Why Communicating With Parents is Important
Effective communication between home and school is one of the foundations for successful learning. Too often, however, parents only hear from the teacher when their child has misbehaved or is struggling. A positive note home about a child's accomplishment, effort, or even just something memorable they said or did can go a long way to improving teacher/parent relations and facilitating shared responsibility for student learning.
One of the challenges to consistently communicating with parents is finding the time to make those connections. Parents' and teacher's work schedules, along with time limitations, can seriously inhibit the degree to which school and family members may interact.
With these tips for teachers, communicating with parents on a bi-weekly basis is made simple using personalized note cards.
Personalized Note Cards
During the first week of school, I take a close-up picture of each child. (You could also ask parents to send in a photo of their child to use, instead!)
Next, I print (or photocopy) the picture on to a half-sheet of paper so that the photo appears all the way on the very far right of the sheet. I fit two student photos per sheet of paper – one on the top-half and one on the bottom-half. Using this master sheet, I print (or photocopy) 40 copies for weekly communication or 20 copies for bi-weekly communication.
Using the paper cutter, I cut each sheet in half to separate the photos, and then fold them in half lengthwise to form note cards. The note cards should have the student's photo on the front, and be blank on the inside.
Finished Note Card
To organize the photos, I place one photo of each student into a manila envelope or folder. (So each folder or envelope will hold a single photo of each student. 24 students would = 24 photos per envelope/folder.) I have enough envelopes or folders to cover the entire year, and each has been labeled with a specific week. (Week One, Week Two…and so forth.)
Using this method, I able to quickly jot a note home for each student over a weekly or bi-weekly period. I can also easily see which students I have not sent notes home for, because their personalized note card will still be left in the folder or envelope.
The notes do not have to be lengthy! Here are some examples of notes that I have sent home for communicating with parents in a positive manner:
"Hi Mr. and Mrs. Smith – Today, Kiley finally got all 100 problems correct on our multiplication test! I was so proud of her, and knew you would want to share in the excitement!"
"Mrs. Lawrence – You will be so pleased to know that Nate has been a HUGE help with our new student this week. He showed Sam around the playground, and made sure he had a place to sit in the lunchroom. I think they are going to be great friends!"
"Hi Mr. and Mrs. Miller – Kendra shared her golf ball collection with the class today during Show and Tell. She spoke so confidently and even answered questions at the end. The whole class was impressed!"
"Mr. Hanson – Jimmy's handwriting has really improved since the beginning of the year. I can tell that he has really been working hard to learn how to form the letters correctly. Thank you for all of the extra work you have been doing at home with him! It is really making a difference."
Communicating With Parents = Positive Responses
Your students will be excited to take home notes with their photo on the front. Parents will appreciate learning more about their children's accomplishments and school day. You, as the teacher, will reap the benefits of positively and consistently communicating with parents in your class. Feel free to share your communication tips for teachers. Communicating with parents is an important part of your classroom climate, and your comments or suggestions are encouraged below.