Hosting Parent Workshops

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Since I (Amanda) am taking a break from the "maddeness" for a little rest and relaxation this week, I will have guest bloggers sharing some fabulous ideas with you!  Today, my {cyber}friend Jenny is going to share about the Parent Workshops she hosts.  I have always been in awe of these, and would LOVE to give them a try with the parents of my students!  See more of her amazing ideas at her class website at
Hi, my name is Jenny and I teach 2nd grade in West Chester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. I’m thrilled terrified to be a guest blogger here! When Amanda asked me if I would be interested in doing this to share about my monthly Parent Workshops….I’m not going to lie….I felt my heartbeat kick it up a notch and my palms get sweaty as if I were standing in front of 500 people (not 2nd graders, that would be easy) to discuss Common Core! MADDENING, I tell you! I promise I will deliver…but like anything new that we introduce to our students…you need a little background knowledge.  

You see, this is very new to me. But so was creating my own classroom website in 2007...until I stalked studied Amanda’s website, fell in love with it, and introduced myself to her online and asked for guidance! She graciously helped me through html codes and continues to help me today with ANYTHING! To my colleagues, I call her my “best friend in South Carolina”…though we have never met… I vicariously live through her…use her ideas….and buy nearly all of her products on Teachers Clubhouse! I was thrilled to see her blog and know that you will be intrigued, impressed, and a fellow stalker of Amanda Madden.  (I hope she doesn’t mind the accolades while she’s away)  ;-)

Now, let’s turn our focus to monthly PARENT WORKSHOPS! I have been conducting parent workshops for about 10 years now. It started out as professional development idea for me to actively involve parents…and I’m so glad it was successful…beyond my expectations! We are all firm believers that knowledge is power, right? That is the driving force behind the workshops. I feel that if I give my parents an opportunity to learn the tools and understandings they need to help their child, it would inevitably help my teaching become more effective and the Parent/School connection even stronger! Boy, was I right!! When parents feel empowered with knowledge and validated as their child’s first teacher, awesome learning takes place for all involved.

Each month, there is a different topic that I have felt parents would appreciate learning the ins and outs of to help them help their child. The language we use with our students, the strategies we use, the procedures we have in place…can all be passed on to our parents so they feel completely connected to their child’s learning environment  and know that I choose to do what is best for my students. 
Here is the calendar for next year’s workshops. I always start off the year with the Words Their Way Workshop. In order for Word Study to work in my classroom, parents need to be taught (and appreciate learning) why we use it, what it looks like for them concerning homework, and how to understand the expectations we have in place. This is done with the entire grade level now and it totally has minimized emails, questions, and notes about their child’s work. Parents sort words and feel the experience as if they are our students. Seamless learning from school to home!  

We are currently moving towards a ‘standards based’ report card so immediately I changed October’s topic from “Just Right Books” to Report Card Overview. Parents will need an understanding of how to read the report card and what the standards mean as it is set up to show what their child should be able to do by the end of the year. This could cause major confusion…but again it will be so much better for them (and for me) to go through this once as a group. I may have the 2nd workshop of “Just Right Books” if the month is not too crowded! I love this workshop and enjoy the journey of teaching parents how we choose “Just Right Books”. They feel empowered, as well, with the confidence to actively engage in the process with their child. 

The workshops can be about anything important to the education of your students. I had one concerning Love and Logic as that is how I’ve raised my own 3 children and teach in my classroom. I ended up turning into a book club for parents who wanted to learn more about it for their own families! We met once a month…all year long…AMAZING!
Parent Workshops can be a tremendous addition to your classroom! It is a total win-win choice that I’ll never give up! 

I hope Amanda is having a great vacation….I’m waiting for her return to continue inspiring me and all of you! Thanks!  


Thanks, Jenny!  I know you have inspired me to give these parent workshops a try, and now, I'm sure you've inspired others to start hosting some, as well!  What other ideas do you blog readers have for parent workshops?  I seriously want to give these a try!


  1. I would love to utilize parent workshops. It is so hard to get our parents in to school!

  2. I love this idea. We do a few parent workshops throughout the year as a building. But it would be so much more powerful and beneficial to do them monthly!
    The Second Grade Superkids

  3. I love the idea of patent workshops! I would like to give these a try. When is the best time to host your parent workshops?

  4. I have thought about doing something like this for a long time. My original idea was to have a pizza (or something) night, so it felt less formal and more like we were getting together for dinner, with the added bonus of learning something to help the students! Love the idea, Jenny and Amanda! Thanks!


  5. That's a very interesting idea. Two questions: Do you ask parents to leave the children at home? What's your attendance like? Thanks!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  6. Heather,
    I have found that the best time for workshops is after the dinner hour. They typically last for an hour unless the great conversations call for more time!
    Yes, I ask that kids are left at home (if at all possible) for the workshops. It gives a parent time to process and unwind in the group if they are not worrying about their kids. The attendance for the workshops is HUGE in the fall as parents want to learn and know more about their child's teacher and what's going on in the classroom! The smallest workshop I've had is 8 awesome small group that got lots of attention! :-)

  7. I was so excited to see this post. I had decided at the end of the year that I was going to stop complaining about univolved parents and do something about it. I plan on having a parent meeting at the beginning of each six weeks. I might be asking you some questions! Thanks for sharing.

    Simply 2nd Resources

  8. I am so excited about this workshop idea! It is confirmation for me; being that I had this idea on the back burner for a long time! And I have finally taken the initiative to put my ideas into action. I am in the process of organizing the first parent workshop for my school. Your ideas have been such great motivation and encouragement for me.


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