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Partnerships in action
How can connecting schools and communities help teachers with lesson planning?
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How can connecting schools and communities help teachers with lesson planning?

In a school with a well-functioning partnership program, teachers, parents, and administrators should be "on the same page," and there should be good communication among them.

Part 1 of 2 Part 2 of 2
In Part 1, a program called family math involves both parents and children in math education. In Part 2, Jason Tithigpen, a student at Clara Barton Community School CS 50, Bronx, New York participates in the family math program and talks about his experiences.
One aspect of this communication might involve teachers turning to parent volunteers for assistance with plans for selected lessons. Good communication and orientation will result in the teachers knowing about the skills that parents can offer. When teaching math, for example, teachers might identify parents who use math in their work. This might include accountants, bankers, administrators, or small-business owners. The teacher might make contact with these parents to help develop homework assignments, or mentor students who might be interested in a career that involves applied mathematics.

Good communication with community members also allows teachers to make the best use of local resources -- and to find material for projects, field trips, and other activities that they might not otherwise be aware of. Family and local volunteers can help with lessons which require additional adult assistance that might not otherwise be possible with available resources. The presence of volunteers can also allow teachers to give individual attention to students who need it -- and to plan lessons that may require such attention.

Partnership programs can help maximize the effectiveness of homework assignments by getting parents involved and letting them know how to support and supervise homework.

Interactive Homework: A Way to Build Partnerships
We see parents and teachers working together in an after school education program in McAllen, Texas.

Researchers in the Center on School, Family, and Community Parterships at Johns Hopkins University have designed an interactive process to help teachers create assignments that guide students to interact with parents on their homework. These activities are called Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork, or TIPS. For more on TIPS, see the Resources page.

The most important part of TIPS homework assignments is that they require the student to talk to someone at home about an aspect of what they are learning at school.

Homework is the student's responsibility -- parents aren't asked to teach. But TIPS homework requires parents to comment on their children's work and become involved in the learning process. One important outcome is that parents know what their children are studying and become involved in at least one aspect of how it is being taught.

There are three steps to developing TIPS homework:

. During the summer/off season, several teachers come together to create appropriate TIPS homework for their curriculum.
. Teachers use the assignments with students and families during the school year.
. Changes are made based on feedback from students, parents, and teachers using the assignment.

The following are two examples of a TIPS assignment. Look at them closely and use them as models for designing interactive homework for your own classroom. We also offer a general template for intermediate-level math assignments.

Language Arts: Elementary Math: Middle School
This is an example of an interactive homework assignment. This is an example of an interactive homework assignment.
Lesson 1 Lesson 2

The following is a printable template for designing your own interactive lesson plans. The example is designed for math homework.


Workshop: Making Family and Community Connections
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