By Teachers, For Teachers
Monthly newsletters are a great way for you to use classroom management to keep parents up-to-date with what is happening in school. A quality newsletter needs to appeal to the reader’s eye and interest.
Besides having a catchy name for your newsletter, you can really use newsletter-specific classroom management to pull your audience in by changing the color of the front page. If you’re looking to improve your school newsletter, or just in need of a little bit of inspiration to help you draw parents’ attention, then try adding the following features.
Each month, it’s important to add the school calendar so parents know what days the students have off, what days there are band/chorus rehearsals, as well as other important dates like board meetings, PTA meetings, and such. Try to create a calendar that pops! Change the color of the first page of your newsletter packet and put the calendar on the inside of the first page so parents can refer to it easily.
The next page should have all of the important dates for the rest of the school year on it, not just the important dates for the month. This will help parents plan for the rest of the school year. Dates such as ELA and math assessment, concerts, and assemblies can go here.
“Did You Know?” is a great title for one of the pages in your newsletter. You can liven up your monthly newsletter by presenting fun facts like, “Did you know … baby camels are born without a hump?” Or “Did you know … that a baby female donkey is called a Jenny and a baby male donkey is called a Jack?” This a great way for readers to learn a thing or two.
You may have come across a great article while you were scouring the Internet that you thought would be a perfect fit to share with parents in your newsletter. These parent pointers may be just the thing to place on the front page of the newsletter to really help catch parents’ eye. Titles like “Should I let my Child Fail?” or “How Can We Get through the Common Core?” can really help bring your reader in and help them actually open the newsletter and read it cover to cover.
An inspirational quote or two will make a great addition to your monthly parent newsletter. Social media has made it quite popular by posting these quotes, and you can really capture your readers’ attention by adding a few to your newsletter. Here is one to get you started: "All learning begins with the simple phrase 'I don't know.’” -- Author unknown.
Give your school nurse the opportunity to share her knowledge by giving tips that correlate with the month. If it’s flu season, the nurse can offer suggestions on how to rid your home of the flu and keep students germ-free. If it’s during the winter months where students will be home with the heat on a lot, the nurse can talk about carbon monoxide poison prevention.
School guidance counselors rarely get the opportunity to speak to an audience on such a big scale like the whole school community. Allow them a page to offer tips to parents. They can give parents tips on how to talk to their children about bullying, or provide them with information on where they can get counseling services for their child. They can even talk about the tools they can use to help them de-stress.
When students get into grades four and above, they are given the opportunity to play an instrument and/or join chorus. With this comes a lot of responsibility for the students, which means remembering important rehearsal dates and concert times. Give band and chorus teachers a page of the school newsletter (it doesn’t have to be every month) to put their rehearsal calendar on there, so students and parents can remember these important dates.
Many times parents wonder what books are appropriate for their child’s age group, or where they can take their child to an art show or a play. This page of the newsletter can be geared to having the music teacher, art teacher, or librarian offer suggestions on what’s new and what’s going on around the school and community that relates to their subject.
Parents are always looking for websites that are age-appropriate and safe for their children. This feature of the newsletter can show parents the websites that are not only fun for their children, but can help them learn as well. You can list websites such as World Builder, Spelling City, or IXL.com. For some of these websites, parents will need a school code to log on, so make sure that you remember to provide one.
Keeping parents in the know will help prepare parents to support their children. The goal is to provide parents (and students) with monthly information to keep them informed, as well offer them some essential tips and advice.
What do you add to your monthly school newsletter? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear how you format your school newsletter.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.