By Teachers, For Teachers
Keeping parents in the loop is always a good idea. In this digital world, it has become increasingly easy to keep parents informed and up-to-date about their child. Today’s technology allows us to connect with parents in an instant. Luckily, there are a variety of avenues that can help strengthen your partnership with parents, from apps to websites, to nightly notebooks and newsletters. Here are the top 5 (teacher-tested) positive parent-teacher communication ideas.
If you haven’t heard of the Remind app yet, then this is one that you will need to take a closer look at. It is one of the most popular parent-teacher communication apps on the market. Whether you teach kindergarten or 12th grade, it will work for you and your students. It’s easy to sign up, all you have to do is give your students the access code to join. Once you’re in, teachers can send reminders, assignments, homework information, or messages directly to students’ or parents’ phones. Middle and high school teachers love this app because they can text their students reminders. We all know how teens are texting pros and never leave home without their phones, so you know they will be sure to get the message. There will be no more, “I didn’t know what the homework was” or “I didn’t know when it was due.” The app is free, and everyone’s privacy is protected, so communicating with this app just makes sense.
The Bloomz app is another teacher favorite, especially among elementary schools. Again, parents will need an access code to join, and it’s free and protects your privacy. With Bloomz, parents can message the teacher as well as other parents in the classroom. Parents are also able to “Like” photos or documents posted by the teacher (similar to Facebook). One of the features teachers find the most valuable is the digital sign-up sheet. This option eliminates the need to send home a physical sign-up sheet, which is great if you’re looking to not waste any more paper. There is also a calendar feature which is nice for remembering important dates and events. The bottom line is that this app has everything you need to communicate with parents in one easy app.
Parent communication notebooks have been around for a while now. This is probably due to how effective teachers think they are as a means of communication. Each night, students bring home their notebook with their homework, messages from the teacher, etc., and the parents must sign the book showing that they have checked over all of the contents of the notebook. It’s an easy way to ensure a positive home-school connection.
Weekly newsletters have also been around for some time now. A newsletter usually entails important dates or events coming up, or shows pictures or projects that students have been working on. Traditionally, classroom teachers would send home a newsletter at the beginning of the week, telling the parents what their child should expect to happen that week, or at the end of the week telling the parents what the child has done during the week. However, within the past few years, teachers have crossed over into the digital age and now like to email the newsletter or post it onto their classroom website. If you’re looking to kick your classroom newsletter up a notch, then I suggest checking out the free website called Smore. This website allows you to create fun and whimsical newsletters.
Technology has made it extremely easy to communicate with parents, so many teachers opt to create a classroom website. Weebly and Educatorpages are just two of the many free websites teachers use to communicate with their students and their parents. These sites are easy to build and navigate, and not to mention they help you keep organized while maintaining that critical parent teacher communication.
In short, if you want to have a positive parent-teacher experience, then you want to choose one of above ways to communicate. In this digital age, parents want access to their child’s education, without the hassle of having to come into the classroom, or talk on the phone. Any of these ideas will help keep parents in the loop, all you have to do is choose which option is best for you and your students.
What is your favorite parent-teacher communication method? Please share your tips and experiences in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
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 master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyward. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.