7 Ways to Improve School to Home Communication

Good communication with parents is essential in special education classes. Of course, it is important in all levels of teaching, but with our special education students who might not be able to tell their parents anything about the day, it become even more important.


So, how do you make your parent communication FAST and EFFECTIVE?

For so many years there was the communication notebook that went back and forth. I remember getting a few of these from parents and they would write a long letter every day and expect me to do the same. While I appreciate the information and want to be able to tell them about their child's day as well, there just simply isn't enough time in the school day to write in these notebooks. If teachers did spend the time writing letters in each child's notebook daily, it would take from important instructional and learning time - and no one wants that either!

Whether you choose to use technology, paper, or a combination of both, there is a better way!!



Use Technology


Email

Many of us type faster than we handwrite, so we can quickly type emails back and forth to parents if needed. I wouldn't recommend this as an everyday routine, but when you need to communicate something more in depth, email might be the best way to go.

Phone Apps

There are quite a few apps designed specifically for teacher/parents communication!

Remind: Remind is a favorite by many teachers because if you can text, you can use remind! Parents don't have to download another app or remember to check notifications, they simply get a text. (And you never give out your personal phone number either.)

Bloomz: Similar to the above, Bloomz is another free app that lets you send reminders/pictures directly to parent's app or their email. But what's neat about Bloomz is that is looks similar to a Facebook feed! You can share your calendar, portfolios, and a feed for the whole class. You can send things privately too.

Seesaw: With seesaw you can easily build student profiles and share each student's profile with up to 10 family members. Student use seesaw as a learning platform and you can assess how they are doing using seesaw as well.

Class Dojo and Class Tag are a couple others I've heard good things about!

Since these are all free, I recommend downloading the ones you are interested in and trying it out first. Then you can choose the one that best suits your needs and the needs of your classroom.

I especially love all of these apps because if you forgot to print and send a reminder home during the school day, you can still send a text!

Paper Communication


While technology is awesome, sometimes it doesn't work, isn't available or maybe the parents of your students don't have access to technology.

We already determined that the typical communication notebook wastes too much time, so what other options do we have?

Write quick details on worksheets:

Did a student complete the worksheets hand over hand, with prompts, or independently? Quickly noting this on the worksheet helps parents understand how their child is performing at school. When you or your classroom aides check their work, make a quick note so parents know! You can even use a stamp like this from Lucky Stamps on Etsy to help:

For urgent reminders use a wristband:

For those times when you NEED to make sure the parent sees your message and you're not sure that the backpack will be opened, write your message on a wristband and put it on your student's wrist! They get to wear a cool bracelet home and you can be sure that the message will be seen.

You can use these to remind parents about meetings, half days, late starts, days off, etc! I also think of a time when a student soiled his clothes and we sent them home in the backpack over the weekend...and the backpack was never opened at home. This would have been a perfect time to use the wristband so parents would know to check the backpack ASAP!

You can get a pack of 200 wristbands for under $8 on amazon (affiliate link).

For daily communication, use a daily sheet:

A daily sheet saves so much more time than a communication notebook, and parents can look at the sheet and quickly see what their child did that day.


Save even more time by adding checklists to make communication even faster! 

Depending on your students ability level, you might want a communication sheet with symbols so that they can understand the progression of the day and help fill it out too.

Or maybe your student don't need the visuals, but they might be able to do a little reflecting on their day and write three things that they worked on that day. This makes for a great wrap-up end of the day activity and also works on writing skills. #multitasking

These differentiated daily sheets are available in my TpT store HERE and all the text is completely editable to help you make it work perfectly for your class and each student.

How else do you communicate with parents?

Let me know in the comments or on social media! You can find me on FB or Instagram @BreezySpecialEd



If are still using the communication notebook, are you ready to ditch it now?! Let me know what you're going to try instead. Whatever you do, don't make it hard on yourself. 

Download an app and print some communication sheets. You've got this!

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