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Bridging the Home-School Connection

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It didn’t take me too long into my early years of teaching to figure out that if parents know what’s going on in your classroom, they feel a whole lot better about leaving their little babies in your care each day!

Classroom newsletters help keep parents informed in the classroom!

Bridging the home-school connection is SO important for so many reasons. I’ve found that if you keep parents in the know about what is happening {from events to learning objectives} they’re more likely to trust you and not question every.single.thing you do!

I’m sharing a few of my favorite ways to keep parents informed so everyone is happy and you can build a strong bond with not only your students but their families, too!

Classroom Newsletter

The BIGGEST way I communicate with my parents is through our classroom newsletter. Each week I add important learning goals, dates, and other announcements that need to be shared.

Our classroom newsletter is shared on our classroom website, but it can also be sent via email or printed and dropped inside of student folders.

Over the years I’ve had so many parents tell me how important our weekly newsletter is for keeping them “in the know!”

If writing a weekly newsletter seems daunting, maybe just start with a monthly newsletter! You can still keep parents informed by giving a broad picture of what’s happening in your classroom for the month.

This pack of editable newsletters has lots of variety to make it your own {and includes colored versions for using on websites and email and black and white versions for printing!}

Want to try out the newsletters?

Grab the Classroom Newsletter FREEBIES here!

Please note: the files are saved in Google Drive BUT you’ll need to download the newsletters onto your computer and open in PowerPoint if you want to use cutesy fonts.

Classroom Website

One of the smartest things I have done for communicating with parents was to set up a classroom website. Parents can easily find all they need on my site along the navigation bar.

I frequently update the wishlist and resource links! My weekly newsletters are the “posts” Because the posts stay on the site {and do not disappear into an overcrowded inbox!} parents can easily find previous newsletters.

I also love using a site because I can share any important links {such as the book order or a website I want the students to check out for the week}

I created the site on Blogger which is FREE! You can have someone make it cute for very cheap on Etsy! If you want to make it easy for parents to visit, purchase a domain {For instance, www.misslynchsclass.com} It’s $12 a year on Google Domains and makes it easy for parents to visit.

Remind

Years ago I started using Remind, well, to remind my parents of important events coming up.

Essentially, Remind gives you the ability to “text” parents in a group or individually without revealing your phone number.

I use Remind to send quick reminders about Picture Day, Field Trips, etc. However, many people use it to check in with parents about a student’s day, too.

It is SO simple to set up! At Back to School Night, I ask parents to pull out their phones and send a message to the code I provide. It then replies back to the parent’s phone {from a random number} and prompts them to share their name. On the backend, it’s compiling a list of names and numbers for you to use when you need it.

When you log into your Remind dashboard, everything is there! I LOVE that I can schedule messages ahead of time, too. So if I know we have a project due, I can plan out the message. There’s even an app so you can do it from bed 🙂

Another bonus to Remind is that you can see who’s read the messages!

The best part? It’s FREE!

Home-School Journals

At the end of each day parents always ask their child, “What did you do today?” usually to be met with “Nothing” or “I can’t remember!”

To keep the communication between children and parents going, my teacher-bestie started using Take Home Journals years ago! She purchased a notebook for each student to write letters back and forth with their parents.

So I had to steal the idea for my class, too!

Every other week students spend Friday afternoons writing a note to his/her parent. They can share feelings, happenings, or anything else they want to fill their parents in on about their week at school.

Of course, we always hear, “I don’t know what to write about!” So before beginning, it’s best to brainstorm ideas as a class about what you’ve done during the week. A Fun field trip? A day with buddies? A new way to solve a math problem? A cool assembly? Or even learning about a new phonics pattern can be turned into a letter!

I encourage students to pick one idea and expand on that idea so they’re not just listing out what they’ve done.

To make it a little more fun, encourage your students to sign their letters in a clever way related to the month or seasons. For instance, they might sign it in the winter as “Your Loving Snowflake, Jack” or “Your Multiplication Lover, Logan.”

The only rule is that writers must write at least one question to keep the convo going!

The following week, it’s the parents’ turn! They write back to their child. I love that she figured out a way to sneak in a little writing in a meaningful way. And it’s such a special keepsake at the end of the year!

Want to get started? Grab a FREE copy of the letter I send home to parents!

What’s your favorite way to keep your families connected? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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