Every Friday, Grade 3C students take some time to write a letter to their parents in a journal provided by ISC, telling them about their past week. In this letter, they are free to talk about any topic they’d like, such as a special project they’ve completed, what they have been learning in math or a reminder about upcoming events. After school, parents read the letter at home and write back to their children in the same journal. On the following Friday, students then read the letter from their parents and the whole process repeats itself. This project is called Friday Journal and this is the second year of implementation at ISC.
Nicole Sauer, ISC’s Grade 3C teacher, is the pioneer of this project at ISC and prior to ISC, had done this project with her students for about 10 years. “Our main focus for this activity is to have an open dialogue between child and parent. It is a way for students to take responsibility for communicating to their parents what they have been doing in school. And it’s a way for parents to have a closer look at what their child has been doing each week and to start a conversation with their child about their learning,” explains Ms. Nicole.
During the writing process, students focus on the teaching point of the week. “For example, this past Friday (September 2nd), I had a lesson on contractions with my students prior to them writing their letter,” says Ms. Nicole. For parents, this is a great opportunity to get to know what their children are learning and the journals can also be an artifact of their time in 3rd Grade.
“I have had 100% participation so far this school year from parents. Parents have said to me that they appreciate the letters because they often ask their kids what they’ve learned in school and normally the kids say “nothing” or general answers like “math”. ISC parents have also told me that it is a good way for them to practice reading and writing in English,” says Ms. Nicole.