Positive note home to parents template pdf

Positive note home to parents template pdf


  • Enhancing Parent-Teacher Communication Using Technology: A Reading Improvement Clinic Example
  • Tips for Open House and Back to School Night
  • Why you should send positive notes home (with a free template)
  • A PBIS Idea: Positive Notes Home
  • 12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email (With Poster)
  • Enhancing Parent-Teacher Communication Using Technology: A Reading Improvement Clinic Example

    Use Parent Communication Logs to improve classroom management and relationships with families. I did it all wrong in the beginning.

    When I think back to my first couple of years of teaching, I remember how excited I was to finally develop an organization; tool to help me keep up with my parent contacts. For the years before that, I struggled to remember which parents I had called. By some miracle, if I did remember which ones I called, I then forgot why exactly I contacted them — good or bad.

    You know, when you document your communication with parents, you are also keeping yourself in check. I have to look good for myself, you know. JK NOT carefully documenting your communication with parents can really come back to hurt you for a few reasons. Why should you document parent communication? If something major happens with a student, you have proof that parents were aware of what was happening with their child. This will make sense in just a minute.

    Now, as I said, it took me a few years to create a set of forms that were effective for parent communication in the classroom. My first year of teaching was in first grade. I was so excited about this opportunity because I had a specialization in reading, and that was going to be just perfect!!

    While I was kicking butt in teaching beginning reading to my firsties, I was not kicking butt in keeping the parents informed about what was happening at school. Click here to read about how to use Behavior Forms for Students to improve classroom management. I will never forget a certain little boy I had in my class that year. Guess it was about the third or fourth day of school when I overhead my new little friend telling another six-year-old that he had set a bale of hay on fire somewhere behind his house.

    He then proceeded to say that all seven huge hay bales burned to the ground. No answer. I tried to contact his dad. I thought I had better tell someone, so I told the school counselor about what I overhead. The counselor said it was probably just his vivid little imagination.

    Interesting side note: This was not a rural community. For the next few days, I tried calling his parents at home and work. No one picked up the phone, and no one returned my messages.

    I even called his grandmother from the emergency card, but no answer. That first year of teaching was so crazy that somehow, the whole hay going up in flames just escaped my mind.

    How the cops got involved… Fast forward about eight weeks. A police officer came to the school and asked to speak with me. Of course, I told her that I had tried to call on numerous occasions. Needless to say, I felt so bad. I felt like a failure. I had no idea what days I called, which numbers I dialed, or how many frantic messages I had left.

    So, as you can imagine, I needed a good way to keep up with documenting my communication with parents. No more visits from the police, please! I wanted the form to be straightforward, but at the same time, have every little bit of information I needed to contact the parents.

    NOTE: Some links are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I make a small commission on those purchases. What contact information to include on the Parent Communication Log? I added in the email a little later too. Email is actually one of my favorite ways to contact parents. It gives me documentation of exactly what I said to parents.

    You do have to be careful about your wording when sending emails, though, as parents will also have proof of exactly what you said. What to document on the Parent Communication Form? Make sure to write the date. This is important. You can also jot down the time in that same section. Include the person you communicated with. With stepparents and grandparents thrown into the mix, it can be difficult to remember who you contacted.

    Check the concern you have with the student. Is it behavior, academic, a daily routine like homework , or something else? Write down notes. I always copy these forms back to back. Just go ahead and copy these front to back from the get-go. It will save you sometime later on. Parent Communication Binder: Using a large three-ring binder is my favorite way to organize these forms. Each student has their own pocket tab divider with at least one copy of the Communication Log behind it.

    The pocket tab dividers are my fav because I can also include notes from parents, etc. One of my teacher friends was using my forms, but she thought it included too much parent information for her situation. She wanted an even simpler form with more room to write about what was discussed and decided during the parent contact.

    The space to write notes is much larger. This space will give you plenty of room to document everything. This last form is the Parent Meeting Log. If you have been documenting all of your contacts with parents and you feel like you need to move forward with a more formal meeting, you may want to use this form.

    It focuses on face-to-face meetings. What to include in a Parent Meeting Log?

    Merkley, D. Enhancing parent-teacher communication using technology: A reading improvement clinic example. Unfortunately, the topic of establishing mechanisms for meaningful parent-teacher communication is often slighted during the preparation of teachers.

    New teachers entering classrooms need the opportunity to interact and communicate with parents during their preparation program. Specific examples illustrate how this technology-based approach enhanced the communication process with parents while sharing tutoring information, student progress reports, and tutoring artifacts. When parents and teachers have rich and frequent communication, they can forge the partnerships that produce benefits for children.

