Questions & Authors: Getting parents involved

May 21st, 2009

In the third installment of our Questions & Authors series with the authors of TeamWork: Setting the Standard for Collaborative Teaching, Grades 5-9, Kathryn Edmonds shares some strategies for getting parents involved in the life of a classroom. Revisit Amanda Mayeaux’s tips for keeping work and life in balance and Monique Wild’s advice on putting students in charge of their own learning.

Teachers often ask each other: “How do you get parents involved in your class or on your team?” Over the years of asking ourselves the same question at the start of every school year we found a few tricks that increased parent involvement that we discuss in chapter three of our book. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  1. Whether the information is presented at a traditional open house or in before-school-starts letters home, offer a “menu” of choices of opportunities for parents to become involved. Be sure the menu has a wide variety of offerings for parents. These may include donations of supplies or treats for the classrooms, chaperoning for fieldtrips or school events, making classroom materials, and any other things you can do. Giving advanced notice of your involvement needs is always appreciated with working parents.
  2. Throughout the school year update your involvement needs list on the class/team website or newsletter.
  3. Thank you notes and shout-outs to those parents that contributed any amount of time, effort, and/or money, no matter how large or small, go a long way. As much as parents want to feel needed they also want to feel appreciated.
  4. Have the students do the inviting. Recorded voice messages from students and hand-made invitations are hard for parents to turn down!
  5. Offer parents the experience to share their college, career, or special talent knowledge with your class or team. Many parents, like their middle-school age children, enjoy sharing information and life experiences with others.

Entry Filed under: Classroom practice,Questions & Authors

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