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September 13, 2012

Parents Need Help With Organization, Too!

Maia's Daughter AdaI had my first taste of school as a parent last week when I dropped off my 2-year old daughter at preschool for her very first day. I diligently followed her school’s guidelines for labeling an extra set of clothes, what was and was not allowed in the classroom, and the times we parents had to arrive and depart.

Why my daughter was the loudest crier (and how she also managed to turn “boneless”) outside her classroom is another story for another day!

I’ve always been on the “teacher” side at school, so my new parent perspective gave me an even greater appreciation for how teachers can help busy families stay organized. And sane!

Melissa Z., a former elementary teacher in the Bronx, NY, shares three resources she used to help parents help their kids. She’s clear, organized, and prepared! Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

You can easily adapt these tools for middle or high school students.

  • Family Survey What I love about Melissa’s survey (in addition to her clear and friendly tone) is her decision to provide families with clear answer choices, rather than leaving all open-ended replies. This makes it easier to dump the results into a spreadsheet and sort, letting her quickly see which parents prefer calls between 3 – 6 PM versus 6 – 9 PM.

Melissa Z.'s Family Survey

  •  Supply List Different schools handle this in different ways. The most efficient schools send one letter home to an entire school to make supply shopping easy on parents! However, that is not always the case and many of us create our own supply lists. Melissa decreed all supplies communal and stated her expectation up front. As supplies came in from different students, she simply checked off who brought what on a simple spreadsheet that hung on a cupboard door (you could also make this a student job). She neatly organized materials on a shelf and pulled them down as needed.  

Melissa Z's Supply List

  • Homework letter Melissa was very clear about which types of homework would be sent home on which evening. This way, her parents knew exactly what expect home each night, what to help their children complete, and what to pack in their backpacks. Providing a nightly checklist would be another great step to help students and families even more!

Melissa Z.'s Homework Letter

Together Teacher Discussion Question: How do you help families stay organized?   

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