Secret Santa Blog Hop!


Happy holiday season, friends! We have some really exciting news over here at The Elementary Entourage and we've been waiting to share it with you! We are having a Secret Santa Blog Hop for the rest of December which showcases two special things. For one, you'll get to see the sweet and thoughtful goodies that we sent to each other and two, we each have a special treat for you! 

This is our second December together as a blogging team so we wanted to make sure it was especially joyous. We want you to take some time to hop through the different blog posts so that not only will you see how close we've become but so that you'll be able to score some treats for yourself! It is the holiday time, after all! 

Additionally, each one of us would like to thank you for joining us on our blogging journey. We hope you take this time that you have away from your classrooms to put your feet up, relax with your families, and re-energize for the upcoming year. We'll see you in January!


POSITIVE PARENT COMMUNICATION (KookyKinders)



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Hello! Its Maja from KookyKinders!

Parent communication is key to a successful school year. My students have a daily take home folder. In the folder I include a behavior chart, homework calendar and reading log.

Parents are required to sign the folder each night, they are aware of their child's behavior and expectations. This helps so much when it comes to the conduct grade on report cards. I just look back at the past months to see how each student did.



 I love that I have an open line of communication with my parents, they can send a note to school in the folder and they know I will see it. Its an old school method but I prefer it!
How do you communicate with parents?

POSITIVE PARENT COMMUNICATION (MRS. GROOMS' ROOM)




Hi everyone! I'm Shana Grooms from Mrs. Grooms' Room! 

Elementary Entourage is joining together to tell how we communicate with parents. I have absolutely loved reading all about the things we use to communicate.  I can't wait to try some of the new ideas I have read about! I was so excited to see that some of my bloggin' buddies do some of the same things that I do!  So if you feel like you have heard all this before...I apologize but review is always good, right? :)  

Here are some ways I communicate with my parents:

Daily, I communicate with my parents through our homework folder. My students bring their homework folders to and from school everyday and inside my parents find a homework sheet, newsletters, homework, memos, and checked work. 

When they sign their child's folder,  I know they have seen their child's work. Often they will write me notes if they need to or jot down questions on the homework sheet.  It's a casual way to communicate.  And even though email is probably one of my favorite ways to communicate with parents, we stay so busy that I don't always get to check my email until later in the day. 

Here is peek inside our homework folders.  (You can find my left and right homework folder stickers in my store.) 
Here is a template for my HAS or my homework assignment sheet.  Please feel free to use it as needed, just click on the words to edit and change it to your classroom needs. 


This year I have been using Primary Punch's 25 Literacy Handouts for my parents. They are full of valuable information, easy to understand, super cute, and they are free!  I print them out by printing four pages to one sheet of paper and I attach them to my homework sheet, kind of like a post-it note!



Every Monday, we send home our Communicator Folders. (I was smiling as I read The Super Sparkly Teacher's post because we use those same exact folders!) They ARE awesome folders to use and I wish our school had the money to purchase them as homework folders, too.  (Maybe our homework folder would last a lot longer! Ha!)

You can download a copy of the cover I use for my communicator folder if you would like a copy.  Just click on the photo below!




Here are some other ways we communicate with our parents!




We send home two postcards a week for our students and parents!  My parents LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!   "There is MAGIC in the MAIL!"  (A direct quote from my principal!)  And it's true.  My parents always come to tell me how much they appreciate getting a postcard from the teacher. One of my parents said she was going to be "framing that one!"  





It most  certainly takes a village!!  Another thing that our parents like are the Make and Take sessions we have during our PTA nights.  Since we have PTA once a month, we have a make and take event for our students and their parents. Sometimes we create a game, experiment, or activity that parent can take home to complete, practice, or play with their child. The entire session may last 20 minutes but it can have a lot of impact over time.  

During our time with our parents and students, we explain what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how to assemble and use it.  Our most important goal is to give our parents tools and resources to use with their children. 


Communication is important and we have to communicate with our parents.  What are some of the ways you communicate with your parents?  I would love to hear some of your great and creative ideas!!  Just comment below!




Using ClassDojo to Communicate with Parents {w/ The Super Sparkly Teacher}


I have to admit that in the past I have been terrible about communicating with parents. I used my district's parent communication form to share about student behavior and participation. This didn't allow me to be specific about behaviors or concerns.

I was typically in contact with one to two parents. And this was mostly a result of the effort put forth by those particular parents. This year my parent communication has SIGNIFICANTLY improved thanks to ClassDojo. I'd used it in the past, but never whole-class. This year I decided I would jump in with both feet and make an effort to communicate with parents on a regular basis.


