By Rita Platt
Guess what? That weekly newsletter you send home? I don’t read it. I’m truly sorry. I’m a teacher too. I know how hard you worked to write it and make it just right. But, like most parents (and teachers for that matter) I’m ridiculously busy. I realize that there are lots of moms and dads out there who are more on top of things than me who do read your letters. My hats are off to them.
But please, have mercy on the rest of us. Please.
Maybe it’s time for a change?
How about emailing your letter?
This is as simple as making a group on your school email account! Don’t know how? Ask around your building it’s quick and easy! If you use Gmail, check out this tutorial from EducationalTechTools.
Posting it on a class Facebook page?
Or your own class webpage that parents can bookmark and check frequently. If you use Facebook, you can create a closed group so that no one other than invited participants can view your postings. This way, you can share all you want and still keep it private to your classroom. Need help? Click here.
Texting me updates?
It turns out that texting is not only a great way to communicate with most people these days, it is also an effective way to boost students’ academic growth. Check out this study of how texting impacted the achievement of preschoolers and ask yourself it if might not work for your class too. There are many cool tools for sending school-related texts, check out Remind101 as an example.
Just include the must-know information in an easy-to-read at at glance format. Feel free to use my template if you like! You can easily get more than one on a page to save paper.
No matter how you send home information, keep these rules of thumb in mind.
- Use the KISS principal: Keep It Short Sweetheart! A half-page with bulleted information is more likely to be read than an entire text-filled page.
- Keep it predictable: Use the four-square method above. You might have a section for upcoming dates to know, one for homework, one for current topics of study, and one for news Keep it consistent from week to week so parents know how to read the letter and quickly find useful information.
- Share contact information: Include email and phone number every time! Parents do not want to have to search for your information. If we truly want two-way communication, we need to make it easy for parents.
Caution! Mind the “Digital Divide”!
Of course, the digital divide is a fierce problem. Not all of your families will have access to the internet, though most will text. It may be a little harder initially, but survey your parents about how they want to you share information with them. Click here for a form to help you get the information you need. Then, save a tree, only send paper letters home to those who want and/or need them.
Change is good! Happy 21st Century!
Rita Platt (@ritaplatt) is a Nationally Board Certified teacher. Her experience includes teaching learners of all levels from kindergarten to graduate student. She currently is a Library Media Specialist for the St. Croix Falls SD in Wisconsin, teaches graduate courses for the Professional Development Institute, and consults with local school districts.