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Teacher: Michelle Janke who teaches at Spring Place Elementary in Chatsworth, GA. Michelle Janke can be contacted at kjanke@alltel.net.

Name of Best Practice: Familes At Play Evening

Rationale/Purpose of Event: To incorporate more community involvement and to get "Families To Play".

Suggested Grade Level: PRE-5

Materials Needed: Equipment for various stations depending on what activities you choose. We had 10 various stations set up in a circle formation in our very large play area. Stations included: hoops, mats, basketball goals, soccer balls, jump ropes, tug of war, scoops and wiffle balls, and more. We tried to utilize all of our equipment as best as possible.

Familes At Play Evening

Many of our children come from low socio-economic backgrounds and have very little if any equipment to play with. This evening invites all families of our children to have fun and play together.

For preparation for the event, we chose to create posters and banners to promote our Families At Play. We asked that our administration play segments of the Cha-Cha slide for 2 weeks on the morning announcements. Some of our 5th graders also pre-recorded an invitation to the event that was played after the segment of the song. The kids got so excited in the morning prior to instruction just hearing the music, and from just learning the dance in our P.E. classes. They knew that eventually they could show off their dancing talent.

We began our Families At Play with a brief welcome and then a school-wide Cha-Cha slide. Then we invited all parents to proceed to the back field where our 5th graders had assisted with preparation for the activity stations and "supervising" the activities. This enabled the teachers to work with crowd patrol, concession, PTO raffles, and our fitness box raffle. I asked our music teacher to set up our sound system in the back of the gym so everyone could hear music while they played. A very large fitness box was created and that was raffled off for free and promoted in our front office 2 weeks prior to the event. I placed some P.E. equipment: hula hoops, pedometers, sports drinks, jump ropes, and some other inexpensive items in the box and wrapped it in cellophane.

We informed the children for 2 weeks that they had the "easy" job. All they had to do was get their families there to play and have a great time. Over 500 parents were in attendance that evening for a night of fun with their children. A huge success according to our teachers. We will definitely do this every year!! I believe if you promote something with enough energy and enthusiasm...THEY WILL COME.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

Get the older classes to get involved and delegate some responsibilies to them. Run a concession stand as a fundraiser for some needed equipment.

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Posted on PEC: 9/20/2006 and has received 70 votes.

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