Communication with families is crucial to promote positive relationships and make sure everyone is aware of what’s going on in school. I know that even my daughters (who are in 4th and 2nd grades) have already gotten in the habit of the prototypical responses:
Dad: How was school?
Dad: What was your favorite part?
Daughter: All of it!
Which is great! I’m glad you had a great day! But seriously, can we have some details? And the backpacks! Oh the backpacks… full of half eaten snacks, old papers. Even the report card! I couldn’t believe when I was going through one of my daughter’s backpacks and found her report card. WE had to be the ones to bring it up. 🤷♂️
There are a number of communication tools that you can use. I’m going to highlight a few and give you some links to go exploring.
Email is probably the easiest way to stay in touch with parents. It’s simple, 99% of the general public has access to it (that’s not a real statistic), and you can type text, insert images, and quickly send information off to large groups of people. The problem with email is that everyone else is sending email too. Remember that coupon for Loft that you got sent six times yesterday? It’s hard to compete with a bombardment of email from companies and other miscellaneous junk.
Many teachers in Google districts are making use of Google Classroom as a communication tool, not just with parents, but with students also. Google Classroom is a great platform for students to maintain access to important information from you, as well as a way to turn in work and keep track of what they need to be doing in your class. Parents can easily be given access to the daily or weekly digest so they can stay on top of things too.
This is a screenshot of the setting to allow Guardian summaries within Google Classroom.
This is an example of what the weekly summary looks like for guardians.
For more information about using Google Classroom, check this out.
Seesaw and Bloomz
A common conversation I have with teachers especially of the “littles” is that Google Classroom just doesn’t work for them. For kids in grades Pre-K up through about 3rd grade I would say that I have to agree. My oldest daughters are in 4th grade and I am seeing that as a “transition” year. Her teachers are using both Seesaw and Google Classroom.
Seesaw and Bloomz are two different services that cater to the younger set of students. They provide similar functions, including your ability to take pictures of work, tag individual or groups of students, send off mass messages or have individual conversations. They are both free, and here are some videos to give you an overview: