Parent volunteers---How do you use them?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by collteach, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I was so fortunate this year to have WONDERFUL parents who wanted to help out like crazy. Unfortunately, I had a hard time asking them do things. I always felt l like I was imposing unless they offered to do something outright. I had a mom who regularly came in to do copies and another who stuffed my Monday folders and sometimes made copies. Of course, I had several that helped with our parties and field trips. This year (because I am going to be almost 6 months pregnant when school starts), I really want to use my parent volunteers as much as I can...if I get lucky enough to have some that want to help. What are some things that you use parent volunteers for? I always send home a letter at the beginning of the year with a form that parents can fill out expressing interest in volunteering...I want to make it pretty specific this year.

    THANKS!
     
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  3. teachingmomof4

    teachingmomof4 Groupie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I had 3 moms that would come in on a regular basis, one mom 2 times a week, and do things for me. I had them help with my take home reading, grade math timed tests, make copies, cut things out, trace things, work with kids...all kinds of stuff. These were the same moms that helped out the year before so it was nice because they knew everything. I told them that they would have to hold a training session for my new group of moms/dads. LOL

    At the beginning of the year, at Open House, I have a sign up sheet for anyone who would like to volunteer. I try and stress that I will need help on a regular basis, preferrably weekly since I have things for them to do daily. However, I do have some that will only be able to help once in awhile and that's fine. So far, the past few years I have been lucky and have had great parent volunteers. One mom I had for 4 years in a row...she was awesome. She'd even call to see if I needed a coffee or one time I forgot my lunch so she went home and made me one fit for a king. Another mom bought me lunch a couple of times and told me that she would come in this year (even when her daughter is no longer in my class) and volunteer. She told me that she was serious; no joke. What wonderful parents!
     
  4. Research_Parent

    Research_Parent Cohort

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Think of everything you would like a volunteer to handle and put it on a list for the parents.

    Reading books, designing play costumes, set up for science experiments or art projects, teach an art or science, make copies, reshelf classroom books, working one on one with students on reading or math, restocking centers, field trips, class parties, guest speaker for a specific event, host a fundraiser, bring supplies, help with grant requests, help with plantings, ...

    You get the idea...

    One of the things I offer to do as a volunteer is make play dough for the class for art projects, history dioramas, and science models.
     
  5. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I’d prefer to volunteer…
    __ On a regular schedule, a couple hours a week
    __ Occasionally without a regular schedule
    __ During field trips, parties, or other special activities

    These are the days and times I am available to volunteer… (check all that apply)
    __ Monday am __ Tuesday am __ Wednesday am __ Thursday am __ Friday am
    __ Monday pm __ Tuesday pm __ Wednesday pm __ Thursday pm __ Friday pm

    While volunteering, I’d prefer to… (check all that apply)
    __ Do clerical tasks like copying, stapling, cutting, etc.
    __ Make books, activities, games, bulletin boards, etc.
    __ Listen to children read
    __ Work with small groups of children

    I also need to add something like "I'd prefer to help at home by cutting, stapling, coloring, etc"
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2007


    I think this is a great way to handle things. This way, you can make sure that parents are assigned tasks which they enjoy, so hopefully they will be able to continue to help out through the year.
     
  7. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I love that, Miss Kirby! Also, the other ideas are wonderful! I think I was just so apprehensive to ask for help because in my previous 4 years of teaching, I had ONE parent volunteer. She was terrific, but had small kids at home, so she was not available regularly. I am just not used to the help :)

    I love the idea of letting the parents know I will need some regular volunteers. At least if I set up a day when a volunteer will come and do copies/stapling/other clerical things...I can be ready. That was another issue I had this year. One of my moms would stop in and see if I needed copies, but she would often come on different days and I didn't have much together for her.
     
  8. kelbel7583

    kelbel7583 Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I often have parents casually drop by to ask if anything needs to be copied or stapled. Instead of having them interrupt my lesson each time, I simply designate a box of papers that need to be run or stapled. I keep this box at the front of my room - right beside the doorway. Parents simply open the door, look at the box and take the items to be run. (I always leave a post -it with instructions for each copy.) When finished with the papers,they just place it back up front.
     
  9. tutor1982

    tutor1982 Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2007

    i read somewhere that a teacher would laminate a legal size clasp envelope and send it home with those who wanted to volunteer at home. She may send home a file folder game to assemble along with all of the supplies to do it. Occasionally she would also send a candybar or somehting with a note of appreciation (a skor bar - thanks for helping the students "skor" higher!). I think this lady had parents who would sign up to get a packet every week or two - and sometimes she would even send a packet with only a tea bag or bubble bath encouraging them to relax!
     
  10. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Have you ever had restrictions for parent volunteers? I'm wonderfing specifically if they wouldn't be allowed to work with the kids academically (small groups etc) - maybe school enforced or teacher enforced?
     
  11. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Being that I teach 4th grade, I truly don't know if I would want the parents working with students. Of course, for a special project or something, it would be fine, but I would be hesitant to have a parent working with a low reader or something. Especially because our school is a small neighborhood school and there are A LOT of gossipers.
     
