Becoming Involved in Your Child’s Education

Instructional Unit Design
for Area 1 ESL Adult Students in a Family Literacy Program
 By Sara Molden
 Red Rocks Community College
EDU 133, Spring 2006 


Goal of the Instructional Unit

 Unit lessons:

             Lesson 1: Being Involved Everyday!.

            Lesson 2: What’s Going On?

            Lesson 3: Participate in Parent-Teacher Conferences!

            Lesson 4: A Nutritious Diet


            CAT: Prior Knowledge Assessment 

            CAT: Assessing Skill in Analysis and Critical Thinking

            Self-Assessment Survey

            Self-Assessment Rubric

             Test Blue-Print

            Objective Test


Goal of the Instructional Unit: The goal of this unit is to teach Beginning (Area 1) ESL adult students who are participating in a Family Literacy Program some of the ways to help their children succeed in their education. Research shows us that involvement of the parents is extremely important in a child’s education.  Parents can influence their children’s attitudes toward school and their behaviors in school.  This unit is a beginning sample of some of the activities that parents can do or participate in to have a positive influence on their children.

Lesson 1.  Being Involved Every Day!

Behavioral Objective:  Adults in an Area 1 class will discuss in small groups what parents can do to become more involved in their children's education in the time after or before school and then each parent will (individually with the help of other students or the teacher) write a plan of 3 actions they will take daily to become more involved.  Other students will give feedback on each student's plan.  Also, in the next lesson parents will self-evaluate and discuss their plan.

Procedure:  1)Teacher presents to class: 1)  the importance of being involved in their child’s education (statistics from the National Center for Family Literacy website–  article: All About Families: Parental Involvement in Child’s Schools and Hispanics and Family Literacy and also Verizon Literacy Campus:    :“Quick Facts about Literacy and Children” and 2)   different ways in which parents can become more involved with their children's education at home.

 2) The teacher writes some examples on the board,  for example: 1)  Ask child about her  day--How are you?  What did you learn today?  What were you interested in today?  etc.  2)  Ask :  Do you have homework today?  What do you have for homework?  3:  Ask: Do you have any school papers (announcements, etc) from the school today ?  For younger children, you might look in their folders or backpacks.  4) Say:  You can watch TV when your homework is done, or you can watch one hour of  TV today.  (limit TV or use it as a reward)

 3) The teacher asks for input from the class. 

4)  Discuss these and other ideas in small groups (problem solve).

5)  Each parent writes a plan for 3 things they will do each day to show

their interest in the child's education

6)  In small groups parents discuss and evaluate each other's ideas.

7)  Parents go home and put their ideas into practice.

8)  Next class, in small groups, parents evaluate their plan; they

discuss what worked and what didn't work as well as possible new ideas.

Materials:                                                                     Time: 2 class periods (4 hours)




 Lesson 2: What’s Going On?

Adults in an Area 1 ESL class will be able to independently read a bulletin about an activity at their child’s school and identify what action to take.   Students will work with tutors in small groups and tutors and students will evaluate the parents’ decisions.

Adults in an Area 1 ESL class will be able to independently read a bulletin about an activity at their child’s school and identify what action to take.   Students will work with tutors in small groups and tutors and students will evaluate the parents’ decisions.


1) Small group discussion of how much parents participate in school activities and why or why not? Do they get the information?  Do any parents have success stories?  Would they like to be more involved.  Why or why not?

2) Teacher will write on board a list of possible school activities and ask for any more suggestions.  Other vocabulary will be introduced, such as please attend , please attend with your child, please be aware or please have your child ready, etc.  Vocabulary will be discussed in small groups.

3) Students will each be given a sample bulletin that could be from their child’s school–-about CSAP’s, about conferences, about a field day, etc.

4) Students will read their bulletin in their small groups.  On the back of their bulletin there will be printed questions requiring higher level thinking skills.  They will be asked to analyze the announcement: what is the date, what is the time, what is the activity, is it for children or parents or children and parents, is it just information to read?  Parents also need to evaluate: does the announcement require action?  Do they need to decide if they or their child will participate?  Is there something they need to do at home to get their child ready for the activity?

