Tips and Ideas / Jun 16, 2019

10 Ways To Inspire Greater Parent Involvement – Regardless of Parents’ Technology, Language or Background

Getting parents involved and informed is hard even when you have helpful apps and a great administration. Every student comes from different family backgrounds, each presenting a unique set of challenges. Laying a great foundation for communicating with each family, regardless of technology, language or background, will pay dividends as the year progresses.

Parental involvement is a key indicator of child success and also, a lifesaver (can we give a thank you to all the field trip volunteers?).

We asked our teachers some of the tips and tricks they use to increase parent engagement.  This is what they had to say:

1. Introduce yourself with a personal video

Let parents know who you are any why you’re so excited to have their kids in your class.  Introducing yourself lets you set the tone of the school year and also lets parents know you genuinely care for their child. Amanda Arevalo suggests reading a fun back to school story as an exciting way to get kids engaged!

As a bonus for the kids I read a fun back to school story! I got so much great feedback from parents saying this made their student more excited for the school year, and I still have old students coming back to me asking if I still do that for my class.” Amanda Arevalo, teacher in Boise, Idaho

2. Co-create with parents and students

Open house is a great chance for parents to not only get a sense of the work being done in the classroom, but also a great time to connect home and school.  One of our teachers, Mary Rose Joseph suggested a co-create session using word clouds. Ask your students to talk or write about ways teachers and parents can help them be academically successful and feel supported.  Use key words and phrases to create a word wall that can stand as talking points and conversation starters.

“At Open House, I shared a word cloud of things my students require from me and their parents to feel successful academically,but also feel supported. This word cloud was made by student responses. After open house, I make posters of word clouds to hang in my classroom to remind kids of parents’ well wishes throughout the year.” Mary Rose Joseph, teacher in Katonah, New York

3. Encourage positive reinforcement at school and home

“I’ve had parents do “I Can” notebooks with me and their student. It’s a journal that I prepare for the student. I write all positive “I Can” moments I notice throughout the day. The child brings it home and shares with their parent/guardian. The parent/guardian then writes the positive “I Can” things the child does at home. The student brings it back to school and shares it with me. Kids loved seeing the parent responses to their work.” – Jessica Jablonske, teacher in Kaukauna, Wisconsin

4. Make a student-led weekly newsletter

Christina Curlett had the great idea of having a student-created weekly newsletter.  Students can collaborate via Google Docs and create their own classroom newspaper. Not only does this reinforce skills in the classroom, parents get a copy to see what their kiddos have been learning! (Pro-tip: copy the final version right into your ClassTag weekly newsletter)

“Every week, my students collaborate on a newsletter using Google Classroom and Google Docs. The kids write about what we’ve been learning in class and the finished newsletter is sent home to parents at the end of the week.” Christina Curlett, teacher in Collingswood, New Jersey

5. Give ESL parents resources to succeed

“The past several years I have been building a Spanish/English take-home library to increase literacy involvement at home and parent engagement. Many of my students’ parents do not read English so they are unable to help with homework. After launching the library I had many students say that was the first time they had ever read with their parents. The past year I have also been able to find some bilingual math games to encourage math support at home, as well.” – Katie Meisner, teacher in De Pere, Wisconsin

6. Keep communication lines open

Some parents have tablets, cell phones and computers galore; others barely have a flip phone and a pen in the house.  Teachers service students of all homes and backgrounds. Establish positive relationships with parents early on with a hand-written note, or even a quick message on an app. Parents love hearing and seeing how their child is doing, but you might need to get creative to make sure they get your communications.

“I type an important message on a sticker and the kids wear it on their shirt home. Your communication cannot be missed!” – Sara Matzdorf, teacher in Brillion, Wisconsin

7. Go from same old conference to a creatively flipped one

“I held a parent-teacher conference, but instead of me talking about their child they walked in and found another student sitting at my desk. What a surprise! I wanted the parents to hear how THEIR child has impacted another child. The students spoke specifically about their child, such as of how kind or caring they are or a favorite memory! Not only did it allow the parents to feel proud of their child, but it also allowed another student to practice their writing, presentation and their heart skills!” – Nicole Nuske, teacher in Kilmarnock, Virginia

8. Bring families and schools together

“Our school hosted an Escape Night. Teachers and staff conducted the escape challenges within their classrooms where families were challenged to try and be the quickest to “escape.” In order to do so, families were given various tasks and problems that they needed to solve in order to get the correct combination code to a lock. It was the most amazing turnout that our building has seen in the 10 years I have taught there! Parents, students and staff all had a ball!” – Kelly Kiser, teacher in Post Falls, Idaho

9. Go the extra mile to show you care

“I attend my students’ extracurricular activities to meet parents in a “neutral” environment. This includes athletic events, music and theater productions. Parents know I care about their child because I am taking free time to support them and that starts the relationship on a positive note. The student also responds positively for two reasons: they know I care and they know I have a quick way to get in contact with their parents at the next event.” – Ashley C Miller, teacher in Spencer, North Carolina

10. Get started on the right foot

We mentioned a great way to introduce yourself, but did you know you can upload your Introduction Video right into ClassTag?  We make it easy to share videos and pictures, along with events, activities and supply lists. In over 50+ languages! We help you connect with every parent, no matter their technology, background or language.

ClassTag is the only app that transforms how you connect with parents, saves time on communication and brings in free supplies for your class. Transform your new year and try ClassTag today!

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