Columbus Day, School Holidays and Timely Assembly Programs
Today was Columbus Day when we celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Of course, this worked out better for some people than for others. Pretty good for Europeans, but not so good for North American indigenous peoples.
None the less, in many places today we find schools are off for the day. So, of course, in schools that are off today, last friday was a waste.
That’s right. The day before a vacation, whether it is a summer or merely a three day weekend, is usually a blow off day in most schools.
Simple. Kids are too excited to get anything done. Sometimes, they are too excited to do anything of importance for several days before a holiday.
So what do you do?
A good, educational assembly program is a perfect solution in the time leading up to one of our many holidays. Because it is a show, and it is cool, the kids will pay attention. And because it is educational they learn something despite themselves. It’s a win win.
And, when applied well, the dynamic is even better. Because an artful coordinator knows how to select a program to coincide with lessons being learned around that general time of year.
Here are some good examples.
Subject often studied in November? Native Americans and Pilgrims.
Perfect Show? Piankeshaw Trails (Native Americans)
Holiday: Martin Luther King Birthday
Perfect Show? Martin Luther King (Duh)
Holiday: Presidents Day
Perfect Show? The Living Lincoln
Alternative? Martin Luther King (February is Black History Month) or Books Made The Man (March is often a Right to Read month)
Get the idea? Here is another. Halloween is coming. What is the one night of the year when kids are guaranteed to be outside at night? Halloween. What is the a good teachable idea for that opportunity? Astronomy, of course. Schedule a visit from Sky Dome Planetarium right before Halloween. Kids will pay attention because it is such a cool, assembly program. And then, when they are walking around on Halloween, ask them to point out what they learned. Perfect! The same goes for The Earth Dome (aka Earth Balloon) in April around Earth Day. Or a good Character Counts program like Inspector Iwannano in October around Red Ribbon Week.
But don’t wait too long. Lots of school show coordinators already know these tricks, and often, the pertinent dates right before a holiday are the first to fill in and sell out. But it’s worth checking. Be creative. You might think of a holiday or calendar connection to curriculum that know one else has discovered before. You probably won’t get a holiday named after you for your discovery like Columbus did, but you will get a really great assembly and a great day at your school!
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN