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Family Involvement

Compiled By: luv2teach77

Whether you're planning projects for your students to complete at home or a family math or literacy night, you'll find tons of great ideas to get families more involved.

family quilt
Posted by: teach4fun

I do a family quilt. I send home a 12 by 12 piece of tag board with instructions for the family to make it in to a square which will be part of a larger quilt to show we are all part of a bigger family. They are to put whatever they want to represent thier family just now alter the size or shape of the square. They can use photos, drawings, fabric, paint, words anything they as a family agree upon. It is amazing to see how it looks after it is all put together. I bought cheap ribbon at Michaels on sale and after hanging the squares I tack the ribbon along the edges and it looks just like a quilt. I love it and it is now a fixture of the hallway for each fall. :) I hope this helps.

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family projects
Posted by: nirupama badhwar

dear jamie , here is some thought to a family project idea - one of this idea i have tried and it worked very well .
idea 1 - try sending home 'HEALTHY FOOD PROJECT"where child is involved with taking a trip to a supermarket with parents in buying /eating and learning all about healthy foods and share a dialogue with parents about junk can be a healthy vs "junk" food week or day and they bring various items of health food/as well as junk food items have a lesson on growth n food via actual objects/ a lil drawing ect.
idea 2 - values lesson - find a needy child home /orphange /center in the area. organise from the there information about how many children have a birthday coming up in that a date from that month and annouce in class about each child taking home a project of sharing any one obejct -toy/book/shoe/shirt -(imp note- object shud be one that your children are fond of not one that they dont want or use) also make them draw and write with help of parents a letter /card about their thoughts example how happy they r about knowing and sharing a birthday with those children .apart from sharing this is very effective n gentle positive way of showing children the hard face of tragic aspects of life. family is bound to have few happy chats at home on values involved in the project.i had lot of success from parents on this idea.

Family Projects
Posted by: Tracy

Hi. I used family projects last year for the first time. Unfortunately, I only did them through December. I just ran out of time...I should have had them planned earlier and I didn't. I strongly recommend planning them and having all the materials ready in advance. I saw the idea on a website somewhere (I don't have the site...sorry) so I came up with some similar ideas and went from there.
I sent a letter home at the beg. of September explaining "Family Projects." It pretty much said that the projects were optional (most families participated!) I explained that these projects would come home the first week of the month in an envelope, with most of the supplies they needed. (construction paper shapes, sentence strips, etc.) The families were supposed to work on these projects together. I expected the family to have glue, scissors, crayons, etc. (I was a little surprised to see how many projects came back covered with tape!) The directions were in each envelope for the family to follow. I gave a due date and most children brought their projects back to school. It was obvious which families spent a lot of time doing the project together and which ones had the kids do it all alone. I took the projects and displayed them on the wall in the hall with a cute heading. It was easy to run off the directions, papers, etc., but it was a pain to make an envelope for each child each month. (I teach 1/2 day KDG so I had 48 students...this year I will try to get a parent volunteer to "stuff" the envelopes.) Overall I think the "Family Projects" were successful. I noticed my students asking about the next project...they were very excited to do them. When a student returned their project they got to share it with the class. Here is a list of the projects I did:
September: Apple Person
I sent home a piece of red construction paper with the shape of a large apple, 2 yellow construction paper strips for arms, 2 longer green strips for legs, and 4 white leaves that needed to be colored. Families had to cut out the shapes, fan fold the arms and legs, color and cut out the leaves, put the person together, and make a face. (I started out with an easier project for the 1st time. They were REALLY cute!)
October: Fall Tree
I sent home a white piece of paper with the sentence: In the Fall (student's name)family likes to . This was at the bottom of the paper. In the middle there was an outline of a tree (a tree in leaves, only branches.) Families completed the sentence, drew their family doing what they liked to do in the fall under the tree, and made fall leaves on the tree. ( I told them they could use any materials...some used crayons, markers, real leaves, paint, craft leaves) I also sent home a piece of construction paper. Families glued their white paper to the construction paper.
November: We are Thankful
I sent home a blank cornucopia on white construction paper. On the bottom was the sentence : The(student's lastname)Family is Thankful for(Write what they are thankful for.) I had families draw, use pictures from magazines, or use real pictures of things they were thankful for. They also colored the cornicopia.
December: Christmas Trees
I sent home a Christmas tree on Green construction paper. Families had to cut the tree out and decorate it using patterns. Families could use any materials they wished.

