Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to School

It's August...and for some teachers, like me, that means only a few more days of summer.  I have arranged furniture, changed the calendar, organized books, stuffed birthday bags, set up learning stations, written name tags, and the list goes on and on...

With all of these things accomplished, it's time for me to focus on one of the most important things—communication!  Having an open line of communication between a teacher and parents helps create a smooth start to the school year.  Here is how I start the process each year:

1. After I get my class list, I write a note or postcard to each of my new students.  It seems like such a small thing, but it really means a lot, and even big kids will tell you the note is cool!

2. I then write a letter to the parents to let them know a little about me, my classroom, my expectations, and how they can help out.  This establishes trust between parents and the teacher.

3. Along with the parents’ letter, I send a questionnaire for the parents to tell me a about their child. I ask for info such as: preferred name, description, one important fact, strengths, activities/hobbies, goals they have for their child, and any additional information they would like to provide.

4. Next comes the ice cream social.  This is an awesome activity that takes place the day before school starts.  It allows students and parents to come to school in an informal setting to find classrooms, meet teachers, and see old friends.  It lasts about an hour, just long enough to help everyone feel more at ease about the first BIG DAY!  If your school doesn't have an event like this, ask your principal if you can invite families to your room for an hour or so.

5. Sometime during the first couple of weeks of school, I make a phone call to households of students to say something positive about each child.  Each student in your class has a positive trait, so highlight it and praise the child.

These five items, in addition to some sort of regular newsletter, whether on paper or by email, will get your school year off to a great start.  However, even with the best communication, there may be a few rough patches.  Yet, with the trust you've built, those rough patches will be smoothed out before you know it!

By Hilary Lewis

Hilary Lewis's TPT store

Related Products at Teachers Pay Teachers:

Can I Chew Gum in Class? $2.00
My SummerBook $2.00                  
Back toSchool Power Pack $3.00
Beginningof the Year Class Activities and Classroom Management Tools $5.00
Back toSchool Novel Activities $4.00
First Dayof School Find a Friend Treasure Hunt $1.00

Back to School Unit

1 comment:

  1. I love these suggestions. A few of them I already do: my school has a student interest survey, we all write letters to parents, and I try to reach each parent by the end of the first week. I attended a PD session at the beginning of the year and it was suggested to send postcards home to students and families. I just haven't gotten myself organised with that. The Ice Cream Social is an awesome idea though and I will definietly be using that (any excuse for ice cream)!!
    ✪ Liam ✪
    Twist of Liam


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