Sunday, July 15, 2012

Work Smarter, Not Harder #12

Do you ever find yourself on Friday morning realizing that you haven't yet written the monthly parent letter?  (Oh, CRAP!)  Try communicating with your parents in a different way this year.  There are several things you can do to WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER...

We do a monthly letter.  On one side is the month's calendar with important dates listed and other reminders for parents.  On the other side it tells, "What will my child be learning this month?" We list each subject and what will be taught along with some tid-bits of how the parents can help at home.  This has worked really well for us as a grade level.  If an individual teacher has something special, they can attach to the letter, or send home whenever needed.

Still want to do a weekly newsletter?  Get with a partner or your whole team and take turns writing it each week.  Leave a small space that each teacher can write individual notes.

Other options...consider using social media.  This (along with the monthly calendar format) is what I plan to do.  Previously, we had class websites (as I'm sure all of you do also).  This summer, our district switched over to google mail and did away with all our websites.  We were told it is up to us what to use this year.  I have been looking all summer trying to decide which was the best way to go. 

Another teacher friend and I have discussed in length.  We would LOVE to have a private Facebook page, but alas, it is blocked at school.  Just THINK of the possibilities...Need something for your classroom within the next hour, just post it on your FB page, send info & pictures to parents instanteously for them to view what their child is doing, etc.  The possibilities are endless!  Probably, every parent out there has a FB account and most have phones to keep in constant touch.

However, since that is not an option for me, I have decided to go with a blog.  I worked almost all day on it yesterday setting it up.  (Yes, I KNOW there are lots of ready-made free blog templates out there, but it's just my personality.  I LOVE challenging myself and learning new things!) I would love if you popped over and take a looksie at it.  I'm still working on it, but would love ideas from those of you who have used a classroom blog.  I would REALLY like for my students to be able to blog also.

I'm also involve in TWO huge giveaways.  While you're out blog stalking blog hopping today, be sure to stop by and enter if you haven't already.  Maybe you'll be the lucky winner!

Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings

Brian over at Hopkin's Hoppin' Happenings is celebrating 100,000 views on his blog.  Hurry over, his giveaway ends tonight.

Casey over at Second Grade Math Maniac is also having a huge giveaway.  Hers starts today.

So, please, please, PLEASE leave your comments, thoughts and ideas on this one.  How do you make communication Smarter, not Harder?  What else do I need to add on a classroom blog?  Is there anyway to keep it private for JUST parents?  I really need your help on this one.  Help ME be Smarter!


  1. I do a weekly newsletter, but it gives the two spelling lists, the vocabulary words, and what we're working on in math, science/social studies/ health, reading, and writing. Plus, I leave a spot for "star students" and "important reminders." Having a little box for each of these makes it pretty quick to prepare, and then I just add other reminders in a letter on the back.

    Thanks for your suggestions! I've considered some kind of website or blog, because our parents are pretty Internet-savvy... but other teachers at my school have told me that they have a lot of parents who still don't check it. Who knows if they read the paper copies, either!

    Let us know how it goes for you!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  2. Your classroom blog looks great! Do you want to have a tab for homework? You could have links to google docs or websites to practice spelling words.

    Hope it goes well!

    Frogs in first grade

    1. Melissa,
      Great suggestion! We're not allowed to give homework in 2nd grade other than reading 20 minutes nightly. However, it would be a great place to list those spelling words!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks so much for the giveaway shoutout and for donating an amazing product, you rock!

  4. Also just wanted to let you know that I've given you a blog award!

    Frogs in first grade

  5. I like the look and ease of your blog. I think it would be easier to keep up on than using a website. I might try out this idea?!
    Where Seconds Count

  6. I am a new follower...your blog is lovely <3 I do a monthly newsletter and this Sept I am going to be also doing a blog for parents. I have it ready to go...I have separate pages for literacy, math, upcoming events and word work. I have the privacy set so that you have to be invited to see it and only those invited can comment on it. We'll see how it goes...
    I am going to also be using email as a way of communicating with parents-our school decided to scrap agendas and do this instead.

    I am having a giveaway and would love it if you checked it out

    Teach~Play~Smile 200 Follower Giveaway!

  7. Hi Cynthia,

    I create one in hopes of doing one but it didn't happen. My team actually didn't want to do a class page and/or blog. If you have a gmail account, you can make a google webpage for your class and that way parents can keep up with your class. Also you can control who sees it but making it only visible to those with the link or you can make it have a password. Here is what mine looks like.

    Mrs. Love's Fifth Grade SUPERSTARS!

    Obviously, I didn't get to use it but hopefully, I will be able to sometime in the near future :)

    me teach good

  8. Totally love this post. This is going to be something new I want to try next year... and I am still struggling how to set up parent communication. I really like the blog idea and how yours is set up. I was hoping to do a newsletter... but now I just don't know! Lots to think about

    Reaching for the TOP!

  9. I love your work smarter not harder series. I just found your blog.mi am your newest follower.


  10. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. I love your blog for parents. What a great idea!!