Principal Peterson's Blog
Expecting your children to converse about their day is a good thing, whether they want to or not.
(This is a version of an article I previously wrote for a newsletter in September of 2016 and I am re-sharing here on our new website).
I have four school-aged children and a daily routine that I intentionally continue when I arrive home is asking my kids a prompt to generate discussion. I ask each of them, “How was your day?” They almost always say the same thing by uttering an uninspired one word response of, “good.” They remind me of students in classrooms I used to teach in because that answer is their way of ending the conversation without effort. They have (in their mind) successfully answered the question and are relieved of the burden of having to think further. As dads everywhere can attest, fathers have a special skill of annoying their kids and I execute that talent by asking a follow up question. I ask them, “Can you explain to me why it was good?” They often struggle with this follow up and what I’ve realized is that my practice of asking follow up questions is an important opportunity that I have created for my children to practice important “literacy” skills that they’ll need for success in school and in life. My follow up question, although annoying to them, forces them to provide evidence and to craft a succinct response from a variety of experiences that occurred over the course of the day.
In classrooms here at Albion, students are doing the exact same thing with reading. Teachers are providing a variety of sources and asking students to make a claim and support it with evidence from the texts so that they can ultimately offer a succinct response to a given prompt. Using these skills in real-life situations is the best way to reinforce the relevance of the material being covered, and the literacy skills being taught in our classrooms are essential for students to develop the independent ability to be life-long learners.
So here is my invitation to you as parents; ask your kids what they’re reading at school and invite them to discuss it with you. It’s a great way to not only reinforce important literacy skills, but it gives you another reason to have conversation with your kids. And if your kids are anything like mine, I’m sure that you’ll take any opportunity to get them talking to you, even it does annoy them.