Who's On Second?

Blog for second grade teachers, but all are welcome!

Unsigned Agenda Books

IndifferentAt the beginning of the school year, my students receive an agenda book in which they write their daily assignments.  I write a letter to parents that explains why their chilren have the agenda and I tell parents that they need to initial the book each night.  This is to ensure that they have seen their child's assignments. Another important reason I want them to check the agendas is because I often write notes to parents in that book, and I want to make sure the parents see the notes. (The notes give a short synopsis of their child's activities in school that week, and they are mostly positive.)

Throughout the year, I remind parents to initial the agenda books during face-to-face conversations, on my class website, and telephone calls.  It never fails, though, that there are parents who seemingly never look at the book. Since I teach second graders, I don't want to penalize the children for something their parents are responsible for doing.  Other teachers I've talked to keep the kids in at recess or give some other type of punishment. I just think this is wrong.

With the approach of the new school year, I will again ask that parents check the daily assignment book and initial it each day. Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do to get the parents to honor this one simple request from me?  I don't know how the rest of you out there feel, but I don't have enough time to call every parent weekly, mainly because most parents will keep me on the phone way longer than I'd like.  I want the parents to know that they can keep up with what their children are doing in my class if they'd just check the book.  Any ideas?

Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2007 6:07 PM by sellen

MysteryTeacher said:

We gave up on agendas because of that very reason.  Our parents complained because they had to sign it every day.  Some of my parents worked nights and an older sibling babysat, so no one was home to sign the book.

We started using Friday Flashes this year.  It had attitude and assignment places and commments too.  Parents had all weekend to sign it and return it on Monday.  Most didn't.  

I tried keeping kids in during recess but that takes up all my time too.  I seldom got lunch this year.  We didn't have recess for 4th and 5th grades so lunch was the only time we had.  I had duty before school too.  It was tough to decide if we should keep them in during their specials.  They actually learn things during that time.

We also couldn't keep them after school because they all rode the bus.  This year part of our kids will be walkers.  We are moving into the new building tomorrow.  However, the rest will be bussed.  I don't know what the solution is.  I wish we had after school detention or study hall and REQUIRED the parents to pick them up afterwards.  Or I wish we had access to a bus after school to ship them home after-wards.

Does anyone out there know a better way?

# July 29, 2007 11:43 PM

bishopm said:

I am not a teacher (yet) -- I am a career-changer working on my MAT so, although I substitute and have a LITTLE feel for the classroom, I really don't  have the experience you all do ... BUT, here is my idea... I am sure it has plenty of drawbacks, but I'll offer it anyway ...

What about some sort incentive ... maybe something like "every month that everybody gets their agendas signed 100% of the time we'll get a popcorn party/extra recess" ... I don't know a reasonable expectation in terms of percent compliance that would actually indicate an IMPROVEMENT over what you are seeing and wouldn't want to penalize those who really try so it really might be more like "95% get their agendas signed 100% ..." ... Or maybe a sticker chart where each child gets a sticker if his/her agenda is signed completely for the week and after a certain # of stickers they get "to babysit the teacher's special beanie baby for the day" or whatever ... Though this does nothing for those children who, like you said, lack an "available parent" to sign -- geez, how DO you handle that ... But maybe the kids will then push their parents to sign?

# August 3, 2007 8:24 AM

sellen said:

Thanks for your ideas!  I think it's worth a shot to try!

# August 3, 2007 3:49 PM
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