Parent/teacher communication is key in and outside of the classroom. Educators, no matter what level they teach often communicate with parents through face to face conversations, emails, phone calls, and letters. Generally, elementary teachers type up a weekly/monthly letters to parents informing them of the happenings in the classroom. This letter writeup has been a staple in many classrooms, including mine. Depending on the individual situation, more communication from the school can benefit the school community. Over the past few years new communication methods have started to change the informing landscape.
As they should, parents often want to know how their child is progressing and what’s happening in school. Keeping community members informed and aware of classroom happenings can create more clarity and demonstrate the learning that’s happening. This information can also bridge home and school connections. Beyond the classroom monthly letter, pictures and videos can bring memories and school discussions back home to parents. This provides parents with opportunities to discuss events and activities that are happening in the classroom. I feel as though this benefits the parent/teacher/school relationship.
I’ve found the three methods below to be valuable in communicating information to the school community.
Twitter: Having a classroom Twitter handle has the potential to improve communication with the community. In an effort to use less paper, some teachers have utilized Twitter to link important documents, such as parent letters, pertinent assignments, homework, and classroom expectations. I’ve had great success using Twitter to communicate to my stakeholders. Having a classroom Twitter account can also help engage your parents in using social media. Twitter also allows two way communication, as parents can send direct messages or Tweets back to the teacher. If you were ever wondering how to use Twitter in your classroom, visit Lee Crocket’s 60 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. I should also mention that by setting up your own Twitter account you can also use Twitpic and Vine, which I mention below.
Twitpic: A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Whether you agree or disagree, Twitpic can illustrate what’s happening in the classroom. Twitpic can also be connected to your classroom/school Twitter account. Classroom activities and discussions can be documented with the Twitpic app. A teacher can take a photo with the app and automatically upload it to their classroom Twitter account. I’ve found that embedding your Twitpic pictures on a class webpage can look like an ever-changing photo gallery of your classroom. Parents are able to view the gallery of pictures any time they visit your classroom webpage. This encourages engagement at home and gives students an opportunity to verbally construct a caption for their parents.
Vine: If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a six second video worth? Some would call Vine a video recording device, but I use it as a communication device. Vine can connect to your classroom Twitter account. When parents click on the Twitter Vine link, a new page will pop out that displays the video. Here’s an article that shows a few different ways to use Vine in the classroom. I’ve used Vine to show how students use math manipulatives, present projects, work collaboratively, classroom arrangements, iPad usage, and many more activities in the classroom.
There are many different ways to communicate all the great things that are happening in your classroom. I just emphasized three in this blog post. What are you favorites?
* Image credit: Mim