Extending Learning- Involving Parents

Involving parents in their children’s learning has been proven to yield higher learning achievements. Our students learn with greater enthusiasm, motivation and the make deeper connections to their lives.

As I am coaching a group of teachers at the Goethe Schule, a German school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the topic of why and how to increase parent involvement is a hot topic. The following blog post was originally written in Spanish (see below for original post) as part of the documentation of our work together.

Studies like The Harvard Family Research Project among others have found, that involving parents has been associated with higher academic achievement. These studies suggest to

  • communicate regularly
  • offer volunteer opportunities
  • assign interactive homework
  • support home learning
Involving parents in supporting their children’s learning at school is NOT a luxury says Edutopia — “– it’s an integral component of student achievement and school reform. “. Edutopia refers to decades of studies  on the effect of meaningful parent involvement programs in schools

Gaining parent involvement has been a difficult task for many educators. The idea to only communicate with parents via a newsletter, invite them to the classroom to observe or bring in snack food for a celebration will not do the trick. How do we involve parents in a “learnflow” to extend and amplify learning for our students? New words like “learnflow” , “Home Learning” and “Crowdsourcing” are gaining importance in the realm of 21st century teaching and learning. Parents have a significant role to play in these changes.

In another article by Edutopia, Lisa Mims observes the differences between traditional methods and modern methoda of involving parents.

Traditional Methods

  • Agenda Books
  • Flyers
  • Test folders
  • Phone calls
  • Inviting parents to the classroom

Modern Methods

  • website
  • blog
  • twitter
  • Notification apps (ex. Remind)

Linda Yollis, a teacher from Los Angeles is having much success in involving her students’ parents over the years. We can observe through her blog how she invites parents and other family members to participate through comments on the blog, contributions as authors when they are traveling and with images to provoke and extend learning discussions in the classroom.

Graciela C, a teacher fromthe Goethe Schule in Argenting, has investigated pedagogical techniques to involve parents for the purpose of extending learning. Graciela, not only extended the learning objectives and goals of her curriculum content, but also exposed her students to 21st century skills and literacies, such as communicate, collaborate, connect, critical thinking, network literacy, digital citizenship and information literacy.

Through her blog, Graciela has been documenting her learning journey of these pedagogical methods, but we can also see the results of he work. We can see her learnflow:

Introducing curricular content>  Family Challenge> Parent contributions with their children > Create a video from individual family contributions> Share the final video with students> Group reflections > Individual reflections via blog comments > parent survey.

learnflow-home-challenge

Through various blog posts (if you don’t read Spanish, you can use Google Translate), Graciela supports different phases of the learnflow and shares the final video, she put together of the crowdsourced contributions from families.

Her students were not only aware of their own thinking (metcognition), but they saw their classmates’ examples and connections between what they had learned in school and their lives at home around the concepts of responsibility and collaboration.

In order to close the learnflow cycle and learn more about parent involvement as a method to extend learning for her students, a survey was sent to the parents who had contributed. (Results of the survey to come soon…)


Take a look at other examples of crowdsourced videos and blog entries to solicit and take advantage of family contributions to extend learning in the classroom.

Blog Graciela C.

Alejandra O’s Blog

A Kindergarten teacher asked the parents of her class to contribute  video clips, filmed at home, as they talk with their children about traffic safety and they demonstrate in various scenarios their understanding. Watching the crowdsourced video back at school, gave the children an opportunitiy to not only share their own “segment” from home, but they learned about their classmates’ personalized perspective as well.

Les pedimos a los padres que nos envíen un vídeo corto de los chicos hablando acerca del tema y armamos una película. Miramos cada vídeo con los chicos en la sala y fue muy rico para ellos, ya que no sólo se vieron a sí mismos sino que también a sus compañeros y el haber hecho participar a las familias también le agregó mayor importancia y valor.

Gabriela B’s Blog

Gabriela B, another Kindergarten teachers asked parents to support their children in learning about a specific animal. As children become “experts” of their chosen animal, they record a video sharing their research and articulate their learning. That video was then shared on the classroom blog as well as presented by the students in class.

Trabajando juntos : KIGA y Familias

En las próximas entradas iremos compartiendo con Uds un trabajo muy especial. Los niños manifestaron el deseo de saber mas sobre algunos animales. Por lo tanto cada uno de ellos eligió uno para realizar una investigación personal. Esta investigación la harán en sus hogares con ayuda de sus familias, enviando el producto de la misma al Jardín para presentárselo a sus compañeros.

How are YOU investigating parent involvement and the connection to extend learning with your students? What are some techniques your are investigating? Please share some of your thoughts and examples on the topic.


Involucrando a las familias en el aprendizaje de sus hijos ha demostrado que el logro del aprendizaje (learning achievement) es más alto, nuestros alumnos aprenden con más ganas y la motivación y las conexiones que los alumnos hacen con la vida real son más profundos.

Estudios como The Harvard Family Research Project concluyeron que al involucrar a los padres se ha asociado con logros más académicos más elevados.

Hay más estudios y investigaciones que comparten ideas como lograr involucrar a los padres. Esos estudios sugieren:

  • comunicar regularmente
  • ofrecer oportunidades de voluntar
  • asignar tareas interactivas
  • apoyar “home learning” (aprender en casa)
Involucrar a los padres para apoyar el aprendizaje de los hijos en el colegio no es un lujo, declara Edutopia (la fundación educacional de George Lucas)– “es un componente integral del logro académico y de la reforma de las escuelas”. Edutopia se refiere a décadas de estudios de investigación sobre el efecto de acompañamiento (involucramiento) significativo de padres.

