June 30, 2015

Getting Parents on Your Side EARLY!

I always prided myself on the fact that I always had an excellent rapport with all my parents. I have been out of the classroom for the last 8 years as a Reading Specialist.  I miss that contact with parents.  I think my ability to relate to them on many levels was key despite the fact I do not have children of my own.

So how do you get them on your side?  I always started before the year was underway by writing a letter to every student in my upcoming class.  I would share what I did over the summer and how excited I was that they were in my class.  I always gave some personal information, like that I had a dog.  By the time Open House or Meet Your Teacher day came they already felt like they knew me!

During Open House I made sure to greet every child and his/her parent/caregiver and worked hard to remember one thing about each of them.  I always took photos of every kid to use throughout the year.
I tried to include parents in all celebrations at school, like Authors Celebrations or reading events.
One thing that I loved doing and so did the parents was my Current Events Cafe!  Once a month I invited parents in 30 minutes before the school day started to read informational material with their child.  I provided coffee, juice and donuts.  I played jazz music in the background and have checkered tablecloths on all the "tables" (desks that were clustered together!) .  I provided all the non fiction material and equipped parents with task cards to guide their reading and discussion with their child.  Shortly after I started this parents began to volunteer to bring in the coffee other delectables!

All you need is right here.  You just need to supply the magazines, newspapers or other non-fiction material.
                                       
                                     Non-Fiction Cafe  

Another thing I liked to do to get parents involved was the Mystery Reader program.  Lots of schools do it and it is very successful.  In addition to parents, I always incorporated key people in the school to be a part of it;  principal, nurse, counselor, secretaries, building service workers!  It is a very motivating program and it helps to start off the year on the right foot!

Mystery Reader Program




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