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    By Jana

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    I send home a weekly newsletter to my parents, and have found that once you have your 'format' in place, it's very easy. (especially for you if you only have to do it once each month... however, yours would be longer than mine.) I keep my letter to 1 page, front and back. I include info in the following areas:
    1. I start with 'A Peek at the Week.' (In your case, a Peek at the Month.) I write a brief synopsis of our 'theme', usually tied to our reading series or a particular holiday. Include some of the main things you've worked on in writing workshop, projects, etc. This takes up 1/2 of a page in my letter.

    2. Next i move to bulleted points, with the sub-title 'Other Activities Included:' Here i bullet the following areas... Guided reading work, math, read alouds, songs, etc. Your options are really endless here. I try to key parents in to what we're doing during Guided REading groups, phonics work, math concepts, etc. This is a lot of info, so you can be very precise.

    3. Next i include an 'Announcements & Reminders' section. I bullet important upcoming dates, holidays, etc. This is also a good place to ask for supplies, discuss upcoming fieldtrips, ask for volunteers, whatever...

    4. I end with a section of questions which i title "Questions to ask your child..." This is a GREAT way to give your parents open-ended questions so they can 'talk school' with their child without their child saying 'I don't know...' I include around 5-7 questions which might cover reading, math, special activities, etc. For example: "You heard a story called 'Whiff, Sniff, Nibble and Chew.' How was this story different from the other Gingerbread Boy stories you heard? Tell me about it... -or- You used M&M's to work on permimeter, tell me how you figured out the problem. What is perimeter? Your options with the questions are really endless.

    Since you're putting together your letter once a month or so, it'd be really nice if you could include some student work. You could photocopy work, or have students work on computer pieces, book reviews, etc.

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