Hunting for Connection

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Family Engagement through Fun and Games

Written by
TalkingPoints TAP Member
Brandee Smith

My team and I feel like we have the best job on campus because we teach Newcomer Students in Katy ISD! Our students are new to the U.S. and have tested as Non-English speakers. Because the students are adjusting to a new school, a new country and a new way of life, we find it essential to build meaningful relationships with the families. 

TalkingPoints has given us the tools we need to stay in touch with families and students about daily work, schedule changes and general reminders. We have used TalkingPoints daily throughout the 2020-2021 school year!

Hunting for a connection

On December 8, 2020, we had the opportunity to host a Parent Night for our Newcomer Families. Some families attended in person, while others tuned in virtually. Our campus PTA had issued a challenge to the entire school that same day through the weekly newsletter:


MPJH PTSA presents a fun family Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt! Grab some hot cocoa, print out a scavenger hunt list and get started! Upload your pics and memories to be included in the slide show and maybe the yearbook!

Of course we wanted our families to be included in the fun, so our first step was to explain the Scavenger Hunt Challenge to our families at Parent Night. We were surprised to find out this was a new concept for many of them. One of the items on the scavenger hunt was a Christmas Tree, and our school had one in the front of our building. To demonstrate how to check an item off their list, I took photos of the families in front of the tree and sent the photos to them in TalkingPoints.  

We could tell that the concept was starting to make sense, and we didn’t want our families to miss out, so we sent the list and directions the next morning in a TalkingPoints announcement. We received many responses of thanks, and we knew we were on our way! 

Let us see those winning smiles

One of many unusual things about teaching during a global pandemic is knowing our students’ faces only with a mask. I think my favorite parts was receiving all the family photos over the next week–it was so much fun to see our kids without their masks! We could not believe how different they looked!

In the end, one of our families was the big winner! And what would a Family Scavenger Hunt be without a prize?! So I headed to Trader Joe’s and found a cookie decorating kit. We presented to our winning student and she took the kit home. Once all her cousins arrived over Winter Break, they were able to decorate and enjoy cookies together!

This event is one of the MANY reasons I and my colleagues depend on TalkingPoints to keep our families involved in school activities. As I mentioned earlier, when families and students are adjusting to a new home, a new city and a new school system, they can sometimes miss out on fun. We always want our families to feel welcome, loved and supported. Thanks to TalkingPoints, we have been able to continue strong communication throughout the school year.

Want to learn more?

TalkingPoints’ easy-to-use platform, interactive features, and precise translation in over 100 languages can provide game-changing solutions for bridging the home-school gap for teachers, school districts, and families. Learn more about our services here, and contact us at to learn more about how TalkingPoints can increase family engagement, improve home-school connections, enhance relationships between teachers and families, and support academic and social-emotional growth for every student.

For updates and news on what we’re up to, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Check out our blog for free resources on remote learning and family engagement and see how other teachers are using TalkingPoints to make a difference in their students’ learning.

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