Lograr un “involucramiento” significativo ha sido una tarea difícil para muchos docentes. La idea, no es solamente comunicarse con los padres o invitarles a la sala a observar, pero poder integrarlos en un “learnflow” (un flujo de aprendizaje) para extender y ampliar el aprendizaje de los alumnos. Palabras como learnflow, además de “Home Learning” (aprender en casa) y “Crowdsourcing” (colaboración abierta) están tomando cada vez más un rol significativo en el mundo de la educación del siglo XXI. Los padres tienen (juegan) un papel significativo en ese cambio.

En otro artículo de Edutopia, Lisa Mims muestra métodos tradicionales vs. métodos modernos a involucrar los padres.
Ella nombra como métodos tradicionales :

  • agendas
  • folletos
  • carpetas
  • llamadas telefónicas
  • invitar a los padres a la sala

y como métodos modernos:

  • página web
  • blog
  • twitter
  • apps de notificación (ej. Remind)

Linda Yollis, una docente en Los Angeles, EEUU está logrando con mucho éxito involucrar a las familias de sus alumnos hace varios años. A través de su Blog podemos ver como invita a los padres y familias a participar a través de comentarios en el blog, de sus contribuciones como autores cuando están viajando y contribuyen con imágenes que provocan discusiones estimulantes.

Graciela C. ha investigado técnicas pedagógicas y ha avanzado con mucho éxito en distintas oportunidades a no solamente involucrar sino también en aprovechar, sumar la ayuda de las familias para contribuir y extender el aprendizaje de sus alumnos.

Graciela, no solamente extendió las metas y objetivos del área del currículum escolar, también expone a los alumnos a capacidades y alfabetizaciones significativas del siglo XXI como comunicar, colaborar, crear, conectar y pensamiento crítico, alfabetización en las redes, de los medios, ciudadanía digital y alfabetización de la información.

A través de su blog, Graciela documenta su viaje de aprendizaje de estas técnicas pedagógicas, podemos ver los frutos de su trabajo y pasos de aprendizaje de ella y el de los alumnos.

Podemos ver el learnflow (flujo de aprendizaje):

Introduciendo el contenido> desafío para la casa> contribución de los papás con los chicos> crear videos> compartir el video (crowdsourced) final con los chicos> reflexión en grupo > reflexión individual a través de comentarios > encuesta a los padres

learnflow

La siguientes entrada al blog de Graciela apoya la documentación de las diferentes estaciones del “learnflow”. Más abajo verán los videos que Graciela trabajó para no solamente mostrarlos videos contribuidos, poder mostrar un “crowdsourced” video de colaboración abierta entre todos los participantes.

Los chicos, no solamente fueron conscientes de sus propios pensamientos, pero pudieron ver los ejemplos y conexiones de sus compañeros entre lo que hablaron y aprendieron en la escuela con su vida (home learning) en sus casas alrededor de los conceptos de la responsabilidad y la colaboración.


Otros ejemplos de crowdsourced videos y entradas de blog con la contribución de las familias para extender el aprendizaje.

Blog de Graciela C.

El blog de Alejandra O

Les pedimos a los padres que nos envíen un vídeo corto de los chicos hablando acerca del tema y armamos una película. Miramos cada vídeo con los chicos en la sala y fue muy rico para ellos, ya que no sólo se vieron a sí mismos sino que también a sus compañeros y el haber hecho participar a las familias también le agregó mayor importancia y valor.

El Blog de Gabriela B

Trabajando juntos : KIGA y Familias

En las próximas entradas iremos compartiendo con Uds un trabajo muy especial. Los niños manifestaron el deseo de saber mas sobre algunos animales. Por lo tanto cada uno de ellos eligió uno para realizar una investigación personal. Esta investigación la harán en sus hogares con ayuda de sus familias, enviando el producto de la misma al Jardín para presentárselo a sus compañeros.

Para cerrar el learnflow de esta experiencia de Graciela sobre el tema responsabilidad y colaboración, pedimos una vez más la ayuda de los padres para aprender más sobre la pedagogía de involucrar a los padres y los efectos en el aprendizaje de los chicos. Por favor respondan a la siguiente encuesta.

 

5 thoughts on “Extending Learning- Involving Parents”

  1. I teach seventh grade English in San Bernardino, CA which is a high poverty district. I have been attempting to get parents involved using traditional methods in the past and for the last few years have been trying with modern methods but I still have a difficult time getting parents involved. Few come on back to school night or school functions, papers do not always make home, or back, and the contact information is out of date.

    I find it really frustrating that parents are involved with their student’s learning when they are in elementary school but back off when they hit middle school. Any suggestions on how to reach and engage those parents?

  2. I have been teaching for 21 years now, and each year I see more the value of including parents. We just had our Back-to-School Night, and I start each year emphasizing that we are a team in their child’s education. I have been fortunate to work in a community where parents are mostly engaged, and you see a difference. When I first started out teaching, I was intimidated talking to parents, but I missed out on some valuable opportunities. During the first few weeks of school, I give a few assignments out that require the students and parents to talk to each other. I try to get conversations going on between the family members to help the learning opportunities go beyond what happens in class.

    What are some ways that you have developed that you find to be most valuable in gaining parental involvement?

  3. I have been teaching for 15 years and I have always valued the importance of involving parents in their child’s education. This year I am starting a family biliteracy after school program. I will be working with different families and asking them to do various projects with their children. Having parents make crowdsource videos would be an excellent way to involve all the families.

    Are there other ways you involve parents that have had positive results?

  4. Silvia, I’m a current graduate student at the University of Michigan, getting a Master’s in Education and a Certification in Teaching Spanish in Secondary Ed (a long description, I know). I’m currently in a Title I school, and we’ve discussed making the home to school connection stronger without creating a deeper digital divide among the haves and the have-nots. I love the idea about involving parents in videos with students, but how can we include parents and families that cannot afford these technologies? Thank you for such a great blog!

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