Parent Involvement and Differentiation Pursuits Reflections

Differentiating Instruction through Technology, EDET737

Reflection for Week 3

Posted on WordPress on 2-7-16

Parent Involvement and Differentiation Pursuits Reflections

by Aleta May

What are some ways I can involve parents in understanding differentiation in my classroom? What is next for me in this pursuit?

As I reflect back on this week, the topic of communicating with parents regarding differentiation really made me think about how there are many different ways to reach out to parents. When we were in a class Twitter Session, the topic of involving the parents of middle to secondary school students came up in that it is more difficult to get parents to come to the school. I wonder if part of that is that parents, especially at the high school level, feel that their older child does not really want them to come. As I recall being a middle and high school student in Anchorage, parents only came to things like the middle school concert. I was in band, then orchestra then. I don’t recall parents walking around the halls of the school, maybe rarely. Maybe as an educator now, I can consider that this non-participation is still part of the school culture and help drive plans to reverse this.

When I read Kate Mullin’s blog, I was really impressed to see the 4C’s we read about; Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and Critical thinking; set up so creatively in her post. I have a very inspirational wall décor in my home that presents the words as a sort of pictogram. Kate’s presentation would look great as an inspirational word wall for older students. She also presented an example letter to parents about what differentiation will look like in her science class. I think what inspired me so much about this letter was the specific/professional yet as a teacher who truly understands the need to reassure parents that differentiation just means an appropriate challenge for every child in the class.

Catherine’s blog inspired me to think back on an event I encountered when parents have felt ignored for many years. I was folded into this as a new teacher and had been given no prior warning that these parents felt the way they did. The way it affects me in the present, is to think about how to some parents, I represent many experiences they have had either as a parent speaking with other teachers or principals, or even events that occurred when they were in school. This is a reminder to me to remain compassionate and to always realize that when our paths cross, we tend to make unfounded assumptions about each other.

Bringing in teacher made games from the internet is something new to me; with the exception of participating in a minecraft.edu Givercraft experience last semester where students expressed their reading comprehension from a novel by building in a game. During our Twitter Session on Wednesday, our instructor provided a link that I want to pursue: http://classroom-aid.com/play-and-learn

From here I found a gaming link I want to try with one of my students: http://eduweb.itch.io/wolfquest. The student becomes a two-year old gray wolf born in the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park. It will cost $10. but I’ll put it on my iPad for future use as well. I believe that the more I participate in these types of quests, the more creative I will be in creating my own quests.

In this fast paced world with family members going in so many directions, It is more important than ever to keep parents connected to the school lives of their children, across the grade levels. Parents need to receive acknowledgement for their contributions of time and involvement, no mater how small or how big. Families go through many stages and situations over time. There may be times where involvement is easier than at other times of their child’s school career. When parents are reached out to through multiple ways, they can be made to feel important to the teachers and school community.

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