Amanda Forget here! The Gossler Park Elementary School held their first event of the year on Thursday, November 15th, 2012. “Waking Words Up: A Journey Through Time” was the night’s theme and was based on the idea of bringing books to life. Our team wanted the students of Gossler Park to experience the opportunity to live through a book to help expand the imagination by inspiring young readers in the Manchester area.
It started with Gossler Park’s City Year literacy coordinator, Cody Allen. With his idea, our team successfully brought four books to life. The Lorax, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, Harry Potter Series, and Where the Wild Things Are, filled the hallways and transformed classrooms into fantasy worlds.
Each classroom was organized with a main theme and filled with projects based on literacy. By turning a literacy skill such as reading or writing into fun and interactive games or projects, the children were challenged to use their knowledge from books. In the Harry Potter classroom, students first entered by being accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. They received an acceptance letter and a potions book. Together each class read their letters, and then went to an interactive station to make potions themselves. There were realistic ingredients straight from the books, and then pages in their own workbooks to record their recipes.
The Gossler Park team was extremely thorough when planning night. We had the local librarian at the event which gave each child an opportunity to open up their very own library card. Mayor of Manchester, Ted Gatsas, and superintendent, Dr. Brennan, also made an appearance which really meant a lot to us. Our team and school were thankful to have two champions of our organization support our work and spend time with the students of Gossler Park.
Our children not only enjoyed the company of Manchester leaders and City Year corps members, but also the prizes they had the chance to earn. In each classroom, we implemented a behavior incentive for each child. If they were showing good behavior they could earn Gator Bucks worth $5 each. Listening to directions, answering questions, walking in the halls, respecting teachers, and sharing with others are just a few of the ways a child could earn Gator Bucks. With these Gator Bucks, kids could buy prizes, snacks, and even enter into a few raffles.
With the support of our corps, the staff at Gossler Park and the members of my team, we are proud to have put on a very successful event. We learned more about ourselves by learning what it takes to plan and host an interactive event. The planning was solid, the set up was excellent, and the turn out was great. The leadership, teamwork and effort it takes to hold an event was a lot to handle at times, but now that we know what is necessary we will be able to learn from it, and expand for next time. We set the bar high for ourselves, but we are always willing to raise the bar to make our next event that much more special for our students.