Written by Jennifer Larson (5-8 Orchestra) and Andrew Ellingsen (part-time Instructional Coach)
We all know the power of having parents involved in a student’s education.
In spite of knowing this, finding ways to engage parents in their student’s educational life can be tricky. Jennifer Larson, 5-8 Orchestra teacher, wrestled with this a few years ago. After researching and brainstorming, she settled on a solution that has worked for her -- and it puts parents in the spotlight!
Each year at conferences, Mrs. Larson sends home a packet of activities for students to complete with their parents. Over the course of a couple months, students teach their parents about their instrument and how to take care of it. After that, students share with their parents some of the basics of how to play the instrument. When parents have learned three notes, students teach them two simple songs -- and the parents perform those songs at the concert each year!
So far, the project has proven to be a success for everyone involved! Parents gain a deeper understanding of their child’s learning, Mrs. Larson gains more support from parents, and students come back to school excited to share everything their parents are doing “wrong”! (Mrs. Larson pointed out that frequently the things students highlight as problems for their parents are things they’re doing wrong themselves! They’re able to identify problems in others that they can’t yet identify in themselves -- which is good information for Jennifer to have as she plans future instruction.)
How do you engage parents in the learning process? What have you tried that’s worked? Join the conversation by sharing your ideas in the comments below!
Source: Some of this post summarizes a lengthier blog post on the topic which is available at http://www.education.com/reference/article/benefits-parent-involvement-research/.
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