Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Parent Communication: It Works For Me! (& the 5 star blogger challenge)

As an educator, I firmly believe that parents and families should remain an integral part of their child's education. Communication is HIGH on my priority list ALL. THE. TIME! As teachers, you all know how important and beneficial parent communication can be, and we all know how hard it can be to accomplish sometimes.

It really takes a lot of time and effort to build a positive rapport with your students' parents and families. With all the pressure that is upon teachers to reach school/district goals, monitor student progress, maintain data records, attend meeting after meeting, after meeting, do extra curricular work (the list goes on and on!)---it is often difficult to make the time, and have the patience and endurance to maintain parent communication (beyond a weekly newsletter and occasional post cards in the mail). However, if you make it part of your daily grind, and open up new venues to parent communication, you can be entirely successful----which in the end, benefits your students in a multitude of ways!

So....briefly, here are a few "old school", and STILL effective/necessary means of parent communication. Keep old school techniques alive!

  • Weekly newsletters---WITH a few photos of students in action!
    •  not bi-weekly----there is important information to report on each week! I recommend weekly newsletters no matter what the grade level. 
  • Positive Postcards (select 6 students/month)---keep it short, sweet, and to the point. They are pleasant pats on the back via snail mail! Your families will love it! 
  • Positive Phone calls home---every now and again, call a student's parents and brag about something great you noticed about their child!
Now, how can you do even more great things in a "techy" way? Here are some techniques that I use. I'd love to hear what you think of them----and if you have a technique that I should know about and try!

  • E-mail newsletters to parents who would rather read a digital copy
  • Blog for PARENTS! I am new to blogging for an audience of educators, but I have blogged for the  families that I work with for 2-3 years. I continually get a lot of positive comments about my weekly blog posts regarding our classroom happenings for a variety of reasons: 
    • Parents can see their child in action via pictures posted
    • Parents get to see various games, activities, experiments, and other learning opportunities in our classroom
    • Songs and YouTube videos are posted for parents to become familiar with the songs we use in the classroom and an opportunity to snuggle up with their little one for a few moments and watch a video of our focus story of the week. ---They can hear first hand what we've been working on and share it in a quality manner with their child! 
    • Videos of re-tellings and other student work is posted.
    • Grandparents and extended family have access so they can stay current on their relative's school experience and support them, interact with them, and ask specific questions about school. Grandparents LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being able to do this! 
  • Text a quick photo/comment to parents if you have their cell phone number and are comfortable doing so. I typically do this on occasion if I have a student that is the child of a colleague in our district. They appreciate the occasional mid-day update or special achievement that is shared! 
  • E-mail notes to parents (a digital version of the positive postcard)
AND----for my new FAVORITE techy means of communication, utilize a QR code that links to your blog!! I recently presented this idea (as well as other uses/activities of QR codes for student use) at our district's Professional Development day---and it was well received by teachers K-12! I immediately got great feedback from various grade levels regarding how they were implementing the QR codes in their classroom. AMAZING! Here's how I use it...

GO AHEAD, SCAN IT---YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO! 

 I created a QR code that is linked to my classroom blog for parents. I enlarged it on the copier at work, and hung it in the hallway where the parents wait for their child to get dismissed at the end of the school day!! I am always seeing these little codes on everything---particularly products that are marketed in magazines, in stores, on flyers, brochures, etc. I thought it was clearly a great marketing tool aimed at a digital audience---generation X, if you will. I immediately thought that I could use it as a marketing tool as well. I was "selling" parent communication and an active involvement in their child's education. 

I tend to serve younger parents, from said Generation X, and they sure love their techy devices! Don't we all?!?!?! While they wait for the bell to ring, I noticed most parents were browsing Facebook, texting, or doing something similar on their smart phones.....so I gave them something valuable to look at while they wait for their child----and hopefully they find something intriguing that sparks conversation with their little one! All you have to do is scan the code!! 

Want a QR reader of your own? It's easy! Go HERE! Save it as a .jpeg and be on your way!! 


I hope that you have found this post to be helpful. These types of parent communication techniques work for me. I currently have just over 60% of my families following my blog regularly---to me, that's pretty good!!

Stay tuned for more helpful hints AND - link up with the

I cannot wait to see what everyone has in store. 

There are certainly some very talented educators out there! 

Thank goodness for technology!!! 


11 comments:

  1. I love the QR read idea. Not sure how many of my families have smartphones, but it is worth the try.

    ✿Tiffani
    Time 4 Kindergarten
    Time 4 Organization

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  2. Great post! I think some kind of regular contact is so important. Love the text/photo idea.

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  3. Tiffani - thanks! Let me know if you truy it and how it goes!

    Rachel - thank you! It is important. Somtimes it seems like frequent parent communication goes by the way side in the upper ele/secondary levels. We have to start them out young and carry it all the way though!

    Good luck, ladies! :)

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  4. I just found your blog through pinterest and love it. I started my blog around the same time as yours. I still haven't figured out how to make a button.
    I would love if you hopped over and check out my blog.

    Sharon
    Dogdaysofkindergarten.blogspot.com

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  5. I love the idea of a classroom blog!

    ~April
    ideabackpack.blogspot.com

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  6. Yes! I have close communication with my parents as well. Great post! I'm do happy to be a 5 star blogger too! Come by when you get a chance!

    Blogging Blessings,
    Rebecca

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  7. Sharon - Thank you for stopping by! I hope you continue to follow. I will check yours out as well!

    April - it is a REALLY great communication tool. My families love it! I'm going to check out your blog, too!

    Rebecca - Thank you! I will check out your blog! It's nice to connect with so many people!

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  8. Great post! Definitely a 5-Star Blogger! Thanks for linking up!

    Charity
    The Organized Classroom Blog

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  9. Fabulous post - so glad I stopped by. I'm also your newest follower and can't wait to read more of your posts.

    Sue
    www.sos-supply.blogspot.com

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  10. Thank you Sue and Charity!!! I appreciate your comments very much!

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  11. Great post! I just discovered your blog, and am your newest follower!

    Amanda
    Teaching Maddeness
    Drop by for my 100 follower giveaway!

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