Monday, September 21, 2009

Innovative Site for Connecting with Student's Families

HomeEducators interested in innovative ways to connect with student’s families, may want to investigate Parentella. Parentella is a site with the philosophy that family involvement is critical to a child’s success, so they have developed an interactive site that makes it easy for teachers to keep families informed, organized, plugged in, and actively involved in what is going on in their classrooms. The site is free for both families and teachers and offers great benefits to all parties.

On Parentella, teachers can easily set up a safe, private and trusted network for their class(es). Teachers can then upload homework assignments and post dates for upcoming activities, such as tests, field trips, special programs and class parties. They can also post pertinent news, interesting information, photos and more. There are useful tools for recruiting family members to help out for various activities, such as a “sign up sheets” for helping out in the classroom, attending field trips, or bringing needed items for parties and special projects. The site even sends automated reminders so that family members don’t forget what they signed up for.

One of the best features of Parentella is that parents and families can see all of their children’s schedules on one calendar, even if the children go to different schools or are in different school districts. Family members can look at the calendar and know exactly what each of their kids are supposed to be doing for homework and make sure the assignments get done properly. Families know exactly what the classroom needs are and can schedule their time and resources accordingly, making helping out more feasible. Parents and families stay more intimately connected with what their children are involved in. They can also connect with other families within the school and community to share useful information with one another, such as what extra-curricular activities are available.

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