This is the second in a series of posts about supporting students through the process of creating successful products. In part 1 I discussed choices for products. Now we are going to cover a bit about school to home communication.
It is important to keep in touch with parents regularly. If you are doing a project during class time only then this step could be skipped. However, if the students will be taking any part of the project (even just research) home then it is important you communicate with parents important information. So what is the important information you need to communicate? Timelines for the project including progress check-in dates and final turn in dates are a must, let the parents know right from the start whenever there is a formal check-in. Be sure to explain the requirements for the project, a great way to do this is share the grading rubric(s) with them. Include how they can help support their student and what they should NOT do during the product creation, remember help is appreciated but this does need to be the student’s work. Level of parental aid may be something that you differentiate based on student ability and need.
You may decide to explain the rationale for the product. This is a great way to share the purpose with parents who do not have the training to infer it themselves. A word of caution that I got from a veteran teacher who did share the purpose of product lessons. If you offer this kind of transparency in a lesson the parents will expect it for all project products for the rest of the year. Taking away transparency after having offered it can result in negative attitudes from parents. So make a choice and stick with it if you can. As a different option, you could write the purpose of product assignments into your back to school letters giving transparency without having to do it for every assignment.