Here’s an Idea! Class Books with Parents

Making a class version of a book is a community building activity used by lots of teachers at the beginning of the year. I used it with second graders, but it could definitely be adapted for younger or older students. Here’s how it works:

The teacher shares a really engaging children’s picture book with the class and then has each child make a page based on a page from the book. The students’ pages are compiled together to make a class version of the book, which the class reads together and then adds to their classroom library. It’s a project that sends the message that everyone in the class is important, and we can do great things together.

Now how’s this for a twist: What if students’ families also participated in making a class book?

I got the idea when I was re-reading I Know What You Do When I Go to School, written by A. E. Cannon and illustrated by Jennifer Mazzucco, which I used for making a class book with my second grade class. In the original, a child who has some doubts about going to school imagines all the crazy adventures his mom and little brother might be having at home. My students had a lot of fun imagining, drawing, and writing about what their parents could be doing at home or at work while they were at school!

I realized it would have been even more fun to have the parents return the favor and imagine and write about silly things their kids might be doing at school while they were busy at work or at home. Creating the pages could be an activity for parents at Open House or something they’d work on before or after parent-teacher conferences. The result—a class book that brought family members’ voices right into the classroom—would help children learn about each other’s families and strengthen home-school connections.

Margaret Berry Wilson is the author of several books, including: The Language of Learning, Doing Science in Morning Meeting (co-authored with Lara Webb), Interactive Modeling, and Teasing, Tattling, Defiance & More.

Tags: Family Connections, Working with Families