Did you know that students with parents who are involved in their schooling have fewer behavioral problems, better academics, and are more likely to complete high school than those with parents who aren’t involved? Unfortunately, a survey by the Phoenix College of Education found that 76 percent of 1,000 teachers polled said less than half of their students’ parents are involved.
Instead of accepting this as something you can’t fix, turn to technology. Use these five tools to make it easier than ever to encourage parent involvement:
This is one of the best ways to keep parents in the loop because you can use it as a classroom tool as well. To make your blog parent-friendly, create a space just for them with all the important information they might need. For example:
Another way to attract parents to your blog is to share student work. Feature a few different students each week—share photos of them in class, a video of them presenting or a piece of writing they handed in.
Whooo’s Reading, an online reading log, encourages students to read at home, solo or with their family. Once your class is setup, emails are sent to parents with instructions on how to get their child’s account set up.
Parents receive weekly emails telling them how many minutes their child has read and samples of what they’ve written throughout the week—students are prompted to answer a Common Core-aligned question after logging reading time. As a teacher, you can use this tool to monitor a variety of data points and extract important information to share with parents during conferences.
If you’re sick of newsletters getting “lost” in the email abyss, Lauren Steinmann recommends this program. Steinmann, a Digital Learning Coach and 11-year teacher, suggests using it for class newsletters and announcements. The best part is that you can see who opened the email and who didn’t.
Contrary to common belief, many parents want to be involved in fundraisers. In a study done by Causera.org, 89 percent of parents said they’ve helped with school fundraising by planning, selling and donating. What about that other 11 percent? Parents are more likely to be involved when they’re asked and encouraged, according to Empowering Parents Through Technology.
Reach out to parents next time your school is planning a fundraiser and offer ways in which they can help, like hosting a classroom fundraiser party to get kids excited.
Most students have two working parents—but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be involved in their child’s education. A fun way to get them involved is to have them “come into the classroom” for a read aloud. The trick is, they don’t have to come into the classroom at all. With Skype or Google Hangouts they can share a story with students no matter where they are. Offer this as an option to parents who seem interested in becoming more involved with the classroom.
FreshGrade, a free learning collaboration system, is making learning visible. For generations, parents have heard the same response, “nothing,” when they’ve asked what their child did in school that day. Through dedicated apps, teachers, and the students themselves can capture learning moments from the class and share with parents in real-time. The conversation around the dinner table is changing and is becoming far more productive because parents have evidence (videos, audio clips, pictures or anecdotal notes) of what their child did at school.
Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.