Sunday, February 21, 2016

Home Visits: Do you do them? I did and I LOVED them!

Who here has done home visits with their students?  I hadn't until this year and, let me tell you, it's been amazing!  

This year our building principal really encouraged us to make home visits with our students.  There are SO MANY BENEFITS to meeting students at home and making that connection.  She showed us this video at any early back to school meeting, and I was hooked! 

While our principal highly encouraged home visits, they aren't mandatory for teachers or for parents.  I decided that I would jump in!  I was excited to spend some quality time with my students.  It can often be difficult to spend one on one time when you have a class of 23 Kindergartners.  Back to school, the fall and the holiday season was busy personally for me so when we came back after the holiday break I created a Google Form for my parents to sign up for visits.  I planned each visit for roughly 30 minutes.  I informed parents that while I was there, I would be doing two different activities with their child as well as give them a chance to talk with me about how their child is doing in class.  I had about half of my parents quickly sign up and I was so excited!

So what activities did I bring??  First up was a page from the Moffatt Girls Read and Sequence NO PREP Packet (Set 1).  

 I love this pack for so many reasons!  It was a great opportunity to talk with parents about their child taking the DRA at the end of year.  I explained how, not only are students expected to be able to read on a certain level, but they should be able to retell the story as well - including details from the text.  We discussed ways to incorporate this at home during bedtime stories, questions to ask their child, etc.  Plus the parents always love to hear their child read - it's so magical to see their faces light up.  :)  To check out Annie's pack click on the link below.  

Next up, I created an addition/subtraction game.  I used my Editable Card Games pack and typed in addition and subtraction facts to five.  I brought marshmallows along to use as counters (and of course, for a treat after we were done!).  The kids had a blast!  I used this opportunity to talk to parents about all of the things we practice and work on in school but don't necessarily assess (fact fluency for example).  We even made most of the parents play so they were able to see the language I use when discussing addition and subtraction.  Everyone had so much fun!

To check out my Editable Card Games just click the link below!

I knew going in to the home visits I wanted a way for parents to provide feedback.  I created this short little survey that parents could fill out (if they wanted) and send back to school.  To grab this freebie click on the link below!

I also knew I wanted a way to be able to write down anything I wanted to remember.  Any special concerns the parents expressed or any notes I wanted to take.  So I created a teacher form as well.  Just click the picture below for this freebie! 

Honestly, doing home visits with my students has made me a better teacher.  The students and families felt special, I feel closer to those students and understand them a little better, and it was genuinely really fun!  I plan on dong another round of home visits right before the end of school as an "Off to First Grade" type of visit for parents to be able to ask any of those end of the year questions they might have.   I'll keep you all posted on how it goes!  :)

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