How can we possibly make time for parent communication when we have so. much. to. do? I have a few ideas that might help make it a little easier...
1. Make a List
Save time by putting your students' contact information in one list. (I don't know about you, but it often takes 2-3 minutes just to be able to look up a phone number at my school.) Keep the list handy so it's easy to make a quick phone call. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a fun freebie to help you get this set up!
2. Communicate Early
Keep track of your IEP due dates and start contacting parents early. I make a one-page document at the beginning of the school year with all of my IEP/evaluation due dates. I also add reminders on my Google Calendar to help me remember when to start making calls.
The freebie I mentioned in Tip 1 also includes an editable year-at-a-glance calendar to keep you organized!
3. Communicate Regularly
At the beginning of the school year, I was really good at making phone calls to touch base with parents (especially when a student did something awesome), but that quickly became unmanageable as my caseload grew. Instead, I looked for easier, more efficient ways to keep in touch. Here are some of my favorites:
- At the beginning of the school year, I send home a quick letter to all of my students. Natalie Snyders has a great template.
- I love writing quick notes on my students' homework.
- I send home brag tags (and brag tag stickers!) with my students.
- I sometimes send home newsletters, although this is something I need to work on.
- Parent conferences!
There are also two AMAZING apps that make communication even easier. I'm excited to share them with you soon!
4. Keep a Log
Ain't no one got time to log all the little things that we do, but--if I have a more substantive conversation with a parent--I make sure to log it. This idea was inspired by Queen Speech's label idea. I made my own labels to log parent communication, and I keep them by my phone. This way I can easily jot down notes whenever I'm talking to a parent. Every few weeks, I transfer the labels to the students' individual communication logs.
Check out this scope for a peek at some of these materials/ideas...
As I mentioned before, parent conferences are a great time to touch base with parents. I shared my favorite tips and tricks for these meetings here!
Now you tell me... What are your favorite tips/tricks when it comes to parent communication?