Saturday, September 22, 2012

Parent Helpers... finally!

I am so sorry for the delay in the post.  I just knew that it would take time to get this post put together so I needed to wait until I had that kind of time!  Well drum roll please... :)
OK so if you read my previous post, I mentioned that I have my helpers working on just 3 areas..
Seems simple right?  Well it took me a LONG time to realize that my helpers were best utilized working with the STUDENTS and not doing the little things like cutting, hanging, sharpening etc.  OF course I still do have them working on those things occasionally, but not as often.
Ok, so let's start with reading.
My number ONE thing I have the parents working on is called Flash Fluency:
It's completely free, researched based, and very easily down loadable right from the link above!  I love how it moves the children through word lists in a very sequential order.  The word lists include "no excuse words" as well as academic vocabulary.  I just have a file folder for each child and I have them reading from the appropriate list for their reading level.  For second grade, I use mainly the last 3 lists (however, the last list is very difficult and I only have a few children who make it there).

The other thing I have parents doing with my students is high frequency words.  I assess my students and then we do an activity that you can read about {here}.  You can get all the materials from this set (on sale!)

I just want to mention one last thing that I have also had students doing with parents (since fluency is such a biggie!) is called "Lucky Listeners Club."  I have a bunch of poetry that the students can pick from and bring home to read to as many people as they can.  There is a place to record how many times the child read the poem on the back.  Then the child returns the poem and they pick a new one.  The initial letter looks like this:
Next, I have the parents working on math.  The main thing I have them doing is math flash cards.  Yes, it's that simple.  Second grade is the year to establish math fluency and accuracy and it is a main focus for my helpers.  I have revamped how I approach math facts since I first taught second grade.  Now I assess the students on the facts they should be practicing INSTEAD of expecting them to memorize all the facts.  It helps the child really learn the facts.  Of course they are two products that I have available:

Math Facts- Timed Test and Parent Letters for Addition!

Math Facts- Timed Test and Parent Letters for Subtraction!

The actual flash cards are not included in these sets, but all the materials to conduct a math fact program are.  I have had GREAT success with my math facts since changing to this "program" :)

Writing is my last area... I do spend more time focusing on the above two and I start writing about mid-year.  Here is a sample of the letter I have with my writing materials:
Also included in my writing basket are fun pencils, erasers, paper, crayons, colored pencils, and picture prompt cards.  I try and make this a fun one! :)  My most recent addition is the writing wheels that we have had FUN with:
Whatever will hook them right? :)
PLEASE email me or leave a comment below if you have any further questions.  If you want anything specifically, let me know and I might be able to send you the file.
Thanks for reading!


  1. I LOVE your Lucky Listeners Club! We are starting that on our 3rd grade team soon. We were going to call it Poetry Race, but I like your title more! Thanks for the resources!

    1. Yay! I am so thrilled that you like it! The kids seemed to like it too! Good luck with your fluency time!

  2. Thanks for posting this! I never feel like I utilize my parent helpers in the right way. Looking forward to checking out the Flash Fluency program.

    1. I hear you! I've felt that way too! Now that I have things that never change the parents come in knowing what to do/expect. It's win win for everyone! :)

  3. I totally agree. There's only so much of me to go around, and parent helpers can provide some one-on-one that I just can't provide sometimes. They need to be working with kids. The other stuff will find a way to get done.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. Exactly! The parents WANT to help and they can give the support that many need one-on-one! :)

  4. Well worth the wait, Tori! I can't wait to read all about Flash Fluency and check out your products to go with your math program. Thanks so much for the great ideas!