The last couple of weeks have provided a few great opportunities for me to learn, and I would like to reflect on them in this week’s blog posts.
One of my grand ideas last year was to try a Parent/Teacher book study. Having read Mindset, by Carol Dweck, I felt that it was the perfect book since it has advice for parents, teachers, and coaches. I applied for a grant from our PTA to purchase the books before the end of last school year with the plan to distribute them before the summer for everyone to read. We would then meet together in person in September.
The first thing that didn’t go as I predicted was that far more teachers signed up than parents. The teacher interest was probably due in no small part to the chance of earning professional development credit. However, I gave the parents little incentive, and that was completely my fault.
During the summer, I sent out e-mails in an attempt to keep interest going. These e-mails included links to SMORE flyers with book, music, and video suggestions. There was also a link to a Padlet for feedback on the book. Again, there was very little response.
As the meeting date closed in last week, I began to panic. Few people had RSVP’ed and only 1/3 of them were parents. I mentioned door prizes and childcare, which drew a couple more responses. (However, it turned out that no one brought their child, after all.)
The meeting was from 6-7 PM. When the participants RSVP’ed, they signed up for 1 of 4 breakout sessions, and to bring snacks, napkins, or plates. Out of the 40+ books I gave out, about 21 people came. We met in the library first, where I showed a couple of videos. Then we pooled all of the snacks and supplies before going to breakout sessions. Each session was in a different classroom with an iPad, and the participants shared out responses and suggestions to a Padlet for their session. Here are some of their answers:
One of my favorite quotes, from teacher Amy Huebner, was, “Prioritize your child’s learning over your time.” She explained this to mean that we often do things for our children b/c it’s faster and easier when they could learn so much more by doing it themselves. Very true!
After coming back to the library to share the Padlets, the group played a Kahoot game on Mindset to compete for door prizes. It was very competitive, and seemed to be a great way to end the evening! Of course, I messed up the whole experience by putting the wrong answer down for the very last question, so we had a bit of a discussion about learning from our (my) mistakes…
The next day, I sent out a form to everyone to gather feedback in case we ever try something like this again. Only teachers responded :( Kudos to them for taking the time b/c that was definitely not a required part of their professional development hours!
Here are some of the summaries:
I am very conscious of taking people’s time, so I was gratified to see the last responses. It was also interesting to see in the comments that a few people thought it would be worth it to add some time to the actual meeting so we could have more breakout sessions and follow-up time.
One suggestion that also seemed like a great idea was to ask parents for a book suggestion next time. Love that!
To sum things up:
- I’m glad we did this.
- I wish more people, particularly parents, would have participated. (We need to offer more incentives and ask for input before starting the next project.)
- I think it would be a good idea to try this again, using the feedback from the first time to improve it.
If you would like more Mindset resources, take a look at this Pinterest Board for articles, video links, and much more!