I was so blessed to grow up around my grandparents. They all played important roles in my life, and I would not be who I am today without their love and encouragement and the many lessons they shared along the way.
Needless to say, I’ve always been delighted when Grandparent’s Day rolls around each year. It gives me another opportunity to let my grandparents know just how much I appreciate having them in my life.
At the school where I used to teach, we had a “Grandparent’s Day” of our own a little later in the fall. It was a day for students to invite their grandparents (biological or “adopted”) to school for the morning to share what we’d been up to in the classroom and have some special one-on-one time as they engaged together in a learning activity and ate lunch. Each year I also worked in some type of discussion about the differences between the experiences of the students and their grandparents in areas like education, communication, transportation, or technology. My students were fascinated by the changes that had occurred over the past few decades… and sometimes the grandparents made amazing discoveries of their own when they saw what and how their grandchildren were learning.
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The following books are ones I have enjoyed reading with my students as we shared about our own experiences with our grandparents. These stories provide opportunities for meaningful class discussions about how grandparents influence our lives, what we can learn from them, how their lives differ from ours, the types of challenges they face, and the importance of having and sharing memories.
Tom by Tomie dePaola
Big Mama’s by Donald Crews
dear juno by Soyung Pak
Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman
When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
Lighthouse: A Story of Remembrance by Robert Munsch
“I Remember!” Cried Grandma Pinky by Jan Wahl
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
Grandpa’s Teeth by Rod Clement
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Looking for some ways for your students to learn more about how things have changed during their grandparents’ life times? Visit the following sites to learn more about the inventions, discoveries, and advances over the years:
National Museum of American History interactive timeline – view iconic artifacts that illustrate key events in our country’s history
Key Moments in Consumer Electronics: A Timeline – from Pong in 1972 to the iPad in 2010
Working with their grandparents or researching on their own, students can
- Compare and contrast two time periods and complete a graphic organizer like this.
- Create a timeline to show some significant historical and personal events from their grandparent’s childhood to today.
- Write a narrative to share a family story.
- Put together a memory box of items that bring family events to mind.
- Write a letter to a grandparent.