Friday, August 3, 2012

#myfavfriday In a Million Words or Less...

With the beginning of the new school year (quickly..eeek!!) approaching I wanted to share one of my favorite "first day of school" activities. A few years ago (my second or third year teaching) I was trying to find some fun activities that would help my students get to know each other, but also help me get to know some things about them. I had created a "get-to-know-you" bingo game, which was good at getting the kids talking and learning some interesting things about each other, buuuuuut I wanted more.

That was when I found this activity for parents called "In a Million Words or Less..." Basically, I write a letter asking my students' parents to complete a "homework" assignment about their child (or children because I have had siblings before!). The title of the activity is pretty self explanatory...parents can write as much or as little as they want about their child and I give them no restrictions about what to tell me. I want to know what THEY think is important for me to know, not what I might think is important to know about their child (plus, I get that information from my "Who Are You?" student surveys).

In a Million Words or Less...

This is one of #myfavfriday activities because I LOVE getting the responses back from parents!!!! I enjoy reading what they have to say about their children because it gives me a different perspective and I usually find out some little tidbit that I may not have ever learned otherwise. I also love this activity because it starts a positive parent-teacher relationship which is helpful throughout the rest of the school year.

Soooooo, have you guys heard of this before? Has anyone else done it before? What do you think about it?


  1. I've heard about "A Million Words Or Less" on a few different blogs before, the main one being dy/dan I think, and I even tried it out my first year of teaching. I haven't seen it geared towards parents before though. When I gave it to my students I got two responses, either a sentence or a couple pages. I think it would be really interesting to see what parent's wrote about their children.

  2. I've never heard about this but what a great idea for really opening up the lines of (positive) communication from the very first day! Thanks for sharing such a neat idea!

  3. I love the idea of the letter from parents! I give my students a similar assignment, so it would be so interesting to compare what their parents write. Thanks for sharing your idea!

  4. I've used this at the high school level for the past 6 years and the parents love it--they really appreciate the attempt to get to know their kids. I tell them that it's their only homework assignment for the year. You learn all sorts of incredible things about the kids that you wouldn't otherwise--like the A student who didn't speak until he was 4; the 14 year old pilot; the child actor, etc.

  5. This is a great idea. I have never heard of or done this before, but it may be worth trying. Thank you.