From Logan to LaVerkin and Bluff to Bountiful, join students, teachers, parents and friends all across the state in celebrating Utah’s public schools.
Tips for Parents
While many factors contribute to a child’s success in school, we know that parental involvement is one of the most significant. Because of the critical role both parents and teachers play in a child’s education, we have asked a few of Utah’s most experienced school teachers to share tips on how parents can support the efforts of teachers in the classroom to help their children succeed.
By working together, parents and teachers can help children learn and make each child’s educational experience the very best it can be, because student success is at the heart of everything we do!
Ready to Learn
- Establish a routine. Students should go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Have your child avoid drinks with caffeine.
- Give your child the responsibility of going to sleep and waking up by him or herself–this builds self-reliance and confidence.
- Make your child’s bed a “sleep-only” zone. No watching TV, using the computer, or even reading in bed.
- If your child can’t fall asleep within 10-15 minutes, allow him to get up and read or write in a journal until he or she feels sleepy, once again, no TV or computer time.
- If your teen consistently stays awake until the wee hours, continue to have him or her get up at a regular time; the pattern of falling asleep earlier will eventually be established.
- Consult a pediatrician if your child has trouble sleeping for a prolonged period of time.
Attendance, Tardies and Communication
Reading and Writing
Be a Reading Example
Building a Solid Reading Foundation
- Label things in the home such as the table, the refrigerator, doors, etc. Collect the labels and have your child put them back on the correct objects.
- While in the car, walking, or riding the bus, have your child look for and read familiar signs.
- Talk to children about what they like to do — their favorite games, pastimes, and books. Listen to your child’s stories, accounts of events and ideas. Allow them to dictate the stories to you, and make a written collection to enjoy.
- Make plans for the day with your child. As children get older, plans can be written in a short schedule. The schedule can be used to search for familiar words and to learn new words.
- Encourage your child to ask questions. Show how some questions can be answered by looking for information in books.
Encourage Writing at Home
Connect Reading and Writing
- Encourage your child to draw pictures about books or experiences. Drawing is a preparation for writing because it develops both the muscles needed for writing and children’s ability to represent their ideas.
- Show your child how to write his or her name.
- Help your child compose a note to a relative or friend. Have your child dictate as you write. Read the note back to the child, pointing to the words as you read them. Some children might be able to find familiar words in the note.
Math and Science
A Different Kind of Math
Studying Math and Working in Groups
Helping Your Student with Math
Becoming "Scientifically Literate"
Foster Your Child's Natural Curiosity
- How does the material my child learns in class relate to what is covered on tests?
- In what other ways do the school — and the teachers — measure how well my child is learning?
- How much time does my child spend taking tests during the school year?
- Does my child’s performance on state-required achievement tests match his performance in the classroom? (If an achievement test is not well matched to what your child is being taught at school, he could score poorly on the achievement test while still earning good grades.)
- How do the teachers — and the school — use test results?
Helping Your Child
- Take an interest in your child’s school work and in the results of the tests.
- Encourage your children to do their best on tests.
- Provide a quiet place at home for your child to do homework assignments that reinforce what is learned at school.
- Work with your children at home, as well as with the school and teacher, to ensure they will become good readers. Good reading skills are important to success in school and help students do well on tests.
- Ask your child’s teacher about the tests your child takes — classroom quizzes and tests, as well as required achievement tests. Ask about the subjects, knowledge, and skills that are tested — and how the test results will be used to help your child be successful.
- Don’t judge your child’s abilities — or let others judge your child’s abilities — on the basis of a single test score. Any test provides only limited information about what your child knows and is able to do.
A More Complete Picture
- The teacher’s review of your child’s daily work in class;
- Class projects, discussions, and group work.
- The teacher’s observations of your child as he or she completes classroom assignments; and
- Conversations with you and your child about how well he or she understands concepts, and how the teacher can work with your child, and with you, to increase your child’s school success.
Parent Teacher Partnership
Be Involved as School Begins
- Read the school and classroom policies and procedures, and don’t forget about the school newsletter and Web site – they’re full of reminders and information that could be helpful to you and your student. Being familiar with how things work is a great way to get off on the right foot.
- Help your child calm nerves by visiting the school your child will be attending before school starts. In addition to finding their class rooms, keep an eye out for where their locker and other important areas are such as the lunch room, office, gyms and restrooms.
- Review the core curriculum to get an idea of what concepts, knowledge, and skills your student will be learning. You can access the Utah State Core Curriculum at www.schools.utah.gov.
Do what you can to keep communication between you, your child, and the school open. The more you communicate, the more you’ll be aware and the more support your child will feel and receive.
Showing Your Child You Value Education
- Meet the teacher.
- Make a date with the teacher to visit your child’s classroom.
- Go to parent-teacher conferences.
- Join the PTA or other school/community groups.
- Stay up-to-date on school policies, schedules, and rules.
- Make sure your child is learning.
- Find a teacher or counselor you feel comfortable talking to about concerns you might have about your child.
* Keep in regular contact with your school. Volunteer if time permits. Remember, we are all working together to help your child be successful.
Contacting a Teacher
Good, Better, Best
- Start right away. Waiting until the last minute to start assures that it will not be your best work.
- Organize your materials. Don’t start working without everything you’ll need.
- Break large projects into smaller tasks and work on one piece at a time. Don’t let it become overwhelming.
- Set a timetable and a deadline for completion of the work. Be sure it isn’t the night before it’s due.
- Give suggestions, but not criticism as your child works. No one wants to be told over and over again, “it’s good, but….”
All students want to get good grades. Whether they are good, better, or best, might depend on your support of their efforts.
How to Make Parent-Teacher Conferences Work for Your Child
Using Technology to Get Involved
Children and Television
- Monitor what your child is watching and, whenever possible, watch the programs with your child.
- Pick a TV show to watch as a family. What kind of conversations can you start from the TV show? For instance, ask, “Why are those people in the program so unkind to each other?”
- Plan other activities, such as crafts, reading, doing homework, or writing letters, instead of watching TV. Try to plan at least one different activity each week.
- Avoid using TV as a babysitter.
- Avoid using TV as a reward or punishment. It gives TV too much importance.
- Turn off the TV during meals and study time.
- Find out how computers are used at your child’s school.
- At school, can your child use the Internet? Are there safeguards or filters to prevent inappropriate use?
- If you don’t have a computer at home, find out if the local library or community center has computers your child can use to do homework and other school projects.
- Ask about the kind of work that your child is doing on the computer. Does it sound challenging? Is your child excited about learning on the computer?
- Take a computer class or learn how to use the computer to assist your child at home. Does the school, local library, or community center offer computer training for adults?
Safe at School
Talking to Children After a Tragedy
- Provide children with opportunities to talk about what they are seeing on television and to ask questions.
- Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t answer all their questions.
- Answer questions at a level the child can understand.
- Provide ongoing opportunities for children to talk. They will probably have more questions as time goes on.
- Use this as an opportunity to establish a family emergency plan. Feeling that there is something you can do may be very comforting to both children and adults.
- Monitor children’s television watching. Some parents may wish to limit their child’s exposure to graphic or troubling scenes. To the extent possible, watch reports of the disaster with children. It is at these times that questions might arise.
- In addition to the tragic things they see, help children identify good things, such as heroic actions, families who are grateful for being reunited, and the assistance offered by people throughout the country and the world.
Be A Part of it All
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