Parent communication is key to success for a student. Here are various ways teachers can communicate and involve parents.
Here is a copy of my First Day Letter to parents! |
Welcome to first grade! I hope you have had an enjoyable summer with your family. I am looking forward to an exciting ten months getting to know your child. My twenty-one years as an educator have taught me communication between parents and school staff is just as important as the learning process. I will need your cooperation in order to make your child’s transition from home to school successful everyday. Please voice your concerns to me as soon as they come up. I will be sure to communicate mine with you. I would also like to know of any changes going on at home, which might affect your child’s behavior. A parent leaving on a business trip, illness, visiting relatives or a nightmare may show up in the classroom as tantrums, tears, excitement or...
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I have the parents fill out a sheet that includes things that will help me know their child as a student and as an individual. Things like favorite book and TV show, siblings and parents, academic strenghts and weaknesses, medical info, and friendships. This sheet is sent home soon after the school year starts and then about 2 weeks after school has begun we have "Getting to Know You" conferences. We talk about getting to know their child and not about progress. We also talk about when is the best time to reach them and how to reach them. This starts the year off on a good note.
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I think communicating with parents is vital. Here's what works for me:|
#1 An introductory letter that tells about me, my philosophies, class goals, procedures, etc. I send this home the first day of school
#2 A class handbook that I pass out during Back-to-School night (We had a new principal that required these last year--and even though I initially grumbled, it really is a good idea!)
#3 Weekly homework folders (manilla envelopes) that go home each Monday and come back on Fridays. On the homework folders, parents list homework time--there's also a space for notes. Each week I send home a brief letter that tells about events coming up, lists spelling words, math focus, etc.
I have done the homework folders for years and have received much positive feedback from parents on how much they appreciate this consistent communication. When they are "in-the-know", they can...
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Parents are VERY involved in the school in which I am currently student teaching. Parents very often volunteer in the classroom to be guest readers, help in the computer room or just to do whatever they can to help the teachers. The Kindergarten classes have a parent volunteer practically every day. They either do misc work such as cutting, copying or laminating, or they lead group activities with the students.
The school also has excellent communication with parents. The students in the upper grades have agendas which the parents must sign every night to indicate that they have read the students' homework assignments. The parents can also use the agendas to write notes to the teachers. The Kindergarteners have homework assignment that involves the parents, such as having the kids recite a story to their...
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This year I began what I call a Home-School Connection Notebook. Any notebook would do but I am using the marble covered 170 sheet notebook that I got at Target. At the beginning of the year I made a template that each student filled in the blanks. It went like this:|
September _____, 2001
To My Family,
Today in ____________ I learned about __________________. Ask me about ___________.
Then as October came I made more blanks and now they are copying the whole thing from the white board. After the holidays or so I will make them write their own message. They also draw a picture of something they did during the day at school.
Parents LOVE this and it gets done EVERY day. The idea was to help start a conversation between parents and children. This is NOT used for parent-teacher communication....
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Talk to the other 3 teachers and perhaps plan for a get-to-know you night, program over-view for later in the week. You could make up a nice invitation that your EA could hand out on the registration days.|
Make sure you mention "refreshments and door prizes" as those are often good ways to bring parents into the school.
Then you could tell the parents about how the classrooms will be organized this year, what reading recovery is and the importance of follow-up at home. Make reading recovery sound like a tremendous priviledge that could be lost if the home participation is not done. We have exited students ourselves in our program when the parents haven't been doing the work at home to put in another student to give them a chance. It's amazing how if you do that to one or...
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Here's what I "try" to do:|
1. Thank the parent for contacting me. (This can be sincere. I'd rather have them come to me than go to someone else. I encourage my parents to ask if they have a question.)
2. Restate the problem for clarification. (This is what I hear you saying.)
3. Ask them what they would like me to do about the situation. (Like you say, sometimes they can't come up with the "perfect answer" either!)
4. Reclarify the solution agreed upon. (It's not always possible to bend, but if I can do it without sacrificing learning or principle I'm usually willing to try.)
5. Thank them again for contacting me and tell them I'll be in touch with them in a couple weeks to see how things are going.
6. Follow-through with the contact.
That's my "master plan" which has worked pretty well in my 20+...
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Calling parents weekly, to me seems like a huge investment of time for both the teacher and parents that is unecessary and serves more as Public Relations than good teaching. I think parent communication is important but has been overemphasized to the point where some poaretns have been conditioned/allowed to think they should have daily communication and full access to teachers via e-mail, notes and dropping in.A teacher who calls each parent every week may be on the grapevine of parents as "wonderful" but is not necessarily teaching better. Parent communication is one aspect of our very complicated jobs and should not be overemphasixed any more than any other aspect of our profession. I know I sound icky, but this topic clearly has me on edge- I have seen this done and it seems to primarily serve the teacher, not the child or parent in any effective way with...