The Family projects were fun for the students and promoted spending time together as a family. I plan to use these again this year and to come up with more ideas for the rest of the months. Hope this helps! Good Luck!

family project
Posted by: Betsu

I have done several family projects this year. Every week my students have a family homework project, but some are more involved than others. Some of my favorites are:

1. Disguise a turkey. Send home a pattern in the shape of a turkey. Instruct families to disguise the turkey so that he won't get caught for Thanksgiving. I loved the creativity....we had Santa with a bag of toys, an NBA basketball player, etc.

2. 100s Day Project: Create something out of 100 items. Another project that shows their creativity. I've had a rocket built out of 100 styrofoam cups, a house of cards with 100 playing cards hot-glued together, and a flag made out of 100 red, white, and blue buttons.

3. Milk Jug Challenge (for Earth Day): Create something out of a reused milk jug. I had everything from planters to masks to birdfeeders, and even a crocodile with a moveable mouth!

Another book I found that I have used for less time-consuming projects is a book from Random House. I can't remember the title, but it's a book of word puzzles. It's designed for parents and children. Each page is set up with a puzzle for the parent and a puzzle for the child. The pages face each other, so that the parent and child sit across the table from each other as they work their puzzles. The puzzles always have something to do with each other, for example the parent puzzle might end with a question, and the child puzzle ends with the answer. It's a great book, and parents love the puzzles.

Family Projects
Posted by: Amy


In the past, we have done "Family Science Night" where all the kindergarteners and their families come to the gym and do hands on science activities together - make ice cream, predict the number of items in a jar, play with "goop", use their five senses to try to figure out covered items, etc. It's a blast! During the time, tickets are drawn and the children win science related prizes such as stuffed animals, books about bugs, magnetic games, etc.

Another idea - try a "Family Reading Night" where children can share their favorite class book with a family member, check books out together from the library, listen to a story teller, and also pass out information or hold sessions for the adults about the importance of reading aloud at home with children.

Hope this helps!

family projects
Posted by: dolly

One theme unit we did was entitled "All About Me" and each child had typical "baby book" questions that needed to be answered (size, weight, hospital, first steps, first word, etc.) They were done up nicely on one or two sheets of paper with decorated "answer boxes" similar to what you might find in a baby book. We also had a baby photo option. Each child had an opportunity to share their booklet with the class. We included up-to-date statistics (height, weight, picture, etc.) as the math section of the unit, as comparison. I saved them & included them in our "end of the year" activity packets (select samples of the child's work throughout the year). We also included updated statistics of height, weight, & a picture, etc. as a comparison for a "See How I've Grown" page. Family feed back was great!

We also did a unit about our families where another answer sheet was sent home, data was collected and shared with the class. (Number in family, brothers, sisters, what kind of pets, share a room or not,etc.) We did math activities of charting, making comparisons, etc. with the information we rec'd. We included learning our addresses/phone numbers with this project. Each child had a house outline to cut out and color/decorate. I had printed up address stickers and read them off for the children to recognize. They then put them on the house cutout. For each family member living in their house, they made a paper loop with their name, relationship and/or age. These were put together as a chain and hung from the bottom of the house cutout. The houses were then hung from the classroom ceiling, each with their own paper chain "tail". These were up during our open house & the families really enjoyed it!
We also had family members send in pictures of items for the letter of the week. These would be cut out of magazines and the newspapers. Each child would glue their pictures onto a page with that letter on it. My aide & I (or mother helpers) would then write the name of the item underneath each picture. The pages were laminated and held together with those ring clasps until the alphabet was completed. The books were then bound together and each child had their own unique alphabet book. I have had some parents tell me that their children still had them and were teaching younger siblings the alphabet with them!
You can include sharing a favorite book with families, where each child in turn takes a book home and shares it with the family. They in turn, write back their reactions or responses in a binder that goes home with the book. The responses are shared with the class. Every month there can be a different book circulated and shared. Sometimes teachers will purchase or make cute little backpacks or things to keep the items in. A similar home-school connection can be created with a classroom "stuffed pet", where the children get to keep the classroom mascot for a week or a few days. Parents then log in the activties that "teddy" got to share in. [We went to the pool, but Teddy was afraid of the water, so he sat on a chair and played cards with Grandma.]
Lots of ideas to get you started Jamie! Good Luck!

