipulatives for one lucky winner in grades K-2 and 3-5.
Every student who attended also had the opportunity to choose one book or learning game from a schoolwide collection to keep at home. The evening also included the distribution of copies of the book Who Is Kamala Harris? to every student for Gearity’s One School One Book
Mr. Lausche hopes that next year, Gearity teachers can pull the best aspects of both in-person and virtual options to offer an even more valuable Math & Literacy Night experience for students and families.