H4 – Honor family and community involvement in the learning process. Having parents involved in a student’s education can open opportunities for learning outside of the classroom and can be a critical component to a student’s success. The U.S. Department of Education says that “research overwhelmingly demonstrates the positive effect that parent involvement has on their children’s academic achievement” (2003). When families know what is going on at school, they can incorporate appropriate vocabulary and questions into everyday life; no longer creating a void between “school time” and “not school time.” In order to help close this gap, Mrs. L, my mentor teacher, has a class blog that students, parents, guardians, and other interested parties can access. An update to the conventional letters home, the blog can be updated frequently, can include pictures and documents, and is more likely to be seen since it can’t get lost in transport (as school letters so often do). Mrs. L’s blog keeps parents informed about what their student is learning as well as upcoming events that may concern the community such as a book fair or PTA event. Figure 1 is a screenshot from the class blog. It is expected that students remind their parents to check the blog during the first few weeks in order to build the habit of checking the blog daily and rewards are given to students who come to class with the secret codes posted on the page; the code in Figure 1, for example, is “because,” a word we are trying to encourage the students to use more.
I have always heard of the importance of school-parent relationships, but never knew my skill with social media could benefit my students’ learning via parental involvement. In a time when most parents of young students are more connected than ever, having an online source that keeps them connected to what their children do for eight hours per day is not only beneficial, but also convenient. As technology progresses, too, I hope to remain electronically literate in order to continue to be able to communicate with parents on a convenient and understandable level. The feedback from Mrs. L’s blog is very positive, one parent said via e-mail, “I love that you have a class blog.” Mrs. L also credits it for being able to get last-minute chaperones and volunteers, as well as donations of much-needed classroom items.
U.S. Department of Education. (2003). No child left behind: a parent’s guide. Retrieved September 23, 2013 from http://www.ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/nclbguide/parentsguide.pdf