Parent Involvement

Friday Journals


During Writer's Workshop, my students write in their Friday Journals. We start by brainstorming what we learned during the week. The students then write a letter to their parents (or other family member) explaining what we did in class that week. The students practice writing letters and also recall what we learned.
The students then take them home over the weekend and I ask that the parents write a letter in response to their child. It's a great remedy for the question, "what did you learn in school today?" I also love seeing the interaction between the child and parent. At the beginning of the year, the students start off by writing 3 sentences and asking one question. By the end of the year, they are writing full pages, front and back! The students paste a letter from me on the first page, which explains the project to parents and then gives them examples of what to write. 
If the students bring their Friday Journal back on Monday with a parent response, they receive a sticker on the cover of their journal. By the end of the year, the cover looks really cool and the parents have a special keepsake.
My students earn Fun Friday as a reward at the end of every week. We start the week with 20 minutes in our minute box. If the class makes good choices as a whole (walking quiet in the hall, etc), they earn minutes. If they are having trouble making good choices, they lose minutes. We usually end the week with about 25 minutes. If a student has finished all their work, they get to choose from a variety of educational activities