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Parents get involved at Patriot Elementary School

By Staff | Jan 24, 2011

Patriot Elementary School held a S’more Writing Night Monday to create a new level of excitement for parents and students of what it takes to become a better writer.
Principal Carol Bromby said the writing night was planned for both the parents and children as one of three parent involvement nights scheduled during the school year. The first one held was Indulge in Reading, which she said was very successful. The last event, Smart night, will highlight science, math, reading and technology.
“The kids love it,” she said about the parent involvement nights. “They love bringing their parents back to school.”
Fourth grade teacher Nicole Mazzella explained that the writing night was held for the parents so teachers could inform them of what is expected of their children with writing, along with getting them involved with everyday language.
Various handouts were given to the parents, so they know what is expected out of their child with writing in the different grade levels, along with pointers of how to keep their child excited about the skill.
One of the helpful hints for fourth grade parents was to remain the coach instead of the writer for their child by brainstorming topics and ideas with them, talking through a story or informational piece, asking questions to help guide them, along with helping them with correct spelling and punctuation.
The writing night provided a helping hand for the students as well because it prepared them to become a better writer for fourth grade and beyond by challenging their brains with different exercises.
Mazzella explained that they used a s’more because the top layer of a graham cracker is the intro, the marshmallow is one main idea, the chocolate is the other main idea, while the bottom graham cracker is the conclusion.
The 200 parents and students that participated in the writing night were pointed in different directions according to their grade level as they entered Patriot Elementary Monday night.
Mazzella said kindergarten and first grade students spent time writing a sentence that contained a noun, verb and adjective, so they could practice their grammar functions. Second and third grade students spent time thinking of as many verbs and adjectives they could. Fourth and fifth grade students took time practicing figurative language, by placing words into a sentence correctly and understanding the meaning of what they wrote.
To go along with the marshmallow theme, the students had a flip book that they filled out that looked like a s’more, which they could later show their parents while eating their s’mores outside.
“We are trying to get parents involved,” she said, so they could help their children and “draw out the little skills” of writing.
Mazzella said as a school they are trying to get their students to where they need to be, so they are ready to take the FCAT in fourth grade.
“We are preparing them slowly and writing is a huge part of their life and it goes hand-in-hand with reading,” she said.
Fourth grade student Brianna Harris said she learned what a metaphor was during the S’more Writing Night.
Her mother Joy and father Shawn joined in on the festivities Monday night as they learned what their daughter was learning about in school. The family recently moved to Cape Coral in November, so both Joy and Shawn said the writing night was very informative and helpful.
Joy said she thought it was informative because she learned about what Brianna will be tested on for the FCAT test, along with what the essays will entail.
When asked what Brianna’s favorite part was about the night, she said eating the s’more at the end of the night.
Linda Grant, the rockin’ reading specialist at Patriot Elementary was one of the many adults who offered a helping hand by assisting the students and parents in making their treats.
She explained she wanted the students to be involved in the process, so she had them put a piece of chocolate on one piece of the graham cracker while the other one laid next to it. The students then had to place the top half of the graham cracker on the marshmallow and chocolate and smash it down to make their own s’more.
“It’s a night to bring everyone together,” Grant said about the writing night. “It’s good to have these nights because it reinforces what we do. I love to see our parents and students together.”
Andres Gonzalez also attended the writing night, so he could learn about what his kindergarten son was doing in school.
“It’s good to know what they are teaching,” he said about the teachers.
He also said the S’more Writing Night was a “good way for parents to get more involved in their kids’ education.”
“The group that organized it did a good job,” Bromby said about the first S’more Writing Night. “Lucky me, I get to enjoy it.”