Preparing Your Classroom Part Six (Communication with Parents)
This is the last in a blog series all about getting your classroom ready for the year. You can start at part one here.
Keeping communication lines open with parents is so important for helping students succeed. You want parents to be on your team, so make sure they know what is happening at school. This can feel overwhelming, but if you set up a system, you will be able to make your parent communication an easy part of your school routine.
I used this weekly sheet to let my students’ parents know what was happening at school. Any school events were included, reminders for specials were included, and curriculum information was included. This was where I listed spelling words/roots/math facts for the week. There is space on each day for me to send a note home. I didn’t send very many notes home. My goal would be to write something positive on five kids’ sheet each day. That way every kid in the class gets a teacher compliment at least once a week. There is also space for parents to sign and leave comments for me. Having the template ready made it easy to create each week. Plus, unlike a newsletter, I didn’t have to write a lot.
You can get a template for this form on Google Slides here. Just select "Make a Copy" to get a personal version of the form, so you can edit it and make changes without affecting the original. I kept every weekly sheet for the year, I just made a copy to start the next week. By the end of the year, my template file had 35 pages.
Instead of having a teacher-created newsletter, I am a fan of having students create a newsletter for their parents as part of their writing activities.
Another way to start off the year on the right foot with parents is to call every parent during the first week of school. You get the chance to meet the parents before you need to call for behavior or academics or anything else that could be seen as a negative interaction. Just say you wanted to introduce yourself and let the parent know how excited you are to work with his or her child this year. Then share something specific about the child from the week. For example, you might say you noticed the child was reading a certain book and you have been wanting to read that book, or you loved the picture she drew to show what she did over the summer. The parent will most likely tell his or her child about the phone call, and you want your student to know you are paying attention to him or her.
Because we live in a word of artifacts (and because you want to cya), you will want to keep a record of all of your interaction with parents. You can use this sheet to record any interaction with a parent including phone calls, notes, emails, in person conversations, official meetings, and messages left.