Family Projects
Posted by: Linda

I send a letter at the beginning of the year telling the parents what family projects will be. Then I send a letter with details about each project the month it is due. We try to do one a month. Ours is as follows:

September: Grandparent Interview
October: Timeline of the child's life
November: Family Turkey (We send home a paper turkey and they decorate it anyway they want)
December: Make an ornament for the class tree.
January: Junk Sculpture
Febraury: Famous Person Report
March: A recipe for the class cookbook
April: Earth Boxes
May: Ocean Animal Report

Hope this helps you!! I would love to hear what everyone else does!

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Posted by: Ilvtching

Last year I did one take home project per marking period and didn't have a problem (I teach third grade). I think it depends on the means of the parents where you work. I would not have been able to do that at the last school I worked in.

Some ideas:

State Fair---each student chose a state (they all had different ones) and they wrote a five paragraph report (had to have certain info.) and they created a tri fold board to present at the State fair. They had to have an attention getter (food, things from that state, pamphlets, etc) VERY FUN!

Science Fair--our school required participation

Biography papers--- students chose famous people, did research and wrote a paper. They they created a poster board and we had a wax museum...very fun.

Landforms---we also have an earth science unit on landforms (ties in with Soc. Stu also) I had a salt dough recipe that the kids used to create their own landforms. (They had to be real ones) Then they brought them to school and painted them. We also made brochures to go with them and displayed them for the school to see.

Instruments--We also have a sound unit for science. One year the kids made instruments and brought them in... they had to give a presentation...that was awesome.

I had rubrics for each project that I sent home with the directions so they knew exactly what they would be graded on. These are just some ideas I've done over the years.

Hope this helps.


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family flower project
Posted by: gc

In the beginning of March I send home a project
Family flower project.

I trace a large flower with lots of petals on card stock, about half a page in size. I let them cut it out at home. Attached is a little letter explaining that the child and parents should work on this together. Decorate it any way!! but no food products (ants ) name should be on the front too.

Over the years I have seen some really creative stuff. beads, sequins. pictures from childhood, fabric, paint, feathers. you name I have seen it on the flower!

I give them all stems and leaves and 'plant' them in a bulletin board garden "watch us grow" it is the BB visable as you walk in room.

Family Activities
Posted by: jane

Our school has a family book club. Children choose a title from a select group offered by our Reading Dept. Then the child and parent reads it at home over a 2-3 week period. Families come together at school one night to discuss the book. Interesting to see the different perspectives from parents and children and the different families.
We also have had Writing night. Families bring in a special photograph from the family album. Each member writes their own piece about the photograph and then share their drafts.
We also came up with old patents for inventions from a library book. Some of the ideas are incredible. Children and their parents had to figure out the contraption and explain how it worked. Lots of laughs and fathers loved this one!
Math games and brain teasers are also fun to work on as a family. Hope this helps! Have fun!

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Getting mom and dad involved!
Posted by: Kimberly

My problem is getting the parents OUT OF MY ROOM!
ha ha (it is not a problem, I love them there)

I do A LOT with my parents. Here are a few of the things I do that keep them tied into my class.

First I make the expectation know right from the start. The education of their child is a PARTNERSHIP. This means as thier parent they need to work together with me to help ensure success for thier child.

I make a concerted effort to let my parents know THEY ARE EXTREMELY important to the success their child will experience in my classroom. One way I do this is -I have a buletin board JUST FOR PARENTS. I have my wish list posted, up coming events and poems, etc put up JUST FOR THEM.

I send home projects that need to be cut out for future projects to parents who work and are UN-able to come into the classroom to work.

I do a nursery rhyme unit, and will have a family night where mom and dad come to participate in activities set up around the room that pertain to nursery rhymes. Then they sit for a preformance from their kids. Each child in costume recites a nursery rhyme from memory. Talk about cute!

