Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teacher At Work, Parents Keep Out

Transparency is found only when we learn to open our door and let parents in. Letting parents in does not just mean having them come into our classrooms. It means giving parents a voice on matters that we may think are sacred cows, reserved only for us.
The truth of the matter is that kids and parents offer a new perspective that teachers can often overlook or dismiss. A beautiful thing happened this year when one of my students had the idea to run an after school book club with kids in the class. The parents contact me and said, "We want to see if the girls will do this club. Can you help us?" This is the stuff that should get us excited as teachers: kid's ideas paired with parent support. So I picked the book, The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. The project was to create a wardrobe and create one hundred dresses to go inside. Certain dresses would feature different elements of the story. The girls and their parents jumped on the idea, and the girls meet faithfully on Thursdays at each others houses to work on it. Here is their finished project:

Parents have valuable opinions on homework, schedules, and learning styles. The truth is, a good parent knows their child much better than we ever will. They are the number one influence in the lives of their kids. We need to give them credit and a voice.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this video and giving us a peek into your classroom! You've accomplished the transparency, parent engagement, and giving student reign goals in this one project. I think that the incredible part of this is how you, the parent, and students worked together to come up with an innovative way to help your students take ownership of their learning that was motivating and fun. I keep asking myself, "Why aren't we seeing more of this?" in schools!? This is true learning. This is what it should be!

  2. Great stuff! The most exciting learning often happens beyond the school day and you did a wonderful job facilitating the learning... while also connecting parents to the activity.