Family Communication – Let The Students Contribute To The Process! (NCTM Regional Presentation 11/30/17)

On 11/30/17, I presented a Burst session about Family Communication. The goal of this session is to set up procedures to have students contribute to the process.

Here is the Google Slides presentation I used:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1x3Ym6nOEJyZ2JK0kSxDEP_VuePZSW9R0Qf_EiNWsQ3k/copy?usp=sharing

Here is the handout that I gave with the links: NCTM Family Comm Handout (pdf)
Weekly Summary Explanationhttp://bit.ly/WeekSum
Class Twitter Feed Explanationhttp://bit.ly/ClassTwitter
Parent Survey Explanationhttp://bit.ly/PSurv
Parent Contact Log Explanationhttp://bit.ly/ContLog

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Je peux parler de la communication avec les familles pendent des heures.

 

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Parent Survey

At the beginning of the year, I attached the link to a Parent Survey at the end of my syllabus. That got me a handful of responses. I also sent it out in my first few mass email newsletters. I’ve gotten 14 responses, so a very small portion of my students’ parents. But hey, something is better than nothing, right?

Here is a copy of what I sent: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16C-N9Y9rcCkCYd4O4xlhO_52QFt3HbW8VYxGTtX5eJw/copy?usp=sharing

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.17.54 PM

I decided to ask for information about when their learner was successful and not successful, and I’ve gotten some really great insight from that. It helped me see into some of the past experiences that my learners had faced. I was happy to see that all of them could share a time when the learner had academic success. There was also a lot of wincing on my part when I read what some of them went through to give academic difficulty. All of the responses were helpful.

I also made sure to put a note about when to contact home in my class roster spreadsheet that I keep. Most of the time it was if the learner was failing, but there have been a few times this semester where I’ve had to contact about a different thing that the parents asked for.

Also, the best thing I changed about this survey from last year is that I set it so that I get an email notification every time the survey is completed. That’s helped me keep up with the responses way better.

Is there anything I should change about my survey?

Je veux communiquer avec tous des parents de mes étudiants. Un jour.

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.