    In a research-based framework, Epstein et al. Two key types of involvement included in these six are creating two-way communication and involving families with their children in academic learning at home. Department of Education, Thus, new teachers entering classrooms must understand the importance of home-school communication and should have opportunities for actual conversations or connections with parents under the guidance of faculty responsible for their professional preparation.

    To address barriers of time and schedules, e-mail and Web-based communications have emerged as viable options to increase parent-teacher interaction and provide school—based information in a timely and consistent manner. In fact, in many communities, communication via e-mail has become commonplace Bauch, ; Zisow, In addition, homework hotlines and online student management portals extend opportunities for families to stay linked to classroom requirements and resources Ammann, ; Fish, ; Zisow, Typically, parents find it difficult to get information from their uncommunicative children about what happened during school Beverly, ; Kasprowicz, Instead, parents are seeking other methods like school Web sites and portals to obtain that information.

    These online communication mechanisms are more convenient for parents, as they do not have to interrupt their workday to phone a teacher or attend a conference Beverly, This article describes how parent-teacher communication might be enhanced using a Web-based system that manages student reading artifacts along with teacher insight and explanation.

    Specifically, this article describes the parent communication component within a graduate-level tutoring course in reading. Included is the Web-based approach one tutor used to communicate with the family whose child was enrolled in a university-based, tutoring program.

    First, the requirements of the tutoring course and its relationship to the Reading Improvement Clinic are described. Next, the parent-tutor communication assignments completed in the course by all tutors are explained. In this section, artifacts prepared by one tutor and posted for parents using a Web-based environment are presented for each assignment.

    Finally, observations and recommendations concerning technology-based family communication and the plans for a research study that evolved are shared. The Reading Improvement Clinic Experience At this Midwestern, public university, students enroll in CI Supervised Tutoring in Reading three credits directly after student teaching and licensure or during their graduate program in literacy.

    Area families of children in grades 1 through 8 apply for one-on-one tutoring in the Reading Improvement Clinic, and each CI student engages in 25 hours of tutoring an assigned child with literacy needs.

    Family and tutor schedules determine the biweekly tutoring schedule. For example, some tutoring pairs meet Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from in scheduled campus tutoring rooms; another pair might meet Wednesday early evening and Saturday afternoon in a study booth at the local public library.

    The seven 4-hour Saturday sessions, distributed throughout the semester, are supplemented by WebCT communication requirements of each tutor.

    That is, CI students use an instructor-tutor private forum to post their tutoring plans for the upcoming week and to post their reflection after each tutoring session. The biweekly reflections also allow the instructor to respond to the unique instructional materials, strategies, and challenges that each tutor encounters. During the class meetings held throughout the semester, tutors share successes and concerns in two ways. Whole class discussions address general concerns, and the instructor provides examples of strategies and resources for tutors to consider.

    Conversations during class meetings reinforce how the child, the family, and the tutor are each impacted by the contents of the tutoring sessions. Parent-Tutor Communication Sharing information with the family permeates the tutoring experience, beginning with an initial phone conversation and culminating in a parent-tutor conference when the tutor shares a portfolio with artifacts from the semester.

    Table 1 at the end of this article provides an overview for each required family communication component, as well as the objectives and minimal requirements for each contact. For each type of family communication the instructor provides minimal requirements, samples from past semesters, and provisions for peer review of the communication components during class meetings.

    These typically have been paper samples that were either mailed, e-mailed, or hand-delivered to the parent. It became obvious to the instructor that a secure, Web-based technology system could easily be used to help facilitate the communication and sharing of this information between the parents and tutor.

    During spring the instructor asked for a volunteer to explore the possibility of using the class WebCT site to share tutoring information with the family. Figure 1 illustrates the required family communication components posted online by the volunteer tutor. Figure 1. Written communication posted online by volunteer tutor. All tutors followed this conversation with a letter of introduction to the family. In this sample letter of introduction, posted on WebCT, the volunteer tutor included personal information, as well as a reminder of the tutoring times and location see Appendix A, Letter of Introduction.

    Posted on the site by the volunteer tutor, family members were able to revisit the contents and track the entire semester of communication with the tutor. The informal tutoring notes required of all tutors serve to reinforce the type of written home communication many schools expect of teachers. By requiring updated notes during the course, tutors can hone their informal communication skills, and the course instructor can gain additional insight into tutoring activities.

    Reading Assessment Letter During the initial campus class sessions, instruction focused on informal literacy assessments with video samples, discussion, and peer-practice. All tutors then administered literacy assessments during the initial three meetings with the child they were tutoring.

