Involving Parents in the Classroom #1

Shakes Up Close

One of my goals as a teacher this year is to improve my communication with parents and involve them more in the classroom.  Yes, I’ve been sending class newsletters, calling, emailing and meeting with parents more . . . but somehow there still seems to be a disconnect between a child’s day in high school and life at home.  Here’s an idea I came up with for my honors freshmen who are in the midst of studying Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet.”  As I think of more parent involvement ideas, I’ll share them.  Please share your ideas as well!

Instructions on our class blog:

Some teenagers don’t have any qualms over their parents approving dates, believing it is simply one more way parents show their care and concern.  Other teens feel that this is not necessary and, furthermore, shows parents don’t trust a teen’s judgment.    What do you feel?  Should your parents approve of the people you choose to date?

Write a blog in which you respond to this persuasive prompt in the same format that you’ve been responding to with the practice prompts in class.

In your response, take a position on this question.  You may write about either one of the two points of view given, or you may present a different point of view on this question.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

Once your response is complete, I will be inviting your parents to comment on your blogs.  Regardless of their points of view, this will be a chance for your parents to share in your writing and, indirectly, share in our study of “Romeo and Juliet.”  My hope is that this spurs some interesting comment feeds!

"Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon . . ."

 

Parent Letter:

Dear E108 Parents,

With the celebrated observance of Shakespeare’s birthday this past weekend, it’s fitting that I’m inviting you to share in our study of “Romeo and Juliet” this week.

As you can check out on our class site, __________________ , the students are responding to the following prompt: Some teenagers don’t have any qualms over their parents approving dates, believing it is simply one more way parents show their care and concern. Other teens feel that this is not necessary and, furthermore, shows parents don’t trust a teen’s judgment. What do you feel? Should your parents approve of the people you choose to date? They are to have this complete by this Friday, April 29th.

Here’s where the fun begins! Once they complete their responses, I’m inviting you to respond to their answers. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not? Does your child’s response surprise you? Feel free to comment in any way you wish; for instance, comments on your child’s writing are very welcome as well. My hope is that this spurs some interesting dialogue and motivates your child’s writing even further. Please respond by Friday, May 6th. I really look forward to your involvement. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact me.

By the way, your child may come home and tell you that I brought mini-cupcakes in to celebrate the Bard’s special day. We each had a small treat today not only to celebrate our author’s day but to revel for a moment in our hard work over the past couple of weeks with practice ACT essay writing. As you know, the students have been writing numerous in-class essays addressing issues within “Romeo and Juliet” as well as persuasive prompts addressing issues pertaining to high school life. Concentrating on focus, elaboration and support is crucial to effective writing, and I’m proud that each and every student is displaying improvement. If you don’t hear from me personally via email or phone over the next week, and would like to speak about your child’s writing, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

In the meantime, as Shakespeare once wrote, “It is not in the stars to hold our destinies but in ourselves.” Have a beautiful, safe, and healthful week!

**Next newsletters – Expectations for Great Expectations, Final Exam Tips, Summer Reading and Summer Blogging suggestions

 

The verdict – Out of 30 students , three sets of parents did not particpate.  (I  had these 3 students anticipate how they believed their parents would respond and proceed from there).  Some parents emailed me back stating they couldn’t wait to begin; others called eagerly with questions on specific how-tos for logging on and commenting. I may even have hooked a few on blogging themselves!  Here is a sampling of student-parent interactions:

Cassidy’s Blog – Cassidy’s father took advantage of the opportunity and posted a set of suggestions to improve parent/child communication

Marley’s Blog – Both Marley’s mother and father took turns to comment.

Austin’s Blog – Austin and his father continued an engaging feed of comments.

The follow-up:  Students read excerpts from The Office of Christian Parents: Shewing How Children Are To Be Gouerned throughout All Ages and Times of Their Life, all articles written in the 1600s dealing with parenting.  After analyzing main parental principles, the class compared parenting today to parenting during the Elizabethan era.

What I will do differently next year:  Next year I will have two sections of accelerated freshmen.  I plan on getting their blogs up and running right away within the first week of school; furthermore, I plan on involving parents within the first month of class.  My goal is to complete at least one parent virtual involvement per quarter.  I will keep GG readers posted!

  • Winsor Pilates

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