In a Million Words or Less letter to parents

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ADAW, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. ADAW

    ADAW Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2009

    Does anyone send out the "In a Million Words or Less" (tell me about your child) letter to parents on the first day (or week) of school? If so, was it successful? I'm thinking of doing that this coming year and wanted to get some feedback. I received one of these letters (as a parent) from my 8th grader's reading teacher last year. At first I thought, "Oh, great, something else I have to do...," but once I got started I really loved doing it. Talking about the ones we cherish most is something we all like to do, and it is supposed to help the teachers to relate better to the students as well.
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 18, 2009

    That sounds like a good idea; is the idea online, or was it the original idea of a teacher somewhere? It sounds awesome. :)

    I have NEVER heard of it, though...
     
  4. Irma

    Irma Companion

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    I also like the idea. Is there a form letter of sorts to send to parents?
     
  5. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I've used this letter for the past three years. I lOVE the letters I get back from the parents, and the parents seem to enjoy writing these letters.
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I did this last year-I didn't get them from all the parents, but the ones I got were great. I 'assigned' the homework at open house-everyone laughed, and most turned it in within a week.
     
  8. ADAW

    ADAW Rookie

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    Yes, I looked it up online and it was started by a lady named Deb B. It is on MiddleWeb.com. Very clever, I thought. I just worried that some parents would dismiss it. I realize I won't get back 100%, but I hope to get back most of them. I'm excited about sending them out. I've read mostly positive feedback from that website, but it is pretty old, so that is why I was hoping to hear from some of you. Thanks again!
     
  9. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Did you send home the paper for them to write on or just a piece of paper with the assigment on it??

    I love this idea and will be using it!!

    Thank you!!
     
  10. ADAW

    ADAW Rookie

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    From the Middleweb.com site:

    During a discussion of school start-up ideas, Deb wrote:

    One thing that I would suggest to new and returnee teachers is something I call "In a million words or less, tell us about your child."

    Teams send it home on the first day. I would learn so much from parents and families. I learn about health issues, social upheaval, and other issues that helped me to be a better teacher and to connect with kids and parents.

    I send it out on the first day, and the response is wonderful. It just says "In a million words or less, tell us about your child" on the top, and where to return it. Parents do the rest.

    Deborah Bova

    -----------------------------------------

    This is the originator of the idea. I like the fact that most all the teachers who have done it say that the parents really enjoyed the assignment and many thanked them for wanting to get to know their children better. It meant a lot to them to know that the teacher cared.

    My son's teacher wrote a typed letter and told the students to give it to their parents. She wrote in there that we could either hand write it, type it, or email it to her. Our deadline was the end of September. (It was given at the beginning of Sept.)
     
  11. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2009

    I sent this out last year and the ones I got back were great. I want to send them out again this year.
     
  12. Earth2me

    Earth2me Rookie

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    Do you leave lines for the parent to write on or is the rest of the page blank?
     
  13. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    i do something similar... have the form on my laptop that just got sent to the shop. I can post it on here when I get it back if anyone is interested. It is a bit more detailed and usually I get a response from about 1/2 of the class.
     
  14. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    I also did this last year and every parent that did the "assignment" told me how wonderful it was. It was a great way to get the parents on your side from the get go and to learn a bit about the kids from their perspective.

    I gave them a paper with lines on it, but many chose to email me or type it out instead. Some were as long as two pages typed! Parents LOVE talking about their kids!
     
  15. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

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    Oh cool - I'm going to do it too!
     
  16. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2009

    We send a note to parents asking for a letter, but it isn't the "million words" letter and we have a few specific questions that we want them to answer in the letter.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2009

    I do request a letter from parents (although I don't ask for a million words:eek:you know, that whole give them an inch thing) I find that the parents who do send a letter back have reasons for wanting me to know specific things- it's helpful.
    My letter looks like this:
    Dear Families,

    I am delighted to welcome your child to ___ grade. I hope you are sharing an enjoyable summer together!