I created a few Class Dojo certificates and my students get excited when they receive one. At the end of every week, we choose the Leader of the Week (student with the most points). Students can also earn a 100 Club certificate if they earn 100 points in a month. Click {HERE} to get these little certificates for yourself.
Download these FREE Class Dojo certificates

Here are some of my favorite features:
Messages
This feature allows you to send a private message to parents. They're able to ask about specific behaviors and address any concerns they may have. It also allows me to share positive praise and words of encouragement regarding a student. LOVE THIS! 

You can also send a message to all parents. This is a great way to send reminders about upcoming events or class parties.

Class Story
Class Dojo introduced the Class Story feature this school year and it's so much fun! It functions a lot like Instagram, except it's only visible to your students'  parents. They are able to "like" or view the photo. It's fun being able to share photos during the school day. I've shared photos during P.E., art, and other fun lessons when I've had a moment to spare.


I feel as though parents have been able to really "see" what we're doing in class and get a sense of my instruction and personality. Did I mention that this is all FREE? Click {HERE} to sign up and add your own class.

These communication folders are made by Nicky's Folders. They are so durable and practical! I love that the inside pockets are labeled "keep at home" and "return to school." If there is money in your budget to buy these, I highly recommend that you do so. They are great for sending homework and other notes home. Last year, we had the one with two extra sleeves in the middle. AMAZING! They were perfect for additional work mats and other resources.

How do you communicate with parents? Have you tried any particular apps that you've found to be helpful?

Positive Parent Communication {w/Tickled Pink in Primary}

Communicating with parents is one of the most important parts of teaching. Keeping parents up to date on how their child is doing academically and behaviorally makes it so much easier when you do have any issues with their child and have to confront the parents. It also makes parent-teacher conferences smoother and more enjoyable for both sides.

For daily parent communication, I provided each of my students with a folder that they took home each night. At the front of the folder was a pouch where myself and parents put notes, lunch money, book club forms, etc. They stay safe and their 5 year olds aren't reliable for having to hold onto the money on the bus. :)
 I used a clip chart in my classroom for behavior management. At the back of the folder was a sheet explaining to parents what each color of the chart meant and then a behavior recording sheet. Each day I filled in what color their child was on. I didn't put notes unless they had an awesome day that I wanted parents to know about or if there were any issues.
If there was a problem, I could put "see note" or "I'll call you later". Parents sign off on this each night and can write me a note back if they'd like. I print these front/back and then have a whole month's of behavior recorded that I can file for each student. You can find these forms along with a clip chart for many different classroom themes in my TPT Store here.
On Fridays, I would send home a newsletter telling parents what we learned that week, upcoming events, a new fun website to try, and any other information they may need. 
A favorite parent-communication tool of my parents was our class website. (I deleted almost everything off of it after my last year teaching, so this would normally have more information). I used a Shutterfly Share site which is free! I would update this every week or so with new photos, any forms/paper that I sent home, new websites the kids enjoyed playing, funny quotes the kids said, and upcoming events. It would send the parents a notice when I added to the website. They could also comment on my posts/photos and order photos themselves. I had many parents who made photo books at the end of the school year from the pictures I added on the website. I could also send out a mass e-mail to all parents if needed. I even had some grandparents that asked to join so they could see what their grandkids were up to!! 

As you can see, I had a variety of ways that I communicated with parents. I wanted them to see all the great things I was seeing in the classroom as well as keep them on top of how their child was doing. What's your favorite way to communicate with parents?



Positive Parent Communication {with Mrs. D's Corner}

I am fortunate enough to have an amazing set of classroom parents... truly amazing. If I ever need anything, I can send an email, make a phone call, or even text (yes, from my personal phone) to a parent and ask. Now I don't take advantage of this very often because I'm not one to ask for anything... but just knowing that I have their support means more than the world to me.

So how do I do it?
Easy! I send home a parent know each day for each student. It might seem like a lot (especially when you have 20+ students), but I currently only have 7 students. It's a half sheet of paper and, in all honesty, the simplest way for me to keep track of behavior data and for parents to stay in the know about how their child is doing in school each day.


Positive Parent Communications {With Amber from The Sunny Side of Second Grade}



Hey y'all. Welcome back to our sweet collaborative blog to read all about communicating with parents. I know some teachers think of this as a daunting task, but it really doesn't have to be. I enjoy involving parents in as much as possible. Let's face it...without them we wouldn't even have those little sweeties in our rooms to begin with. One of the biggest forms of communication I use with my parents in Class Dojo. You have probably heard me talk about this before, but I really cannot say enough about how much I love Class Dojo. I mean..I am even a Mentor!


