Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Voices From Home

Growing up, I always saw my Mom volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips, and correcting things for the teachers at home. Granted, she didn't need an answer key for the spelling tests. Her criteria was (a.) the kid tried hard, s/he should pass. (b.) the kid is always in trouble, s/he should at least have one positive thing happen today. (c.) the kid irritated the teacher today, s/he should study harder... and write more clearly. To this day, I will not give her any papers to grade. :) However, she is always welcome to colorfully stamp happy faces all over papers.

Because of those fond memories, I try to encourage every parent to make a trip into our classroom at least once a year. As a result, I created our class Voices From Home program. With so many working parents, it's really hard to commit weekly or even monthly volunteering time. This way, it's one day and can be in and out, if necessary.

Parents typically prefer the beginning or end of the day. I've had one run over during a lunch hour before though. We have several different languages at our school. Thanks to parent conferences using Google Translate, I've been able to offer this experience to non-English speaking parents, as well. Some have brought in a book in their language to share. Another made a cultural dish to eat. Their kids do the translation, and the class is enamored!

Here's the information I give to parents about the program:

I invite you to participate in my Voices from Home program. I believe great teaching comes from setting great examples, both at home and in the community. Voices from Home gives the students a chance to see an adult modeling how to read aloud, how to speak in front of a group, and how to answer questions. It also serves as a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about the various educations and jobs our parents have.

It's easy! All you need is to volunteer about 20 minutes of your time. You can bring a picture book to read to the class or I'm happy to lend you one. Then, you introduce yourself, read the book aloud, and answer a few questions about yourself. It's very similar to our T.E.A.M. Star presentations, except you're the star! In order to allow each parent a chance to visit us, I can to schedule you at the beginning or end of the day.


Darleen Dufour said...

I love the Voices from Home program. I do Mystery Reader on Fridays in my classroom. I may need to try your approach too!!! Thanks for sharing. I am a fellow 3rd grade teacher and your newest follower!!
Third Grade Love

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