Contacting Parents…Help!

The beginning of the year is full of many things, but the one thing that comes to mind for me is PAPERWORK!  All of those emergency cards, contact information for mom/dad/legal guardian, email addresses, phone numbers, allergies, things the teacher should know, students’ likes and dislikes, etc.

And the majority of it exists simply so we know the best way to contact the parents throughout the year. Really, that’s all we’re looking for.  Can we text you?  Email you?  Call you?  Or should we just send a note home?  Which do you prefer?  Help us out, parents!  Can you please write your email address and/or phone numbers a little more clearly so that I do not enter it incorrectly in my contacts (like I inevitably do every year)?  It’s all so overwhelming….,but if done correctly, saves so much time throughout the year.

Well, because I work at a year round school, my “beginning of the year” is now two months behind me–thank goodness!  I thought I might share some of the beginning of the year forms that I use in hopes of lessening the burden for some of you out there just beginning your school year.

This student information sheet is sent home the first day of school.  I have condensed all crucial info. to one sheet of paper.  The parent contact log is then copied on the backside to be used as needed throughout the year.
This student information sheet is sent home the first day of school. I have condensed all crucial info. to one sheet of paper. The parent contact log is then copied on the backside to be used as needed throughout the year.

 

This log is copied on the back of my student information sheet.  I keep all of these in one binder so that any time I contact a parent, it's easily documented.
This log is copied on the back of my student information sheet. I keep all of these in one binder so that any time I contact a parent, it’s easily documented.

These two forms are copied back to back and given to the students on the first day of school. Parents complete only the student information sheet, as the parent contact log is used as needed throughout the year. I hole-punch these forms and keep them in one small binder. This way I can easily access a parent’s contact information and quickly turn over the paper to document the date, time, and reason for the contact. Not only is it handy, but I feel it’s important to document everything as an educator. You never know when you might need it.

A simple sheet created to obtain parents' phone numbers and permission to TEXT THEM!!! Yay 21st century!
A simple sheet created to obtain parents’ phone numbers and permission to TEXT THEM!!! Yay 21st century!

This sheet was created to move myself and colleagues into the 21st century. Parents are asked if it is ok to text them and to provide the best number to do so. It’s been amazing! You would not believe the power you hold when a student knows that you can text their parent(s) right before their eyes. And now that I have a google voice number— (I’ll discuss that at in future post), the possibilities are endless. I have had such positive feedback from the parents and I feel that my parent/teacher communication has become more effective.

 

I finally made something to send home when I can't read the email address parents write on their contact forms!  Success!
I finally made something to send home when I can’t read the email address parents write on their contact forms! Success!

And finally, this form was created for all the email addresses that I CANNOT READ! It never fails. Every year, I take the time to input all my parents’ email addresses into one group contact. (This way I can send out email blasts to everyone at one time.) Well, every year I enter addresses incorrectly because I cannot read certain email addresses. Is that the letter “i” or the number one…? I mean, really, no matter how many time you write, “Print neatly please.”

Anyway, after I send out my test email. The parents’ email addresses that come back “failed to deliver” receive one of these notices. It’s the first year that I was able to correct all my mistakes! Whoooohoooo!

Student Information Sheet

Parent Contact Log

Technology Contact Sheet

Incorrect Email Alert

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Trainings and Technology-Is anyone else’s mind on overload?

myaccess  Today was one of the first and many trainings I will receive this year.  (We are in year 4 of a technology/writing grant and have ongoing trainings to help us to use the myaccess.com writing program to better service our kids’ writing needs.)  And while I truly appreciate the technology we were given (a laptop cart per grade level), it is a little overwhelming.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a training, my mind starts racing with all these ideas about how I can and should implement everything I’m learning into my lesson plans ASAP.  Granted, many of the ideas are good ideas, but then I come home, sit on my floor (as I am now), and try to plan.  It just seems impossible to fit in everything I need to fit in–in the appropriate amount of time.

We have so much technology and in-services thrown our way, but I wish I could sit down with some teachers to discuss simple logistics.  I need to see a teacher and a functioning schedule  that implements the following in an effective way:

1. Reader’s Notebook with daily student conferences and timely teacher response to student response letters

2.  Successful and Meaningful Reading Group Rotations

3.  Science Experiments

4.  Social Studies Projects and Research

5. Discovery Education videos streamed into lessons consistentlydiscoveryedu

6.  Digicore lessons

digicore

7. myaccess.com– Student Writing Block

8. Spelling and Phonics Instruction

9. Quick Parent Communication (I just started using Google Voice this year.  I’m liking it so far, just working out the kinks.  Love the texting capability though, especially that I can type texts to parents on the computer during the school day.)googlevoice

10.  Meaningful HW assignments using technology

11.  Edmodo updates and exciting articles/video to keep students engaged

edmodo

12.  Math exploratory lessons (Looking into Marcie Cook Tile Math–any other suggestions??)

13. Instruction in how to create a wonderful lesson using Doceri and my new iPad

doceri

 

 

14.  Finally, can I get a common core training sometime before I’m supposed to assess the students with it?!

ccss

 

 

Hmmmm… am I missing anything?  Oh yes, my own personal life–husband, family, friends, church, exercise, etc.  I mean, I do have a

1 1/2 year old kid somewhere…..where is that kid…. Gotta go.

Someone let me know when they have this all figured out.  I would like to observe your classroom-soon!