For your reading enjoyment ... a few samples of my daily emails to parents this year.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarge, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    As I mentioned on another thread, instead of maintaining a webpage (I have a webpage. Go there if you want the latest info on Y2K) I send out a daily email to all of the parents of my students. This email tells them specifically if what homework there is and any other information I need to convey. This solves many problems, especially the game of "backpack tag" where two adults (a parent and a teacher) attempt to communicate via messages placed in the backpack of a six year old.

    I'd spend about 5 to 15 minutes a day on these messages. Aside from these, there are a few that just say "Math worksheet on addition and a decodable book called Dan Spins."

    But these are some of the better ones.

    My intent here was to explain what might be some rather odd answers to "what happened at school today."

    Every night, the parents had to read a decodable book with their kids. Sometimes, I would comment on the literary quality of the books. I couldn't help myself.


    And this was my final message for the end of the school year...
     
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  3. Jayneorama

    Jayneorama Rookie

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    :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Brilliant!
     
  5. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

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    those were great!
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Thanks for the laugh this morning!
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I love it! I'm not sure my past administrators would approve of the "familiar" (aka friendly & conversational) tone (every communication we have done had to be in a professional and positive way), but I absolutely love it! I would love to read your beginning of the year message to parents, telling them what to expect in first grade. Sarge - you are brilliant!
     
  8. miskenzie

    miskenzie Rookie

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    Thank you so much for sharing!
     
  9. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I am looking for ways to "connect" better with parents (as I was told I need to work on that). Thank you for sharing this wonderful example. I wish more of my parents had e-mail addresses that they read regularly, I might try it anyway.
     
  10. AZMrs.S

    AZMrs.S Cohort

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    This is great! What a great and easy way to keep parents in the loop. Thanks for sharing!
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Love it! And how sad that some administrators wouldn't approve of what is, I am sure, such effective communication.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I send out weekly emails to my students (distance learning makes this necessary). Need to make them as much fun as yours.
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The hardest part is tracking down good email addresses.

    You want the email address that goes to their phone. A lot more people have phones than have computers these days especially in the lower socioeconomic groups.

    You can also now send emails to phones via text messaging. But you will also need the name of their service provider for that.
     
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    A few more things.

    I spend a lot of time at the start of the year explaining the purpose of the emails. When mom or dad says "what did you do in school today?" and the kid replies "nothing" they can counter that with "Well, the email says ..." The same for when they ask if they have any homework. The age-old fib where a child says they have no homework when they really do becomes much harder to pull off.

    The other thing is that parents now have a tool to teach their kids responsibility. I tell them that I always explain to the kids at then end of the day what homework they have. If the child gets home and does not know what the homework is, but dad does, then they can have a conversation about paying attention in class.

    The reason I make the emails humorous is twofold. First of all, I want the parents to read them. One parent told me that he always looked forward to them when he was at work for a good laugh. Another parent said that a few of them were even tacked up on the bulletin board in the company breakroom. The other reason is that I like to acknowledge that these kids I teach, while wonderful and amazing, can also be the source of frustration. The parents share the same frustration on a daily basis. They enjoy hearing that the normal first grader has trouble listening and following directions - that means that their child who they have to tell three times to brush their teeth (on a good night) is actually normal.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Good points! Another suggestion is to send at least one a week with a read receipt. That way, you can tell which parents have at least opened the emails on a regular basis. I've used that often to gauge accountability. In my case, it goes like this:

    "I can't open the videos in the class so I can't do this assignment."
    "Well, Susie Student, if you had read you email on Monday, you would have seen that I recorded all the videos in another format and put them on a web page right in the classroom. However, you haven't checked your email in the last three weeks."
    "Yeah, I'm not an email kind of person."
     
  16. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Ahhhh......I remember those decodable books. I dreaded The King of Purple every year. And ripping out over 100 books for 30 kids was quite fun.
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    We don't have them to rip out... I have to print them every week.
     
  18. each1teach1

    each1teach1 Cohort

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    Those were awesome! I wish I could do something humorous like that, but in my district parents would try to use them as proof that I was unprofessional. When I did the more formal ones, they tried to use them like iron-clad contracts that I wasn't allowed to deviate from. I'm planning to try a six weeks newsletter at the end of the grading period with a six weeks at a glance of the upcoming grading period.
     
  19. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Those are absolutely great! I bet your parents love your humor!
     
  20. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Here's what I wrote this year about The King of Purple. Again, I had to restrain myself.

     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    :toofunny::toofunny::toofunny:
     
  22. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    :lol::lol:
     
  23. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Wonderful letters! Your students (and parents) are very lucky to have you!
     