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Wow! I can't believe that other schools don't have to do a syllabus. We have been doing them the 18 years I have been teaching. We call them long range plans. This is our format.|
Grade_____ Teacher Name_______________
I.Description of students being taught.
This description is #boys,#girls,White/black ratio,I always look at tests scores and put reading level fron STAR test ,etc ,Free/Reduced count,etc.
II.Learning and Development Goals:
By the end of the year , my Reading students will:
By the end of the year, my Math students will:
Just tell what you want them to accomplish. Do that for each subject that you are going to teach them.
III.Units of Instruction
1st Nine Weeks-Under this list what you are going to be covering in each subject.
2nd nine weeks-
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My schools open house is very similar. Ours is called Curriculum Night. The parents meet in the Gym and our Principal speaks to them and introduces the staff.|
Then we go to our rooms. We have 2-20minute intervals. The parents come in and I briefly go through the curriculum/textbooks. I also review my class procedures and the various ways we can communicate.
On each student's desk, their is:
*a district core curriculum booklet
*a packet of info. from me-- I put together a little packet of info. about each academic subject, and various things about my classroom. Such as: class expectations, class behavior policy, homework policy, parent-teacher communication, etc.
*a letter from the students: Earlier that day, the students write a letter to the parents explaining the "high points" of our...
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In the past I had a binder with page protectors that I used to keep notes from parents. I had one for each child. Then I would keep notes about phone calls in a sprial notebook. Today I bought a pretty binder that will stand out from the others on the shelf. It will be easy to find in a hurry. I bought subject dividers that are numbered 1-30. After each number is a few sheets of paper and a page protector. Each child will have a section based on their student number. I will use it for notes from parents that will go in the protectors and notes for phone calls, conferences, etc. will be written on the paper. When I get my class list, I will type up a list with names that match the numbers and put that in the front for a guide. Hopefully this...
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I also hand write my notes and mail them. At the end of the year, when there are contributions towards a class gift, I do design a thank you on computer stationery and I have the party the day before school and put the notes in their folders to go home. Using the computer would not help your carpal tunnel if you did the typing, but perhaps you could design a general note and plug the type of gift in so it would be personalized. This would be less typing once the first note was designed, and you could just print them out. Kids do enjoy receiving the cards, and it is good public relations for the parents to know that their gift, however small, was appreciated by the teacher. Interestingly enough, I receive very few written thank-yous for any of the holiday gift bags I give my children.
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Let me encourage you to be proactive with your parent contacts / communciation. Send home with all of your students some kind of periodic status report that includes grades and/ or behavior report, classrooom newsletter, missing assignment form, etc. Do more than the usual mid-term and end-of-term reporting. Then choose a mentor from that group of seasoned teachers. You may find that those with good parent - teacher relationships have been systematically developing those relationships and will share his/her strategies with you. Finally, use the first parent - teacher conference to focus listening to parent concerns. You will find that even if you do not discuss school - related issues, the majority of those attending will show themselves quite supportive throughout the year. Be sure to take notes and address what issues you can in a timely manner. Believe me, the extra...
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I only contact parents by phone if I need to discuss specific things with them.|
We have an informal report card in early October, then our regular reporting periods in November, March and June.
We also have two parent-teacher interview times.
I am always available by phone and parents are always welcome to come in to discuss things.
I send home newsletters and we have a daily book where parents or I can write notes back and forth.
I simply do not have time to be phoning my parents every week let alone every month. Those students who are doing fine in school I feel I contact parents enough through the reporting periods and notes home. Students who are struggling I'll contact parents depending on the student and their parents.
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Last year my school began publishing our room extensions and school e-mail addresses in our parent handbooks. I did get a small number of parents who would e-mail me on a regular basis, but I stressed that important messages be called into the office so I would be certain to get them (in case I don't have time to get to my computer). I have a feeling more will jump on board with e-mailing this year.|
My husband, however, teaches at the high school level in a different district. Because he has many more students he has found it VERY difficult to keep up with the amount of e-mails and voice mails he gets from parents each day. Many days he spends the majority of his lunch & prep time answering messages (written notes, voice mail AND e-mail). He's hoping to find a better way to manage all these...
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We don't get our class lists until Monday, and our kids don't come back until the 28th.|
Our "welcome back" letters are mailed out by our secretaries--we write the letters, stuff the envelopes, but then the labels are put on because our class lists are top secret until Monday (:rolleyes: ).
Anyhow, I checked my school email this morning and saw that I already had an email from a parent. I was dreading opening it...they are contacting me already--this can't be good!
BOY WAS I PLEASANTLY SURPRISED!
The parent wanted me to know that she couldn't come to my meet the teacher night because her older child was also having orientation and it would be his first experience in a new school. So, since she and her husband couldn't make it, her mom (the little girls grandma!) is going to...
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