February 15, 2018
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA—Three C.J. Morris Elementary kindergarten classes recently welcomed a familiar group of visitors.
Once each month, parents are invited to gather in their child’s classroom for a 30-minute lesson during Family Learning Friday.
On February 8, teacher Luisa Salazar offered a session on paragraphs while family members sat side-by-side on the tiny chairs.
The groups then brainstormed the meaning of a paragraph, its structure, and topic sentences, according to the veteran educator.
Down the hall, kinder team teachers Kelly Revels and Sarah Sherman focused on early learning reading strategies during their lessons.
The new interactive program has garnered a wonderful response, with a bounty of families participating.
“This is a great opportunity to see what our kids are doing and it’s working!” said Stephanie Jimenez.
“What we see is the homework side, but when we’re here in class, we get a feel for how they’re interacting,” added parent Robert Ysaac.
The teachers share the techniques they use during instruction so parents can model them at home.
“The children demonstrate skills we are sharing with parents. This helps the students continue their work on the same skills,” Revel explained.
“I think families are benefitting by seeing their child’s progress,” she said.
The program is also building the kindergarten community as parents have the opportunity to spend time with one another.
“They mingle and see how other parents interact with their children and maybe even learn a new skill or develop a new friendship with another family,” Sherman shared.
Parents got a chance to see how looking at pictures can help their children figure out words during Friday’s lesson.
“The children know when they come across a word that they don’t know, they get their lips ready to sound it out, and look at the picture for a clue,” Salazar said.
“After the lesson, families read together and used some of the new strategies to figure out words,” Sherman added.
During recent sessions, teachers introduced math strategies for addition and subtraction, sight word games, and writing expectations for common core standards.
“I’ve always wanted to offer an open classroom, so parents could come if they have questions about what the children are doing in class,” Salazar said about creating the program.
The school is also using Family Learning Friday as an opportunity to teach kinder families about the school’s International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, according to coordinator Kelly Howard.
During a January meeting, families met in the multipurpose room for an introduction in the IB Learner profile attributes of being caring and open-minded.
“I think hearing from the teacher how to play a game or what a sentence should look like, and then getting to practice that exact skill, is priceless,” Sherman said.
“The kids absolutely love having their parents in the classroom and showing off all the things that they are learning about!” Revels said.
Learning is Fun! C.J. Morris Elementary kindergarten families work together during Family Learning Friday on Feb. 8.