Family Playlists are a unique type of playlist that have been designed to engage both students and parents in a learning experience. Our program is based on two decades of research at John’s Hopkins University, which has shown that weekly interactive homework assignments that ask students to work together with a family partner significantly increased family engagement in schools, family attitudes about school, and student achievement on standardized tests. Instead of just seeing students’ grades or their behavior reports, families are able to get a taste of the content itself, and a window into how their child is actually doing with it.
Family Playlists generally follow a defined structure:
- LEARN – Video or tutorial to help the student remember and review the skill that is being taught
- PRACTICE – Practice game or interactive activity to help the student practice the skill
- CHECK – Multiple-choice question that lets the student check their understanding of the skill (they will get immediate feedback)
- FAMILY EXPLORATION – Home activity that the student will be asked to complete with a family partner at home. Some of these will be applied activities, and others may simply ask the student to teach or explain what they are learning in class to their family.
- FAMILY FEEDBACK – The final section is where we ask the parent/family member to provide their feedback to the teacher about their child’s understanding of the skill and how the home activity went.
The heart of the Family Playlist is the family exploration, which is an applied activity that students lead at home with their family partner to share or teach what they are learning - The goal of a family exploration is to create a positive learning interaction between the student and their family partner where the partner is in a supportive role and the student is in the lead.
The prompt is meant to be something that families complete at home (with basic household items when needed) (kitchen science experiment, interviewing someone, drawing a coordinate plane that represents their neighborhood); students answer prompt or upload images of their family completing the activity together.
The last step of the playlist closes the loop between the teacher and the family. In the Family Feedback Section families provide teachers feedback on the experience by answering three brief yes or no questions. They also have the option to add written feedback and all of this information is compiled in a report to the teacher.
As you can see, the Family Exploration allows families to support students with content without having to be an expert in the content themselves. Instead, the playlists put students in the driver’s seat, and give students the beneficial experience of teaching someone else, which is shown to have immense benefits on student mastery and retention of material.