March 30, 2017

Easy & Effective Ways to Communicate with Parents and Families

Parents and families are our best allies. But finding time to communicate with them can be timely and redundant. Yet we all know that communicating with parents and families can set the tone for your entire school year. So how can you personalize your communication while making it quick and easy? I've got you covered with these easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. 

Here are five different tips for easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. Click through to see how you can bring reading and math skills home for parents to reinforce. Help parents better understand and prepare their students for test prep, and get a few other ideas to keep lines of communication open. These are great ideas for the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade classroom. Click through for all the details! {K, first, second, third, fourth graders}

Newsletters

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.


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

Reading Conferences 

Reading one to one with a student or even in a small group can be a great opportunity to collect important documentation and data that can later be shared with parents and families.  

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 checklist listing all of our reading strategies. 


This invaluable resource I cannot live without during conference time.  It is such a quick and easy way to communicate with families. 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.

Math Data

Having a clear and concise assessment form for mathematics is just as valuable as having the same data available to parents for reading. When parents are readily informed, they can support you and their child’s progress both in and out of the classroom. 


Here are five different tips for easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. Click through to see how you can bring reading and math skills home for parents to reinforce. Help parents better understand and prepare their students for test prep, and get a few other ideas to keep lines of communication open. These are great ideas for the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade classroom. Click through for all the details! {K, first, second, third, fourth graders}


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! 

  
Here are five different tips for easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. Click through to see how you can bring reading and math skills home for parents to reinforce. Help parents better understand and prepare their students for test prep, and get a few other ideas to keep lines of communication open. These are great ideas for the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade classroom. Click through for all the details! {K, first, second, third, fourth graders}

Test Taking 

Unfortunately we do quite a bit of testing on the computer in the early elementary grades of first, second, third and fourth grade.  Taking an important test can be hard for the kiddos so I teach my students strategies on how to take a test. 
Here are five different tips for easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. Click through to see how you can bring reading and math skills home for parents to reinforce. Help parents better understand and prepare their students for test prep, and get a few other ideas to keep lines of communication open. These are great ideas for the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade classroom. Click through for all the details! {K, first, second, third, fourth graders}






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.



Volunteering

Invite parents into the classroom so they can see what your classroom is all about. Once a month you can plan a themed activity day where parents can sign up (I highly recommend signup.com) and run a center or themed station.  Reading to students is another invaluable use of time. You can keep a binder on hand with student names and have parents check off names, the date, and title read.  This is a great way to fit in reading with as many kiddos as you can in a day! 

Instagram or Other Technologies

A picture is worth a thousand words. You can set up a class account and take photos of what you are doing and parents can get a peak into your classroom. Make sure to have them fill out a permission slip if you plan to do so and decide whether you want to include student faces or not. You can easily accomplish this without faces and just picture projects, bulletin boards, writing samples, and more!

It is possible to find easy and effective ways to communicate with parents and families. You have to determine which type of communication fit best with your teaching style and school guidelines or rules. Experiment with a few different methods, try my various communication resources, and go with it! You may change things up year to year, but that's totally ok. 

What effective ways to communicate with parents do you use? Let us know in the comments! 

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