Communicating with parents and families can be time-consuming. But, they are our most important allies. Yet we all know that how we are communicating with parents can set the tone for your entire school year. So how can we personalize our communication while making it quick and easy? I’ve got you covered … with these easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families.
I know what you’re thinking…. “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I get it….but they don’t have to be fancy. Make them bulleted. Keep it short and sweet. Remember – you aren’t submitting lesson plans, you are just giving them a general idea of what you are doing each week or bi-weekly in your classroom. It’s an easy way to start communicating with parents as a teacher.
You can even take it a step further and include regular communication about student growth and needs. Send a quick note home about needing work on basic addition facts, make a phone call saying little Sue rocked her spelling test, or communicate with these pre-made Kindergarten communication sheets.
When I was teaching First and Second Grade, I would conference with my students individually. During this reading conference, I would write as fast as I could on my notepad to gather notes for parent teacher conferences, RTI data and report card assessments. When I was done, I could hardly read my own disorganized writing. There had to be a better way I thought. So I created an organized easy to read checklistlisting all of our reading strategies.
This invaluable resource I cannot live without during conference time. When communicating with parents as a teacher it’s important to keep things simple. As I read with students, I just highlight and/or comment what strategies readers need to practice at home. Then when I sit down with parents I am well prepared to discuss students’ strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, I can then also take those same notes and use them in reporting out on report cards. Now if a parent ever questioned a mark or comment their child was given I have the data to back it up.
A quick and easy assessment form that will consistently allow me to document data across trimesters in an efficient way that is not incredibly time intensive to prep has been a lifesaver! The Math Assessment Communication Resource updates parents with a documentable checklist for first and second grade math standards. I just love the ease of use of a checklist!
Communicating With Parents Before Test Taking
Implementing strategies during test taking can help students break the test into smaller, more manageable parts and help students be more successful rather than randomly guessing at answers. Having a toolbox of strategies at hand can really help those who struggle with testing anxiety.
Just before testing time, I send home the Test Taking Strategies Parent Communication Forms. I have found that parents really want to help support their children through testing time but really don’t know what they can do beyond a healthy breakfast and a good night’s sleep. By letting parents know the language we are using in class that I have reviewed with their child they can continue that conversation at home and support their child and also help to relieve any anxiety their child may have.
We also have parent volunteers come in to help support Motor Moms weekly. My favorite parent opportunity is Mystery Guest Reader during the month of March.
Instagram or Other Technology to Help with Communicating With Parents
This year I used the app Bloomz. Through this app I am able to share what is going on daily or weekly in the classroom through photos or writing a brief newsletter. I take pictures throughout the week on my iPhone and them can easily upload them to the Bloomz app. Parent can like, comment or ask questions. There is also a private messaging system where I write parents privately. I have even linked Sign up Genius for classroom volunteer and party signups. Word of Wisdom…turn off the parent posting feature. Some of my parents have posted questions to the entire class that I was not prepared to answer at that time.