Teaching and Learning with Technology

Involving and Communicating with Parents

with 15 comments

Teachers are always finding ways to involve parents to keep them informed and letting them provide input. I have seen teachers have their own Web pages to post announcements. I have also seen teachers create wikis to post some relevant information to parents. I have found this Guide to Involving Parents in a Class Blog a good example of how to communicate with parents.

What are your thoughts?

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Written by ngrassini

February 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

15 Responses

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  1. I think creating a classroom blog for parents is a great idea! My district has a very active parent base and support and I’m sure many parents would follow a classroom blog, if I created one. The link to the resource was broken so I did a Google search with that title and found many websites, that pretty much all related or linked back to Kathleen Morris’ work, so I’m hoping that is the same resource as the broken link (or a similar enough resource.) When I have thought about making a class blog, I wasn’t really sure where to start or what to include beyond the basic information I already give parents in my syllabus. I never thought about needing to educate parents on blogs and how to do that and her resources on that topic were really helpful. I also really liked her “Other Ideas” section that included covering blogging in the annual back-to-school parent night, having a family blogging month, and having parents as virtual volunteers by helping to respond to comments and posts. Listed below is the URL to the website I used as a resource.

    http://primarytech.global2.vic.edu.au/2013/02/09/a_guide_to_involving_parents_in_your_class_blog/

    Brooke Maine

    February 21, 2013 at 5:08 am

  2. I also think that a classroom blog is a good idea if you have involved parents. If you have involved parents, they will find a way to get the information regardless of how it is presented. In some of my classes, I have parents who email, check Skyward (our online grading system), or call. On the contrary, I also have parents who don’t have any idea how thier kid is doing unless you call home. I even do a parent signature sheet for parents so that they can keep up with how thier son/daughter is doing as we work our way through the research process. Parents who want to be involved keep up with it, while others don’t. Overall, I am not sure that the technology matters as much as the parent’s desire to be involved; however, the more varied your methods of communication are, the more you can show your own involvement and attempts at communication should as issue arise.

    Stephanie Daniels

    February 21, 2013 at 8:33 pm

  3. I also agree that creating a classroom blog and involving parents is a good idea. I found a lot of helpful information and ideas in “A Guide to Involving Parents in Your Class Blog” post by Mrs. Kathleen Morris. I am just now learning what blogs are all about, and will also need to educate my students. It will be important to let parents know about blogging so they will understand what their students are doing. I am sure we have some parents who will be interested in following student blogging. One thing I will need to do besides educate students, parents, and myself, is to educate our administrators. They need to understand what blogging is about and how that will benefit our students. I especially appreciate the handouts Mrs. Morris has on her blog and the fact that she is willing to allow us to use her ideas, and even modify them, as long as she is given credit. I am thankful for people who are willing to share with others!

    Teresa Hancock

    February 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm

  4. My students have grown up using blogs in some of their classrooms even as young as elementary school. In my high school history class, I will try to start a classroom blog and see how the students enjoy reading and commenting on other classmates/ interests. I am glad for Kathleen Morris sharing her ideas from her experience.

    Lisa Hohenshilt

    March 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

  5. Mrs. Morris makes a good point, in that parents need to be educated on how to use technology such as a blog and her handout is a great resource. Sometimes we assume that other adults use the same technology tools as we do in education but many may have never seen or even heard of the same tools we use everyday. She says that it is good to reply to as many posts as possible so that the parents know they are being heard. Educating the students and having them use blogs as well is helpful because then they can go home and teach their parents.

    This is such an interactive way for parents to be involved with their students’ classes. I have found that often parents are reading my emails and website even when I don’t realize it. Therefore, it is important to keep up with a blog even when you aren’t sure how many parents are utilizing it because there may be some who are just observing and don’t feel comfortable jumping in on the conversation, but eventually, just the right post, might encourage them.

    Kayla Lower

    March 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

  6. Communication with parents, especially in the elementary school setting, is crucial for a successful school year. I know my principal is always talking about how important it is to have regular contact with your parents. A great communication tool that I use is called Remind (formerly Remind 101). I send text reminders about tests, quizzes, field trips, or classroom parties. The parents love it and they are able to respond back with private chats if they have quick questions. It is less formal then emails which is a nice feature.

    I love how Mrs. Morris has a “how-to” paper for parents to use that will guide them on how to use the blog. A lot of the times as teachers we have all of these cool technology tools and apps and our parents have no clue how to use them. The how to blog sheet for parents that Mrs. Morris uses seems like a dummy proof way to avoid issues of parents not knowing how to work the blog.

    Andrew Meeker

    March 8, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    • Remind seems like a great tool to use to communicate with parents. Do they all have access to it? Do you use other means in case someone does not have access to Remind?

      ngrassini

      March 9, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      • As I was reading these posts, I thought of my current tool of communication with parents right now which is also Remind. All parents can have access to it, but have to sign up using an access code. Remind creates a pdf document with step by step directions that is really easy to follow and can be handed to parents at open house, or send out via email. Like Andrew, I absolutely love it!

        Although I like Remind, I can definitely see the benefits of a class blog. It allows more than just communication from me as the teacher to the parents. It gives parents a space to chat, or share information. This is something I definitely will look into for the future.

