Tag Archives: schools

Engaging Parents When Technology Doesn’t Exist

no service

How do families and schools stay connected when technology, as basic as cell phones, doesn’t exist? This past week I spent a week staying in Hartwick, NY. A small town next to Cooperstown with NO cellular service while my oldest child stayed nearby with his baseball team (fully “connected”). When we first arrived I simply found it inconvenient. As the days passed, and I could only talk to my son via a corded land line phone, I began to really wonder how they do it in this town…that is after I questioned how a place not in the middle of nowhere, could have no cellular service and my youngest complained about the phone being broken because it sounded like a bee was buzzing on it. One of the many things I love about our elementary school is how we don’t just use one tool to communicate. We share information through paper, face-to-face, email, website and social media. We have many options as to how we reach our families…no matter how busy they are.

If we were to live in a location without access to the most basic technology, how could we keep everyone in the loop and on the same page? How do those families who don’t have that time to go to the school, get their information? Or aren’t they? I don’t believe their children are any better about bringing home all the papers from school, or that their parents are any better about remembering all of the fundraisers, activities and events; so there needs to be another way to share information and ideas.

In my short stay, I can say I witnessed conversations about school, politics and local news happening on a Saturday at the local farmers market, at the local restaurant during breakfast and dinner (where at the times we were there, we were the only non-local “guests”), and as they strolled down the street in the evening. These face-to-face conversations are crucial, and as a PTO or school, although always important, are even more so.

Taking their monthly meetings “on the road”; varying the times, days and locations so that all families have a chance to catch up on what is happening could be effective at that restaurant, or the farmers market…or even at the little local library on the Friday evening when they’re open, in reaching those not able to get to the school. Instead of reaching them where they are on their mobile devices – you reach them where they are physically.

Any thoughts on other ways? I wish I had more free time while I was there. I would love to have chatted with the local parents; learn more about what they do.


Are There Benefits to Cutting Physical Activity in Schools?

“*** is considering cutting two or three physical education teaching positions and reducing the number of days it offers gym classes to high school students in an effort to manage costs.” A statement I heard on the news today, and many times before (many school names could start this sentence off).

There is the initiative, Let’s Move, by the First Lady, Michelle Obama (www.letsmove.gov) and the mission to provide healthy foods for kids at school, yet I am amazed at how many times I hear schools cutting out recess and gym because of budgets or because they feel the need to increase class time.

I am not an expert – but I know that before I ask my children to sit and focus for any length of time, I need to let them run around a bit. It almost always guarantees me that they will behave and pay attention. On road trips, I stop and let them run every few hours; otherwise I will have endless battles. I cannot imagine a classroom of 20 kids or so is any different. As far as health, no one can argue, a healthy lifestyle is not simply eating right, but also exercising. If we are pushing for health – it is of equal importance that we teach both eating right and exercising.

Now there are plenty of studies (by experts) that prove that exercise is not only healthy for you physically – but also mentally. An article in US News quotes John Ratey, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and author “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning, even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

They also go on to share, “high school students scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity. (Those who hadn’t exercised at all scored the worst.)”

So how are we justifying cutting out physical activity in school??


A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education -- and the odd other thing...

Ingvi Hrannar

Icelandic educator, iPad 1:1 classroom, speaker & entrepreneur.

Penn-Finn Learnings 2013

Sharing our inquiries - March 23-30

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