Today I wanted to share a few questions you can ask to connect with your students’ families. You can use these questions at Meet the Teacher, for conferences or just to get to know students and their families through email.
As teachers, we play a huge role in student success. We help students feel safe at school, enjoy learning and grow in academic and social skills. When we are able to effectively partner with families, our students will be even more successful.
When Can You Use These Questions
These questions are great for getting to know your students AND their families. Here are a few times you might consider using them.
- During Meet the Teacher or Orientation
As you’re meeting new families, you can ask these simple questions. You could ask the group and have them write their answer on a sticky note with their child’s name.
- During Family Conferences
These questions are great to ask families during your conferences. Conferences are a time for us to share, but also a time for us to learn. When we take time to listen, we show families that we value their input and want to work as a team to support their child.
- On Take Home Forms
You can get so much great information from families by sending these questions home. By sending them home, you’re able to have them translated into students’ home languages. It also gives families time to think about their answers, and you might get more valuable info that way!
What does your child enjoy at school and outside of school?
It is SO helpful to know what our students enjoy. Over time, we can find this out naturally, but having this information earlier in the year helps us build stronger relationships. When we keep this information in our “back pocket,” we can use it to help students academically. For example, let’s pretend you find out one of your students love zoo animals. If they’re stuck during Writer’s Workshop, you’re able to suggest a story about going to the zoo. If you need to build a stronger connection, you can ask them about their favorite zoo animal. You can make sure your classroom library has books about zoo animals on their level. This information is invaluable!
What words would you use to describe your child?
I love asking families this question! If you’re sending a form home, it might help to have some example adjectives (creative, sensitive, energetic.) If you notice their words are very different from the way you would describe the child, it’s a great thing to reflect on.
What does your child need from grown-ups and teachers?
Every child is different and seeks a different relationship with their teacher. Similar to “Love Languages,” it’s helpful to know what motivates a child and how they like to interact with adults. For example, some students like for their teacher to pat them on the back or sit beside them. Others might need their teacher to encourage them frequently.
How can I support your child when they are upset or disappointed?
No matter how safe and fun our classrooms are, there will always be disappointing moments. If we know this information ahead of time, we’re more prepared to support students. Some students need some space before they’re ready to talk about things, while others need a grown up to support them through it.
Is there anything you’d like to tell me about your family’s cultures, beliefs or religion?
Each of our students come from unique circumstances, and this information is important for us to know as we create safe classrooms. Knowing students home languages, dietary needs, holidays celebrated makes it much easier for us to connect with students and their families.
If you’d like to send these questions home, simply subscribe to my email list for this free download.