By Katie Hernandez
Newsletters, phone calls, emails, and notes home – we all know and love these classic parent communication tools. However, building in some creative ways to get parents involved can add a dynamic “flavor” to your classroom. After five years on the job, here are a few of my go-to favorites.
Real-time updates are the best! My school has a Facebook page that we are encouraged to add pictures and updates to whenever we do something worth sharing. This can be a great option for involving parents across different classes/grade levels and encouraging conversation.
Before beginning any social media channel, it is important to find out about any restrictions your district may have.
For example, you may need special permission to post or share photographs of students. If this is an issue, perhaps a secure platform like ClassTag is better suited as it only allows invited parties to access the content. No matter which tool you choose, sharing updates with parents as they happen will excite students and their families.
Stickers and Bracelets:
When we have a big event at night or something happening the next day (like picture day) my school makes up sticker or bracelet reminders for the students to wear home. Stickers can be as simple as address labels printed with a message like “Spring Concert Tonight at 6pm.” Bracelets can be a little trickier but are definitely fun to use when announcing an exciting or particularly important event. We print the message on strips of colored paper and staple them around children’s wrists. That way, parents can see the message as soon as the students get home. This can be a fun complement to your ClassTag event notifications.
One of the ways that I start to get to know my students is by asking them what they do during the weekend or after school. My students know that they can tell me about any performance, game, or event and I will try my best to attend. By attending things outside of school, students see how much I support them, and I am able to build a more nuanced rapport with parents too!
Car Rider Drop-off and Pick-Up:
If you have carpool duty, make use of that face time with parents! Some afternoons I volunteer to help load car riders in their cars. This is a quick time for me to be able to put names to faces, match siblings up, and say hi to parents. Being able to share a quick compliment about their child’s behavior lets the parents know that even though I see hundreds of students each week, I pay attention to each and every one.Even though I see hundreds of students each week, I pay attention to each and every one. Click To Tweet
School Events: Meet the Teacher/ Open House/ Parent Teacher Conferences:
When I first started at my school, I didn’t really understand what an amazing opportunity I have during these times to build relationships with families that later support my program. Now, I set up a booth at the front of the school displaying photos of the year before, ways for parents to order instruments, and save-the-date cards for concerts.
It’s also a great opportunity to go through a ClassTag demo and help the parents join the platform.
I created a YouTube Channel my first year of teaching and I continue to use it for a few reasons. As a music teacher, I create practice tracks for students to be able to practice their music at home. But it also comes in handy for parent communication too. Whenever something important is going on, I make a short video (about 30 seconds to a minute long) and I send out the link to my parents through ClassTag. Most of my students have subscribed to my channel, so when a new video is posted, they also get a notification. And what’s great is that the videos are just of me, so I don’t have to have permission from my district to send them out. If I post a video with students in it, I always ask permission first.
Being creative with parent communication can be a fun professional goal.
Figuring out the best ways to share information with families – especially if they do not check emails, take phone calls, or if their child is a chronic note-loser – is important and necessary for a smooth classroom. Exercise your creativity here, but remember, you may need to check with your principal and district to make sure these will work with your rules and regulations.
ClassTag is the only technology that really empowers you to reach any parent. To get set up for success in 18/19, sign up free today >>