Technology Transforms a Beloved Tradition

Today I learned about some very special people in the lives of our Grade 4 students. I learned about parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, a police officer in the K9 division, a reporter, a musician, a mentalist, entrepreneurs, and many other interesting friends.

For years, the Biography Tea has been one of the highlights of our Grade 4 curriculum. Students composed books about a beloved family member or friend, presented them before a large group in the Library, and then we all enjoyed a lovely tea reception afterwards. The Biography Tea is a culminating project that concludes Grade 4’s biography study in reading and writing.  

COVID restrictions created an opportunity for us to rethink the way this event transpired, and it ended up evolving in some very meaningful ways. First, our teachers changed the name of the event to the VIP Celebration. Instead of composing with pencil and paper, the students used the StoryJumper app to create illustrated books that can later be physically printed. Students developed their research skills, learned to “show not tell” with their pictures and narrative, and honed the editing process, being mindful of their audience. The stories explored the individual’s memories, favorite teacher, first job, accomplishments, and words of wisdom. 

For the ceremony itself, our guests–the parents, grandparents, and special friends who are featured in the books–joined via Zoom as the students read their creations. The students were excited to honor their loved ones in meaningful ways. 

So although there wasn’t a tea reception this year, our students created professional quality books and proved to be quite the talented biography authors. We’re so very proud of our Dragons’ publications; even better, our Dragons are also proud of what they have accomplished.  

Danny Vogelman

Head of School