Jewels from Tennessee – 3

This is the best jewel from Erin by way of Martina Bex. It involves getting not just the student but also the parent to do some self-reflection about her class. It’s brilliant:

3. Syllabus homework. I got this idea from the lovely Martina Bex. My syllabus somewhat wordily explains how my CI class works and what habits are important, stressing the Interpersonal Communication Rubric & the unannounced quick quizzes, along with all the listening & reading we are going to do. This year, instead of going over it in class, I gave it as a homework assignment, and the student AND their parent had to answer the same questions, regarding what they like about the class, what concerns them, and what they see as a challenge. There is also an opportunity for parents to ask me to call them if they have any further questions. I ended my Friday at school by reading over their answers, and I was really pleased with what I was reading. I could see that a lot of parents were worried about the pop quizzes, but they are enthusiastic about the expectations of listening & reading Spanish. It also gave me some ideas for some more things to put on my classroom website, like the jGR or write-ups of our class stories for students who were absent or need to review & practice. I think that it sets a tone for open lines of communication between myself and parents, and hope that it helps enhance the feeling of community that I want to cultivate.

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4 thoughts on “Jewels from Tennessee – 3”

  1. I REALLY like this idea and thank you for sharing.

    I do have a concern about kiddos from homes that will make this assignment difficult. I wonder if you make any adaptations/considerations for those students?

    Also, just to clarify, do you have a student response section and a parent response section or just one response section for them to collaborate answers on?

    thanks so much
    skip

  2. Thanks! Martina Bex discusses this in more detail on her site. I had student/parent response areas separately. I did have some students fail to turn in their form, though I haven’t counted it against them. My school has mandatory parent volunteer hours and mandatory conferences twice a year, so I didn’t consider the poor support at home angle. I’d probably just have the students fill out the form on their part and leave it at that.

  3. I have never sent home a questionnaire with a syllabus. They are due on Monday – not counting for anything. Some handed theirs in early and out the 10 or so that I received, two parents wanted to be contacted which I took care of immediately. Both parents wanted to know how they could “drill” their kids outside of class. I think I put their minds at ease. One father wanted to make sure that I knew how gifted his son was and how he chose French on a whim. Dad was concerned that he (the dad) had not studied French and that he would not help his son if he needed it. He wanted to know what to do. My answer to dad was that his son would bring pictures home so he could teach dad a story. I asked him to just listen and learn! Sheesh!

    In addition, I got many concerns about what they “thought” the syllabus meant when it said they will be able to understand everything that was said in a 90% plus TL class. They were skeptical that they could read a leveled novel in the TL by the end of the year.

    These insights will be very useful and later I can say to them: “Remember when you thought you couldn’t read a novel? I will do this again. Thanks, Martina!

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