Communicating with parents should always be a top priority in our profession, yet it is also something that is easy to let fall to the bottom of the to do list. I wanted to share three of my favorite ways to communicate with my parents that are FREE and EASY! As with anything, each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and I tend to have a specific purpose for each method. Overall, I think that these three really allow me to keep my students and parents informed.
Anyone can create a blog through Blogger.com for FREE! This is one of my favorite ways to communicate with both my students and parents. It is also one of the easiest for me to use. Each weekend, I usually take five to ten minutes to schedule out blog posts for the upcoming week. I LOVE being able to schedule the blog posts, because I don’t have to remember them mid-day or scramble to post throughout a crazy day. Parents can also subscribe by email. This is an amazing feature that my parents always rave about. One parent said, “I love knowing what homework she has (referring to her daughter) before she even gets off the bus.” Since we are a 1:1 school, we don’t have planners that are signed and returned each day. This is also a fabulous way to put the responsibility back on students and parents. In my opinion, there is really not an excuse for not knowing what homework should be done or what projects are coming up. I typically use this blog to communicate homework and other reminders that apply to both students and parents.
Since I’ve been teaching general education, I have had a Facebook group for my parents. And over the years, it has seriously saved so many headaches and even more time. I only allow parents, guardians, or other family members who directly care for my students into the Facebook group. It is set to private, and I approve each person who joins. I love using this group to connect with my parents, not just communicate with them. I go LIVE throughout the school day, share pictures of their students, and post parent only announcements when needed. One worry that many of my teacher friends have is that they will have to “friend” all of the parents of their students. You don’t! I give them a link at Open House each year, and they are able to join without friending me. It is so simple to create and maintain, and I think has helped me have great relationships with my parents.
I’m a little late to the Class Dojo party, but this year, I have really fallen in love with it. I love that parents can see what points their child has earned or lost throughout the day. In previous years, I used a clip chart, and if a child was moving their name once or twice per day, parents really didn’t know unless I went out of my way to communicate it with them. By using Class Dojo, they can see the positives and negatives every single day. Now, I’ll admit, there are times when I don’t like that all subscribed parents can message me at any time. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. I would rather them have access to me than get frustrated over something simple.