One of the keys to a successful school year is to build that home-school connection. developing a good relationship with students and their families is a key to a great year. The easiest way to build that connection? COMMUNICATE!
I’m going to share some of my favorite tips from my classroom to help you build that homeschool connection.
Communication is the key and it is very important to use a variety of formats to connect with families. Everyone has their preferred method of communicating – whether paper, mobile app, text or email. While it may sound like a lot to offer different methods of communication to families, it is so crucial to building that connection and relationship. I have families complete an information form at the beginning of the school year so that I know how they want to communicate with me.
For digital communication, I love to use Class Dojo. While I do use ClassDojo dojo for managing class
behavior, I love how easy it is to use to connect with families. You can send a group message to your
entire class or you can send a message to a particular family. I especially love the class stories where
you can post pictures and videos of what is going on inside your classroom.
Class Dojo is easy to access through the app so that families can connect easily on their phones and
families can also access Class Dojo on the website.
I LOVE to communicate via text with my students’ families. I find I’ve found that more people respond
and reply to text messages than they do to emails. I use a Google voice number and it’s free if you set
it up with a personal account. What’s also great about Google Voice is it doesn’t show my phone number
but texts and phone calls go directly to my cell phone. You can set to screen the callers, you can set
“do not disturb” times, AND it transcribes all texts so that it’s easy for me to maintain a record of
communication with families.
I find that text messages make my parents and families happy they feel like they have direct access to
me with a quick question or concern and I like it because I can easily just pop in a text and say “Hi! I just
wanted to let you know that Josie had a great day today!” It’s easy and my students’ families love being
able to connect directly via text message.
I create a simple newsletter each week. I include a little information on what we’re learning, our student of the week, and any upcoming events or tests. I keep it short and simple otherwise I won’t do it! I create my newsletter using a PowerPoint template that I’ve uploaded to Google Slides. I like having it in my drive so that I can quickly create a new newsletter anywhere. The template is simple enough that I can even edit it on my phone.
I send a paper copy home only to those families who requested paper correspondence. I will send it via an email attachment and a Class Dojo message.
For families that prefer paper communication, I like to use planners. My school provides us with a planner so that makes it easy for me to utilize and it’s easy for me to just jot a note every once in a while or every day if needed. A note in the students’ planner to communicate with the families about how awesome their child is doing in class or something that they may need to return to school. The key to using planners is to train your students to use them and bring them back and forth to school every day AND make sure your families are aware and check them.
If you don’t use planners, a simple paper note home will do.
Tell families what to expect from you and stick to it. Clear and open channels of communication are so important to earning the trust and support you will need from families throughout the year.
Communicating regularly and consistently is vital to establishing and maintaining a home-school connection. Most families are very busy (I know mine is!) and it can be hard to stay connected with their child’s classroom. I like to make it easy for them and give them some options. I tell my families they will receive a classroom update weekly and I strongly encourage them to sign up for Class Dojo since it’s quick and easy for me to sent quick notes, updates, videos, and photos of our day!
Interested in a simple, easy, newsletter template? You can check it out my templates HERE.
Want to learn about another way to get families connected and involved with your classroom?
Read my post about Un-Homework, HERE. Ditch traditional homework and assign fun, engaging, and meaningful tasks that your families will love!
What is YOUR favorite ways to keep your students’ families connected to your classroom? Let me know in the comments!