Two years ago, I started involving parents into our 2nd grade classroom every Friday for a one-hour science inquiry lab. I was terrified!
Something special happened that year that had never happened before. I didn’t receive a single negative parent communication. I received countless positive emails, letters, and Facebook messages from parents talking about how much fun it was to come into the classroom and take part.
When parent-teacher conferences came around, I had never felt so at ease in my career. There was a shift happening in my classroom. Parents were excited to see what we were doing, and students were excited to show off their parents to their friends.
This year, I instituted Science Fridays with parents from week 1. Yes, I was terrified they wouldn’t be ready for a science lab on the third day of school, but sometimes you just have to go with it!
So, three days into the school year, I sent letters to parents, emailed, and begged for parents to come in on Friday at 11 am. On the morning of the big day I held my breath wondering if parents would show. At 11 sharp, four parents entered the room unsure of what was about to hit them!
For the next hour, students dove into stations where they tried to find the answer to scientific questions based on several of Steve Spangler’s science kits. Yes, it was messy (we have tile floors). Yes, it was noisy. But (and this I feel is most important), students came in the next day saying science is their favorite subject ever and the parents were equally excited.
The next week I sent out invites and asked parents to join the fun of science with us once again. This time at 11 am sharp, we had 7 parents show up! I couldn’t have been happier to have so many parents in the room exploring science with us. It was wild, educational, and fun!
Dare I say the word fun?? Yes, I think I will. 🙂
I was truly terrified the first time I opened my door to parents to watch me teach and participate in a lesson. Now that I have done it, I can’t imagine going through a school year without bringing the parents into the classroom. This one practice has transformed my practice and classroom culture.
Until next time, let’s continue being stewards of ALL learners!