Parent Handbook


Hug a Cactus:  Parent a Teen Project


to create a booklet of do’s and don’ts for parents, one that you think your own parents (or guardians) might find helpful and one that might help you as a parent someday.


1. Cover: Design and make a fancy cover for your handbook.  Include a title and your name as author.

2. Dedication Page:  Write a dedication page for your handbook.  Include a quotation about children or young people, parenting, growing up, or living happily.  Document the source of the quotation (give author’s name and the title of the work from which the quotation is taken)

3. Do’s for Parents:  Make a list of all things you would try to do as a parent yourself.

4. Don’ts for Parents:  Make a list of all the things you would try NOT to do as a parent.

5. Sketch of the “ideal parent”:  draw a picture of the ideal parent. Your drawing may be serious or humorous.  Add an explanatory caption.

6. Sketch or photo of your REAL parent/guardian:  draw or add a humorous or serious picture of  your real parent or guardian as they look NOW.  Add an explanatory caption.

7. Description of a childhood memory: write a one page paper about an important experience from  your childhood.


8. Request a letter from your parent or guardian: This letter is VERY special.  It is a letter your  mom, dad, or guardian writes to you in which they explain what kind of a parent they hope YOU will  be in the future.  This letter should be sent to me, Mrs. Adams, at school.  I will add it to your  project  after you turn it in.  When you get your project back (with a grade), it will contain this very  special item  written with you in mind.

9. Description of your fictional child or children: Imagine yourself in the future as a parent.  Write a one page paper describing the appearance, behavior, and temperament of your child or children. You might want to include references to traits inherited from both parents (you and your future spouse)  and to include details about how growing up will be different for your child or children in the  future than it was for you.


10. Parent Metaphors: on 2 separate sheets, make a graphic presentation (text and pertinent graphics) that explains what a "mother is...."  For example,  "My mother is a vise that keeps our family together."  Also write a metaphor to describe your father.  One student wrote, "My dad is a machete who clears a way of life for us through the jungle of city." 

11. Parent Poem: Find a picture of one of your parents when he/she was close to your age or a picture of your parent before he/she became a parent.  Write a poem about the young person you see in  that picture.  Try to write at least three stanzas or 12 lines about your parent in the "before kids"  stage of life.  What were your parent's hopes? dreams? struggles?   In the  last stanza or last 4 lines,  Connect yourself to you parent in the poem.  Click here for  some sample "parent poems"  my students have written in past school years.

12.  Where I’m From Poem:  Using George Ella Lyons’ poem for a model, write a poem describing the memories of your childhood and family .  Click here for some sample “Where I’m From” poems that students have written in past school years.

Writing Lab: 

We’ll schedule time in the computer labs for typing up all your rough draft materials.  Bring a new floppy for your use in the computer lab.  You might want to bring some change for the computer lab so you can print off hard copies of your writing-in-progress, JUST IN CASE you would lose or break your floppy.  Computer lab copies are 15 cents each.  We’ll use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher for this project.


The class will actually design the rubric used to grade these projects one day in class near the beginning of the unit.  The project will be worth 180 points. 


Grab one of those large 10” x 13” envelopes I asked you to purchase before school started.  Put your name NEATLY in the upper right hand corner of the envelope.  You can store all writing-in-progress, hard copy drafts, and floppy in the envelope. 

Due Date: ____________________

October 25, 2001  
2235 Lime Rock Rd.  
Vestavia Hills, AL  35216

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Mrs. Adams’ sophomore English classes are beginning a project entitled Parent Handbook of Do’s and Don’ts.  The students have a handout describing this project that you need to sign, acknowledging you have read about the project which will be done entirely at school with the aid of the school’s computer lab.

Please consider contributing to this project in the next month.  The students will be busy researching best practices for parents, thinking about favorite childhood memories, describing future children, and sketching the “ideal parent.”  They will probably ask you for a photo of yourself to include in the handbook under the “real parent” section.  Please expect and allow for some humor in this project.

On a more serious note, I am asking each parent/guardian (or set of parents) to write a letter  in which you capture your hopes and dreams for your child as a  parent one day in the future.  You know and care for your children like no one else ever can.  This is an opportunity for you to show your children the power of writing and words because these letters from you will complete your student’s handbook with a living model of parent support and love.

To make your letters even more special, I have a plan!  If you will send your letters to me, Mrs. Cindy Adams, at Vestavia Hills High School, I will carefully store them until AFTER your student turns in the project.  The students will prepare special page space for these letters.  Then, after checking the projects for a grade, I will add in your eagerly anticipated letters to the projects.  The students will anxiously wait  for  the returned  projects, just to be able to read your letters to them.

I am asking that parents send their letters to me before Thanksgiving in November.  The week after Thanksgiving, the students will put the final polish on their handbooks.

Need more help? Read questions and answers from fellow students below. If you're question hasn't already been asked, ask it now.

Report This
Report This