I love having parent volunteers in the classroom. It creates such a sense of community and family when children are able to include their family member in the classroom! However, many parents are not able to come into the classroom. I have such a parent whose daughter really wanted her to come into the class, but who couldn't attend because of work. Fortunately, technology affords us many ways to include parents who might not be able to be a part of the classroom otherwise. Here are some ideas:
Record video instructions for a center or activity.
My student's parent recorded video instructions showing the children how to make leaf rubbings. While at the art center, the children watched her video to help them complete the activity. Her daughter loved being able to share her Mom with the class!
Record an Audio Story
Listening to stories read aloud is such an important part of developing fluent reading skills. Parents who can't come into the classroom could record themselves reading a story and the children could listen to it at the listening center. They can record on their own phones and simply email you the audio to play on any computer, iPad, or digital device using iTunes or Windows Media Player.
I love my little recording boxes that I bought a few years ago, because they can be used in so many different ways! In this situation parents can record a short set of instructions that the students will hear when they press down the button. For example, "Did you write your name on your paper?" Students will love hearing their family member's voice in the classroom!
Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangout
Perhaps a parent can't come into the classroom in person, but might be able to call the classroom for a few minutes to say, "Hello". Student's can receive instructions, hear a story, or visit a parent's workplace through a video call.
There are so many ways to involve parents in the classroom, and it makes such a difference to the kids. I know that my student was beaming all day long the day she got to show her Mom's video to the class!