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Fun Nights Teach Parents
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In an effort to increase parent involvement both in school and at home, Horn Lake Intermediate School launched a series of Fun Nights to familiarize parents with the curriculum and pass on instructional strategies. Included: Tips to help parents help children with schoolwork.

To help parents get more involved with their childrens education -- both in and out of school -- the staff at Horn Lake (Mississippi) Intermediate School opens its doors several times a year to give families a chance to learn together.

The schools four Fun Nights highlight the math, science, reading, and health and fitness curriculum at the Title 1 school. Parents and kids work on projects while parents learn more about assisting children with schoolwork.

Parent involvement is an integral part of Title 1 -- we were looking for ways to get parents involved in kids learning, said Horn Lake principal Vickie Bullock, in explaining the implementation of the Fun Nights. Were trying to instill that education is not restricted to school.

TEACHING PARENTS TO LEND A HAND

The Fun Nights start with presentations on how parents can help their children with school material at home, including suggested activities. Staff members also explain why it is important for students to succeed in these subjects and show parents some of the strategies teachers use in class so parents can try them at home as well, Paula Morey, the school's Title 1 coordinator, told Education World.


Were trying to instill that education is not restricted to school.

One tip teachers give parents is to spend time with their children each night going over five things they learned in school. Turn off the TV and leave time for reviewing school work right before bed, like spelling words, Morey said. Studies show that revisiting material before sleeping helps it to stay in long-term memory, she added.

Among the classroom strategies teachers shared was suggesting students write on sticky notes while they are reading how the material connects to their own lives, another book, the world, or the news, Morey said. Parents and children also can participate in Readers Theaters during Fun Night, according to Bullock. The captain and mascot of the local hockey team, the River Kings, joined parents and students one night to read to the students and give autographs.

Teachers also explain the current math unit to parents and demonstrate how parents can help children with math skills. Some parents said they couldnt help their children with math, Bullock said. The vocabulary has changed and we do things differently now.


This is a feel-good opportunity to get parents in the schools with their children, show them activities, and help get them involved.

Science night activities included parents and children making lava lamps, learning about roller coasters and Newtons Law, and reviewing science Web sites together.

SOLID STRATEGY

The minimal cost of the Fun Nights and the good will generated also make them good investments. Teachers volunteered their time and some of the other expenses were covered by Title 1 funds, said Morey. We try to use a lot of what we already have, she added. This is a feel-good opportunity to get parents in the schools with their children, show them activities, and help get them involved.

For Bullock, the Fun Nights provide opportunities to get to know some of the parents of the 1,200 third-fifth graders attending the school. And with so many families under stress, schools need to make an effort to reach them, she said. As busy as parents are now trying to meet their financial obligations, its important to provide an outlet for them, Bullock said. We have to have parental support.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE

Parent Involvement

Article by Ellen Delisio
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

03/15/2010

 

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