Fostering communication between school and home at the middle school level

By John Miller  |  Monday, September 19, 2011

This blog is part of a series of Teaching Tips for teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students. However, many of the ideas would work well in ANY teaching situation where you are working with children and parents (families).

The last article in this series was aimed at elementary education, now it is time to move on to the Middle School age students and continue our work on literacy skills. (Remember our goal is to improve reading, writing and communication skills.)

Classroom Activity: Create a Newspaper
Grade: Middle School

This idea builds on the concept that at this age, what these kids like best is to hang out, be a part of a cool group and talk about things that are of interest to them. What better time to have them create their own newspaper!

This will allow the students to choose topics of interest to them, which hopefully will also allow them to have more comfort in their writing. Because of the high interests and feelings of confidence surrounding the topics the students will also feel more comfortable sharing this writing with others which is an important part of writing - publishing! You may need to be push the students at times to venture into areas out of their comfort zones as well, but once the ball gets rolling with a class newspaper, it will take on a life of it’s own.

One purpose of this project remember is to improve communication between home and school as well, so topics and articles should be something that the student’s parents and families will also enjoy reading.

Example Articles could focus on:

  1. Features about various mystery classmates (where students try to guess who is being written about)
  2. Features about places families have traveled over their summer break
  3. Movie Reviews
  4. Fashion Trends
  5. Latest Technology
  6. Gossip about Television shows/stars
  7. Etc….

Once students complete their paper, have them practice a presentation of their paper at home with their parents before presenting in front of the class. This is an opportunity for the student to share sign vocabulary from their paper that maybe their parents wouldn’t know. There are many topics that the students would like to cover that may not be common vocabulary in their home settings and this assignment is a great opportunity to increase everyone's vocabulary at home. Have students and parents use Signing Savvy as a resource to expand and understanding new vocabulary for the assignment. We have many signs on Signing Savvy and continue to add more all the time.

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