Welcome Back to the second round of Teacher Wisdom. This month we are sharing our teacher wisdom on Classroom Management. Below I am focusing on parent communication. It’s always important to start the new school year with strong parent communication. Below is something NEW, something OLD, something BORROWED and something TRUE. I’ve also added something FREE. At the end of the post is a download link to a FREEBIE. Here are some ideas, tools and resources to strengthen that bond between teacher and parent. Click READ MORE below to see the entire post.
|Behavior and Parent Contact Log Book
First, let’s start with something NEW. I saw this idea on the blog Teaching in Room 6. Essentially, you create a tabbed composition book or spiral notebook to keep track of student behaviors. I am taking this idea and also noting parent contacts. Any time a student clips down and stays there I will quickly write in my book (the tabs help to find the students quickly by number or name…mine are a little blurry as I blurred out the names) what happened. Also, if I contact the parent I will make a quick note on that student’s page as well. I will also staple any notes the parent sends as well. This way, all challenging student behavior and parent communication is in ONE place for easy access.
|Parent Thursday Folder
Moving on to something OLD, here’s a tried and true favorite for keeping parents informed. The Parent Communication Folder. My school orders these folders for each student. I label them with the student’s name. Then on Thursday, I send the folder home with the students with PTO flyers, school flyers, my correspondence, etc. Anything that parents need to see goes home in that folder. Thursday is our school wide Parent Communication Folder day. So all parents expect that folder to go home on Thursday. Inside are 2 pockets that say LEAVE AT HOME or BRINGS BACK TO SCHOOL. As long as your are consistent about sending it home on a certain day, it is very efficient and powerful.
|Student Test Folders
Now for something BORROWED. I noticed that one of my own child’s teacher was using a folder to send home tests…any test…spelling tests, ELA tests, math tests, etc. These would go home periodically in this folder with a page for parent signature. So last year I decided to do the same and it was very successful. I created these folders (bought at Target for 5 cents each when they were on clearance!!!) and filled them with about 20 pages of lined paper. The folders have those metal clasps for 3 hole punched papers as well as two pockets. I’ve also included a letter to parents telling them about this folder and a signature sheet. My students take their spelling tests on the blank papers. Every week they take home the folder on Friday and the parents review the spelling test and sign. The students return the folder on Mondays. Then periodically, as I give tests I will also send those home for the parents to keep. I tell them to keep them so that they can match them to report card grades. Personally, as a parent I was thankful to see the tests periodically so I knew how my child was doing. I want to keep my parents informed of their kid’s progress as well. This is an easy and efficient way of doing that.
|Keep the reminders coming!
What is something TRUE? I know as a parent that sometimes we just don’t get all the information that a teacher or school sends home through folders, Teleparent, or emails. So as a teacher, I just have to keep sending home important information many, many times and keep repeating it until I think all parents have received it and acknowledge it! With that in mind and the fact that almost all parents have some kind of mobile device, tablet or internet access, I have been using the Remind app and ClassDojo app for about 3 years now. Remind is amazing. It allows you to send texts directly to parents (using an anonymous number from your mobile phone or tablet, or directly from your computer). I send reminders for:
- returning forms
- picture day
- field trips
- PE day (wear tennis shoes and bring water)
- request for materials
- request for volunteers
- reminders of school events
- upcoming tests
- special events
- and many more things that just pop up during the day that there is no time to create a flyer to send home!
ClassDojo is a behavior management app that I will begin using again after Back to School Night (I want to show parents how to sign up). You can read more about ClassDojo HERE on my previous post about how I use it. What is great about both apps, is that I can also initiate a messaging or chat with a particular parent or the entire group. Wonderful for that instant communication. You can also attach pictures and videos. The possibilities are endless! And it all makes for great parent communication.
Now for something FREE! I’ve included another way to communicate with parents regarding student behavior. I am currently using a behavior clip chart. Every day the students put an X or color in the space that represents their behavior for that day. On Friday, the students take the chart home for parents to sign. I’ve included an EDITABLE chart that you can customize for your own behavior chart. It is HERE at this link. It will download both the editable PowerPoint and the same file as PDF. In the PowerPoint I’ve included the names of the fonts I use for you to download, as well as, including a Helvetica version of the charts.
Thanks again for reading our Teacher Wisdom and click below to follow the links to other Tips and Ideas for Classroom Management from the Teacher Wisdom bloggers! Have a great school year!