For every teacher, a new school year is often accompanied by new goals: to build a positive classroom culture, to introduce new skills and concepts to your class, and to increase student achievement or test scores, to just name a few. With so many pressing goals to juggle, it can be easy to let other important goals fall behind… such as finding ways to engage the families of your students. Research continues to show that family engagement is one of the most powerful factors in students’ academic success, and therefore prioritizing this goal might be a crucial factor in achieving the others.
One of the biggest hurdles teachers can face when it comes to family engagement is communication. Luckily, with the rise of tech in the classroom, teachers have more options than ever to reach out to families, making it easier to be inclusive and flexible in your communication. While these tools can’t completely replace tried-and-true-methods like a phone call home, they can allow you to do more in less time… making the juggling act just a little bit easier.
Remind provides teachers with a simple, safe way to get in touch with parents instantly on any device. All contact information remains private – parents and teachers just need the free app (iOS and Android compatible) to stay up-to-date on announcements. Teachers can attach files or even voice messages. In addition to one-way communication, users can engage in a back-and-forth chat, making information sharing with families seamless and collaborative.
If the thought of sending out a classroom newsletter is daunting, have you considered a newsletter service? Contact information remains private, newsletters are viewable on any device, and you can even view analytics on how many people read it! TinyLetter is a wonderful (and best of all free!) option for sending out simple, beautiful classroom newsletters. Boasting a streamlined, no-frills interface, TinyLetter makes it easy to manage contact lists and quickly create emails to announce upcoming events or celebrate class achievements. (For a 5-step guide on using TinyLetter to create a classroom newsletter, check out this great article by FractusLearning.)
This site allows users to easily set up a text message group, ideal for sharing short announcements and reminders. Parents can sign up by texting a code, (for example MissDawsonPreK) and they are automatically added to the subscriber list. Log in to draft your text, then hit send or schedule it to go out at a later date!
These are just a sampling of ways to keep in touch with your students’ families. Of course, it’s impossible to replace a face-to-face chat, but these tools make it easy to to remind your families about events like back-to-school night, family night, and parent-teacher conferences. With a strong foundation of family involvement and support, you and your students will be set up for a year of success!