Whether your classroom overflows with a steady stream of parent volunteers or your heart breaks for students with unengaged families, parent communication can almost always be improved. Parents are often gold mines of helpful information to help motivate, teach, and connect with our students. While teachers certainly have their plates full with various responsibilities, communicating with parents is very much worth the time and effort!
You might decide to take on these ideas by yourself, enlist a few fellow colleagues, or get your entire school involved. Here are some suggestions to improve communication with parents:
Create a class website, blog, or wiki. Include resources and news about your classroom. Technology serves as a convenient way for you to share information and for parents to have access to it.
Plan Parent Workshops
A colleague once approached me with an idea to create a fun, interactive family Saturday workshop for students and their parents. We incorporated academic games and centers that we had already introduced to the students during the school day. We divided the attendees by the number of teachers involved in the workshop. Parents rotated with their students to different classrooms and teachers, spending about 30 minutes in each rotation. After a brief mini lesson, the students led their parents in the activity, reinforcing what they were already learning in the classroom. Everyone enjoyed the workshop. Not only did teachers and parents interact in a positive way, but the bond between the students and their parents grew stronger, as well.
Food breaks down barriers, brings people together, and encourages a relaxed atmosphere. I love this idea of teachers and administration mingling with students and parents. Imagine the conversations about student interests, family traditions, and aspirations that could take place over a feast of hamburgers and hotdogs! What a wonderful way to “enlist the parents and caregivers who sent us their most prized possessions each day—and who had loved these children long before educational institutions began applying all kinds of unflattering labels to them.”
Think Outside of the School
Hold a workshop or event at a park, community center, hotel conference room, or rental hall. Families might feel more comfortable outside of the classroom setting. In fact, teachers and administrators might enjoy the change of scenery, too!
How have you effectively communicated with parents? Leave a comment below!