I recall when my own children were in Kindergarten. All three of them had the wonderful opportunity to have the same, caring teacher. My middle child, who to this day, continues to embrace the “shock and awe” factor, would often come home from school and regale us with tales about his day, complete with details about the sandbox, the building block centre and stories about who said what to whom. I remember going to his first parent teacher interview and the teacher sharing some very sage words of wisdom. She told me that her rule of thumb is that she’ll only believe half of what the students tell her about their home life and she asks that we do the same in regards to what they share about their day at school. As my children grew up, the stories about their day at school diminished into a simple sentence or the dreaded response to the question, “What did you do at school today?” “Nothin’”.
As we continue to search for ways to engage our parent community, I’m wondering if we, as educators, can provide ways for students to expand on the “Nothin” answer when questioned about their day.
Today, a cool thing happened as I was doing a walkthrough. In one of our Early Years classrooms, the teacher was sharing a video she had taken of one of her students reading a story, with our newest technology purchase ~ an
iPod Touch. The teacher had the student write a quick email to his dad, “Look what I just read” and the teacher emailed the video clip and the email to the student’s dad at work. Dad then replied. What a wonderful real life application. Think about their dinner conversation that night.
Earlier in my career I worked with a colleague who developed the “Picnic Table” concept. Each Friday, the students were asked to take home their laminated picnic table, make their parents a coffee, a pop or a glass of juice and then sit down and share specific learning activities from the week. The students were provided with a script and the parents had to sign off that they had taken part in the picnic table discussion.
When I think about the things that I bring home and share with my own family, they are usually the exciting components of my day when I’ve had the opportunity to interact with others. Being in my office and working on reports etc, is not a very engaging dinner table discussion. But on those days when I get to work with teachers, students or colleagues and I’m challenged to do something new or out of the ordinary, I can easily dominate the discussion from the appetizers straight through to the dessert.
My question for today is…..
What happened in your classroom today that students will be excited about sharing with their parents?