Communicating With Parents Using Weekly Planner Sheets
Parents and teachers are partners, so communication is essential for student success. I like to combine my planning and parent communication into one form to save time. This weekly sheet is so helpful for parents and students because they know exactly what to expect each day. It is easy for me to create because I follow the same pattern each week. It also helps keep me organized.
When you click on the calendar, you will be prompted to make your own copy of the file. This will allow you to edit it in any way that fits your needs. You will definitely want to erase my notes about what to put in each box.
You will notice that my Monday teacher comments will usually be the spelling words or vocabulary words for the week. I love to teach vocabulary using Greek and Latin Roots. Another way to save yourself time is to use a Greek and Latin Roots program. I sell a great one on Teachers Pay Teachers. Students learn four roots a week, and there are tons of activities for differentiation. It is literally everything you need to incorporate Greek and Latin Roots into your program.
After Monday (and Monday if necessary), I use the Teacher Comments section to write personal notes to parents. These could be to communicate missing work or behavior issues, but more importantly, I use this space to let parents know how well their students are doing in school. I try to share specific incidences of new learning, good choices, or kind behavior toward other students. These positive comments help build my relationship with both parents and students.
Keeping the pages organized and accessible can be a bit of a challenge. The first thing you have to do to maintain your sanity is to assign your students numbers. Everything in my classroom was labeled by number because it is easy to keep organized and it can stay the same year to year. I go a little crazy with numbering, but that is a topic for another blog post.
When students come into the classroom for the day, they need a place to put their weekly planners. You can either have students put their own planners in number order or assign a student to do it during morning work. The only concern with a student putting the pages in number order is there might be notes from parents. To address this risk, you could have students write the numbers on the back of the pages and have the student sort using the back of the pages.
Another possibility is to have a file box. Students come into the classroom and drop their weekly sheets into their file in the file box. This keeps things organized, but you will have to take the time to pull each sheet out of the file box to see if you have a note from a parent. If you choose to use a file box, I would recommend not putting any other papers in the files so you can check the papers as quickly as possible. The file box is also helpful if you want to add a note to a student page because you will be able to locate the correct file quickly.
Another idea is to hole punch the papers before you give them to students. Then, when students return the papers, you can stick them in number order in a binder. This will make it easy to check for parent notes quickly. You will also be able to jot notes down on specific student pages. A binder will also take up less room than the file box. The downside of the binder is that you will need a system for putting the pages in number order each day.
Handing back the pages can also be a challenge during a chaotic end of the day. That is one reason I like to have quiet work/reading time to end class. If you have younger students, this is the perfect time to read aloud. While students are quietly reading and working, you can pass back the weekly sheets. If you have a classroom mailbox system, you can put the sheets in the mailboxes and excuse small groups of students to empty their mailboxes during this time. If you are reading, you can have a student pass back the papers.
As I type, I realize this seems like a lot of work to manage. Once you set up your system, it is one of the easiest parts of your day. I love how these sheets make it easy to communicate with parents, especially parents who don’t have regular access to a computer. It is also great for a scatterbrain like me because it forces me to think about the week ahead. Of all of the different processes I have tried in my classroom, this is one of my top three.
For more ideas on being a productive teacher, check out the rest of the blog!
How do you keep your students’ parents informed? Share your ideas in the comments!