PAL Activity Kits
We know that no one of our district’s schools is the same, but this list contains a variety of ready-to-go family engagement “kits” can be adapted for implementation in your child’s school. The goal is to be as inclusive and culturally-responsive as possible, so that families from every background can get engaged. Have an idea? Share it with us! Email the Family and Community Engagement team at JosephK@grps.org or MascoJ@grps.org.
|Coffee with the Principal||CLICK HERE!|
|Take Your Family to School Week||CLICK HERE!|
|Reaching Out Over Brown-Bag Lunches||CLICK HERE!|
|Seesaw or Schoology Family Night||CLICK HERE!|
|Caregiver Book Club||CLICK HERE!|
|Tacos & Trivia Night||CLICK HERE!|
|Our School Recipe Book - A Classroom Potluck Party||CLICK HERE!|
|Pre-K Beautification Day||CLICK HERE!|
|Title I Family Meeting||CLICK HERE!|
|Social-Emotional Learning Workshop||CLICK HERE!|
|Family Mental Wellness Workshop||CLICK HERE!|
|Family Fitness Night||CLICK HERE!|
|TikTok Gratitude Challenge||CLICK HERE!|
Reach out to your PALs!
Our PALs have some truly wonderful ideas for engaging families at their respective schools. Here is a list with a brief description of each PALs’ engagement idea; if you’d like to learn more about their initiatives so that you can bring them to life at your own school, feel free to contact them directly using their information listed here.
- Karen at Alger Middle – A scholar/parent book club: “I am looking to start a book club at Alger to encourage students to read more in and out of school. We will be utilizing the local library to sustain books and reading materials.”
- Janelle at Congress Elementary – A Cereal Café family event and fundraiser (check out these awesome photos of the event!)
- Jackie at North Park Wellerwood – An incredible system for organizing caregiver volunteers: “At the beginning of the year, we sent out a Google form and also had a sign-up sheet available at our school open house for those who were interested in volunteering. From there, we assigned the volunteers to ‘teams‘ based on how they were interested/available to help. Right now we have an ‘At Home Assembly’ team that does basic materials preparation (cutting, stapling, assembling) for the classroom. We also have a ‘Workroom Materials’ team that comes into our school workroom and laminates/prepares materials in ways that are harder to do at home. Teams are contacted every two weeks and sign up on a google spreadsheet with specific dates/time slots. Teachers also have access to the spreadsheet and use that to know how many projects to prepare and who to expect in the building. In the future, we plan to add a book organizing team (putting together take-home reading packets for kids), a 1:1 reading team (listening to kids read in the hallway), and a green team (working with kids to beautify the outdoor space on school grounds).”
- Nicole at Campus Elementary – A Family Fun Night focused on educating caregivers about the importance of attendance: “A few of us formed a small focus group around improving attendance and engaging our families. We feel these two things go hand in hand. The more our parents/caregivers get involved, the more likely their student is to be in school everyday.”
- Sherry and Christine at CA Frost Elementary Elementary – A (FERPA-friendly) family directory: ” We created a Listserv of families who want to be contacted personally about school needs and updates. Navigating FERPA mandates made this a bit tricky, but it’s all paid off.”
- Anna and Annie at Brookside Elementary – DEI Library: “This need was identified last year due to the lack of books in the school that represent our student population and tackle current social issues. We have worked with the Public Library and local bookstores (Marvelous Me and We are Lit) to curate the lists that we purchase. We have raised almost $2000.00 from the community for this effort. Books are tagged with a special DEI sticker and put into tote bags that we had made. Tote bags are rotated by parent volunteers on the first Wednesday of every month. At the end of the year these books will be put on a special shelf in the school library. We hope to repeat this process annually and continue to grow our collection. Recently we received $400.00 for the special purpose of purchasing books about Native American history and culture.”
- Leonora at Mulick Park Elementary – A Sweetheart Valentines Dance: “We also planned a 5th grade Black History Knowledge Bowl. Played similar to jeopardy, but with teams. There was also a committee that put this event on as well. The scholars loved it. In addition, Mr. Standifer and myself plan a snack and paint for the students of the month and perfect attendance for the months of January and February.”
- Sarah at Ridgemoor Park Montessori – Volunteer bin: “Located in an area that is easily accessible to volunteers. Teachers are able to put materials that need cutting, laminating, or organizing in the bin. We collaborate with volunteers that would like volunteer work to do at home and send home things with their student.”
- Erin at Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary – Family Activity Night: “The families had a meal together then made family trees. We had the trees and leaves precut. The family name goes on the trunk and each family member gets a limb. On each limb you add leaves with a positive characteristic of that family member. We had families try to have each person write something positive about each member.Supplies are: construction paper for tree and leaves, poster board to glue tree & leaves on, scissors to cut (if not precut), markers and glue/glue sticks.”
- Amber and Addie at City High Middle – Multicultural Festival
Other Engagement Inspiration
Taste Buddies event, modified so that a PAL or other school leader can lead the implementation
As a PAL- or caregiver-led activity, word about this event will go even further, and be even more culturally relevant to represent the building’s families. For example, PALs can reach out to parents to share family recipes (ideally on the simpler side), or even try a family-led course, with support and guidance from the FACE team.
Learn more about Taste Buddies by following this link!
Caregiver-led heritage month activity
A parent who speaks a less common language comes to the classroom and shares the basics of their language with the class. For example, during Hispanic Heritage Month, a parent who speaks Mam or Kanjobal could come; Black History Month could feature a speaker of Swahili or Kinyarwanda; Native American Heritage Month could feature a speaker of a local indigenous language; and Asian and Pacific Islander Month could feature a speaker of Tagalog or Thai.
This is a great way to engage families in a culturally-responsive way!
Learn more about culturally-responsive family engagement by reading this great article from Learning for Justice.
Craft activity and artisan display
During cultural heritage months such as Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Asian and Pacific Islander Month, and Native American Heritage Month, PALs and other parent leaderships groups recruit parents/caregivers who create artisan crafts/clothing, cuisine, or hair styles to come into the school and show off their skills in a resource fair-style setting. All families are invited to stop by the event and engage with the other parents, then create a craft or pick up a recipe book to bring home.
Family Trivia Night or Board Game Night
Trivia is a fun way to draw families into our schools, as well as get teacher buy-in to the importance of family engagement. One fun idea is to have teachers and school staff submit trivia questions with content from the common curriculum or from the school “rulebook.” You could even have parents submit trivia questions! Teachers or after-school staff can have the students work on developing their own game. Then, when families come to the school, they have a variety of games to choose from, or they can play the game their child created with another family.
“Train the Trainer”- style book study
This is an AWESOME way to stimulate critical conversations around the importance of family engagement.
Family Movie Night
A great idea that can be modified to fit the needs of any school, at any grade level! Fun idea: organize a popcorn and movie treat drive-thru where families are given discussion questions and other prompts to support at-home learning and bring the class curriculum full-circle.
Family engagement around March is Reading Month
National Reading Month is celebrated in March to honor Dr. Suess’s birthday. Every March, schools place a larger emphasis on reading to celebrate this month. Reading is one of the best habits children can develop; it strengthens the mental muscles, helps to improve comprehension and analytical abilities, and increases imagination, and boosts memory.
Tons of directions PALs and parent leadership groups can take with this idea!
Holiday and/or Spring Break Family Engagement Kits
Preparing these take-home kits could be a fun way for PALs to team up with one another and assemble some engagement kits to hand out to families ahead of longer breaks.