One of the easiest methods we’ve found to communicate with (and impress!) parents is a daily email. When my daughter was in 4th grade, her teacher did this, and it made such an impression on me, I decided to implement it in my own classroom. While it sounds time-consuming, it’s actually one of the quicker and easier things I do during the day.
Basically, we collect parent email addresses and organize them into a group. Once the work of inputting their addresses is complete, the rest is super simple. Each afternoon, we put the group’s addresses in the blind carbon copy space of an email. I list the subject as “homework for _____ date”. The actual text of the email is very brief: math, page ____, spelling worksheet. That’s it! Then we click on send and parents are immediately updated with what the day’s assignments are.
We use the BCC on the email so that if a parent doesn’t want their email address broadcast to everyone else, it’s not. We generally wait until right after school so that if an unexpected assignment comes up, it’s easily included. We don’t like to write a lot in this email – parents are busy and don’t always have the time to read lengthy details. This just lets them keep up to date with their child quickly and easily. We also are able to send multiple emails to the parents: mom, dad, grandparent, babysitter, etc, since it’s in a group. This lets whichever person will be responsible for the child that afternoon know what needs to be worked on.
Often, parents will call their child after school to check in on him or her. Having looked at their email, the parent can ask the child about specific assignments. This avoids the “forgotten” homework that doesn’t get remembered until bedtime, or later. It also helps those students who don’t remember what page the math homework was, etc.
Occasionally, we’ll include information such as “newsletters went home today”, or “permission slips are due on _____ date”. We also try to give a heads up on upcoming parent teacher conferences and events like that. However, we keep it as short and simple as possible. Many parents are reading the email on their phone, which lends itself better to a short message.
We send the email every day, including Friday, even though there isn’t homework every day. If there’s no homework, the email says so, allowing parents to believe their child when he or she says there’s none. This also ensures that parents know the technology is still working and they will be getting emails.
Many parents have commented on what a help this email is. As busy, working moms ourselves, we’ve tried to make things just a little easier for the parents of our students.
If you’re looking for an easy way to keep the lines of communication open with parents, this is the way to go!