        Melissa

        March 10, 2016 at 1:23 am

  7. As a teacher of older students (16-18 years old), one of my biggest frustrations is contacting parents. First of all, I believe older students should be responsible enough to communicate with their parents on their own. My administrators expect us to contact their parents when they are struggling though. I find it difficult to reach their parents and often don’t get phone calls or emails returned. Apparently, most of the parents think that their kids should be responsible enough to handle their school work too. It is a very frustrating part of my job.

    I have used remind.com in the past to communicate with parents. I also update info on Facebook (Kkidscholl) and Twitter (@kkidscholl) frequently. My school is currently using Schoology which has an option for parent access but our school has not released that yet. I would love for the parents to be able to log-in to see my course information since I update everything on Schoology.

    Matthew Scholl

    March 9, 2016 at 3:27 pm

  8. I definitely agree that involving parents in some sort of constant communication is such a helpful habit to begin as a teacher. Even though my students are high school age (14-18) I still find that their parents either wish to be kept in the loop, or SHOULD be kept in the loop for various reasons! I have colleagues who use blogs to accomplish this, but many use our learning platform Schoology to accomplish this as well. Schoology as a LMS offers “parent codes” that parents can use to access their child’s Schoology account so that they can see course work, schedules, grades, calendars, etc. This makes it very easy for them to know what their student’s workload should be in that course and whether or not they are completing assignments. While a blog could absolutely accomplish this as well, I have found that our LMS does the job very well.

    -Lauren Shaubach

    Lauren Shaubach

    March 10, 2016 at 6:41 pm

  9. Well here I am again trying to understand the thinking of a classroom teacher without any classroom teacher experience. I think is it a great think to get parents involved, why shouldn’t the parents know what their children are learning. Remember that parents are really their children’s first teachers and learning starts the day you bring that child home from the hospital. So I have no comprehension of parents who do not want to be involved with their own children’s educations.

    I think the blog is a good thing because then parents can answer questions and other parents can see the questions and answers. I can only find one issues and that might be those parents and students who do not have the Internet or even a computer at home for access to the teacher blog. So this in my eyes in the sad part of teaching because I know not all students have the same quality of learning tools because of poverty and other issues at home, such as lack of food or a warm place to sleep.

    Since I have only ever taught grown adults out in the working world I have missing out on this as a topic I need to address but I can see that it could be a big issues to deal with and truly sad for that child. I would have a hard time knowing how to walk around such an issues with a poor child and his/ her parents.

    mgoodlin

    March 11, 2016 at 2:40 am

  10. I’m considering how I would involve parents/families in a blog that is all in German. After reading Kathleen Morris’ tips, it occurs to me that students could be given the task of explaining one of their posts to a family member. Then students would describe that person’s reaction in a post (still in German). This would let parents in on what is happening in the blog, and also, allow parents to express pride/surprise/interest in what their child can do with the German language. I have an old blog that I hope to resurrect. My posts generally include some type of stimulus material (a video, a chart, a picture, an article or a combination of these items), and then I ask students to respond to a series of prompts. Because my blog is housed on a school server which requires district username and password, you will be unable to access it, but I’ll put a screen shot in the assignment post for 2-B-1.
    -Peg Meyers

    Peg Meyers

    March 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

  11. I definitely agree that involving and communicating with parents is important, and I find that using technology can make it easier to do these things. A few years ago, I created a classroom website to communicate with parents. At the beginning of the school year, I sent home a letter with students to share with their parents/guardians to let them know about the classroom and that it would be a resource that they could use throughout the school year to find out important dates, upcoming events, what students were learning in each subject, etc. The one issue that I found was that I was not able to find out which parents/guardians were actually utilizing the website, or if it was a waste of my time to be constantly updating the website. I also was not sure if some families had access to a computer/internet and if they did not, they would not be able to access the website even if they wanted to.

    -Katie Rosengrant

    Katie Rosengrant

    March 12, 2016 at 4:03 am

  12. Hi Norma! This is Rachel Buckley! This article you posted on on your blog is extremely helpful!! I am so excited to start my own blog now! I like how Kathleen Morris starts off her year with handouts for the parents and “how to’s” on blogs. She does not assume that they all know what a blog is, let alone how to use it. I also like all of her ideas on how you can offer more information about her blog. My favorite idea she has is a parent information evening. You can let the parents know everything they need to be successful with the blogs and it sounds like she also invites them to blog! It’s a great idea! I will definitely use this article for the future as a resource and tool! Thank you for posting it!

    rbuckley23

    March 12, 2016 at 5:58 am

  13. Hi Norma! This is an excellent and helpful post. I think the analogy that the blog is a window into the classroom is true. However, I can see how teachers get discouraged by the lack of parent involvement or communication on the blog. I am guilty of reading the blog from my daughter’s class and not really commenting, just looking through quickly when I get a chance. This is where communication is key. Showing parents how to do it as well as letting them know how much we appreciate the comments and questions! Parents may not realize that teachers like the feedback and interactions. It would be too bad for a teacher to discontinue the project due to the lack of comments, etc. when parents are most likely still looking at the blog.

    Jill Carnes

    March 13, 2016 at 2:38 am


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