Parent Communication Tips For Teachers

Parent Log

Using A Parent Teacher Contact Log

Play This Video In this age of ever increasing accountability it is vital to keep a record of all contact you have with home. A great way to do this is to keep a notebook record of all contact you have with parents and guardians. In that notebook keep a record of the following:

1. Who you talked to.

2. Time and Date

3. The reason you or they called.

This simple task transfers the accountability on to the parent and off of you.

Teaching Idea

Parent Involvement-"Come To School With Me"
Linda Archibald, Early Childhood Director

With today's busy schedules it is sometimes difficult to get parent's involved in your program. Teachers are always trying to come up with new and innovative ideas to entice parents into the classroom. Parents are wondering is my child "just playing" all day, are they learning anything, and what is an appropriate curriculum for pre-school children?

It is important to educate your parents on their child's daily routine. And you know what, sometimes parents "learn by doing" as well as children. So why not let your parents come to school with their child? Of course with a large number of parents working this is not always possible. The next time you do a "parent night" provide opportunities for your parents to share their child's day.

Our teachers plan for this evening by altering their daily routine by making an eight hour day fit into two hours. After the parents have signed in, their child takes them to their class. Quiet activities are provided until the program is ready to begin. Parents are encouraged to follow the activities with the children.

Teachers go through their daily routine beginning with Circle Time. Everyone gets involved in singing, dancing, etc. Parents are asked to plan for the next activity. They must choose a learning center to go to. With the help of their child they are guided to the learning center of their choice. Parents get involved in a variety of activities such as painting, block building, putting puzzles together, reading books, or discovering how magnets work. As the activities are taking place the teacher is interacting with both parent and child and asking open ended questions. A warning is given when it is time to clean up. Once this is completed the parents and children are asked to share their experiences with the others in the group.

Parents come away very surprised to learn how many different learning experiences have taken place by playing and the thinking process that goes into answering an open ended question. The evening comes to a close with parents, children, and the teacher sharing a nutritious snack.

Allowing parents to "come to school" with their child is a very enjoyable and informative parent activity. It has given us the opportunity to educate our parents on how children learn through play and socialization.

Teaching Idea

The Power of a Newsletter
Carole, 6th Grade Teacher: Tallahasse, Florida

"Keep parents informed about your classroom. Every Monday send home a newsletter informing parents of the plan for the week. This will increase parent and child communication at home. This will let parents feel that they are a part of their child�s education. This can be a short informational outline of the week. Sometimes this can get parents to come and share something that will add to your curriculum."

Teaching Idea

Communication About Homework
Alex, 4th Grade Teacher: Floral Park, NY

"Homework can be a difficult thing to obtain from some children in your class. Get the parents involved by sending a homework assignment sheet to be signed each day. Let the child sign the sheet also. The accountability is now on parents and child. At the end of each week, send a certificate of congratulations to parents and child for all homework completed for the week."

Teaching Idea

Use of Questionnaires
Ann, 2nd Grade Teacher: Buffalo, NY

"Send a questionnaire home to parents or guardians asking what they can do to contribute to your classroom. Is someone artistic? Does someone have time to give to help in the classroom for an hour? Who wants to accompany the class on a field trip? Someone might have time to sit and cut out letters for the classroom. Parents may come as guest speakers on topics you will address. You can find talent among the parents and they feel needed and part of their child's class."

Teaching Idea

Use Technology to Your Advantage
Lori, Junior High School Teacher: Phoenix, Arizona

"Develop a web page that parents can go to to find out what's happening in your class. You can have up-to-date assignments and projects, current events, future projects, test dates, or any reminders that are worth mentioning for parents to have access to. If you are not tech savvy and cannot create a web page, you can have an email address that parents can send messages to. You would need to check your email every night during the school week and respond appropriately and in a timely manner. You can also create a list serve for you to send messages to parents who are on-line."

Teaching Idea

Positive Phone-Calling
Joan, Primary Grade Teacher: Las Vegas, Nevada

"Every week make positive phone calls. Let parents know that their child had a great day. Maybe the child reached a goal that was set by the teacher and child. The child passed a test or made a wonderful presentation in class. It doesn't take much time to tell a parent that their child did something worthy of a call. We call when things go wrong. We need to call when things go right."

Teaching Idea

"Weekly E-mail Updates for Parents"
Stephanie Contreras, Elkins Pointe Middle School: 6th grade teacher

"By making a mailing list with all of your parents' e-mails, you can help parents stay involved with events and curriculum topics covered weekly in your class. I send a weekly e-mail to keep parents informed. The e-mail covers help session times for the week, current curriculum topics, dates of quizzes and tests for the week, lists fun activities we've completed in class, and also has live internet links to allow parents to print worksheets or help their child at home. Students without an e-mail address get a print out of the e-mail sent home. Parents enjoy knowing what's going on in class!"

Teaching Idea

"Parent Awareness"
Ben, 8th Grade Teacher: Sarasota, Florida

"To ensure parent awareness of classroom projects and grading requirements, try this! After a project is assigned and explained to the students, assign them to thoroughly explain the project and the requirements to their parent/guardian's. Ask the student to return the requirement form with signatures from both the student and the parent/guardian indicating the student understood the requirements and explained the project to the parent/guardian."

Teaching Idea

"Communication System"
Robin Bowles: Special Education Teacher

"Our school developed a very successful communication system. We are a school of K-4th grade with 112 employees. Each grade chose 1 representative and 1 person for the certified teachers (special ed, Librarian, music teacher,etc.) that don't have homerooms. We have grade level meetings monthly then go back and report to our grade level teachers and staff. Some report back to their grade by copying their notes and put a copy in everyone's mailbox. I like to send emails to my group. Most teachers only have to report to 6-8 teachers and a few assistants. Special meetings are called as necessary. If the principal needs to pass info to just 1 grade, he talks to that grade level rep and the rep passes it on. This method has really worked great for our school because we all get the same information."

Teaching Idea

"Student-led Conferences"
Judy, Middle School Teacher

"The best thing I've seen in conferences was when the school I teach at went to Student-led Conferences! Each student leads their own conference with their parents, explaining grades, achievement as compared to goals written earlier. The students have prepared for the conferences and the parents have been given questions to ask relating to assignments from the term. I don't know who came up with the idea, but EVERY student has a conference and takes ownership of his/her education! Teachers are available if there are questions, grade sheets from each subject are at hand, and the child has to answer for his/her progress. If there is a need for all teachers to be there, conferences can be scheduled on an individual basis."