I do alot of plays/preformances - On the Thanksgiving day re-enactment - parents come to watch and help in the preperation of food. And of course to watch the darling preformance!

I cook ALOT in class and I never lack for mom OR dad helpers on those days.

I do a field day of nursery rhymes - BIG TIME FUN

I also have a mothers day tea, in which moms come to attend but not help.

I do a HUGE ocean unit which culminates in a Fish Feast. Everyone brings in fish - lobster, clams etc and EVERYONE tastes and chart results. This is always fun.

In line with the fish unit, we make wonderful creatures out of paperplates. This is a great project to send home for parents to put together and the kids to paint and decorate. By doing this, the parents have a vested interest i coming BACK to school to see what they look like.

On National Read Aloud day, I invite parents to come into the class to read to the class THEIR childhood favorite books. This is ALWAYS well attened.

Dr. Suess day is also a big parent invovement day.

We also do a huge unit on Indians and again we cook, do sand painting and this all requires mom and dad help!

I guess the best way to keep the parents invovled is for the chidlren to let their mom and dad know just how much they love having them in the room. I do this on Catholic Schools Week. Each child creates and sends home a card to their parents stating in their own words just how much they love haveing mom and dad help them lean. This is always well received.


Science family night
Posted by: Paula

We just had a Science family night for k-2. Our biggest hits were: making a personal volcano. We uses styrofoam bowls and cups. cut the bottoms out of the cups and glued them into the bowls. Hot glue would probably be best. Then they followed a typical recipe of vinegar and baking soda to watch the volcano erupt. We also made ooblec and gak both of these were very popular, and they made balloon rockets. The students also made edible dirt. In a zip lock bag we put two oreo cookies, 1 cup of pudding, a gummy worm and a small styrofoam cup and spoon. The directions were to put the pudding into the cup, put the worm into the pudding, and then after crushing up the cookies place them on top. Then they were ready to enjoy their dirt. We had several other stations but the ones listed were the most popular.
Hope this helps you out.

Family Literacy Night
Posted by: AmberM

We have Family Literacy night at my school. The PTO buys through Scholastic the 100 books for $100. Then we play sight word BINGO and the winner of each round gets to pick a book to take home as their prize.

Each class chooses their favorite read aloud short story. The children with simple costumes act out the story while it is being read by the teacher or a student. My class did SWIMMY by Leo Lionne the black fish wore black t-shirts and Swimmy wore red.
Also did Caps For Sale one year and the kids had a great time being the Monkeys!

We do a Book Walk exactly like a Cake Walk except words on the floor not numbers and the prizes are books. (Also from the box of Scolastic 100)

Computer Lab is set up with all reading/language art software that night.

One area is like Wheel of Fortune where there are word puzzles to figure out families compete to complete the phrases first.

This is a few, after the story plays the rest of the activities are done "carnival" style so the families just float from activity to activity the rest of the evening. It's fun hope you enjoy yours!

Family Math Night
Posted by: teach2all

We have a family math night each year. One of our most popular events is the restaurant. We make up menus, set up tables and chairs and have bags of money already made up (simple for k-2 and more difficult for 3-5). Teachers play hostess and seat families, other teachers are wait staff and write up orders on a pad, other teachers are cashiers (with play registors). After an order is written up the student/family adds the total bill and takes it to the cashier to pay for it.

We have also had a store. We hung ropes throughout the pod and attached pictures of items with a price on an index card. The students/families are given a bag of money (again along the lines of their ability) and they shop for items without going over that price. They take their "purchases" to the cashiers and count out the correct amount of money.

One of the really cool things that we do is in every hallway we hang up different types of graphs (2 or 3 per grade level throughout the school)- tally marks for favorite sports teams, venn diagrams for favorite types of candy, thinking maps that match our theme etc. They parents pictographs for favorite board games etc. Our parents and students love to fill in the graphs as they move from pod to pod activities.

We had a pirate theme this year and another favorite activity was digging for "booty". We purchased some small items from dollar tree, oriental trading, etc. and buried them in pools of sand. The students/families were allowed to dig for a treasure (one per person).

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