5) Using these questions students will come up with a plan of action (which could include just being aware or deciding that they do not want or need to participate.)

Evaluation:  Students in small groups will discuss their decisions and say what they would or would not do.  Students and teachers/tutors give feedback.

Materials list: board, vocabulary list, printed announcements with questions on the back,

Time: 1 class period: 2 hours

Lesson 3. .  Participate in Parent-Teacher Conferences!

Behavioral Objective:   Adults in Area 1 ESL class will take turns to role-play a parent-teacher conference.  Other students will give feedback on the effectiveness of the role-play


1) Define and discuss importance/problems of parent-teacher conferences in small groups.

2) Present and discuss new vocabulary in small groups.

3) Write possible dialogs on the board.

4) Students write ideas of what they’d like to say, with feedback from the teacher and peers.

5) Practice role-plays of conferences

Higher levels of thinking: Knowledge:  Learn new vocabulary and dialogs.  Comprehension: Discuss conferences in small groups.  Rewrite dialogs on board in own words.  Application: Use dialogs and own information to create own dialogs.  In level one these last two will be more difficult, but our goal will be to Analyze: Break down components of dialogs for conferences and choose the parts that apply to their family.  Synthesis: Puts parts together to come up with the ideas that they would like to express, and be able to respond to the teacher.

Evaluation: Students will role-play their conference and be given feedback by the teacher, and possibly students.

Materials list:




Time estimates: 2 class periods of 2 hours

 Lesson 4: A Nutritious Die

 Level 1 students will be able to independently calculate and analyze the daily sugar  consumption of their child.  Students in small groups will exchange papers, review and discuss their results.


Two weeks in  advance: Have students write a menu for a typical day of food that they feed their children.  Have students save containers for these foods.  (Also the teacher brings in a lot of realia including cereal boxes, bags of beans, rice, milk cartons, juice and other beverage containers after looking at the menus the students have previously written) 

Present a lesson on how to read the nutritional information on packages  and how to interpret percentages.  This would include using the board to draw pie charts showing how 100 % fills the whole pie, and the relationship between the whole and smaller percentages.

Students read a brief article on the effects of sugar consumption on children, and why the daily percentages are established.  There would be some class discussion on this.

Students then add up the daily percentages of sugar in each item of food that their children eat throughout one typical day.

Students then write a paragraph stating: 1) the percentage of sugar their children consume at breakfast, at lunch, and then at dinner, 2) the meal which contains the most sugar; 3) the food or beverage which contains the most sugar.

Evaluation:  Students in small groups exchange their papers, review each other’s calculations to make sure they are correct and discuss their results in small groups to evaluate their children’s sugar consumption.  A teacher or tutor would also make sure the students were calculating correctly. 

This project involves a lot of higher level thinking: comprehension of the idea of percentages of daily intake, analysis of their children’s sugar consumption–identifying which meals, which products, and evaluation of their children’s diets.

An additional lesson plan follows  to decide if they want their children to keep the same diet or if they would like to make some changes, and what changes they could make that would be most effective. 

Materials list: Food containers, board and markers,

Time estimates: One half hour in a previous lesson to write down their children’s daily menus.      Two hours for this lesson.

Use computer software: The Interactive Oxford Picture Dictionary Foods Unit to learn foods.  Bring in a nutritionist from the county health department to talk about the food pyramid and the effects of sugar in the diet.


 Topic: Parent Teacher Conferences

 CAT: Background Knowledge Probe

 Please answer the following questions:

1) Have you ever been inside your child’s school?                    

2) Have you met your child’s teacher    ? YES NO
3) Have you participated in a parent teacher conference before? YES NO
4) Do you plan to attend your child’s parent teacher conference this year? YES NO
5) Do you think attending a parent teacher conference is a worthwhile activity? YES NO

 Topic:  Becoming involved in your child’s education

 CAT:  Assessing Skill In Analysis and Critical Thinking

Pro and Con Grid

 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Self-Assessment Survey

1) The next time I plan to attend parent-teacher conferences at my child’s school


2) Three topics that I could discuss with my child’s teacher are:




3) I am unclear about how to discuss the following topics:




4) Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable attending a parent-teacher conference? Please explain why.




