games to play with seasoned Suzuki PARENTS to encourage community

Katharine Cinelli said: Sep 26, 2011
Katharine CinelliViolin, Viola
Erlanger, KY
5 posts

I am holding a quick (1 hour) parent meeting with all of the parents of my program. This is just a chance for us to get everyone together for the first time this year, to foster a positive attitude to what they are doing, and to really encourage them to use one another as a resource.

So, does anyone have any ideas of games that can be used with the parents to reach this goal? They are a pretty friendly bunch already, so I especially want the newcomers to feel welcome, and for everyone to just have a chance to have fun together before we drop into the year. Any ideas??

Kate

Patricia said: Sep 27, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

I don’t hold parent meetings anymore, because the parents in my program meet every friday all afternoon and evening and then some. (they have been known to leave group and go fill the local pizzeria), especially when there is a student or siblings birthday.
But, I do match up a new parent with a more experienced one. During the Fall, on Fridays, the older parents actually hold a little more formal socials while I have the kids in group….. I know that they ask all the parents to write down on a piece of paper 2-3 great things about their child…. they send them in & read them aloud…. then try and guess which child it is. I have a Mom who was a Suzuki student when she was little….. she also asks: 1.) The experienced parents to tell newbies 1 easy thing they will find in the first year and 1 thing they may have trouble with…. when they pass them in—these slips work as a spring board for discussion, and she shares with me what was discussed.
I have a separate parent class for parents to learn to play the violin…. all newbies are encouraged to go to at least 1 session of this class…. and I have some parents who have continued on to finish Bk. 1…. since they can read music—they play the duet parts in some of our concerts.
When I was younger, I had parent meetings 4 times a year…. always had notes and handouts …. if this is your first one—write down what you want to tell them and then speak from the heart. They will love getting to know you as a person and connecting with you that way. I could share with you my handouts—but you know your students best and know what you need.
Have Fun!

Patricia said: Sep 27, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

There is 1 game I play in Twinkle Group to teach parents, how to look for and then capture a motion, reaction, change in anything.
I borrowed it from Karen Pryor and Clicker Training for dolphins and dogs. It is called the Bean Game. Since I am not a certified expert, I would suggest googling The Bean Game for Clicker Training.
The Parents love this game…. not the first time they play it though—they feel a little bit like a child learning something with mistakes…. but then they rise to the occasion at each repetition of the game.
A lot of behavior problems in children could be totally erased, if the adults around see the triggers that start a behavior….. That is the only moment in time, that someone else can change it. Once the behavior starts, it is a matter of correcting it ….. I now watch very closely so nothing ever starts. Then I can control the environment enough for optimal learning. Good Luck!

Alissa said: Sep 27, 2011
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

We have community building games at the staff meetings at my school and this
one is always fun and super adjustable to needs and topic:

Throw balls to others in a set sequence, using each person’s name to help
learn new names. Works every time. Can be extended to “Warp Speed” (to see
how fast the group can throw balls through a set order to each group
member). We do this with names, student names, names of pieces, practice
ideas etc. etc!

Tell us which ones you try and how they work! Sounds fun :-)


Patricia said: Sep 27, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

Alissa—that sounds like a fun game!

Diane said: Sep 27, 2011
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

Hand out index cards—ask parents to write down any questions, thoughts or concerns. Parents should NOT sign their name. Read them out loud and answer them. This helps break the ice with shy folks. They may be more inclined to speak their mind if they don’t have to stand up and speak and also remain anonymous.

Smiles! Diane

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Rhonda said: Sep 28, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Edmonton, AB
12 posts

Here is a generic party game:

Write down the name of a person, cartoon character, or superhero on 3×5 cards. Tape or pin a card to everyone’s back. They must now try to guess who they are by asking people “yes” or “no” questions about the name on their back. Only one question may be asked by everyone to each person in the room. Whoever guesses the name on their back first is the winner.

You could write down the names of pieces or parts of the instrument on the cards instead of superheros etc.

I hope your party goes well!

Rhonda

Katharine Cinelli said: Sep 29, 2011
Katharine CinelliViolin, Viola
Erlanger, KY
5 posts

Thank you all for your ideas. I tried Patrizia’s idea “2-3 great things about their child. The experienced parents to tell newbies 1 easy thing they will find in the first year and 1 thing they may have trouble with…. ” I broke them into 5 small groups, each having a mixture of seasoned and new parents. The new parents talked about 2 to 3 things they liked about their child, and the experienced parents did exactly what she suggested.

It spawned a lot of conversation, which is exactly what I wanted.

I couldn’t find anything about the bean game, but it sounds interesting!

Thanks everyone for your ideas!!
Kate

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