Thursday, December 20, 2012

15 Ideas for Building Community/Family Interactions

1. Interactive Homework-This is a great way to engage parents in the learning process.  While you need to make sure the assignment you're sending home is something the parent can assist them with, the options are wide open.  I've had students conduct interviews, teach their parent the new vocabulary in Spanish, discuses quotes to get their response, have their parents fill out feedback forms on short narratives, etc.

2. Surveys-This is something that my students enjoy doing.  I have them conduct opinion polls in their families and communities.  They record the demographics and responses to 5 one word answer questions.  Then they bring back the results and use their math skills to analyze the data and trends across genders and ages.

3. Interviews-This can be done in or out of class with someone who has experience in the topic they are studying.  It provides the student with a one-on-one dialogue about their area of investigation and often helps to spur curiosity.

4. Skype-Their community is now global.  Have students Skype with people around the globe.

5. Letters-Have students write letters to politicians and newspapers about current events.  You might be surprised by the response.

6. Volunteering-Add a service learning component to your units.  This allows students to connect what they are learning to the community in a meaningful way.

7. Honor program-My high school used to run an honors program that rewarded students with good grades at the end of each semester.  The community supported the efforts by offering bonuses at local businesses for honor students.  I've run similar programs at schools where I've worked since.  It is a great way to encourage local businesses to support the students' education.

8. Panels-Have community members participate in a panel discussion about a topic you're studying in class.

9.  Job interviews-I have had community members come in to conduct mock job interviews with students in the past.  This is a great skill to teach students.  Having outsiders come in makes it more real.

10. Art shows around town-Ask local businesses if you can display students' artwork there.

11. Speakers-This is a variation on the panel.  Any college or organizations around town with an outreach component is ready and willing to provide presenters.

12. Call the news-Host a fair and call in the local news.  It gives them an opportunity to present something positive going on in the community.

13. Community services day-There are service providers throughout most communities.  Host a fair where they come in and present the services they provide.

14. College day-Host a fair where local colleges can come in and present their programs to the students.  This works especially well if you live in a large city with a variety of institutions.

15. Field trips-No need to expound.  If you haven't done one recently, think about it.

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