Come On In!

So much of what I’ve learned about parent engagement, I’ve learned from Aaron Puley (@bloggucation): the wonderful parent/student engagement consultant for our Board, and someone that I truly admire. Today, I thought of Aaron’s blog post called, Turning Walls Into Windows: Making Learning Trans-“Parent.” In this post, Aaron shares his online presentation for Parents as Partners, and I think it’s one that everyone needs to hear.

I’ve always believed strongly in home/school connections, and I love using weekly phone calls, regular emails, my professional blog, my classroom blog, and student blogs to give parents a look inside the classroom as well as a voice in the classroom. More than any other year, this year I’ve had tons of parents comment on my professional blog posts as well as student blog posts, and even share some tweets too. I love this parental involvement!

With this in mind, I was sure to share that my class and my teaching partner’s class would be broadcasting on 105 The Hive today for a book talk. Last week, I had a couple of parents email about information on how to tune into the broadcast. This week, I was thrilled to see even more parental interest. Last night, I got a tweet from one mom asking,

Here’s how I responded (read from the bottom, up):

While the Skype option didn’t work for these parents today, they were hoping to listen in via their cell phones. Other students mentioned that their parents were listening from home or work. You can listen to our radio show below:

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After returning to class after our broadcast, I was thrilled to see this tweet from one mom, and this email from another one:

Now, not only do we have parents listening to the conversation, but also contributing to the discussion.

It doesn’t end with parents though. The community is also invited into our classroom. It was great to see Lisa Neale (@lisaneale), a principal from a neighbouring school, listening to part of our broadcast, and supporting us through Twitter.

Even Kim Gill (@gill_ville), a teacher from Cambridge, listened into our broadcast and offered support.

Within the school itself, students were even noticing how we can “flatten” a classroom. While we were broadcasting from upstairs in the computer lab, a few students were listening to the radio stream on an iPod Touch in the classroom, and other students were tuning in from downstairs in the library. They were all connected through our Today’sMeet Room (see the transcript below) and even through Twitter.

Transcript of Today’sMeet Room

Once again, today showed me that a 21st century classroom is about opening up the learning environment, and getting students collaborating, questioning, and learning together. It’s incredible how much The Hive has made this possible! So whether student, parent, teacher, administrator, or community member, come on into our classroom — the door is wide open!🙂

How do you give the “world” a voice in your classroom? What benefits do you see for students? I’d love to hear about your stories as well!


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