Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Helping Parents Help their Children

"This is a stupid question, but..."

I feel like I am the QUEEN of stupid questions!! But because I am a teacher, I feel that sometimes parents are afraid to ask me their "stupid questions."  I LOVE when some brave soul asks me a question that I had no idea was out there because it gives me the opportunity to clarify something and give better directions (therefore making me a BETTER teacher).

I love how we do homework on my first grade team.  We send a packet of homework each Monday in a homework bag and the homework bag is due (completed) the following Monday (and repeat).  This allows families to manage their time and establish their own routines at home.  Homework for us consists of writing, two math practice sheets, a handwriting practice sheet and an independent paper take-home book that we make from the A-Z reading site for each child.  I also include a check list for all my families for the parents to sign off on, including a place where they assure me they saw the weekly blog that I write for our class.

Sometimes when reviewing my students homework from writing, I may see pieces where I have NO idea what it was the child was trying to write about (no familiar sounds/ spaces etc), or the reverse... The perfectly spelled and punctuated piece (a near impossibility for the average 5 or 6 year old).  It dawned on me that the parents don't know what I (stress on that I) expect of them.  Does the teacher want me to help... not want me to help...

And so I set out to help them, help their writers.

I did this by working with my own son and taking some movie clips of how I do it and what I'd like them to do.  I also included some voice over clips and text to further help the parents.  

I have had some good feedback so hope to continue this, perhaps with reading and even some math strategies that we do in school.  My goal is to make what we do in school as transparent as possible and to help every parent feel like THEY have the power to help their child.  They are (after all) their child's most important and influential teacher.

To see the video I made for writing, you can click HERE or check out below.  Feel free to share my video (and if YOU make one) please consider sharing the link with ME.  I'd love to steal it! ;-)