Need Ideas! Parent Workshop??

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Mrs Teacher, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Mrs Teacher

    Mrs Teacher Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2013

    I teach in a very urban/high poverty school. We are trying to boost parent involvement and reach out to them in general. Grades 5 and 6 (2 classrooms per grade, about 100 kids total) are in a wing of their own in our building so we're trying to brainstorm a parent workshop event that will be productive, helpful, and successful (in terms of attendance).

    Has anybody hosted an event in the evening (or during the day) where parents have been invited to come and you thought it was a success? What was the nature of the event? How did you attract parents?

    Did anyone have success in a school where parent involvement is typically low?

    My initial thought is to have a workshop that focuses around the importance of reading every night, how to pick out "good fit" books, and strategies for reading WITH your child. If I can find some donors I'd like to be able to have a book giveaway.

    Other thoughts??
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2013

    We used to have low parent involvement in our 5/6 building, but we began looking for ways to involve families. Since we started some small initiatives, parents have become more involved.

    We began with hosting a family reading night. Parents signed up for the night and then were given two copies of a book (one for the student and one for the parent). A timeline was set for reading the book with discussion questions provided. Then the families were invited in for a reading celebration. Each year this night has grown.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2013

    Love Mopar's reading night!:thumb:
    I wouldn't gauge success by attendance. Families in high poverty communities have a lot on their plates...juggling part time jobs, lack of affordable child care, unpaid bills...instead, judge the success of your event by celebrating small steps toward building community. Offer child care for the event...maybe desserts and coffee. Giveaways would be nice...even if it's not books...local businesses might donate gift certificates for a free pizza or haircut, etc that you could have a drawing for.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2013

    Just a thought: if you're in a high povety school, the odds are decent that quite a few parents are raising kids on their own, or are holding down two jobs.

    Please make sure that if someone gives up a night's pay to be there, that he or she gains something very concrete from the evening.
     
  6. Mrs Teacher

    Mrs Teacher Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2013

    I LOVE this idea! This might be something that I could work on implementing later in the school year because we certainly don't have the funds to purchase books for all students yet. I'm smelling a little donors choose action in my future ;) My one concern here would be the variety of levels of reading abilities in these grades. For our grade 5/6 population we have readers that range from guided reading level D all the way to Z. Furthermore, our parents also have a wide range and many do not speak English. I'm thinking differentiated text and even spanish text (after all the goal is to read, if it has to be in their native language that's still a benefit). I'll have to bring this up with my team.

    Our goal is to have the event include the student as well, which will reduce some of our child care needs. I can probably look into high school or college volunteers to babysit the younger siblings in the gym? You other point on parent's needing to juggle their time makes me think I could offer the workshop at multiple times... so parents can pick from 2 or 3 possible dates.

    Definitely! :) If it's a waste of their time, it's a waste of my time too.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2013

    My school runs a series of info nights for parents a few times a year. They focus on drug and alcohol abuse, on recognizing the signs, and on the community resources available to deal with these and similar problems.

    You could address teen pregnancy, the importance of completeing high school, other similar issues. Your sixth graders are one year away from middle school, when lots of these problems begin for far too many kids.

    Probably the most difficult obstacle to overcome is "not here, not my kid." These problems reach every school in our nation.
     
  8. kab164

    kab164 Companion

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    Sep 1, 2013

    I have done a lot of family night events in my job. The one thing that guarantees parents will show up is of their child will be performing in some way-readers' theaters, talent show, plays, etc. you could have a poetry reading and have the kids practice at school. FOOD is a must. Last year we had dinner before our annual Titke 1 parent meeting and attendance was probably 4-5 times the previous year's meeting. We always offer child care as well. Another important point, a lot of hesitant parents were not successful in school and are intimidated to walk through the doors. Consider an alternate location such as a park or community center. Good luck!!!
     
  9. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Sep 1, 2013

    Parent Workshop

    At my school we have a reading night and a math and science night. Parents come in a do activities with their students do they can get a sense of what they are learning. Parents also leave with handouts of activities they can do at home with everyday materials. Also it helps if there is a student performance or food. We have done ice cream, hot dogs and chips things like that. We also offer that same workshop during the school day.
     

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