I started a Wiki, but not many parents visit it; of course I've done the newsletters, a blog on www.gaggle.net; and I did a webspace for my class. Is there any application, or any other idea y'all have tried?
I am slightly concerned about one of the ideas in #9 - does anyone else share my worry about giving a home phone number out to parents? I want my home to be my home and I don't want to be hassled by parents - if they want to contact me they can call me at work. I find it hard enough to keep my work/life boundaries apart without having to deal with parents at home!
In the school where I worked, the students had a daily agenda in which homework assignments and quick notes to parents were written. There was also space for parents to write back. These worked pretty well and were quick and to the point.
If you are able to or your school is willing to pay for a subscription to www.teacherease.com, I think it will revolutioize the way you deal with parents. In fact, the company offers free subscriptions to the first three teachers from each school who register. You can post your class rosters, enter parents' email addresses and then it will generate a welcome email to them which will provide them with a password. Once they log in, they will be able to see their child's grades and a host of other information. The best feature is the "announcement" feature which allows you to write a note to all families, click "send" and then have it go to everyone! It's genius.
On a simpler level, I ask students to complete project check ins which require parent signatures weekly so that parents know what's going on in my class.
I like Mrs. Monica's three ideas. I had a colleague who would open each year with an introductory phone call to each parent. I have been intrigued with the idea, but it is not my style. I give out my home phone number and use email as well as online blogging and online class environments. I think that home visits are something that have to be taken with a level of sobriety and careful planning. I would also check with an administrator before initiating a home visit.
When I was a classroom teacher, 3 techniques were really effective for me in communicating with parents:
- Calling them personally and providing them with my home phone number. I told all my kids' parents that if there was a problem that arose, I would call them. If they did not receive a phone call from me, they could assume that their child was performing satisfactorily and behaving well. I also told them that if they had any questions or concerns, they could contact me with them. I was never inundated with calls, and I had a very few parents who I spoke with weekly because their children were struggling.
- Email was FANTASTIC for notifying parents and updating them.
- Sending home a note to the parent, folded in half and stapled, GUARANTEED that the student would read it. I only did this when I had something positive to say. It always elicited a positive response from the parent as well.
Blog using such sources as blogger.com. Also I have set up a facebook account just for parents and coworkers, NO STUDENTS, and I would post announcements, and then they can message me if they have specific questions about their son/daughter.
Our school has an online gradebook that parents have access to with an ID and password. They can access their child's grade at any point in the semester, and teachers can see how many times and when parents have used the service. In addition, I keep a website up to date with class plans, assignments, deadlines, and class happenings. Email works very well, as do progress reports which I require my students to return to me with a parent/guardian signature.
Go to enotes.com/groups and in the right sidebar there is a button "start a group". Let me know how it goes!
Thanks! How do I start one of those groups?
I have found that less is more-- an email list is something that everyone can use and requires very little technical ability.
Starting a private group on enotes would be another way, it allows you to easily communicate with people, post documents, etc.
You´re right. I usually give my cellphone number and my e-mail to my students, and they sometimes e-mail me when they need any help, which let me know many things that I could not realize in class.
Most people these days have cell phones and text messaging and email. I've found that sometimes just a simple text message giving a compliment or a homework reminder works great. That way, if they want to "talk" they now have your number to call back if/when needed. Or they can choose to just accept the message and not reply. Usually the kiddo shows up the next day with their homework for some reason. ;-) Emails are very fast and effective also. It's the parents who do not have email or cell phones that are more difficult to reach. In this case, an old-fashioned phone call will do well.
If you are living with your parents in the same house, you do not need any innovative ways of communicating with them. The good old way of face-to-face communication is still the best way to communicate with your parents and with all other people close to you. Other forms of communication may supplement to face-to-face communication, but they should not be the primary way of communication.
Problem of communication between parents and children is more because of the difference in their interests rather than the ways of communication.
Chances are that, though your parents may not be interested in so many thing that you are interested in, they will be very much interested in you. Likewise, I suggest that you learn to take interest in your parents, even if their interests are different from yours. If you just spend some time with them with the intention of knowing them better, and giving them an opportunity to know you, I am sure, slowly you will find many things to talk about.
I think a simple phone call, note, or dropping by is most effective. If you do it by electronic means, it loses its power, significance and importance.