Tag Archives: speakers

If You Give a Volunteer a Form to Fill In….

….make sure it looks better than “Help, When Can You Come Shelve Books?” Make sure it gives you some information that you  can use to make your library (classroom, garden plot, Inquiry Fair, pageant….) a place where the world is welcome and students can see interesting/interested adults.

I’ve been sending home some very simple forms at the start of the year to elicit parent and grandparent helpers. Through the year, as I get to know my volunteers better, I’ve been learning more about them and am amazed at what skills they have. In the last 2 years, I’ve discovered that my volunteers can:

  1. code
  2. help students with online interactive sites
  3. take better photos than me
  4. show students how to make felt balls
  5. update (add links and images) my school’s Symbaloos from home (Symbaloo holds tiled images linked to sites for easy to use display)
  6. give me design advice!!
  7. sew stuff for our school (I have the plain canvas for my giant tool belt, as in Monkey with a Tool belt
  8. bring in huge maps from previous job as geographer
  9. talk to my students about artists and ways to make stuff
  10. look at my website with new eyes and tell me how it can improve
  11. talk to students about books
  12. paint things
  13. help me drive a truck to IKEA and keep me focused on what works in the library (not what fits my Swedish pastry kitchen fantasy)
  14. share their poetry
  15. bring in tiny house kits, talk about scale, how to’s http://www.pawofabear.com/
  16. suggest Skype ideas

There are parents who could visit classes who are researchers, farmers, amateur local historians, military experts, pilots, master gardeners, wetlands scientists, former students… After the holidays, I’ll be sending out an email blast asking for carpentry and heavy lifting as we get serious with our Cheap and Cheerful Library Revamp and I know many parents will offer to help.

So, memo to self:

Next year my form should have more than “when can you show up?” and “do you need some Legos out for your toddler?”.

I’m thinking along the lines of:

  • What did you do in previous jobs?
  • Do you have an interest in arts and crafts?
  • Do you know about design, home repair or architecture?
  • Could you help with some fun technology projects with students?
  • Could you help a K or 1st grade class with checking out their books?
  • Can you help put books back?
  • Could you help with some tech projects (our laptops are easy to use)?
  • Do you have any science or math background?
  • Are you a writer?
  • Do you have some family stories about Earlysville in the past?

The heading for the form I’m envisioning will be along the lines of:

Volunteers and Visitors Wanted. Can You Be a Part of Our Learning Community?

PS The wording on my form would be different if I worked at a very poor school; I would expect fewer parents to have the time; but my goal would be the same.