While reflecting on this in my head like a wet-behind-the-ears-ready-to-start-my-first-year-of-teaching-teacher, I got excited with the thought of having my students' parents write short descriptions about their children's lives prior to the current school year. They could share their children's hopes, dreams, interests, etc. This would allow me a head start towards getting to know them. It would also allow me some great talking points and insights into who they are right away at the beginning of the year - which comes in handy when dealing with preteens who may not necessarily want to share about themselves infront of their classmates.
Now, I will have to be clear with the parents that this isn't a forum for them to share their child's strengths and weaknesses with regards to school; it will be more of a look into their personal journey so far in their lives. Yes, I am interested in their strengths and weaknesses in school, but those will become obvious after a few weeks worth of assignments; they are more of the external nature, and I'm looking for the out-of-school experiences that kids often fail to share.
So who knows what will happen, but I'm excited to find out. Maybe this will be the first time some of the parents have ever written down positive information about their children. And maybe, just maybe, they will experience the power of words - the power of their words.