Parent communication is hard. At the start of last year, my principal mentioned something his old school did where students texted their parents during the day with kind of a status update on how they’re doing in classes and what they’ve been doing. I took this idea and tried to do it daily but that was a little much, so I made it into a Weekly Summary. Students do these at the end of the week (mostly Fridays but sometimes Thursday if we have Friday off or something like that).
I made a Google Form for each class and used a few Add-ons to make it so that when the students submitted it, a copy of their responses would be sent home to their guardian email and cc’d to me. The link to the Google Form is posted on the home page of my class website. I ask for what they did in class this week, what they learned in class this week, a rating of how they’re feeling about class, the response to the day’s Tweet Question, and anything else they want to say. Also, the form will automatically pull the student’s grade to put in there. Students were surprised the first time that it actually went to their parents (I guess my disclaimer at the top wasn’t convincing enough). Since I received an email, I was able to check this and send additional notes to guardians if necessary. I would use the responses, especially the ratings of how they’re feeling in class, to help me know who I need to talk to most and what I need to address.
These are what students saw:
This is what I saw, either in the spreadsheet (which I really only looked at to get the Tweets) and the emails that got sent home:
My best student comments about this process were along the lines of: “Ugh I wish we didn’t have to do this. It makes my parents want to talk to me about class!” I did have students that did tell me they liked the process, though.
I did not get too many parent responses (I set up the email so that they would reply to me). It did keep guardians updated and I heard from them that they appreciated the updates. I did get one response that stood out. It is an email from a board member that teaches in another district. She said:
Teacher sharing for the win! So since this was a pretty important person that was requesting it, I spent some time making sure my directions were good. I will admit, they are pretty long and it will probably take at least 30 minutes to set up your first class, but after the setup it just always works. I’ve never had an issue.
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. There was some conversation on Twitter last night about parent contact being a goal for next year. I agree and want to be in touch with parents more. The Weekly Summaries helped, but I know it doesn’t reach everyone. .
Il faut communiquer avec les parents, mais c’est très difficile.