Following musical performances by the fourth grade and kindergarten classes in the Middle School courtyard, close to four hundred visitors headed for Lower and Middle School classrooms accompanied by their student hosts.
While the timing and general format of grandparents' and special friends’ day have remained largely unchanged over the years, classroom activities are much different now than they were a decade ago, reflecting the evolution of Chandler’s program. There is much less sitting back and listening and much more hands-on participation. The more work Chandler teachers have done to differentiate their programs, the more students are actively engaged in learning. No one can be a passive onlooker in a Chandler classroom. Grandparents and special friends were immersed in the learning process with their hosts.
Watching grandparents and special friends collaborate on mini-projects with the students was a reminder of the importance of the learning that takes place when generations work together. Chandler grandparents and special friends understand that setting a good example is only part of their obligation. They also pass on what they know and help students think critically and solve problems, therefore making them as important in the lives of our students as Chandler teachers.
Engaging in diverse activities, Chandler's grandparents and special friends helped students balance budgets in eighth grade, build electric circuits in fourth grade, translate cuneiform hieroglyphics in sixth grade and design patterns in second grade. In eighth grade science, grandparents dipped their hands in soapy water and scooped up methane bubbles that were then set on fire. Their hands were filled with flames. This was no magic trick. Science teacher Arpa Ghazarian explained the chemistry behind the activity.
Participation has its limits. The P.E. staff tried in vain to coax a group of grandparents and special friends to leave the bleachers and participate in a soccer game with the fifth grade. While everyone’s best days are still ahead, ‘that train has left the station,’ said one grandparent.
We are thankful to everyone who visited last week, some for the first time with kindergarteners, and new sixth and seventh grade students, and some for the last time as grandparents and special friends of eighth graders. Thanks also to our parent volunteers who helped register, transport and direct our visitors. The morning of grandparents' and special friends' day is a perfect overture for the Thanksgiving holiday and one of Chandler’s most treasured traditions.