At first I was kind of scared because I didn’t want to make my Grandpal upset by asking personal questions. It took me about two meetings and then we were fine talking with each other. Hannah Osmond – Student
We expect kids to know how to react, without making a mistake. They are going to make mistakes. They may ask questions that may be inappropriate, but it’s okay, because that is the whole point. They are supposed to learn through the process. Anna Hardy – Program Manager – Long Term Care Facility
One student’s Grandpal came from Pigeon Lake. She wanted to find out everything about Pigeon Lake in Canada. She discovered there are all kinds of Pigeon Lakes all over the world. She started comparing and contrasting; one here in Canada and one in Europe. How are they alike? How are they different? It allowed the learning to become the student’s learning rather than me directing it.
Donna Calanchie – Teacher
I knew the work that the students would be completing…but I really didn’t know the amount of time and hard work it would take to complete at the standard we were looking for.
Tim Buchan – Teacher
A central component of a GrandPals Project is student writing. Students are capturing stories from the lives of their senior friend and the real world implications of this work demands the highest standards. Students often instinctively understand the importance of the work they are doing and as a result are deeply invested in creating quality material. Having the work “go public” at the end of the project also provides an additional incentive for students, as they want to put their best foot forward.
While motivation is one part of the equation for quality student work, the importance of drafting and feedback can not be emphasized enough. As is true for any author, students will need to receive feedback from many sources (teachers, peers, parents, seniors etc.) as they draft and redraft their way to excellence.
This is a real world project that’s going to have a real world audience, and therefore students can’t create materials that are flawed and don’t get ideas across.
The more people you have that can help students review their work, get some feedback, and work on it some more, the more excellence you’ll get out of the product. Paola Argentino – Principal
Any person who is getting into this program is going to have problems. There is not one project that we have ever worked on that didn’t run into a problem. Anna Hardy – Program Manager – Long Term Care
We also lost some of the seniors during the time we were running the program. The school social worker spoke to the students about loss and bereavement. It became a very teachable moment. Cecilia Vespa – Community Librarian
It’s nice just to talk with your Grandpal and not have to worry about what you’re going to say. It’s not a text bubble, it’s a conversation face to face. Alexandra Keith – Student
As the program progressed, the seniors would be waiting for us at the door when we came for our visit, with big grins on their faces. Kristie Walraven – Teacher
I noticed good things were happening when she was waking up in the morning and excited to go to school. For an 11 year old girl, that’s not something you would expect.
Jeremy Curry – Parent