Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Community In My Classroom

Community In My Classroom

Getting the community involved?

Tough question.  Seriously. 
I teach in a community where many parents work shift work. Many parents themselves had a difficult experience with school so they are not always the most supportive of attending. I also teach the older students and somewhere between cute little primary and teenager intermediate the feeling of "needing" to be involved at the school is lost. I have been working hard to try and break down these barriers.

One way I have tried is a info night for my grade. At the time I was teaching grade six and in Ontario we have the EQAO ( a standardized test ). I hosted an info night for parents to come and learn about this test, how to help at home and how it is different from when we were in school. 

It was not school wide and only my grade came. My room was packed and it was a success. It was such a success that the parent council asked the school to do an info night the following year with other topics and other teachers. 

Now as a school we do an info night. Each teacher picks a topic they would like to present on. The sessions are advertised and parents sign up to which little 15minute session they would like. The community loved it. We have had topics such as:

Ten ways to exercise with your family
Math? Gulp!
Transitioning into HIGH school and how you can help
Internet Safety

We still had difficulty getting the intermediate families involved.  We provided a reward. If you attend the information night your child had a chance to win the end of the year class trip. Winners were announced at the end of the night.  Attendance went up!

I am still thinking about ways to get our local community involved. 

What are ways that you have gotten your local community involved?


  1. I have a very similar community situation to yours. We couldn't get parents in! Last year, (and continuing this year) we did one family night/month. They were a HUGE success. Possibly because of the free food and coffee, but by the end it was more about being in the school. Kids were excited for them.
    November - Art night. Out halls were like a museum! Framed art, easels, it was great!
    December - Christmas movie night. Popcorn was devoured!
    Janurary - Minute to win it games. With healthy snack provided by our life skills kids!
    February - Open gym night and board game night. Huge parents vs kids beach ball volleyball game
    April - Welcome spring night with different activities and fun crafts.
    June - Family BBQ on the yard with picnic blankets.
    I like the info night. Maybe we will try that this year.

    1. What a fabulous idea! I love how you had a theme each month. I might have to try your idea and see if it brings out even more parents!

  2. Maria,

    I like how you write these posts. I know that you're using the reflective challenge prompts, but your posts read as though I'm sitting and having a real conversation with you.

    I love the topics in the Parent Info night, so engaging. I wonder if providing food would also help bring families out. I taught in a community where it was hard to get parent involvement, but as soon as we included food (and childcare!), many more families came out!


  3. Thanks Shauna for the compliment! The blog challenge really has motivated me to write more on my blog that is for sure!
    Food is a fabulous idea. Maybe there could be a session that also involves cooking. Two for one idea:)


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