This week I read part two of the FABULOUS Ron Clark book "The End of Molasses Classes." This section is about parents and parent involvement in the success of students. Loved it. Love his book. And have a crush on him!
Here's what I loved most:
1. The Parent To-Do List on page 119. Especially "Limit chaos in the mornings." I have first graders who live on routine. When they show up even 15 minutes late in can destroy their day. I also like "Review all homework assignments...do not DO all homework assignments." Amen, Ron. And finally- leave encouraging surprise notes for your child. My mom did this. She would leave a note at the front door that said, "Have a great day!" or a note in my lunch box that said, "I know your hard work will pay off with your history project!" That made a huge difference in my day. I leave love notes for my students when I'm absent. Sometimes it's a class note like I had yesterday, "Good morning kids! Please listen to the sub and be good helpers. I will be back before lunch!" Sometimes I've left notes for certain students, "Tommy, please show our sub where the _____ are." I usually leave these notes for students who are challenging because then they've done something to help and are more willing to listen and help the sub.
2. Point 26: Don't be a helicopter parent (page 121)
If only I could send out this section to all of the parents at our school. I've gotten lucky this year and have one parent that I had formed a relationship with a couple of years ago when she was volunteering in the workroom. I was able to call her and say, "Honey, you're going to have to back off and relax. I REALLY think your son has to figure out for himself EXACTLY what he has to do to be successful. You can tell him what that is until you're blue in the face, but you'll only make yourself crazy. You're going to have to let him figure this out. He can do it. I promise." Granted. I've never been able to say this to a parent. Which got me thinking, how can we let parents know that being a helicopter parent isn't a good thing. I decided I'm going to add "What I'm Reading" to my newsletter. Maybe I'll get lucky and have some of my parents read this!
Also, I thought of countless students who could have been more successful had they just not been "rescued" every five minutes. In my own class we are problem solvers. I say "Problem Solve!" every day to at least one of my students. If you don't know how to do something then you need to ask. If you made a mistake- what can you do to fix it? I make my students accountable for everything they do. I even tell them at progress report time "Look at your report. Do you see a grade you don't like? If you do then think about what you could do differently to be more successful? Maybe you should come and talk to me about what I think you should do." Scouts honor, this works. My kids really take responsibility for their work and their choices. I won't lie. We just hit the nine week end and that's how long it takes to train them in my expectations and procedures. It's a VERY long nine weeks, but after this things are MUCH easier.
Link up to the linky party here to see other responses!