Show students and their families how cool your school library is by hosting a “Live it up in the library” event. To make the most of the occasion:

  • Invite families for a guided tour of your library.
  • Have your school mascot greet families at the door.
  • Have teachers model how to make reading aloud fun.
  • Have students demonstrate some of your library’s cool features.
  • Allow everyone to check out a book to take home.
  • Send participants home with a bookmark (printed in advance or created by students at a special craft table).

 

A positive attitude increases learning

Researchers believe that teachers can maximize student learning capacities by nurturing positive attitudes in all subject areas. Encourage teachers to:

  • Share their passion for the subjects they teach.
  • Instill the belief in students that they can master any and every subject.
  • Provide meaningful feedback with a focus on what students did right.

 

Quote of the Day

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“Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.”

Lou Holtz

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February marks Black History Month. Start planning now for special activities to help all students learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. Be sure to ask parents for suggestions and help. They could:

  • Visit a classroom to share memories from their lives.
  • Come to school to read books written by or about African American authors.
  • Suggest others in the community who could serve as valuable resources.

 

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Create your own best practices for parent involvement

Who are the experts on involving parents? The people who do it every day. But a teacher who has developed a terrific way to involve parents in homework may not have a way to share that idea with a teacher down the hall or across the district.

Why not create your own collection of best practices on parent involvement? Send out a questionnaire to parent involvement coordinators, teachers and anyone else who might have a strategy for working with parents and involving families. Gather information with the questions below and share it with the educators in your building and district:

  1. What did you do?
  2. Why was it important?
  3. What made it successful?
  4. What was one challenge or barrier you had to overcome as you carried out your strategy?
  5. How did you address that challenge?
  6. What do you plan to do next?

did-you-know  Did You Know?

Every year, HazingPrevention.Org sponsors an essay contest for high school students. The 2020 essay theme is Be Brave. Change the Game. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2020.

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Student attendance in many districts starts to drop off around this time of year. But some schools have found effective ways to communicate with parents about the importance of making sure their children are in school. To promote attendance:

  • Distribute your attendance policy—again. Print and distribute wallet-sized cards with the basics of the policy.
  • Share facts and figures. Include articles about the importance of attendance in your school newsletter and on your website.
  • Encourage two-way communication. In addition to asking parents to report absences, make sure school staff inform parents as quickly as possible if their child misses class.
  • Celebrate perfect attendance. Print up special forms or cards to send home to families of students with 100% attendance each marking period.

 

Improve parent-teacher communication

Today’s teachers are stressed. And many of them don’t think they have time to communicate with the parents of their students. However, improved parent-teacher communication can actually reduce teachers’ stress levels. Here’s how:

  • It saves time. Consistent communication with parents keeps everyone on the same page and reduces individual questions and concerns. Sure, sending out a weekly email that describes classroom activities and spells out homework assignments takes time. But teachers who do it say it saves them time in the long run.
  • It reduces the likelihood of parent confrontations. Some teachers avoid communicating with parents because they want to avoid confrontations. In fact, it has the opposite effect—parents who don’t hear from you until there’s trouble on the horizon are more likely to start out angry.

 

Quote of the Day

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“Effective listening is the single most powerful thing you can do to build and maintain a climate of trust and collaboration. Strong listening skills are the foundation for all solid relationships.”

Michelle Tillis Lederman

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Most families know how important reading with their children is. But by the middle of the year, some families may simply have run out of energy for a regular at-home reading activity. That’s where a midwinter reading night can be helpful. Here are some ideas for making your event a success:

  • Serve a simple meal. Nothing draws families like food!
  • Plan a variety of fun reading-related activities, such as puppet shows, story tellers and reading activity centers.
  • Provide parents with simple instructions and strategies for reading with their children.
  • Allow children to take home a free book. These books can be donated by a local service organization.

 

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Print vs. digital media: Which is better for students?

From digital textbooks to school-issued tablets, educators often wonder about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. Studies on student learning with digital media versus print media found that:

  • Students prefer to read digital content over print content.
  • Students read digital content faster than they do print content.
  • Students believe their comprehension is better when they read digital content than when they read print content.
  • Students’ overall comprehension is better when they read print content.

So, what does this mean for educators? Experts recommend that they consider the purpose of a reading assignment when choosing the medium to use. If students will be asked to perform a basic skill, such as finding the main idea of an article, the medium doesn’t seem to matter. However, if a reading assignment will require deep comprehension, students may benefit from reading it in print.

did-you-know  Did You Know?

A new report from Renaissance Learning found that students who started the school year as struggling readers but ended the year at or above benchmark read just six minutes more each day than struggling readers who did not meet benchmark.

What Are Kids Reading? 2019 Report, Renaissance Learning, Inc.

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The transition from preschool to kindergarten can seem daunting to young children and their families. Set the stage for a smooth transition by providing opportunities for preschoolers and elementary students to connect and interact throughout the year. Here are a few ideas:

  • Invite classrooms of preschool students to visit the elementary school during a school day. They can tour the building, watch classes in session and even eat in the cafeteria.
  • Start a reading buddy program. Have elementary school students visit preschools and read to younger students.
  • Invite preschool students and their families to attend some of your family events and school performances.

 

Solicit feedback to improve your transition program

The best way to evaluate the success of your kindergarten transition program is to ask those who have been through it! Survey current families and ask them:

  • What part of our transition program did you find the most helpful?
  • What part of our transition program did you find the least helpful?
  • What information do you know now that you wish you had been given before your child started kindergarten?

 

Quote of the Day

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“When we make progress and get better at something, it is inherently motivating. In order for people to make progress, they have to get feedback and information on how they’re doing.”

Daniel H. Pink

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