Every year I hear teachers complain about the lack of parent involvement. But what are we doing individually to make it better? Complaining about it has gotten us nowhere! One of my favorite ways make parent involvement better is by using a communication app. There are a few out there, but my favorite is Class Dojo. Using a parent communication app is an easy way to get your parents engaged and an easy way to document that you are reaching out to parents. There are many things you can share with your parents when you use an app, here are my favorite things to post.
Update 9/10/2020: I’m using Seesaw this year and I love it!
Show What You’re Doing In Class
As I mentioned, my favorite app is Class Dojo. They have a stories feature that looks similar to Instagram. I usually snap pictures my anchor charts or the words of the week to let parents know what we are working on. One year, I did a multiplication contest and posted weekly who won. If you’re working on a really cool project in class post it! I didn’t know how much my parents like seeing what was going in our class until I got swamped at work and forgot to post for a few weeks! They began reaching out to me see what was going on in class!
Give Parents Tips On How to Help at Home
When I taught third grade, kiddos learning their multiplication facts was a big deal. On the app, I would post reminders to make sure the kiddos practiced their facts and how to help them practice at home. When I gave out new words for the week, I would show the parents different ways that students could practice memorizing their spelling words. Or I would tell parents to make sure students log in to educational websites you use in class. Whatever you do, keep it simple for yourself and the parents.
Keep Parents Updated On Important Events
As I mentioned before, we know that somehow notes don’t get home. So, take pictures of important notes like field trip permission letters. Let them know that report cards are going home. Sometimes parents don’t show up to events because they never got the note that went home! This is a super easy way to keep your parents in the loop!
Keep Parents Updated With Their Kiddo’s Progress
Did your kiddo make a 60% on last week’s spelling test, but made 80% on this weeks? Snap a picture and send it to their parents with a private message. Just like those notes, student work that we grade gets lost between school and home. Taking a quick pic will keep parents in the loop.
If you reached out to a parent yesterday about a problem you were having with their kiddo, let the parent know the next day that their kiddo’s day was better. Make sure you balance out good and bad days for students who have trouble behaving. One way to get parents not to use the app is if you are always talking to them about negative things. Make sure you keep it balanced.
Take Pictures of Important Events
A lot of parents can’t make award ceremonies, make them feel like they were there by taking pictures. For all my kiddos whose parents can’t make the ceremony, I take a picture of them with their award. The parents who are stuck at work because they couldn’t afford to take off will so appreciate this from you! I know if I were a parent I would like to see pictures of my kiddo’s accomplishments. Check with your district’s and school’s policy about taking pictures of students first.
If you aren’t using a communication app to reach out to your parents, what are you doing? Pick an app and start using it consistently. These apps make it super easy to contact parents and get parents involved. If you need more ideas about what to share on the app, download the Free Parent Communication App Cheat Sheet. The Cheat Sheet gives you over 20 ideas on what to post. Grab it now!