Class Dojo is more than just behavior management, now. They have opened the door into parent communication and even social media. With their messaging system you can send instant messages to parents and even the whole class as a broadcast. So convenient. The mobile app even lets you send pictures to parents directly!


Several months ago, Class Dojo came out with a new feature...the Class Story! This is just like a timeline you would see in Facebook! I can post pictures of my newsletter, projects, family fun days, you name it! Families are then able to like and even comment on the pictures just like they would on their social media. So far the parents are really enjoying this feature.


Finally, Class Dojo's most recent development...shhhhh! It's quiet time...sometimes that is. We all need a break from work, but sometimes when our phone goes off it is hard to ignore, and that can take its toll on our personal lives. Therefore, Class Dojo has implemented the Quiet Hours feature. You can set this using the settings on the mobile app. You can tell the app when to push notifications and when to remain silent and let parents know you are "out of the office".

{Click on the image above to be taken to a document to read about quiet hours}
I hope you enjoyed reading all about how to stay in touch with your students' parents. Give Class Dojo a try, if you haven't already. Once you do, you won't go back! :)



Positive Parent Communication {With The Kindergarten Connection}

Communicating with parents is so important. After all, when teachers and parents work together and are on the same page, it can make a huge difference in a child's education! 


I communicate with my kindergarten parents in various ways. Some of those ways include:
  • emails -I send some personal ones as well as a weekly update one to all families.
  • blog - I have a private classroom blog that parents can access.
  • newsletter - I send a monthly newsletter.
Those ways are great and keep parents up to date about classroom happenings, but I also think it is important to send home some things that are more personalized.

So, I also love to send home positive notes



Kids work hard in school and a LOT happens that isn't just academics. They are of course learning how to read and write, but they are also learning how to navigate friendships and be part of a classroom community!

When something great happens at school, like when someone is a kind friend, helps someone, or even when they are doing something great in reading or math, etc - I love to acknowledge that with a fun little note home!


These notes print four to a page, so I just have a stack of them already cut, and then I can write something positive in the box and put it in the child's folder at the end of the day. 

It means a lot to the child, and gives them something positive to share with their parents too! 

Download the Notes! 

Want to send home some positive notes to your kiddos too? Grab these cute notes, run off copies and keep them on hand for those great, celebration worthy moments!
Grab your copy HERE.

How do you communicate with parents?


The Moment of Truth! Communicating with Parents! [Using FACEBOOK with Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching]



Facebook for parent communication? Say what? You mean not to socialize with friends! YES!

It's Dianna here with you today from Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching!
Today I am here as a parent! Pretty interesting, that I feel more compelled to share with you what makes me so happy right now about my daughter's Pre-K teacher rather than what I do as a Literacy Coach. Sure, I communicate with parents every day about reading, assessments and laws. But what I'm about to share has knocked the socks off my husband and I. WE LOVE OUR DAUGHTER'S PRE-K TEACHER!

Why?
We LOVE her parent communication! DAILY and POSITIVE!
So what's so great?
We have a class Facebook page! Every evening I see my daughter and classmates in action for the day!

It is also the primary source of parent communication for all other classroom and school related things. Check out below some of the parent communication >>>







So, I have heard of teachers having private Twitter or Instagram pages for their class. But, I have never personally heard of anyone having a private Facebook page for their class.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Aside from the county forms for photographs and internet, create a form for permission to join as a parent to the class Facebook page. Also to post pictures of your child for other parents to see on the page. Ask for the parents email address associated with Facebook on the form. This is important so the teacher doesn't have to be friends with all the parents on Facebook, she can invite them into the page by their email.
  2. Create a note to parents of the powers of a class Facebook page, such as... Daily happenings in pictures, conversations with child about what they are working on in school, knowing the students in your child's class, collaborating with other parents on classroom activities, volunteering, donations, fundraisers, events, and more! This is really great for divorced or separated parents too. It makes communicating with 2 separate parties easier on the teacher. It is also really great for deployed parents or parents that travel, because if they have internet they can still be connected to their child's daily activities at school. No more loose papers either! Post the flyers in your page as a photo! 
  3. As the teacher, log in to Facebook and create a private group. Add a cute cover photo and invite parents by email. 
Here are some pictures of my daughter below over the past few months. It's been so great for me to work full time but know each day exactly what is happening at school with her. Every day I use the pictures to discuss what she learned about at school or what she participated in at school. I see all her friends and the best part is everything is positive. 

These photos tell me what Harper Jane is working on at school each day along with showing how happy she is! As a parent, I couldn't have a better feeling each day!