Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Connecting the Classroom to the Home

The School District of University City launched the Parent Portal a few years ago. If you're not familiar with it, the portal is a password protected site where parents can track their child's homework, grades, attendance, discipline - even the status of their lunch account. If a family has multiple children in the district, the portal provides information for all of the children from a single sign-on. It's a great way to stay on top of any homework that a child didn't complete, which is often the culprit when grades begin to slip.

Students also have a log-in to a student view. Although I'll admit, my children aren't nearly as diligent about checking their grades as I am.

The Parent Portal is a handy tool, but today I received an email from a teacher that really got me excited. Ms. Eberle, a sixth grader science teacher at Brittany Woods Middle School, was letting parents know it was time for a science unit test. She directed us to her classroom website where the study guide was posted.

Handy for when your child manages to lose the hard copy of the the study guide between class and arriving home. But the exciting news was that Ms. Eberle had posted videos of the content reviews she had conducted with the classroom. What a great way for students to study for tests! It's also useful for parents who want understand the content their child is covering in class - giving them the ability to assist their children with the concepts at home.

The school district has installed Smart Boards in almost every classroom in every school. The exception is some physical education classrooms. I've no idea what all the capabilities of a Smart Board are, but being able to record a teacher's presentation, verbal instruction, and handwritten notes "on the board" sure beats the chalkboard and overhead presentations my teachers used in school.

Kudos to Ms. Eberle for using the the provided technology to its fullest potential - connecting the classroom with the home. Let's hope this becomes a standard in U. City.

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