Parent engagement

December 21, 2010

This will be my last post for 2010. The girls are off from school and I'm looking forward to spending some time with them away from any screens. And the forecast is for a white Christmas! We're very excited.

Thanks for your many comments on my posts this year. I love to hear from you, even when you completely disagree with...

December 8, 2010

It's the time of year when many of us are bustling around to find just the right gifts for the teachers, caregivers and kids in our life. Here are some ideas I've come across that you may find useful:

Choice Literacy's 5th Annual Gifts for Literacy Geeks includes things like...

November 30, 2010

One day every year is set aside to give thanks and to remember our history. History and family often come together. Sometimes it's through family stories shared around a dinner table or even books shared aloud. These are often times worth remembering as well as worthy of thanksgiving.

My sister works in a Title I school in Florida. The staff works hard to involve parents while...

November 9, 2010

In a typical school year, report cards come home every nine weeks or so. The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Most report cards also include a Work Habits, Social Skills, or similar section.

Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a...

November 4, 2010

The first nine weeks of school have passed, and in our district, this marks the time when parents sit down at the Parent-Teacher Conference to talk about their child and progress in school. Other similar meetings can be had throughout the year on an as-needed basis.

I've had several parents talk to me about what they heard from the teacher. In most cases, I'm almost sure that the...

October 5, 2010

I got an email from a close friend of mine about a committee meeting. "I am available during the day but I need to get the girls off the bus at 2:40. I am trying NOT to have to pay a sitter or ask neighbors to help out while I am busy volunteering for the school. Ironic that I am volunteering to get involved with my children's education but that seems to take me away from my children."

...

August 16, 2010

It's Back to School time, which means more first-timers may be coming to this Sound it Out blog than before. Because of that, I decided to take on the 7 Link Challenge described by Problogger . By taking the challenge, I'm able to...

March 8, 2010

Don't miss a day of this year's Share a Story — Shape a Future 2010 Blog Tour. This year the theme is "It takes a village to raise a reader." Each day you can start your "tour" from the homepage of the blog tour.

The tour runs from March 8 — 12, 2010.

The homepage of the blog tour outlines the schedule (...

March 2, 2010

Do your kids ever feel this way? This was written by a 7 year old, a student facing many years of homework.

Homework has been around a long time, and has had its supporters and critics since the very beginning. Critics say homework cuts into quality family time and leaves students with no down time or time to pursue non-school interests. Proponents believe that homework teaches...

November 10, 2009

My daughter's third-grade teacher does something called The Mystery Reader, which involves a surprise visit by an adult who comes in to read with the class. I'm the Mystery this Friday (shhhh...don't tell Molly!)

I'm looking for funny and engaging picture book read alouds for third graders. I've asked around my neighborhood and my teacher friends, and combed our own...

September 15, 2009

Question: My son's teacher doesn't allow parent volunteers in the classroom. She says she has her schedule worked out and another adult in the room would make things too disruptive for the kids. I want to help in the room and like working with the kids, so now what do I do?

Answer: Thanks for the question! Volunteering is a great way to get involved at...

August 12, 2009

Well, really this advice is for FAMILIES whose first-born child is about to start kindergarten. Two of my close friends fall into this category, and have been talking to me about their transitions. It's a big one! Some of the advice I've shared is below:

Kindergarten, at least at a public school, is not preschool. There will probably be more kids in the room, and at least at the...

August 5, 2009

"What teacher do you want this year?"

That's the question heard over and over again in my neighborhood. Moms asking Moms, Moms asking kids, and even kids asking kids: Who do you hope you get this year?

At the core of parent requests, of course, are parent hopes that their child spends the year with a teacher who helps their child thrive cognitively, emotionally, and socially....

July 22, 2009

I'm going to be wearing a new hat at our elementary school: President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). I'm sure it's going to be great, and provide me with experiences I wouldn't otherwise have. I hope to share the highs and lows in some of my future blog posts; please chime in with wisdom and wit! Right now, the work is just a bunch of administrative things to get us ready for the...

May 18, 2009

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the research on access to books for kids in poverty. In short: all kids, but especially kids from lower-income households, need access to books over the summer. If there are no books laying around to read, it's unlikely that a child will lay around to read.

At our school, we...

April 29, 2009

The end of the school year usually means one thing for kids: TESTS! In Virginia, our 3rd and 5th graders are gearing up to take the Virginia Standards of Learning tests. Other grade levels are preparing for end of unit tests, spelling tests, math chapter tests, tests to inform placements for next year, and tests just because teachers like to grade (just kidding).

As the Mom of a...

December 2, 2008

Thanks for your feedback on the report card comment two weeks ago. Your comments highlighted the need for balance between the need to provide parent-friendly information with the need to provide accurate, research-based information. In a perfect world, a good comment would do both.

I admire the teacher's effort to...

October 7, 2008

Raising money is hard work, and our PTO's really feeling it. It's a combination of our fall fundraiser not doing as well as we hoped, and our considering postponing the spring fundraiser because of the financial pinch we all feel. It seems like every fundraiser goes back into the pocketbook of our school families. It might be time to take a break.

The money we raise as a PTO is used for...

August 26, 2008

Those were the first sentences out of Anna's mouth when she read her teacher assignment for this year. Out of 20 classroom teachers at our school, there's exactly one male teacher. He teaches first grade, and Anna got him!

She's thrilled, of course. All the kids know Mr. B. All the parents love him. "Gentle giant," they say. "A real calm presence." Sounds good to me. I'll let you know...

August 20, 2008

My friend Kathy has a son with mild to moderate disabilities. Henry is going into third grade this year, and I just got an email from her:

"Back to school" has special meaning for Henry. Transitions are tough for him, so these first few weeks of getting adjusted are hard for everyone. I know things will eventually settle down, but I wish these this time of year could be easier. So...

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase