Engaging Parents with a Classroom Blog

Studies are finding a close correlation between parental involvement in their child's learning and their child's academic achievement. Some are here, here and here. Although an effective teacher is foremost, all veteran teachers notice that students who are high achievers have parents that push them and value a good education. How can we get more parents involved in this process?

I wrote a post back in August about how to foster better relationships with parents, but found that I've really gotten things going this year with use of a classroom blog. Some of the things that I've done are that have been extremely useful:
  1. Having a page for parents on a classroom blog for tips to support their child's learning. Other topics might be on the curriculum or teaching pedagogy.
  2. Creating an email list of all my parents. Although it wasn't easy with 200 email addresses, with this list, I've been able to write letters to parents informing them about major events in our classroom. After a major project or learning activity, I've written a little summary and then looped it back to the URL post.
 My parents have been ecstatic to see the things that their children are doing. It's helped deprivatize learning and provides families with topics of discussion at the dinner table. Some of parent comments:

This is Hayeon’s mom.
I think she had a useful experience and a choice. Obviously she seemed to enjoy the time. When she observed the cell through the microscope, she must have excited the wonder and mystery of the cells. Also, she must have learned how to use the microscope exactly.
Most of all, I felt impressed by science teacher’s kind and detailed explanation for the students. Thank you for letting my daughter have the wonderful, useful and memorable time.

Your post was neat and thank you for your kind description, and because of the translation, it helped me more to understand. Once again thank you and I think this lesson will be useful in the future one day for Jackie.
From Jackie’s Father

Hello. This is Lily’s mom, and I have read the microscope post with her. She explained some facts, I thought she did a great job, I can tell she listens in class and that’s alway is good. I think that this is useful for the students, and this is a good equipment for science. It’s neat.

This is Liam’s mum, Michelle. I found reading this entry very exciting, it is great to see the students at the forefront of the various methods to gain information, and your approach to balancing those, to make the most of each, will certainly inspire – as it has done for Liam already. I’m looking forward to seeing more… iPad apps next???

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