Join me as I explore different happenings in Education

Encouraging Parent Involvement

I have spent quite a bit of time lately thinking about how I can encourage parents to be more involved in their child’s education. Now before I start I realize that there are many ways to be involved, including being active in your child’s education in the evening by taking an interest in what they are learning. Having said that, I would like to get the parents involved in what happens during the day at school. I do realize that many parent work during the day and that this is not always possible for all parents, but I would love to see more parents in my classroom. The children love being able to show off their parents.

 

In the past I have used parent volunteers to help mainly with different projects that we have been working on. Most of them are art related but a few have been writing projects also. The newest idea that I have been thinking about would be to invite the parents in for Story time a few (or more) times during the year. The parents would bring in a book that they enjoy reading to their child at home and share it with the class. If I had more than one parent interested in coming in I would either split the group up or have them come in on different days. My main goal would be of course to allow the parents to see a small portion of our day, but also to show that kids that literacy is important and that reading can be fun.

Typically in my classrooms, story time is folowed by play time, so I would invite the parents to stay if they are interested and they can watch how their child interacts with the other children as this is often a concern for kindergarten parents.

Do you have any more ideas about how I can encourage more parent involvement in the classroom? I am open to anything and willing to give it a try.

Interesting Idea

It dawned on me the other day that youtube videos would be a wonderful addition to my Mother’s Day gift that I have created in the past. Now, before you think “What on earth are you thinking about Mother’s Day for in December?”, please just bear with me. In the past I have created “cookbooks” for the mothers of the students in my class. I use the term cookbook very lightly though because you would not want to cook anything following the instructions in this book. You see, the children give their own personal account of how they think their mother makes their favorite recipe. You are likely to find four cups of baking soda or 2 cups of vinegar in many recipes. This recipes are treasured by their mothers however and are guaranteed to put a smile on their face.

 

Unfortunate Foodstuffs by amy_b, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  amy_b 

Alright, now for my brilliant idea. I was thinking that in order to make this an even more special gift, I could get the students to make a small video of themselves for their mother as well describing their recipe. This way their mother could have a paper copy of the recipe but also a visual also. Now in order to accomplish this I would of course need help. I was thinking that I could possibly ask the Grade 7 or 8 teacher if their students would be willing to help us out. The only problem that I can foresee with asking an older classroom is that I don’t know their curriculum and I don’t know if this would fit in or not. I certainly wouldn’t want them wasting valuable class time if it didn’t link to anything for them.

I should also like to point out that I would put the videos on youtube but they would private so that only the parents of the child could see them. Does this idea sound feasible to anyone? If you could suggest any tools that would make this project easier that would be great also. I have never made a video and posted it on youtube (although I am sure that the Grade 8’s would definitely know what they needed to do) so any help would be great.

For the sake of my class, EC&I 831, I need to stop working on my Final Project. This does not mean however that I will be done with my project, French Immersion Resources for Parents. I have decided that I will continue to add websites when I find them and I will try to keep the blog up to date. I have found this resource to be valuable for myself, as well as for parents and other teachers.

I have blogged about my experiences in the past few months a few times, and if you would like to read up on those posts please feel free. The first time I mentioned the project I was just starting out and I talked about what I thought the project would look like as well as how I would go about reflecting on my learning while working on the project. The second time this project was mentioned was a quick update in regards to what I had done to date and how I felt I was progressing. The final time this project was mentioned in my blog was when I mentioned that I would finally be Tweeting the project and sharing it with anyone who cared to look.

I am also including the Google Docs that I created as a reflection of the process that I went through while working on my Final Project. It is composed of dated entries explaining how I felt about different portions of the assignment and how I felt I had been doing. I hope you enjoy my Final Project and please feel free to pass it along to anyone who you might think can benefit from it.

I had quite a bit of fun doing my Summary of Learning. I ended up doing quite a few versions of it. I tried out a number of different tools and ended up choosing Xtranormal. I would have to agree with Lindsay in regards to the pros and cons of this tool. I do love that I didn’t have to record my own voice. I tried that a couple of times and I didn’t like how I sounded. It took me a while to get the final tweaks done on my project (and I am still not happy with some of the camera angles but I couldn’t seem to change them) but I think I can confidently say that I am happy with my final product. I hope you enjoy.

Summary of Learning
by: Honni

http://www.xtranormal.com/xtraplayr/12772565/summary-of-learning

 

Thankful by mtsofan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  mtsofan 

As this class now draws to an end I have spent lots of time thinking about what I have learned in this class and what I have yet to explore. Each time I think about how great this class has been, I can’t help but think of the Thanksgiving projects that are done every year in school when we list what we are thankful for. Therefore, here is my list for this class. Careful, it is quite long (I never imagined that one class could teach me so much in such a short length of time).

  • I am thankful that I got the chance to see that Social Media can have a positive impact in regards to parent communication in the classroom. This past semester, I implemented a classroom blog for my parents and they loved that they could see a little snip-it of their child’s  day.
  • I am thankful that I got the chance to learn about so many on-line tool. Never would I have had the time to discover all of these tools myself, but now that I know where to go to get a list of tools that I can use, I know that I will be using them in the future.
  • I am thankful that I was introduced to the world of blogging. I was skeptical of blogging in the past because I never really saw much of a point to it. Now, having blogged for the last four months (or so), I am loving it. I love that I can share my thoughts with those who want to read about what I have to write about. And if no-one wants to read it that is fine, but at least I have had the chance to share what I was thinking about.
  • I am thankful for learning how to use Twitter. It took me a while to start using Twitter but I am starting to get the hang of it. I am still a little sad though that I can’t use it to it’s full potential because I don’t necessarily need to be connecting with other educators right now because of my maternity leave.
  • I am thankful for everyone who has become part of my PLN. I love that there are people out there who are willing to support one another and to take part in my learning.

There are many more things that I could list however I think you get the point. I have found this class to be extremely useful, not only for educational purposes but also for personal ones.

Last night while I was working on the computer, I came across this wonderful article that talks about Margaret Atwood’s take on Twitter. Margaret Atwood says Twitter, internet boost literacy is well worth the read. We have all heard the critic that say Twitter is causing problems when it comes to knowing how to write in our youth today, but Margaret Atwood has a completely different take on it. In the article she says that Twitter is no different than the short forms of writing that proceeds it, such as telegrams.

She goes on to explain that Twitter and texting is encouraging our young people to write more because it is replacing other forms of communication, such as phone calls. I had never thought of it like this before. Yes, I know that Twitter can cause our youth to incorrectly spell words or substitute in numbers for different words, however it is encouraging them to think and to put their thought into words. It is refreshing to see someone like Margaret Atwood encouraging people to use Twitter.

For anyone who is interested in how the organizer of Kindergarten Around the World actually uses Twitter in her classroom here is a great new clip that shows exactly how it is done. It is truly amazing to see how engaged these young children are in what they are learning about. Hope you enjoy.

Kindertweet

P. S. I am really loving how everything I have learned in class is coming together. I can get awesome ideas from Twitter, blog about them here and link others to these valuable resources also. I am beginning to wonder how I functioned before this class!