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Saturday, July 9, 2016

ABC's of Successful Teaching...Communication!



I have always believed the one of the most important ingredients to successful teaching is COMMUNICATION!
Teacher to Student
Student to Teacher
Teacher to Parent
Parent to Teacher
Teacher to Teacher
Teacher to Administrator

COMMUNICATION goes beyond the written note, website, phone call.

COMMUNICATION can be how effectively we as an educator are getting our message across.
(Sometimes after a test I hear...My students did horrible on the test!  
Teachers tend to blame it on the students.  
They didn't listen.  They didn't study.  They just don't get it.
BUT 
Maybe we need to look at the way we presented the information.
It may have been our way of communicating the information to them was not effective)

COMMUNICATION can be non verbal cues  or "vibes" the students are getting from us or we are getting from them.
( Remember David?  We all know a David who drives us insane!  Think back to that glorious story by David Shannon, David Goes to School.  At the end how did the teacher COMMUNICATE to David she felt. )
PLEASE keep these in the forefront of your mind as you begin the school year.
Challenge yourself to make improvements.

The COMMUNICATION we are going to talk about today is more about "keeping everyone up to speed".  In today's world of technology this should be an easy task.  Let's take a look at some of these ways.

Classroom Website
I love having a website for my classroom.  When I was teaching it was filled with pictures of our activities, a calendar, rules and consequences, procedures, math and reading focus chart for the week, link to the lunch menu, newsletter, how to contact me.
I sent a laminated "fridge note" home with the link for each parent. 
I also provided a link to all staff who worked in or with students in my classroom. 
I used Google but there are many other "teacher friendly" websites available for use.
I set aside one morning a week to update my site.  Keep it simple but something people will WANT to visit.

Remind (Remind 101)
If you have not signed up for this text reminder program do it NOW!!
I sent quick reminders to parent's and support staff texts all the time.
Older students can leave their own numbers as well.
Spelling test tomorrow.
Notes due for student project.
No school tomorrow.

Email
As simple as it may sound Email is still a great way to communicate with parents, students, staff, and administration.  I sent our weekly newsletters through Email and included all those listed.  Yes, I am sorry to say I still sent a hard copy but many parents and support staff liked having something to keep in front of them.

Mailerlite.com
I loved using this once a month to fill parents in on what was taking place curriculum wise.
I like that you can add pictures and the best part is it lets you know:  who opened the email, who clicked on the links, what parents found most useful.  

NOTE: I always include administration and support staff on all of my communication.  It is a great way to promote your classroom and keep everyone on the same page.

Calendars
These are so helpful in letting everyone know what to expect for the coming month.  They can add their own or updated info as it comes home.  Include student birthdays, school dates, events.

Notes
I love sending this one home to parents to copy and use.  It is really helpful to keep information shared from home to school.
Yesterday I also shared with you behavior notes I like to send.  



When a student has been absent or on vacation this is helpful.

I find this useful for support staff.  I then attach any papers that I hope they can work on together.
Often I include games that work on specific skills I hope the student will work on.  These provide for communication and skill discussion.  

Phone Log
I keep track of phone calls because it is easy to trace and recall communications I have had with parents or numbers I need to return calls to.

Class Newsletter
I send these weekly.  One is sent attached in the Email, one is placed on the website, and one is sent home with the student.  

Finally check out what I use to communicate our weekly reading and math skills.
These let parents know how they can help AND how their child is doing.


Are you an effective communicator?
These few tips can keep you ahead of the game and make for a productive school year!


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