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Parents celebrate Family Night at Westwood

James HowellStaff writerjhowell@civitasmedia.com

March 17, 2013

Westwood Elementary School celebrated its sixth-annual Family Night on Thursday, March 14, where parents were blown away by the talents and presentations from their children.


Before the event, Westwood’s fifth-grade students took on the daunting task of creating websites as part of a school project to show their parents on Family Night.


“It’s amazing what our kids are able to do,” said Laura Calhoun after seeing her daughter Leah’s website.


Ashley Brown, the school’s technology facilitator, helped the students prepare their websites using a template program called Wix. Limitations were not placed on how long or short the websites were suppose to be.


The websites were created by two-person teams to display information about a state chosen by the students.


For instance, one team’s website about West Virginia spanned four pages, and included the history, facts and images about each state.


The website said the West Virginia wouldn’t have been formed if it wasn’t for a cultural divide regarding slavery during the Civil War. Also, the website listed facts about the state, like the state is, on average, 1,500 feet above sea level.


Another project during family night was a “presidents and first ladies wax museum.” For this project, third-grade students researched a president or first lady from American history and dress up like the figure they researched.


Each student stood in their classroom while parents walked around and pressed “buttons” on the students’ clothing. This prompted the student into a speech detailing the historical figure they chose, just like what happens in a wax museum.


According to Mandy Keziah, a third-grade teacher at Westwood, this assignment integrated several different subjects besides history.


To increase practicing their writing skills, the children also wrote a paragraph about the person they were portraying. The students made a portrait of their historical person to incorporate art, and a digital time-line to incorporate technology.


Also, saying their short speech when prompted allowed the students to practice their public speaking skills.


Other events included a kindergarten talent show, an “are you smarter than a sixth-grader” game, and a telling of fairy tales and folklore using finger puppets.


According to Westwood’s Literacy Coordinator Sonya Vannoy, Family Night was funded by Title One Parent Involvement Funds.


Community partners like the Ashe County Museum set up booths in the school’s cafeteria for Family Night. The school also invited parents and children to the cafeteria for a hot dog supper.