  12. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I have regular, occasional & "home" volunteers. I had parents sign up for a night of the week that they'd be willing to do some work for me at home. The person who got the Monday folder would finish & return the things by Wednesday or Thursday (can't remember now). I'd put things in it like cutting, stapling, assembling homework packets or file folder games, book order forms, etc. Like the above poster said, I'd usually throw in a lollipop or hot cocoa packet or something as a small thank you. I've been able to really rely on my regular volunteers to do anything at all... they've been so great, and I also have a mom who wants to volunteer with me this year even though her daughter will be moving on!
    I also put a table at the front of the room with file folders that say "Parent Volunteer-need by Monday", etc. And then pop-ins can do the tasks without interrupting.
    I'm thinking of having a quick after-school briefing with those who choose to be regular volunteers so I can show them how to use the copier, where things are kept, etc. all at once and when it's not class time.

    Last year, I did individualized spelling and my parent volunteer came in and gave the spelling tests. That allowed me to work with guided reading groups during that time.

    Here are the letters I sent home, but I think I'll modify Miss Kirby's this year!

    Dear Parents and Caregivers,

    I would like to extend an invitation to you to help our students (and their teacher!). There are many ways to volunteer in our classroom this year. Some volunteering can actually be in our classroom. Some volunteering can take place in the comfort of your own home…perhaps even while watching your favorite tv show! We have opportunities for regularly scheduled volunteers, as well as those who can just “pop in” every once in a while. I’d like to have volunteers that will work with students, as well as those who will assist with other tasks.
    Attached you will find a list detailing ways you can volunteer to help out our class. I hope you will take a few moments to read the different choices and find the option that best suits your schedule. Once you decide how you’d like to volunteer, stop by on open house night and sign up for what you’re able to do!

    Your child’s teacher,

    Ms. S

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • I would like to volunteer, but can’t make it into the classroom during the school day. What can I do to help?
    --Consider signing up as a “Home Volunteer” and you can help out with tasks in the evenings or weekends. Home Volunteers will sign up for Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays. Each week on that day, your child may bring home a large envelope or folder containing work to do. Tasks may include things like putting stickers or stamps on papers (I’ll provide the stickers and stamps!), stapling homework packets, separating book order forms, cutting or tracing things for class projects, etc. The items sent home on Mondays will need to be returned on Wednesdays. The items sent home on Tuesdays will need to be returned by Thursdays. The items sent home on Fridays will need to be returned by Mondays.
    We have a wonderful family that comes in right after school on the last day of each month to prepare the calendar for the next month. Unfortunately, this family will be PCSing late this fall. Would you be willing to fill their shoes??

    • I am available to come in to the classroom and help during the day on a regular basis. What kinds of things can I do?
    --If you would like to sign up for a time to come to class each week, you have some different options…
    If you are available between 11:45 and 12:15 any day of the week except Thursday, we’d love to have you come in and read with individual students and small groups. You may also be asked to take a small group to the school library.
    If you are available from 12:00-12:45 on Thursdays, you can come help give individual spelling tests.
    If you’d like to come in from 9:30 to 10:00 any day of the week, you’re welcome to come help out during math center time. You’d be able to do an activity or play a game with a small group or “float”.
    Between 12:25 and 12:50 on Mon.-Wed. and Fri., your assistance would be welcome during Writer’s Workshop (beginning in November). You would be listening to students read stories and helping them edit their final copies.

    • I’d love to come in to the classroom and help out every once in a while, but I can’t commit to a regular time.
    --There will be a parent table set up in our room. If you can stop in, you’ll find things to do… perhaps a list of readers to listen to or papers to sort or copy. Maybe there will be bulletin board materials that need to be hung up, or a list of letters that need to be cut out in the PIC room. You may be asked to distribute book order books or help place an on-line order.
    You can also volunteer to help in the planning and implementation of class parties- I’ll let you know the dates later! You may wish to volunteer as a chaperone on field trips—again, more details to follow.
    Each month, a calendar will be sent home listing dates when a “Mystery Reader” will be able to come in and read to the class. Please consider volunteering as a Mystery Reader throughout the year!
     
  13. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Jul 27, 2007

    In our district we can't have parents grading any papers. I usually have themcome in a listen to the children read.
     
  14. Calalilys

    Calalilys Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I've always been very leery about having people in my room, especially parent volunteers. I feel as though they're judging me and I don't need to feel as though I'm on show. This year I am going to give parent volunteers a shot, although they'll be sitting out in the hallway (;)) with students. I would like my volunteers to work with students on their revising/editing skills in writing, basic math facts in +, -, x, / and with specific skills that students need more one-on-one help with and helping students with their fluency/expression/rate in reading. I'm thinking I may also get a volunteer who would be willing to make my copies for me so that will be one less thing I will have to worry about.
     
  15. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Jul 30, 2007

    It would really depend on your school/district. As a general rule of thumb, supply the volunteer with a specific, even scripted lesson plan to follow if he or she is working with small groups on reading or math. It's just a way to cover yourself if anyone was to ask. I prefer to use my volunteers for more enrichment type small group activities instead.
     

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