Transparency: Open a Window.

“What did you do at school today?”

“Nothing.”

Every parent is familiar with this conversation, and if I took my children’s word for it, they haven’t done anything in school in the past few years.

In spite of our faculty webpages, iNow, Edmodo, Remind101 (which is now just Remind), distribution list emails, and social media, most parents are still in the dark about what happens in our classrooms.  Our school system doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all plan for parental communication.  I appreciate the autonomy, but I wonder if it’s what’s best for students and parents.  A parent who has one child might have to learn multiple teachers’ communication plans, and if a parent has more than one child in school… well, best of luck.  In my own household, my husband and I were trying to stay abreast of 10+ classrooms last year.  “Trying” is the key word there.

I teach publications classes, which provides transparency by nature.  Our news site and literary magazine want an audience, and we do our best to distribute them to anyone and everyone.  My students even keep digital portfolios, which are readily available on our publications websites.  Parents can review their children’s work anytime they want.  On the otherhand, these are usually polished pieces and only exemplify one step in the process.  The real magic happens in the brainstorming, researching, interviewing, drafting, critiquing, and discussions that no one else sees.  There are also the foundations lessons in both multimedia design and creative writing, which are the lessons I think I teach most effectively.

One of my goals this upcoming school year is to pull back the curtains and shed some light on what happens in my room during each school day.  Through the use of multimedia and through the execution of several outreach projects, I hope that the parents of my students can extend the conversation so that it looks more like this:

“What did you do at school today?”

“Nothing.”

“How’s your magazine spread looking?  Did you decide on a color scheme yet?”

“Are you a psychic, dad?”

“Yes.”

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