“Nothing” or “not much” is often the response to a parent’s questions about their child’s school day. Trying to pry useful information out of student who would rather go out and play or watch TV is often a struggle.
Have you ever thought of writing a class newsletter?
It is the perfect way to share information on a constant basis. It may take a little time to create the perfect letter, but it will be well appreciated by parents who don’t always get the full story from their children. It is important for parents and guardians to know what goes on during the school week so they can be supportive of classroom activities, and be up-to-date on what their child is learning.
First, what information do you want to relate to parents? Do you want parents to know mostly about events coming up or what you are doing curriculum wise? Do you want a section on behavior? Will your classroom newsletters be personalized or just a quick note? And do you want to send home information every week, every two weeks, or every month? Another question is, are you going to send your newsletter in mass or are you going to direct it individually to each parent?
Surveys of parents consistently prove that they read school newsletters and consider them a useful source of information. Parents indicate that classroom newsletters are even more helpful.Following are some ideas of what to include in classroom newsletters:
- Announcement of upcoming events
- Library schedule
- Lists of items parents could collect or save for class projects
- Thank you notes to families who help out
- Descriptions of study units and suggestions of ways to supplement units at home
- Invitations to class activities or open house
- Children’s writing and artwork
- Reprints of articles you think are important
- Explanations of grading policies, standardized testing, and other means for assessing and evaluating performance
- Explanations of behavior standards and consequences of misbehavior
- Highlights of community resources such as a museum exhibit, play, concert, or television show
- News about classroom pets, trips, celebrations
Readers will be able to navigate more readily if they can easily scan the topics you include. Some ideas for content headings:
- Classroom Highlights
- Donors Choose Wish List
- Upcoming Events
- What We’re Reading
- Problems We’re Solving
- Recommended Books
- Homework Expectations
- Behaviors We’re Working On
- Dinner Challenge Questions
- Thanks to…
- Resources (links)
- Fun Photos
- Exemplary Student Work
- Volunteer Sign Up
- Student Quotes
You can also have your students contribute work. Ask them to write something newsworthy, something fun, something going on in their lives. Publish one or two students’ works each newsletter. They will get excited that their article got “published” and parents can be proud of their hard work.
Writing a weekly or monthly newsletter may be extra work, but the payoff is worth it — informed and interactive parents and students who will get the most out of the school year. Go for it!