Parent Communication and Involvement

Home/School Journals
Mary Bencini

Before I retired, I had my second graders do Home/School Journals for ten  years.The children and parents loved these journals. The kids wrote in the hard-covered theme books, which I bought at the Dollar Store. On Friday morning all the children wrote in these journals, which were then sent home, and returned by Tuesday. Before they wrote, we would brainstorm ideas of what we did in school that week that the kids could write about. They could also write about weekend plans, past home experiences, or any other thing they wished to tell their parents. For the most part, these journals were VERY touching and keepsakes. Many of the children filled up two or three composition books in a year. After they finished writing they could draw a picture using colored pencils. Many of the parents also drew pictures. Often, I would paste in pictures I had taken with the digital camera of happenings at school. The parents and kids loved this idea. I strongly urge all teachers to do this journal activity because it is such a powerful reading and writing activity. Many of the parents have told me that they have continued doing these journals with their children after second grade because it is such a powerful way to communicate with their child.
Here is what I pasted on the inside of each journal for instructions:


Dear Parents,
This Home/School Journal will travel back and forth to and from school. It will come home on Friday and needs to be returned to school on Monday inside your child's Take-Home Envelope. It is an opportunity for your child to tell you about what is happening in school and to also tell you anything else that is on his or her mind. I am asking that you write a brief response to your child's weekly journal entry. This journal will be sent home at the end of the year.
Purposes for the Home/School Journal:
1. The journal provides another opportunity for your child to communicate with you and for you   to communicate with your child.
2. The journal serves as an authentic writing activity for your child to practice expressing his or her ideas and to practice writing skills.
3. The journal serves as another link between home and school.

Parent Expectations:
1. Please accept the journal each week with enthusiasm.
2. Please do not criticize the spelling, grammar, or mechanics in the journal, Rather use your written response to model appropriate spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
3. Please respond to your child's entry each week.

Mary Bencini

Mary Bencini was a second grade teacher in Geneva, Illinois. She taught for over thirty years. Mary has two master degrees from National-Louis University.


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