New Tool: Family Playlists

For the past four years, teachers at Alliance College-Ready Middle Academy12 in South Los Angeles have utilized the digital learning platform PowerMyLearning in their lessons. “The goal is to use technology to connect the students and our families to school,” said Ms. Smihula, a seventh-grade English language arts teacher who utilizes PowerMyLearning in her classroom.

This year, history and science teachers are implementing a new tool through the PowerMyLearning called “Family Playlists.” According to their website, the Family Playlists are multilingual, Internet-based homework assignments in which scholars teach their school lessons to someone at home -- a strategy that strengthens a scholar’s understanding, comprehension, recall, and social-emotional learning.

So far, this learning-by-teaching strategy has been received positively by scholars and families alike. Scholars have been especially excited to assign their families with homework! Not only are scholars building stronger relationships with their families, but families are also building stronger relationships with teachers. Families are able to provide reflections and photographs of the lesson to the teacher directly through the platform. Ms. Frediani, a sixth-grade science teacher, has received multiple messages from families through the PowerMyLearning app stating that they love connecting with their child and hearing more about what they are learning in school.

For Ms. Castillo, an eighth-grade U.S. history teacher, this tool exhibits the “community-based learning” that is a founding principle of public charter schools. The program allows Ms. Castillo to choose lessons that are most beneficial and appealing to her scholars and families. She explains that, because many of her scholars’ families are immigrants, she includes lessons that will teach scholars and families about history that is not only academically beneficial but also necessary to pass the U.S. naturalization test for citizenship status.