3 Easy Ways To Connect With Your Parents Mid-Year!

This past weekend, I accomplished one of my “blog” resolutions for 2016: I jumped back onto the Periscope wagon! I have not held a broadcast on Periscope since the beginning of the school year – eekk! That is a long time!  In an effort to get back into the Periscope “swing of things,” I started a new “series” or “Periscope show” this weekend.  I’m calling it 3,2,1: Tips, Tricks, & Fun!   
So what will this “show” be about? I will be presenting a variety of different topics designed for new teachers, student teachers, and teachers who just want to get back “to the basics.”  Quick tips, easy ideas, and simple, “back to basics” tips, tools, and tricks that perhaps some of us have forgotten or brushed under the rug as veteran teachers.  After I complete the Periscope session, I will also blog about the details we discussed right here for you! 🙂
This weekend’s Periscope session gave you three easy ways to connect with parents mid-year.  Here’s the re-cap!  
Why are we discussing this topic “mid-year?” So often as teachers, we enthusiastically dive head first into a variety of ways and activities to connect with our families at the beginning of the year.  Your open house looks picture-perfect. The ‘get to know me” letter you wrote is neatly typed and printed on cute, colorful paper.  You have set up your newsletter and entered each family’s address into your e-mail group carefully. You are ready to make meaningful connections!
And then….school happens. Suddenly, your overwhelmed with paperwork, classroom management, lesson planning, meetings, and conferences.  In the midst of it all, our relationships with parents can easily slip away and be somewhat “rushed” or “forgotten.” January is the perfect month to regroup and remind yourself how important it is to keep those connections with parents alive and strong.  
 At the beginning of the year, I set out empty envelopes on my open house table. I ask parents to self-address the envelopes and place them in a pile.  Then, I put a stamp on each envelope and place them on my desk.  Throughout the year, I grab a few envelopes and jot a quick, positive reinforcement note to parents about their child.  “Johnny is doing a fantastic job on his spelling tests this month. I’m SO proud of him! He’s rocking first grade!”
That, my friends, is all it takes to make a parent smile and feel good! In this world we live in, filled with so much digital technology, we can’t deny that a personal, handwritten note from a teacher is SO special! It can mean so much more than any email or text you could send. 
If you have not gathered envelopes from your parents yet, I encourage you to sit down one evening this month and write the addresses of each family. 🙂  Place stamps on the envelopes and set them out on your desk.  Then, grab a few each week and start to make your parents SMILE! 🙂
 Do you use Class Dojo, Remind, or Twitter for your classroom?  If you do, I’m challenging you to let your families and students catch a tiny glimpse of your personal life once in awhile! Of course, let me remind all new teachers that this needs to be done in a PROFESSIONAL way. For example, sharing a nice picture of your family or a family pet is a wonderful way to accomplish this task!  Above is an example of a picture of my dog that I sent out to my families via Class Dojo during Winter Break.  The photo caption states: “Merry Christmas to all of my first graders and families! We hope you are having a wonderful day.” Then, I had typed my name and the dog’s name, too! This idea seems simple and silly, but your parents need to know that you are relatable and that they can see you both as a teacher and a human who loves their child and has their best interest at heart!

So often, parents WANT to feel needed and included in volunteer opportunities within your classroom. However, many work third shift or have family demands that simply don’t allow for classroom visits and school hours. For parents who cannot come into school, help them feel needed by offering and asking for volunteer tasks they can complete at home! It helps you AND the parents!  One example of this is to ask parents to cut out lamination at home and return it to school. 

Another idea is to start a Pencil Pal Club! I have parents sign up and volunteer to sharpen pencils at home and return the bag to school.  It helps me tremendously because neither I nor my students waste instructional time sharpening pencils during our school day. It also helps my parents feel included and a part of our classroom “team.” If you would like to grab your own FREE Pencil Pal printables, along with an *editable* copy of the Pencil Pal letter to send home with your parents, you can find them by clicking HERE or on the picture above. 

And those, my friends, are my three easy tips for connecting with parents mid-year! I hope you found these easy tips or simple reminders encouraging and helpful! I can’t wait to bring you more 3,2,1: Tips, Tricks, & Fun topics and ideas! 

Be sure to follow me on Periscope to catch my live broadcasts!

You can find me on Periscope @missdecarbo

Until next time-

Happy Learning,

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