Friday, July 28, 2017

4 Simple Ways to Communicate with Parents

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Parent-teacher communication is crucial to the success of our kiddos! Communicating with parents doesn't have to be super time consuming and you should definitely make it a priority. I wanted to share some of my favorite simple ways to communicate with parents.

Make Parents IEP VIP Books
My SLP did a parent survey last year to gauge parents' comfort with the IEP process. A piece of feedback that we got was that parents don't know how to easily contact teachers and service providers and that they don't really understand service time. To help parents with this, I made these little IEP VIP flipbooks. The books are individualized for each kiddo and have teacher and therapist contact information and service time. Now parents won't have any question about how to contact the important people on their child's IEP!
Click to find this in my TpT shop.
Simplify Back & Forth Books
Although back and forth books can be time consuming, I think they're SO important in special education classrooms. Most of my students are non-verbal, so they aren't going home and telling their parents what happened that day... so it's my job to make sure parents know what's going on at school! If you simplify your back and forth books, you should be able write in all of the books pretty quickly. I can complete my 9 back and forth books in about 10 minutes total. My favorite ways to simplify back and forth books are to use checklists and to use planners from the Dollar Tree.
Back & Forth Book with checklists. Click to find this in my TpT shop.

Simple planner from the Dollar Tree as a back and forth book.

Capitalize on Technology
I like to use technology in a variety of ways to communicate with parents. In the past, I've done a classroom blog with monthly posts. This was a good way to share pictures, information about what we did that month and updates with parents. However, parents didn't check it very often (even when they got an email notifying them there was a new post), so I felt like it was a waste of my time.
Now I use the Bloomz app as my main mode of communication with parents. It's completely free and it allows you to share pictures, videos, calendars and classroom updates with parents in just a few easy steps! It also has 2 way messaging so you don't have to give parents your cell phone number. It's great because most parents check their smartphones so frequently.


Utilize Surveys & Inventories
Give parents surveys and inventories to fill out at the beginning of the year so you can gauge how parents want you to communicate with them, then base your communication on the survey results. This will avoid you spending time writing a classroom blog or weekly newsletter if parents aren't interested in it!


Click to download this freebie.

What are your favorite ways to communicate with parents?

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