Three Simple Ways to Improve Communication with Families
One of the best ways to improve relationships with your students is to build strong connections with their families. With all there is to do in a day, this step can be one of the most difficult to complete. However, building strong communication with parents and guardians is vital to ensuring students succeed in the classroom.
There are ways to make it work - no matter how much time you have or what type of tools you have access to. Here are three simple ways to build connections and improve communication with your students’ families.
Three simple ways to improve communication with families
1 | Phone calls
A phone call is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to keep parents informed and make them feel included in their child’s day. Remember to make positive calls, not just when there’s a problem to report. Especially for students who routinely find themselves in trouble, a positive phone call home when things are going well goes a long way for both guardian and student.
Tracking phone calls and ensuring everyone gets one regularly can be time consuming. I found that keeping a simple calendar does the trick. Simply print a generic calendar form and write two to three students’ names on days you plan to call throughout the month. This way, every family receives a call from you at least once per month whether there is an issue or not.
I’ve created a calendar form for you that can be printed or used digitally through Google Docs. You can find it in The Treasury.
2 | Apps
In this fast paced society, not everyone has time to make or take multiple phone calls throughout the week. Although a personal touch is always best, sometimes it simply isn’t possible. If you find yourself spending more time playing phone tag rather than chatting with families, perhaps an app might be for you.
There are several apps available today that allow you to communicate with families about anything from behavior to class announcements. Here are just a few:
ClassDojo. Mainly used as a behavior management system, this program allows parents to see a daily update on how their student is doing in class.
Remind. Send text messages to parents and students about assignments, reminders, and more.
Bloomz. Sends not only text messages, but also visual images to parents.
To compare features of Remind and Bloomz, see this article from We Are Teachers.
3 | Paper
Not everyone has access to technology. In one of my schools, roughly 20% of families had computers in the home. Sometimes a good old fashioned piece of paper is the best, if not only, way to keep in contact with families.
Here are a few suggested resources if paper is your means of communication:
Behavior Reflection Sheets. Students reflect on good (or poor) choices they made throughout the day, write a simple statement, and take home for parents.
Mentor Meeting Tracking Sheets. If you utilize Mentor Meetings with your students, these tracking sheets are a great way to keep accountability for the meetings and show parents progress made throughout the weeks.
Of the three methods listed here, which works best for you and your students?