Home to school communication is a huge key to success in special education. It is so important to have effective and open communicate with parents in the self-contained setting since many of our students can’t communicate effectively how their day went when they get home. There are 4 ways I communicate with parents in my special education classroom. I use daily communication logs, texting and calling, Seesaw, and Google Classroom.
#1: Daily Communication Logs
My main source of communication with parents are my daily communication logs. I have classic home-to-school binders for each of my students to house their daily communication logs. You can find the communication logs I use here! These are editable communication logs that you can modify to fit the needs of your classroom. I was able to edit the images to fit the related services and special area activities that are unique to my school.
I fill out a communication log for each of my students every day. These logs are great because they give a well-rounded picture of my students’ day. You can mark what activities they had, what they ate, their restroom activity, any supplies needed, and any extra notes you need to communicate to the parents. There is also a section for the parents to write a note back to you. I file all these sheets in a student binder I keep at school. It is a good resource to have to look back at a past note in your communication log. I take them out of my students’ home to school binders when the log is full and file it in their school binder. I typically make enough copies at the start of the school year to last all year.
#2: Texting and Calling
The other most frequent way I communicate with parents is through texting and calling. This has personally been the easiest way to quickly communicate with parents in my classroom. I typically have great relationships with all my parents, so I feel comfortable giving them my cell phone number to text or call me. It is easy for me and my parents to send a quick text to communicate with each other. I have my students for up to four years, so I develop close relationships with my parents. Always choose the communication method that works best for you and you feel most comfortable with. There are also tons of texting apps and online phone number generators, like Google Voice, that you can use if you don’t feel comfortable using your personal phone number. You can have the same ease of texting and calling without using your phone number.
Another way I communicate with parents is through Seesaw. I use the Seesaw app for whole class announcements, posting student work, sending assignments, and more. On Seesaw you can connect multiple family members per child, and you can send pictures and videos of the students’ work or highlights of their day directly to the parent. I use this platform for all of my whole class announcements. Anytime I need to send a note about a class party, a school reminder, or a snow day announcement, I just have to type it up one time and send it to all family members. You can also see which family members have seen your announcements. This feature makes it easy for me to see who has seen my message, and who may need an additional reminder.
#4: Google Classroom
The last way I communicate with parents is through Google Classroom. My district utilizes Google Classroom for all digital learning, so this is a new platform for me this year. Google Classroom is amazing for distance learning. I post assignments and announcements through Google Classroom. You can grade assignments, send feedback on assignments, post videos and other materials, post whole class announcements or individual announcements, and more! Each of my students have a Google Classroom accounts, and my students’ parents are also invited to their child’s Google Classroom. Any snow days we have are now distance learning days, so I can post announcements for my families and post activities for my students to complete. Google Classroom is an amazing classroom communication tool!
There are tons of ways to communicate with parents, so find one or two that work well for you so you can communicate effectively with your families. I hope the 4 ways I communicate with parents has been helpful to you! For more tips on communicating with parents, check out Alyssa’s blog post here. How do you communicate with parents?