Making Connections With Parents Using the Web
Connecting and communicating with parents isn’t always easy. Class newsletters, homework assignments, and important flyers are sent home, but how often do you think those things make it into the hands of parents? Sometimes, even if parents get the paperwork, they may put it in a pile with all the other school papers and forget about it.
Being that it is 2012, teachers and parents should be communicating beyond just sending paperwork home with students. Here are some ways to use the World Wide Web to connect with your students’ parents.
Make a Classroom Website
If parents could check their child’s class website regularly, they would be in the know of what is going on in the classroom. Time is precious for teachers and some might think maintaining a class website would be too much extra work, but it would eliminate the need for you to make and send home those flyers, newsletters, and other items.
Setting up a class website will take some time at first, but it will eventually become second nature. Also, updating it will only take about 15 minutes a day. Some items or topics you could have on your website are:
- a short biography about yourself
- links to homework help
- homework and assignments
- what the class is learning
- class announcements
- a classroom calendar
- a lunch menu
- your contact information and best methods or times to reach you
- links to educational websites or games
There are several free teacher website builders, and all you’d have to do is choose a template and type in your information. Here are a few sites to help get you started:
Use Twitter or Facebook
Twitter and Facebook are the largest social networking sites, and just about everyone uses one or the other. Creating a Twitter or Facebook account for your class is a more interactive way to connect. Parents can ask you questions, make comments on things you post, and see what is going on in your classroom.
Should you be tweeting or updating Facebook throughout the school day? Certainly not, but you could use these tools during a prep period, before or after school, or whenever you have some free time. You could make it an ongoing class task and have a student do some postings during the school day. You could post things like homework assignments, class happenings, announcements, and events. You can also post class pictures and videos to share with parents.
If privacy is a concern, there are many privacy settings to make sure that only people with permission can view what is on your class account.
Create a Wikispace for Your Class
A wiki is a place on the Web for sharing ideas, pictures, links, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Wikispaces gives you a visual editor and many other tools to make sharing your classroom’s content easy for you. Parents could check your class wikispace to better understand what happens in the classroom and to see how their child is doing on assignments and projects.
Students can have personal portfolios showcasing their best work. Parents can check their child’s progress and help them if necessary. Teachers can also post homework, assignments, and class goals for parents to check. Wikispaces is mostly for students and teachers, but parents can also get involved by checking the page regularly.
For a step-by-step guide on setting up your wiki, check out this article.
As you can see, the Web is a very effective communication tool. I hope that you will try connecting with parents in a different way this school year.