25 tips for connecting families with the classroom

#DitchBook Twitter chat

#DitchBook Twitter chat | Monday, September 20, 2021

25 tips for connecting families with the classroom

25 tips for connecting families with the classroom
25 tips for connecting families with the classroom

Family engagement plays a huge role in the success of our students. How can we effectively connect families with the classroom? And what tools and resources are available to help increase communication between home and school?

Family engagement plays a huge role in the success of our students. How can we effectively connect families with the classroom? And what tools and resources are available to help increase communication between home and school?

Some families are involved and engaged from the moment their child steps foot in your classroom. Others may be more difficult to hook in but all families want to know how their child is doing in school.

We want to engage all of our families. But how do we make sure we are really connecting with everyone?

Lucky for us there are many apps out there for educators to choose from to give families a window into our classroom. In a recent #DitchBook Twitter chat, participants shared tons of recommendations for tried and true communication tools along with other great suggestions for connecting families with the classroom.

We curated their ideas and shared 25 of them below.

25 tips for connecting families with the classroom.

Use Seesaw

Seesaw!! As a parent and a teacher I found being able to connect home and school through Seesaw to be invaluable. I have some resources on my PD website for anyone looking to get started with it  https://sites.google.com/view/karlymourapdresources/seesaw.

Shared by: Karly Moura

Invite volunteers into the classroom

Volunteers is usually the most likely way. We, preCovid, would invite parents in for our publishing celebrations/author's chairs. Also tried to get parents involved via video (see @Flipgrid

Shared by: John Hartmann

Use a translator app/tool like Talking Points

Shared by: Stephanie Howell

Invite parents in virtually

Invite parents in virtually for morning meeting, in all subjects in the content area, presentations, and special class events.

Shared by: Rayna Freedman

Host a movie night

Invite families in for a movie night once a month at night. If you still aren't able to do this because of COVID you can still host a watch party and have questions kids can share with their families then bring into class the next day.

Shared by: Rayna Freedman

Utilize Google Forms

I also use Google Forms a lot. Have a guardians check in and fill out a getting to know you form that allows guardians to share important info about their students.

Shared by: Rayna Freedman

Send an email

Google forms has been great! However email is a great way to share what is happening day to day for those guardians who like to know.

Shared by: Rayna Freedman

Invite family members in as experts on a topic

We have had parents who work in certain fields come in as experts for a topic or on career day. Students and parents learn a lot in that setting!

Shared by: Zac Eash

Send Guardian summaries 

I am a HUGE champion of Google Classroom Guardian Summaries. Although not a physical invitation, that small piece of communication invites them in either daily or weekly.

Learn more about sending Guardian Summaries in Google classroom.

Shared by: Evan Mosier

Set up a social media account

Right now we have visitor restrictions. I'm trying to post more about our activities on Twitter so families can see. I get so involved in watching my students work, I forget to take pics sometimes though.

Shared by: Mandi Tolen

Create personalized report cards

Last year, I created personalized, fun, "report cards" using Google Sheets, Slides, and Autocrat. Great way to connect with parents.

Volunteer yourself!

I LOVE what teaching remotely has taught us about what it means to "volunteer". I volunteered every other Friday over Zoom in my son's class last year. Such a great way to bring in support virtually.

Shared by: Karly Moura

Try Class Dojo or Parent Square

So many options out there! As I mentioned in A2, I ❤️ClassDojo but have also come to appreciate ParentSquare for communication.

Shared by: Jena Smith

Create video tutorials

Create short videos using Screencastify or Loom then use QR codes placed around the classroom to introduce students and parents to the school.

Shared by: Cameron Ross

Keep an open dialogue doc

One of my teachers started having his students write weekly reflections on their classwork in a Google Doc shared with their teacher & parents to open dialogue between home/school and it's all student-led!

Shared by: Zach Swigard 

Give advanced notice to working parents

Being a working parent, I really appreciate lots of advance notice for classroom activities or parties. Sometimes it’s possible to attend on a lunch break or something.

Shared by: Karen Mensing

Host a Google Bootcamp

I want to pursue a Google Bootcamp for parents in the evening...Have seen others do it...Want our school to be a destination for community, not just students.

Shared by: Jon Craig

Create tutorials for parents

Create tutorials of what you are doing in class while you are teaching (using a tool like Doceri) and upload the videos to your YouTube channel so the Ps can learn too and the students can reference. Even better if students help make the materials.

Shared by: Kristy McCoy

Video chat with parents during class

I’ve done video chats with phones if kids give great answers. It is beyond funny when you call a parent during class and mention how proud you are of their child. 

Shared by: Craig Shapiro

Share the learning with digital portfolios

I think offering varied ways to "see" into the learning is Key. Not all parents can volunteer during the day; not all want to. But ALL want to know what's going on. So easy with tools like Seesaw and Flipgrid. Also student portfolios, etc. where students can demo learning for parents.

Shared by: Rachel Marker

Host a parent workshop

Parent workshops are key where parents can rotate from room to room to learn various topics - how to check grades, how to use the LMS, what questions to ask your kids, and social emotional workshops

Shared by: Christine Levinson

Ditch That Homework

The last thing a busy family needs is to be more busy.

Shared by: Zack Ripley

Offer Zoom and in-person meetings

Make phone calls, emails, offer zoom/google meet, in person meetings.

Shared by: Megan Booty

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