Friday, July 15, 2011

Parent Involvement

I am very fortunate to teach at a school in which parent involvement is high, teachers are respected and supported, and education is valued. Home-school communication is one aspect of management that I pride myself on, as I make myself quite accessible to my parents. My parents, students, and myself are (usually) all on the same page, and I think that has a lot to do with the routines I establish early in the school year. Here are some of the things I do to make sure we're all "in the know":

1. Monday Planners - On Monday mornings, I have my students fill in their weekly planner. They copy down the skills/strategies we'll be working on, homework, spelling/vocabulary words, upcoming tests and events. They take their planners home every Monday to get signed by a parent (due Tuesday).

2. Weekly Newsletters - Last year, all my parents had internet access, so I was able to email my weekly newsletter. On the newsletter, I explicitly report what students should be learning in every subject area, and often give suggestions on how parents can assist their children at home. Of course, the normal stuff, like important dates, weekly words, thank yous, etc are also found on the newsletter. Only very rarely did I have parents say they didn't know about this or that. My reply was usually, "Yes, it was indicated on the newsletter dated ..." Check out some examples of my Weekly Newsletters on the, um, Weekly Newsletters page.

3. BEE Books - I put together BEE (Bring Everything Everyday) Books last year for all of my students, which contained a ton of much needed information in plastic page protectors. Let's see...there was a class contact list, money pouch, ABCs of 3rd grade, Homework Directions Sheet, Frequently Misspelled Word list, and a bunch of other resources. It also contained the...

4. Monthly Behavior Calendar -  It looks like a regular old calendar, but in every Friday box, there's a spot for Parent Initials. I would jot a note when a student didn't turn in HW, didn't complete class work, had a behavior issue, etc.The behavior calendar was expected to be signed and returned to school every Monday. Click HERE to see the Monthly Behavior Calendars for 2010-2011. I'll post the ones for 2011-2012 when I get around to making them!  : )

5. This Blog - I started this blog last year, and I was good about updating it at the beginning of the year, but not so much towards the middle. Part of the problem was that I wasn't able to access blogger at school. I would like to do better this year!

6. Mystery Readers -  It is very rare that we don't have a parent come in to read to the class every Friday. The kids love it, the parents love it, and hey, so do I! It's fun to hear a voice other than mine doing read alouds.

7. Open House - I work on a fabulous team, and we put on an awesome open house presentation in September. I think parents walk away feeling confident that their child is in our capable hands! Heehee.

I also email my parents frequently as things come up, send home study guides for tests, and generally do my best to be proactive, instead of being reactive. I hate being behind the 8-ball!


  1. Looks like you've been busy working on your blog. I love the look of it.

    Do you (or the kids) fill something in daily for the behavior log?

    Did you use binders for the BEE books? If so how did you store them during the day? I tried the binders last year, but switched back to folders about a month into it because they were too bulky for me.

    Hope you're enjoying the summer.

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  2. Thanks, Jodi! But really, me busy? You've been rockin' it out this summer! I love all of your monthly themes. : )

    There's only something written in the behavior logs if there was a behavior/work habits issue. Otherwise, the day is blank. There's a little note on top of each calendar page that explains it all. Maybe I'll try to link an example of my calendar in the original post...

    I use those poly folders for the BEE Books. Totally agree that binders would be too bulky. Nobody's folder fell apart (though a couple got lost, but those kids' very sweet parents tried to remake their BEE Books so I wouldn't have to). I just had them drop their folders into a white basket in the morning, and my supply captain would pass them back after lunch.

    I am very much enjoying the summer. Hope you are too. Can you believe that our boys will be first graders in a few short weeks?

  3. I'm glad you linked up for the Vistaprint Linky! I really like your Young Einstein's Club cards!
    Thanks, Nancy
    The Apple Basket Teacher

  4. This is great!! I've always wanted to try mystery readers! Thanks for linking up :)

    Mrs. Bee
    Bee's KinderGarden

  5. So I am moving down from middle school to 5th grade. Are they still too old for mystery reader? Have you ever seen a variation for older students??

  6. I don't think 5th grade it too old for Mystery Readers. They'd love it! One alternative I can think of, which is something I use in my class store, is to allow my students to be Mystery Readers. They secretly give me the five clues and then reveal themselves as reader on the big day. The rest of the class always gets a kick out of seeing their classmates read. You can recruit anyone to be a Mystery Reader, really, if you think your 5th graders might think it's nerdy for their parents to come in - principal, guidance counselor, former students...the possibilities are endless!

  7. I love your Monthly Behavior Calendar. We are both in the same district... I was wondering, do you only focus on the calendar-based activities for the district, or do you focus it on your school? This is a FABULOUS idea, and I'm entertaining the idea for next year.