Weekly Summaries (Updated 11/27/17)

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. Here is what I ask them to answer:

  1. What they did in class this week
  2. What they learned in class this week
  3. A rating of how they’re feeling about class
  4. The response to the day’s Tweet Question
  5. Anything else they want to say.

Also, the form will automatically pull the student’s grade to put in there (I have to copy it from my gradebook into my Class Roster spreadsheet that’s referenced in the directions below). 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 receive an email, I am able to check this and send additional notes to guardians if necessary. I 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 see:


This is what I see, either in the spreadsheet (which I really only look at to get the Tweets) and the emails that get sent home:


My favorite 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 told me they liked the process, though. Some of them write notes to their parents, like what they hope to have for dinner, in the “Anything

I do 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 hear 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:
Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.28.04 AMTeacher 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.

Here are the directions: Class Update Directions (docx)    Class Update Directions (pdf)

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I want to be in touch with families more. The Weekly Summaries helped, but I know it doesn’t reach everyone. The ones that don’t have an email, unfortunately, do not get a weekly update, so I try to call those families.

Il faut communiquer avec les parents, mais c’est très difficile.

9 thoughts on “Weekly Summaries (Updated 11/27/17)

  1. Hi, I was able to follow your directions and am almost all the way through. I am having trouble with a few things right at the end…is there any way you can help me?



      • I got to the part where I put in the vlookup formula….step #11…
        I get an error that looks like this: #N/A and the explanation saays did not find value “name” in lookup evaluation.


    • Kate, this may be too late, but I seem to be having the same trouble as you now that I finally got the chance to look. It only is giving me the problem when I try it for the version where you do not collect email addresses. I hope I can figure out this error soon. Did you ever figure it out?
      (I’m so sorry for taking so long. The end of the year and summer was crazy busy for me and I got so behind. Trying to catch up now.)


  2. Ok so everything was going so well…I figured out how to add in the grade all by myself and sent a second test email. Then I exited out of everything. So naturally I thought of something to edit. When I tried to go back through formMule and edit the template, I couldn’t edit or create a new one. I clicked on Add-Ons, formMule, setup, build/preview templates. The first screen pops up, I give the template a name and then click ‘Save template setting’. It won’t do anything after that and the wheel just spins forever.

    Also would I need to do this for every period? Or just put all students in the period 1 roster?

    And if all else fails, how could I delete everything and start over?



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