Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Identity Day Fair - building a school community and a school culture
When children have attended the same school for their whole K-5 experience, so many teachers know the kids. They have had them in their classroom, seen them in platooning situations, done buddy classes, collaborative class projects and so on. As we are all missing that experience we needed to find a way to start that process happening. Last Spring, as we began planning the upcoming year, we wanted to find a way to help connect the kids to each other as well as with a few significant adults. As our school is one that is becoming more diverse we thought about doing something around multiculturalism and celebrating that diversity, but we decided that as friendships and getting to know each other was our number one priority, we needed to find a way to celebrate uniqueness and similarities all in one go. As we continued this conversation I began to think about the Identity Day Fairs that I read about from posts by @gcouros and @ChrisWejr. This fair would accomplish celebrating uniqueness, diversity and similarity all in one go.
The morning before recess was spent setting everything up and then between recess and lunch the students had a chance to visit every single class and look at the different projects. For the afternoon, our community was invited to come and be a part of celebrating 370 students unique amazingness. There was such a warm and positive vibe that came from the school. All of the students were engaged, the staff was enthoused as well as the parents, grand-parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and everyone else that came out. It was such a fantastic way to celebrate community. By bringing in so many parents it was also their first chance to meet all the new parents in the school, meet the new friend that their child has come home talking about and come in and experience a positive school culture building project.
We are not certain that we will be doing an Identity Day Fair every year, but the wheels are definitely turning as to how to do another community project. This was a huge success!