Monday, August 8, 2011

Signing Up Parent Volunteers

In my previous post, I mentioned recruiting volunteers at Back to School Night.
Here is the volunteer sign-up page that I use:

Getting Acquainted With Students

There are many different ways to get acquainted with your students.  Schools typically have a "Back to School Night" or some other time when parents and students are invited into the classroom together.  Here are a few ideas that might help to kick off your year:

1.  I admit, it's a little late for this year, but a great idea is to spend  half an hour during the LAST few days of school meeting and greeting next year's students.  This needs to be organized on a "whole school" basis, but it works great for easing anxieties, and sending students off for the summer with fewer worries about the class they will be in and the classmates they will spend the year with.

2.  If you have an informal "open house," greet students with an activity.  I like to use a classroom scavenger hunt.  I give them a list of instructions and a pencil.  They become familiar with the classroom by completing it.  They find their desk (I have name plates in place), find their cubby, find the class library and read the rules for using it.  They find where our restroom passes are located and the rules for using them.  They find the poster listing the steps for starting each day out right, and so on.   The last step is to "Make sure you say hello to Mrs. Lindley".  This little activity engages them with their new environment and also gives them a head start on learning classroom procedures.  Parents are welcome to help students work through the activity.  It usually takes about ten minutes.

3.  During a formal "sit-down" parent night, you can present your class schedule, expectations for homework, classroom policies and procedures, etc.  It is a great idea to have these printed and hand them out to parents to refer to throughout the year.  This is also a great time to make a pitch for classroom volunteers.  I share with parents my needs (i.e. times of day, etc.) for volunteers and have them complete a form indicating when they would like to help, if they can commit to a regular, weekly time, and also if they can commit to finding child care for younger siblings. 

4.  A power point presentation is great for these formal parent nights.  Power points introducing yourself, your family, interests, hobbies, etc. are also fun for the first day of school to share with students.

5.  On that first day, students can interview one another and then present their partner to the class using the information they learned in the interview.

6.  There are many different ice breaker activities that work well with introductions.  Students can make posters about themselves, you can have them bring an object from home that tells something about them, have them complete a bingo grid with names of classmates, etc.  Find some that you really enjoy and have a fantastic first day!