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Tool: My student as a learner (secondary example)

Surveys can become important tools for fostering two-way communication. They offer:

  • An efficient way for parents to tell you about their home and child;
  • A signal to families that you are interested in learning about them;
  • A way to learn more about each family’s goals, values and perceptions of their children as learners;
  • A means to help you think about designing curriculum and instruction for this group of students during this school year.

These surveys also can be translated into other languages for non-English speaking families. Notice that the following example is short and has just enough space to get ideas from parents without communicating that they need to spend a great deal of time filling it out. It can be adapted to fit your situation.

Making connections: My student as a learner

Dear Families,

Many people say that parents are their children's first and best teacher, and I certainly agree! Please take a few minutes to look over the questions below, and provide any information that you think would help me think about how to best support your student learn successfully in my classroom and how to connect our classroom learning with learning at home. 

Thanks for helping me learn about your student. I look forward to working with you and your family this year.

[your name]


Student's name ________________________________________ Date: _______________

Parent/Guardian name(s) _____________________________________________________

How do you think your student feels about going to school?

What are your goals for your student this year?

What are your student's interests? How does s/he spend free time at home?

What types of activities does your family do together?

What types of books, magazines or other reading material does your student enjoy? Does s/he have any favorites?

Do you have time to talk about the material your student reads independently at home? If so, when and how often?

What types of involvement, if any, do you have with your student's homework (e.g., provide help, monitor whether it's done)?

Does your student choose to do things at home that involve _________________ [your subject area] that are not assigned as schoolwork? If so, what are some examples?

What can you tell me about how your son/daughter learns?

What are some other things you would like me to know about your student?

What kinds of information would be helpful for you to support your student’s learning at home?

Would you like me to call you or meet with you to talk more about these ideas? If so, when is a good time?

Adapted from Hill, B. C. & Ruptic, C. (1994). Practical aspects of authentic assessment: Putting the pieces together, pp. 206-7. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
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