Parent communication

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Miss Kirby, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I have 22 first graders, and I have pretty needy parents. I know I need to communicate with them more, through notes and phone calls. Even if they weren't as needy, I know I should be doing this more! What kind of systems do you use, usually for positive communication? I'm struggling with this!! There is so much to do and it seems positive communication with parents always gets the short end, and it shouldn't be like that.
     
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  3. jennyd

    jennyd Companion

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I wish I could be better at this, too! In my class the kids have clothespins that they move up/down during the day depending on how they're doing (everyone starts on green for the day and you move down for misbehavior and up for really excellent behavior). I made up a little Monday-Friday calendar for the kids (just a half sheet of paper with a box for each day, stapled to their homework folders each week) and each day they colored the box whatever color they ended on. I tried to make sure each kid colored the right color (there were only a few who I really had to check) and I think the parents liked having a clue about how their kid was that day.

    Also, I had a stack of photocopied notes on hand so I just had to fill in the kid's name, and what they did that was so marvelous (i.e. Hooray! _____________ moved his clothespin up today because _____________). Towards the end of the year things got a bit crazy and this system fell apart a bit, but I think it went ok for a while.

    I hope this helps - or at least inspires you to something that works for you! :)
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 23, 2007

    Last year we had a wow certificate that we sent home with the kids that didn't get a hole punch on their behavior card. Really it was done more for the kids than the parents.

    Otherwise we send weekly newsletters, occasional emails and we have a notepad that has stuff on it where we just do a checkmark, add a comment and a signature and send it home with the parents. The behavior specialist gave them to us. I admit most of the emails are negative or informative unless we are trying to follow up. The best example of a good positive communication was by my son's 2nd grade teacher last year. About half way through the year I suddenly got something good about my son. It was a rather average thing, but it brightened my day. Then after that I got them regularly (without prompt) but they didn't follow a predictable pattern (at least not to my observation). I enjoyed saying something back. It wasn't long, but it was nice having a relationship with the teacher where she prompted it. Then when she had something negative to share, it softened the blow and it made me really want to work on it and report back.
     
  5. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Aug 23, 2007

    i send a caught being good card home per week. Its a post card that I send out to one kid a week to say "hi, your kid is doing great."
     
  6. Buttons

    Buttons Rookie

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    A proud note: "My teacher is proud of me for.... (this part filled out by teacher). They love these! :3)
     
  7. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2007

    I send a Monday Memo home every week via email. It updates the parents on hw for the week, field trips, school events, and then a brief description of the week ahead or a review of interesting things from the week before. I am religious about sending one every week. Sometimes they are very long (a typed page or more) sometimes they are rather short-- just a highlight of upcoming events.

    This year our principal said we all need to be sending weekly letters home, so fortunately, I already have done this and am in the routine.
     
  8. jayt11

    jayt11 Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2007

    my kids go home and tell their parent whether they were on green, yellow or red. The parents tend to figure out something's up when their kid has no lollipop or pencil(the normal prizes i give out everyday.)

    I'm keeping them honest.....speaking of which, Anderson Cooper's on, have a good night!
     
  9. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Aug 23, 2007

    Can you put ALL of the parents' email addresses in a group, and send one message every few days?

    For individual student needs, this would not work, of course.
     
  10. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Aug 24, 2007

    :) I definately like the weekly report idea! Every student in my school purchases a planner for the year with every day of the school year in it so I plan to keep the parents more updated which I didn't do so much last year. I plan to use the planner everyday and have each child keep their planners out at dismissal time and I will have a classroom helper "stamp" their day right in their planner. I use the color system so I bought big green, yellow, blue & red ink pads so that the helper just has to stamp everybody's day as a job. I very rarely get any kids who move to red, but if I do I will call those parents personally.
    I also bought "Good Note" cards that I sent home with kids at times when I thought the parent really needed to know how great their child is doing! I think I found them at Big Lots or Dollar Tree.
    I send home monthly newsletters and that's about it.
    I would love to hear more ideas as well.:)
     
  11. dreaming_luke

    dreaming_luke Rookie

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    I try to do 4 quick positive phone calls per day. I also purchase small cards with blank inside and print a positive quote inside. Also, I send home weekly reports as well.
     
  12. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    This is a good idea. It would be tedious to send out individual emails! Our IT guy does it for us. Most email services allow you to do this with your email contact list.

    Oh, and I do contact parents individually for specific things about their child... problems with school work, behavior, etc.
     
  13. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2007

    Jay11- You send home small prizes like pencils or lollipops every day? Wow - how do you afford it? Do most kids earn a reward daily? or weekly? Just curious...
     
  14. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Aug 24, 2007

    I'm thinking of putting a few sheets of paper in their Bee Books, and maybe four kids a day I can wrote a note. That way once a week a parent will have a positive comment about their child (or maybe a not so positive comment if needed!!)

    Or maybe fill out a weekly report for each child and send it home on Friday.

    I just need to figure out what works for me. I hate changing this after the school year starts though. But more communcation is for the better, even if I didn't start it the first week of school.
     
  15. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Aug 24, 2007

    I like the idea of picking 4 kids a day to write to, I might steal that! As a tip, I would keep a class list handy and check the kids off as you write to them, so you know who you have gotten to already.

    I also think I am going to use the "good notes" system where you just have a certificate and fill in the child's name and what was so great.

    Also, I have printed stickers just on regular mailing labels that say, "Ask me about the great thing I did in school today!" They are cute- I made them yellow and put in a cute apple clip art picture. I am going to stick them on the kids' shirts whenever I compliment them on something great (for example, being the only person to sit nicely on the carpet). Last year I just gave out regular stickers and told the kids to tell their parents why they had gotten them...but who knows if they remembered to! I figure with this sticker, a parent that picks the child up will notice it and ASK them what they did that was so great in school, prompting the kid to brag. And no writing for me. :)
     
  16. dreaming_luke

    dreaming_luke Rookie

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    Once in awhile I will send my "Doing great things" card in the mail for my student. They love getting mail, and that way I know that it won't be lost before the parent/guardian gets to see it. :D
     

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