Parent Night Activities: Getting Parents and Students Actively Involved

It's never too early in the year to begin thinking about Parent Night.


The thought of talking for an hour to a group of adults seems daunting. Even with children, I try to speak no more than five minutes before directing them to an activity that synthesizes what was shared.


I have parents and students do the talking. Here are some suggestions if you want to get parents and students more active in the process:


1. Have parents active from the moment they enter the classroom.


2. Get parents involved. This builds community. As a student's name and picture pops up, the parents are prompted to say the sentences they prepared when they entered.


(Childhood picture of Expat Educator)


3. After parents are finished saying something about their children, show them how students responded to the question, "What do you think your parents were like in x-grade?" Use the animation option to make the statement appear on the second Power Point or Keynote slide click. The comments from students often bring about giggles from parents (especially comments from younger students).



4. After two or three student slides, insert a curriculum information slide. Examples of informational slides are posted below. I put two or three student slides between informational slides to break up the talk.





5. On most of the informational slides, I insert hyperlinks to videos created by students. Subsequent posts will explain the lessons necessary to create such videos. Videos are the biggest hits with parents. Students create videos for reading, writing, math, PE, Art, and Music. In each video, students tell parents the following:

  • Why we learn the subject
  • Classroom procedures
  • What we’ve learned so far this year
  • How we’ve used technology to learn more about the subject
  • What we’re looking forward to later in the year


For student privacy reasons, the video is not published here. If you'd like to see an example, please click here and fill in the form.


6. Have parents do a closing activity. Before the Apple 1:1 laptop initiative, parents wrote short notes to students (the notes were actually on paper that looked like a pair of shorts).



By the end, I've done about 10-15 minutes of talking. The parents and students have done all the rest.


For the Power Point template, you can click here: Parent Night PPT Example.


What are other ideas to involve both parents and students?

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Tags: communication, night, parent, parents, student, technology, videos


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