This honest, clearly written, and accessible book shows how to use Family Dialogue Journals (FDJs) to increase and deepen learning across grade levels. Written by K–12 teachers who have been implementing and studying the use of weekly journals for several years, it shares what they have learned and why they have found FDJs to be an invaluable tool for forming effective partnerships with families. Learn from first-hand accounts how students write weekly about one big idea they have studied, ask a family member a related question, and then solicit their writing in the journal. Through these journal entries, they share their family knowledge with classmates while actively engaging with the curriculum. In turn, teachers extend the academic discussion by writing to each family and incorporating their funds of knowledge into classroom lessons—writing about everything from the use of thermometers to life in Michoacán, Mexico. Family participation in the FDJs is remarkably high across ages, ethnicities, and economic realities.
“The collective work of these educators, rather than simply seeking to accommodate the students to existing didactic practices, came to challenge the status quo in different classroom settings by offering alternatives that were both meaningful and rigorous for all participants. There is definitely much to learn in these pages.”
— From the foreword by Luis Moll, University of Arizona
“This is an incredibly readable book that is highly useful for teachers, teacher educators, and university researchers interested in this powerful practice. The descriptions of the classrooms are riveting and exemplify the kind of teaching we would all like to see in every classroom.”
— Kathy Schultz, dean and professor, Mills College
“Family Dialogue Journals is a beautiful, socially conscious book offering so much wisdom for curriculum, classroom norms, and creating learning-focused contexts. Readers will be immersed in classroom contexts, teachers’ decision-making processes, and practical advice about how to foster a humble, genuine, ongoing dialogue built upon mutual respect and openness with their students and students’ families. Family Dialogue Journals doesn’t just demonstrate the power of interpersonal relationships, it links those dialogues and relationships directly to curriculum and supporting students’ critical literacies of both community and academic ways of knowing and being. Family Dialogue Journals is a beautiful, socially conscious book offering so much wisdom for curriculum, classroom norms, and creating learning-focused contexts.”
— Stephanie Jones, professor, University of Georgia
About the Authors
JoBeth Allen is a professor in the department of language and literacy education and co-director of the Red Clay Writing Project at the University of Georgia College of Education.
Jennifer Beaty, Angela Dean, Joseph Jones, Stephanie Smith Matthews, Jen McCreight, Elyse Schwedler, and Amber M. Simmoms are all associated with the Red Clay Writing Project at the University of Georgia.