Parent communication – the bane of a teacher’s existence! Each year teachers strive to find a means to communicate with parents that will reach all, engage all, and inform all. There are so many forms of social communication available. How do you know which one to choose? How do you even know if you should just choose one? How do you decide if your communication with parents is effective?
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, Google drive, blog posts, e-newsletters, the list can go on and on. I’ve used just about every form of communication a teacher can think of. I usually determine what is best on a year to year basis. Two years ago I used Instagram successfully. Last year, the parents of my students (overall) were not interested in Instagram. I made my own newsletters in Google and sent them via email. I had more than one parent request they be sent in PDF form as not all parents had a Google account.
Creating a newsletter in Google isn’t difficult. You can make your own template that can be re-used each week. You can send these newsletters directly from your drive through a Google email account. I did that, and also downloaded the newsletter in PDF form for those parents who requested a PDF format. Here is a screenshot of my Google newsletter. I made it using drawing tools. It only took a few minutes to create my own template.
Creating a newsletter through Google or as a Word document and sending it to parents via email is a quick and easy way to keep parents updated. It is basically a newsletter, conveying through written word, information parents need to know.
Instagram is another quick and easy way to stay in touch with parents and for parents to feel as if they are staying in touch with their child’s classroom. Create your own Instagram account. It’s free! Take pictures of what’s happening in your classroom and post them! You can even teach kids to take pictures and post. (We’ll talk about teaching kids how to post soon!) Parents who are Instagram users themselves generally love following and responding to your classroom.
This year I’m using Twitter and Smore to reach out to my student’s parents. Twitter is much like Instagram; take and post pictures with brief descriptions of what your kiddos are doing throughout the day. You don’t have to post throughout the day, but any and all activities are usually twitter worthy. Parents can follow you and see your tweets throughout the day as well. These types of daily communication allow parents to feel more connected to their child’s life while at school. Remembering to take those photos and tweet them can be a bit hectic at the beginning of the year. Here is a screenshot of a tweet from a few weeks ago.
Smore is an e-news platform that allows you to create all sorts of flyers to keep your parents informed and connected to your classroom. I’m using it as a newsletter each week. I can post information about upcoming events, what we’ve been learning, and anything else I want parents to know about. Photos can be added throughout the flyer. This gives each flyer a personal and relevant touch. Smore also lets you see how many viewers have accessed the flyer. There is a free version and a paid version. Here is a screenshot of the free version.
I’m also creating a flyer with important information about my classroom procedures. I plan to keep these flyers available all year so parents can go back and access them if necessary. I will be doing that by creating folders within my Smore account and saving each flyer instead of re-using each flyer. Once a flyer is complete and ready to view, you just send the link to parents through email or a Learning Management System.
I enjoy taking photos of my students as they are learning and growing. Keeping parents abreast of what is going on in our classroom is a treat and a privilege.
How do you communicate with parents? Please share in the comments. Don’t forget to click the Follow button in the bottom right hand corner to journey with me through classroom technology.