The Great Cover Up

     Each school has their own distinct challenges when it comes to parental involvement. I've worked at a school where I sat at Open House, alone in my room, wondering if a single parent would venture in. I've worked at a school where about half of the parents attended Open House, asked few questions, and just generally wanted to know that their kids were safe and happy which in turn made them happy. And, I've worked at a school where ALL parents came to Open House, most in pairs, even divorced parents and sometimes with new spouses <---That would be 4 parents for one child.  I've had parents staring back at me with blank looks when I discussed curriculum frameworks, cooperative learning and classroom management. I've also had parents on the edge of their seat, furiously taking notes and then asking more questions than their children do. As a teacher, I'm not sure which challenges are easier to handle, but make no mistake they are all challenges, indeed.
     In any case, I'm always amazed at how I can look into the handful or the crowd and see my students in the faces of their parents. In the end, if a parent made it to Open House, it's because they just want to have some connection to the world in which their child spends most of their day.
     It's hard to believe that our year end grade level annual parent event is quickly approaching. As I did for Open House almost eight months ago, I'll be staring out at a crowd of parents, so excited to be a part of their child's world if just for a few minutes. I am guilty of going overboard preparing for these events, but when I look back I know that any preparation, decoration, cute display, work portfolio, slideshow or heartfelt speech pales in comparison to the moment that parent and child realize that each took the time to connect to their world.
     Many times the focus on these parental involvement activities is on welcoming the parent into the school with student made art projects and creative displays, but I want to share this quick and simple way to for parents to leave their mark on the room as well. A colleague of mine is responsible for this genius idea. Put some crayons in the hands of your parents and let them be a kid again as they write all over paper covered tables leaving welcome notes for their children to see the next day. Imagine the look on your students' faces when they are met with sweet morning messages like these:

My personal favorite -The drawing of son and daddy and the "Sunny Day" caption, it's just perfect!
So, cover up those tables and let your parents be kids again. As they sit in plastic chairs sized for little bottoms and wrap their fingers around chubby crayons, they'll connect with their child in the most basic and beautiful way.


  1. Love, love, love this! I will have this ready for my parents. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  2. That is a FANTASTIC idea! Do you ever get parents who are shy about artistic abilities and hesitate to create anything? I would hope not, as they are all so cute! What if a parent does not come in at all? I can just imagine the students' faces when they see them! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love this idea too, but my students usually come with their parents to open house.

  4. Glad you all like it!
    Dijobaker - I've also had parents make a bookmark for their kids -they use them all year! I'll get a picture of those too. what if you have parents and students create a bookmark together to commemorate the event? My kids cherish theirs.

    If a parent doesn't show, I always leave a little note myself so the child doesn't feel left out :)

  5. You are a fabulous writer!


  6. Thanks so much Amanda -that means the world to me!

  7. I just found this and definitely will try the bookmarks. Do you laminate them for your students? I have one my son (now 22) made for me in Kindergarten. I laminated it and still have it in my Bible. It's one of my most cherished possesions!


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