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Parent Volunteers
Old 02-10-2013, 04:06 PM
 
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I have been tossing around an idea in my head for the last few weeks, and it seems like it would be brilliant - but at the same time it could turn into a complete nightmare. What do you think? Keep in mind, I teach 1st.

I want to invite parents into my classroom for more than just parties and conferences. I want to start the year next year (yes, I know that this one isn't over yet lol) by asking parents to volunteer for maybe an hour on a given day to come in and read with a group of kids or do some word study or writing activities with groups of kids... then more parents to come do math activities with some kids. I would provide the materials and scripted "lessons" (although moms and dads would not be *teaching* anything... but just some basics in case they need something written down regarding what they are practicing with the kids).

Have you ever invited parents to come in to work with kids, or do you just stick to the clerical stuff? I have some parents this year that don't feel that they are "involved" in their kids' education (sort of not my fault when you don't even help with homework, but that's not what this post is about). I don't want them to feel like I don't want them to be involved.

I've never done this before... I have invited parents to come help with things like literature-based projects (models, posters, etc.), but never with actual content-specific activities. I've always been kind of a control freak. Have you ever invited parent volunteers to help with the academic parts of your day? (My real thought is that I could get way more done in my class of 6- and 7-year-olds if I had more adults in the room - then I could spend more time teaching and less time correcting problem behaviors like throwing magnets at each other.)


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Old 02-10-2013, 05:27 PM
 
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I have two parents who come in on a regular basis. One does literacy activities, one does math activities. I keep a basket for each with activities and the names of the children they should do them with written on sticky notes stuck to the activities in each basket. It's mostly review or remediation games/activities or flash cards or sorts.

I also have three high school interns that come into my room, one every day for 2 hours, one on MWF for an hour and a half and one on T/TH for an hour and a half. They read for AR with my kids, do flash cards, help kids do homework when no one would do it with them at home and sit with kids while they take make-up tests when they've been absent. My kids are second grade so they're more able to take tests independently and such.

As you can see, I love having parent volunteers. At the beginning of the year I print out a parent interest survey and send it home right away. I typically get a good return. SOme parents are willing to work from home and make things, some are willing to only come for parties and such, and others, like these two, were able to set up a regular time with me. I also have some moms who are willing to come whenever I need them.

If you need any help or more hints, just pm me! GOod luck!
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:46 PM
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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this is a regular practice in our school not only for parents but the "Rockin Reader" program is wonderful. senior citizens volunteer to listen for one or two hours in the hallway to any child a teacher sends out. For Kdg. they have a list of names on the chair and a check mark is placed by the names until everyone has had a chance and then they start over. We don't use rocking chairs it just has that name. Sometimes there as many as a dozen listeners in the halls and library.

http://www.crackerbarrel.com/about-us/rockin-reader/
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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I've done it but with a retired lady! She wanted to volunteer and I was the only one who took her up on it. (So grateful.) I did the opposite of some of the others----I didn't always use her for the remediation group (although I would this year in second to help some kids with math facts). I used her for my high readers when I taught 5th grade. I was only scheduled to meet with their group 2 days a week and it was hard to keep the story moving along. An extra day to have somebody read with them was a huge help. And since those were the kids who didn't get much attention because they were doing well it was a huge help plus I didn't care as much if it didn't go perfectly because theyw ere doing okay!
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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I have a retired teacher who comes in and reads with or does an activity with my lowest readers. I have a different parent come in once a month to be a mystery reader for the whole class. I also have parents who do my photocopying,etc. I have had parents come in and work with groups. The key is getting the right parents, making sure they an handle what you want them to do, and make sure their kids can handle having them around. Since you haven't done it before, I would start out with one and see how it goes.


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Old 02-10-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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When I taught kindergarten I used to send home a leveled reader with those students who were reading. At the time they weren't as readily available and parents didn't have access to books like that. I had parent volunteers come in and listen to them read their book each day and send home the next one if they did well. It worked so beautifully! I still met with the students for reading group instruction. This was just an extra way to practice both at home and at school. When I moved to pre-k I kept my collection of take home books in case I ever moved back to kindergarten again.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:11 PM
 
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I don't have any parent volunteers (haven't for the past 3 years), but I only had them do clerical work. I just do not want parents in the classroom. I think it's too distracting. Personally, I think more adults means more problems.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:08 PM
 
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I have parent volunteers every day! They come in for about an hour on Mon - Thurs and run one of our center groups. Sometimes I have them do an art project, other times they are doing review lessons with the kids in reading, phonics, or writing. It's fabulous and for the most part they do a great job. I have it set up to where I have a basket by my desk that has stuff that needs cut, prepped, whatever, and they do that for the first 20 minutes or so. Then as soon as centers begin they have their group. On Fridays we have exploration center rotations (computer lab, science lab, library, and art), so the parents who volunteer then go with the class to whatever two rotations they have. I also have parents come in sometimes during activity time and do a fun activity that is too messy or needs too much supervision for me to do on my own. If a child has a hard time with their parent in the room (which doesn't happen often), then I ask them to volunteer in other ways.

Our school, though, requires 3 hours of parent volunteering each month, so it is a part of our culture to have parents in the classroom a lot. I have always helped in my kids rooms, usually running a reading group or center group.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:25 PM
 
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We use parent volunteers a lot.

I try to survey them ahead of time to find which parents really enjoy working with students and which are more comfortable with clerical work or B.B. prep. I'm surprised to find some who really don't like working with children.

It's great when you can get them! Just remember, they're volunteers and at the last minute you may discover that they are a no show.
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