Topic:  Parent-teacher conferences

Self-Assessment Rubric:

Please read the following rubric and give yourself the score that describes you.











I cannot use

I can use

I can use


I feel confident to




a little of this

some of this

fully participate









New Vocabulary


I did not learn

I am confused by

I understand many

I understand the new



any new

a lot of the

of the new words

words and can use





and can use some

them in a




that I can use.


of them in



















I have no desire to

I may attend a

I plan to attend my

I plan to attend my



attend a parent-


child's next parent-

child's next parent-



teacher conference.

conference, but

teacher conference.

teacher conference




I'm not sure



and will prepare







questions ahead of


















I am not able to

I can talk to my

I can talk with my

I can communicate



talk to my child's

child's teacher, but

child's teacher and

most of my ideas




I cannot present my

tell her one idea.

to my child's



















I am not able to

I can talk to my

I can talk with my

I can talk with my



respond to my

child's teacher, but

child's teacher and

child's teacher and I



child's teacher.

I cannot understand

can understand some

can understand




what she says to

of what she says to

much of what she







says to me.




















Topic:  A nutritional breakfast for my child.

1) Match the following..  Draw a line from the word to the picture. 



milk                                                                                          Pictures of the foods






2) What food does your child usually eat for breakfast?

My child usually eats ____________, _______________, and _____________for breakfast.

My child usually drinks ________________ for breakfast.

3) Nutrition Facts for Trix cereal:

Amount per serving:

Calories        120                                                          How many grams of sugar are there in one

Calories from fat 10                                                      serving of Trix cereal? ________________

Total fat 1.5 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 190 mg

Potassium 30mg

Total Carbohydrates 26g

            Sugars 13 g

Protein 1 g

4) Nutrition facts for   Milk                                                       Sunny Delight/Capri Sun (juice drink

                                    Oatmeal                                               That is not 100& juice)

                                    Eggs                                                     Raisin Bran      

                                    Orange Juice                                        (See Trix above for breakfast cereal

                                    Beans and white rice                             that has a lot of sugar)   Cheese

 Using the food nutrition labels above estimate the number of grams of sugar in each food and drink that your child eats for breakfast on Monday morning.

On Monday morning my  child eats:_______________.  It has ___________grams of sugar.

On Monday morning my child also eats _______________.  It has ___________ grams of sugar.

On Monday morning my child drinks_____________.  It has __________grams of sugar.

5) Which food item contains the most sugar? Circle the correct answer:

                        A) Trix cereal  

                        B) Oatmeal

                        C) eggs

6) Which drink contains the most sugar?  Circle the correct answer:

                        A) Milk           

                        B) Orange Juice

                        C) Sunny Delight or Capri Sun

7) All breakfast cereals contain the same amount of sugar.  Circle the correct answer.

            True                             False

8) Breakfast is not really an important meal for my child.  Circle the correct answer.

            True                             False

9) I think my child’s breakfast:   (circle one)

a) contains too much sugar

b) needs more sugar

c) is a healthy breakfast with not too much sugar

10) In order to eat less sugar for breakfast my child could eat _________________ and

 ____________ and drink________________ for breakfast.


Gianola, Ann.  From Home to School.  New Readers Press.  2003.  Lesson 4: Breakfast at School.

National Center for Family Literacy website–  article:

All About Families: Parental Involvement in Child’s Schools and Hispanics and Family Literacy

 Navigating the American School System

An EL/Civics State Leadership Project developed by Harrison Adult and Family Literacy, Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Oxford Picture Dictionary Interactive.  Oxford University Press.  Food Unit.

Verizon Literacy Campus:    :“Quick Facts about Literacy and Children”

© Sara Molden, 2006
Lesson may be used for educational purposes with credit to the author.