  24. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    These are great!
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How delightful!!!
     
  26. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    :lol:
     
  27. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Can I get your emails next year even though I will not have a first grader in your class?
     
  28. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    You seriously need to create a book for teachers to read for therapy.
    Sign me up too!
     
  29. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    sign me up too

    I love your way with words. it is really refreshing. I wish I had that gift. good job!
     
  30. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I still remember an email I sent out about the letter "C" on our carpet. Some of the girls realized my name starts with a C and so does theirs! It became a spot to fight over. It was a discipline issue in the class and I was having to resort to different tactics than I normally did but I wanted parents to be aware of my strategies but not concerned about the behavior. I presented it in a way that was humorous because it really was. It meant they made an important educational connection. Another email was about a snowball fight we had in the classroom. Really lots of good stuff. But yes, the laid back conversational/humorous style IS effective especially when infused with professional knowledge. (That last part is important). I actually prefer a teacher that way. I do look forward to the emails and I get a sense that the teacher has a sense of humor and enjoys what he/she does. It is equally important that the teacher makes the educational and developmental connections and wants to convey that to parents as a sense of recognizing we are on the same team.
     
  31. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    P.S. My middle school child's band teacher has a fun writing personality and comes across as someone who is dedicated, has a sense of humor, values parent communication, genuinely wants our children to do their best work, respectful of students and their age group, and has passion for her job. She assigns community listening to professional band events as extra credit (free stuff). I get literally at least 30 emails and/or attachments a week from my 3 children's schools and often more! I get tired of reading then. Irritated times when there are just so many of them. Sometimes I put of reading some of the emails or attachments for several days and let them pile up but her emails, I often read right away.

    I especially like the ones that convey a sense of compassion and understanding of the students or my child. But any way you look at it, this can be done at all levels.

    The one about the Rabbit book was a good one Sarge. I wasn't sure where you were going with it at first but you told them you forgot part of your job that day in a humorous and human way but let them know that if their child didn't come home with it, not to freak out and if their child did come home with it, to praise the heck out of them.
     
  32. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    This is AWESOME!! :D

    I think it's a terrific idea to send a daily email out to parents. I think I might try it this year. I just worry that I might forget sometimes...or get too busy to do it. I love that you can send communication about ANYTHING, though. Like if something just comes to you and it's not a big enough deal to send a letter home, but just something you could use help with or something you might need to borrow. I would love to have had messages like this from any of my children's teachers!! And if they were THIS amusing, I would definitely be checking my email every. single. school. day. :lol:
     
  33. jteach89

    jteach89 Companion

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    lol love the end of the school year email. A lot of times we all spend so much time at the computer, electronics, etc.. its not solely giving the students an assignment/report to do for the summer.
     
  34. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Oh, Sarge, I don't know what it is about you. Your school situation is almost comically discouraging, and you are completely comically inspiring. I wanna join your email list, too.
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I try to avoid sending attachments. The only time I do is when it's a duplicate of a paper I've sent home in case the child lost it. For the most part, attachments bug me. Our principal sends out the staff newsletter as a pdf. Quite often, I don't get around to reading it for that reason.

    It's great tool when you realize after school that you've overlooked something - that flyer that you found in your box after school, the homework page you forgot to send.

    I tell the parents from the outset that I may, from time to time not send the emails. In that case, look in the child's backpack, and if there's a decodable book they've never seen, have the child read it and if there's an unfinished math paper have the child do it. Also, there are lots of days when my email consists of nothing more than "Just one decodable book, Mason's Big Hat. Have a great evening." Other day's I'll just write in the subject "No homework tonight. NFM."

    I'd challenge anyone who calls these emails unprofessional. If an administrator or parent thinks that humor is unprofessional, I just don't know what to say. At worst, I'm sometimes guilty of poking fun at the writers of our reading program. But I've been teaching with this program for over 10 years, and trust me, such criticism is well deserved.
     
  36. bizzbeth125

    bizzbeth125 Rookie

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    Love these! I need to spice up my newsletters! Haha
     
  37. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree--these aren't in the least unprofessional. They help the parents get to know the teacher their child spends so much time with. As a parent, I know that the teacher who sends out this type of email is someone who is easy to approach.
     
  38. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Believe me, I wasn't calling your emails unprofessional! I think I was calling my previous administrators humorless and unyielding, lol! One even required ALL parent communications by ALL teachers to be preapproved by him! I think Sarge's communications are fabulous!
     
  39. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    :lol:These are great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  40. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I bet there was a lot less communication with parents that year!
     
  41. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Thanks for sharing - great post! Great advice in your final message:)
     

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