Written by Bianca Medina, proud AmeriCorps Member serving the Entergy Louisiana/New Schools for Baton Rouge team at Broadmoor Middle School.
Broadmoor Middle School was all about “moccasining” during its ELA and Math Night on Wednesday. It wasn’t your typical open house where parents and teachers only discuss students’ letter grades on report cards. In an interesting twist, parents, with the help of their children, completed fun academic activities created by teachers and their City Year counterparts. They rotated between ELA classrooms across the school and the math booths set up in the gymnasium, working on assignments their kids normally do during the school day. Throughout the evening, parents became students, and students, in a sense, became teachers as they helped their parents answer questions and think about complex concepts.
A few ELA corps members (Shelby Akins, Dwight Lindquist and Bianca Medina) get excited as parents started arriving. Mothers and fathers annotate reading selections with their 8-grade students.
Ms. Hughes, an eighth grade ELA teacher, kicked off her first session by asking her class of parents, “What is point-of-view?” Some answered first, second and third person while others said that POV is the way a person sees something. Even though the teacher and her City Year corps member were readily available for help, all of the parents consulted their kids in whispers first before answering the question. This warm-up question was beautifully fitting for the situation since the parents who were sitting in school desks and attentively looking at the ActivBoard were sharing the point-of-view of their middle-school children. Partnering up with their children, the parents had to also analyze how the POV of a horror story’s main character creates suspense.
“Jordan, would these words right here be suspense?” Ms. Thompson (lower left) asked her son as they each examined an excerpt from “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. He looked over to her desk, pointed and nodded in agreement. A few desks away, Noah’s mother (upper right) underlined key phrases and compared her work with her son’s (upper right). Across the room, the Butler siblings (lower right) and their father, who were excited for their new school and City Year’s involvement, worked through the passage as a family. While laughing, playfully bickering and discussing the story with their kids, all of these parents had the unique chance to experience a piece of their children’s vibrant school-lives.
Broadmoor Math Corps Members (Rae Cross, Will Sam, Tiana Hill, Jack Stallard and Annmarie Valentin) pause for a picture. Parents and students play math-based games with teachers and Corps Members in the gym.
While parents weren’t experiencing the traditional math classroom Wednesday night, they were enthusiastically learning various forms of mathematics at carnival-style stations. Equipped with hands-on math puzzles, Broadmoor math teachers and their City Year corps members challenged parents and students to complete these activities for candy prizes. At Corps Member Jack Stallard’s booth (upper right), parents and their students crowded around the table to finish tangram puzzles in competitions. Parents and children alike raced to fit the different shapes within the illustrations’ borders. John and his mom popped by the 8-grade math booth (lower right), where Corps Member Will Sam guided students and parents through a map puzzle based on temperature changes in different American cities. Corps Member Rae Cross (lower left) monitored a card game in which players had to find sets of 3 cards based on number, color and pattern. She was beyond excited to see her students’ parents ask their children questions prompting critical thinking. Like Rae, all of the Math Corps Members were happy to witness family teamwork at each activity table. Parents were able to appreciate their children’s math skills in action, and they, in turn, learned about math concepts as well.
ELA and Math Night was, indeed, a special night for the Broadmoor community. Time spent in the life of a Broadmoor Middle School student is an incredible experience. Their points-of-view are worthy of being understood and celebrated, and their loving parents did just that. On Wednesday night, they walked in the shoes of their amazing and talented middle school students.