    It is my goal that your child’s ___ grade experience will be filled with personal growth as a thinker and learner. I am looking forward to starting this adventure!

    In order to know your child better and gain insight to help guide my teaching, I am asking for your help. I would like to know your child as a person, learner, and reader. A letter from you to me would help me get a head start in learning about your child. What are your child’s interests? How does your child express himself/herself best—through art, speaking, writing, music, etc.? Are there any special needs or concerns? These are just a few ideas of what your letter to me might include. Please feel free to write anything that you would feel would be important for me to know about your child.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you and also to beginning the year with your child. I also look forward to working with you to support and enrich your child’s academic growth. Please mail your letter to me at the above address, to my email, or send to school on the first day. Thank you for your time and effort!


    Sincerely,
     
  18. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I send home a survey to the parents. It is front and back and asks questions like the ones Czacza listed. I don't always get them all back, but I do get most of them. Sometimes I think it is very telling when I don't get it back.
     
  19. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    I send it home with students the second week of school. As a parent, there is so much stuff sent home the first week I would probably not do this assignment very thoroughly. The second week is a bit calmer in that manner. Additionally, I offer extra credit for a maximum of 2 letters from any adult in their lives. My students have such varied families I try to respect that.
     
  20. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    I wanna do this too! :D
     
  21. Dynamite Boys

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    One of our 6th grade language teachers does this! They can e-mail, type or handwrite a letter back to her. They are fantastic . . . she doesn't get 100% back, but darn close to it! I think it's great activity!
     
  22. ADAW

    ADAW Rookie

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    I totally agree. You are right about the first week of school being overwhelming with all the papers being brought home, etc. I think I will wait until the second week of school also. What exactly does your letter look like? Do you simply have the words at the top of the page, "In a million words or less please tell me about your child"? Do you give a deadline and tell them they can write, type, or email it back?
     
  23. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2009

    We had meet your teacher last night and I got my first letter emailed to me this morning!! :D The parents seemed to respond positively when I talked to them about writing me a letter...We'll see how many I get.
     
  24. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I always ask my parents to write a letter to me about their child. I leave it pretty general. I usually send it home as "parent homework" (the kids get a kick out of that) at the end of the 1st week of school. I usually get a letter back from every parent. The letters give me lots of great insight into the students, their parents, and their home life.
     
  25. katenar

    katenar Cohort

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  26. agsrule!

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    I've done this for 3 years now, and absolutely love it. The letters are wonderful. I laugh and cry over them. I usually read them 3 times a year, and it helps remind me why I am there. I usually get about 75-80 out of 100 back. I even accept them in Spanish. I ask the student who brings it in to help me translate it and if they can't, I use one of those online translators to help me get the gist of what it says. The best ones I have ever received are written by dads.
     
  27. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    My letter is has "In a Million Words or Less" at the top. Then I write a brief request to tell me anything they would like me to know about their child. I give some ideas to start with, but remind them it still can be about anything. I also let my students know it can be written in any language, and I will get it translated.

    I have the message written in English, Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese. These are the four major languages spoken in our school.

    I do give a deadline, and most of mine come back hand-written. The few times I have had responses emailed to me were from family memebers who lived out of town. They were thrilled to give me insight into their child.
     
  28. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Wonderful idea. Thanks so much for bringing this up. I can't wait to use it.
     
  29. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    I used this for the first time and loved doing it! I made it worth 5 extra credit points to give parents a bit of motivation to get it done. Some parents grumbled and didn't do it, but the majority that did complete the letter did a wonderful job! It gave myself, my 6th grade team and the principal a lot of insight into our 6th grade classes! I hung on to last year's letters and will be passing them on to the 7th grade team at the start of this school year.
     
  30. lovetoshop

    lovetoshop Rookie

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    What a wonderful idea!! I'm so excited to try this!! Thanks everyone!
     
  31. caslan

    caslan Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2009

    That's exactly what I was going to say :)
     

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