It can be so helpful to have parent volunteers support your classroom. But what if you're not sure exactly what to have them do? What if most of your students' parents are working and can't be there during the school day? We polled our community to come up with innovative ways to best utilize parent volunteers, both in-person and virtually.
Wait! i don't have any parent volunteers
What if you don't have any parent volunteers? Consider this: Have you asked for parent volunteers? And if you have, have you been specific about what you need and exactly what it looks like?
Put together a list of things that you could use parent help with and then send it out and ask for help with those specific tasks. Parents are more willing to help if they find a task that meets their skill set and timeline. Don't assume you won't get parent volunteers if you haven't taken the time to ask specifically.
16 Creative ways to use in-person parent volunteers
If you're able to have parent volunteers come in during the school day, here are some things they can do:
- Read tests to children with learning issues. (Karen C.)
- Help kids memorize times tables. (Joan H.)
- A parent can be a designated photographer so there are tons of pictures to share for the yearbook. (Sara M.)
- Help the students make Christmas and Mother's Day presents. (Joan H.)
- Rotate volunteers by the month. Partner newer parents with those already assigned for the last few months of the year. (Christie F.)
- Organize class parties.
- Read to students (individually or in a group).
- Read with students who need the extra TLC and practice with reading to someone. (Kat S.)
- Assist with art projects (count out papers, cut papers, etc.). (Joan H.)
- Help organize a Valentine exchange. (Kristen F.)
- Serve pie at Pi day. (Cathleen J.)
- Tutor students who are struggling.
- Run a learning station, especially during special holidays. For example, running a station doing science experiments on pumpkins on Halloween. (Alexx S.)
- Decorate the classroom. (Karen C.)
- Wash desks and help kids clean them out. (Joan H.)
- Making copies of and preparing activities. (Addie M.)
- Video record class performances and special events. (Alexx S.)
9 CREATIVE WAYS TO virtually USE PARENT VOLUNTEERS
If you can't have parent volunteers come in during the school day because they're working during the day or have younger children at home or any other reason, here are some ways they can be involved from home:
- Write thank you cards to staff members for teacher appreciation week, Christmas, and other special events. (Alexx S.)
- Cut out laminated materials. I send all the supplies they need in a large Ziploc bag with a little note of instructions and they send it back cut out! (Taylor W.)
- Grade papers from home. I send them home in an envelope I laminated from past years and when she is done grading, she sends them back with her son. (Brooke T.)
- I send material home for them to hole punch and put it into binders for novel studies and writing notebooks. (Beth M.)
- I organized a recorded virtual read-aloud with several families reading different books for Read Across America. I edited the read-alouds so 3 or 4 families could read different pages in the same book and had about 4 different books. (Kristen F.)
- Take home student projects and upload them to an online student portfolio. (Alexx S.)
- Donate supplies so students could have their own. For example, mini hand sanitizer, personal tissues, whiteboard markers, pencils, etc. (Brooke T.)
- Preview tech assignments and test links. (Beth M.)
- Hold a Diversity Month Celebration where families can post videos talking about a token, tradition, food dish, dance, attire, etc. on Flipgrid. (Kristen F.)
Do you need more ideas for helping your classroom run smoothly? Check out our course, 50 Procedures that Will Save Your Sanity, for advice on procedures like eliminating no-name papers, tracking missing assignments, and ensuring your students have pencils without spending a fortune purchasing them!
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