    Assessments typically included an informal reading inventory, interest and attitude inventories, a student think aloud, a writing sample, and if needed, a decoding assessment. Since students in this class do not usually have experience in summarizing assessment results, the instructor previewed and provided feedback for each Reading Assessment Letter before it was shared with the family. Tutoring Summary Report During one of the last campus class meetings, all tutors read samples of Tutoring Summary Reports from previous semesters.

    This summary report provides a general tutoring overview written for the family. Finally, the volunteer tutor thanked the family, encouraged home literacy activities, and suggested at least two books and two Web sites for home use with the child see Appendix F, Tutoring Summary Report. Tutoring Portfolio For all tutors in the class, a portfolio, created by the child and the tutor during the course, highlighted their semester of work together. For the past decade, the Tutoring Portfolio has taken the form of a three-ring binder with artifacts and captions in plastic sleeves.

    The instructor required that all tutors organize artifacts in the portfolio by goal areas. Figure 2. Tutoring portfolio contents. The volunteer tutor had established goal areas of enhanced comprehension and enhanced writing for the child she was tutoring.

    As indicated in the example in Figure 3, she addressed the comprehension goal mainly through a series of literature lessons. Figure 3. Tutoring portfolio comprehension goal artifacts. Figure 4. Tutoring portfolio writing goal artifacts. The tutoring artifacts, organized by goal areas, were each to be accompanied by a caption that consisted of the following: The goal area e.

    A brief description of the context that resulted in the artifact. Each caption had to be error-free and written for a family audience. They often have difficulty describing the activity without jargon.

    Since WebCT easily accepts audio, the volunteer tutor selected a portion of this real-time documentation of a Language Experience Sequence to share online with the family see Audio 1. Figure 5 shows the caption that accompanied this artifact. Figure 5. Caption for audio artifact included in online portfolio. Students self-evaluated their videos for strengths and growth areas of pacing, teacher modeling, guided practice, and independent practice.

    The volunteer tutor selected a video portion of her direct instruction lesson in writing to share online with the family see Video 1. Figure 6. Caption for video artifact included in online portfolio. These elements formed the basis for discussion during an end of semester parent-tutor conference. Parent-Tutor Conference As indicated earlier, a parent-tutor conference is the culminating communication experience.

    In preparation, the students have viewed video segments of a parent conference from previous semesters. Video 2 provides excerpts from a conference that tutors view in preparation for their own parent conference. Understandably, beginning teachers all reported observing but never leading parent-teacher conferences during student teaching.

    Embedded in the concluding section of this article we share plans for a study to explore a broader use of online parent communication during tutoring. Several advantages were realized as a result of using this online environment to facilitate communication. We anticipate that at least half of the families applying for tutoring will have high-speed Internet access at home National Center for Education Statistics, , allowing several tutors to use a Web-based environment to facilitate parent-teacher communication, while other tutors would use a more traditional, hard copy approach for communicating with parents.

    We perceived definite advantages to a technology-based approach to parent-teacher communication. Posting examples to a dedicated online site was completed easily and successfully with scant ancillary technology needed.

    It is important to note that the volunteer tutor had extensive experience with digital video and was comfortable with posting artifacts to an online environment. We also anticipate, however, that most students enrolled will have used these processes earlier during a required undergraduate technology course. We also determined that modeling and instruction sheets would adequately review these video, audio, and posting processes that tutors will need. Digital audio recorders and scanners are readily available in the department for tutoring use, so tutors will be able to create audio and graphic files to post for parents with little effort.

    The WebCT site is password secure and private, offering an important security advantage. A school-sponsored web site could be organized to offer the same confidentiality, so posting communication during this class will serve to further prepare tutors for future professional practice National Center for Education Statistics, This type of access for families is becoming increasingly popular with the development of sophisticated school online student management systems and portals Fusco, ; Meyer, ; Weinstein, However, she reported that when planning for tutoring she had a tendency to more carefully consider artifacts from the lessons that could be posted online than she would have normally.

    She reported that during their TechCo undergraduate field experiences Thompson et al. This will be a logistical facet to explore during our study next semester. Consequently, students are a bit overwhelmed at the time it takes to write a careful description of the context that resulted in the artifact and the tutor interpretation.

    Interestingly, even though she had her own professional portfolio online, the volunteer tutor was still a bit hesitant with the concept of sharing an electronic portfolio during the parent-tutor conference held at the end of the tutoring experience.

    In some schools, the teacher will need to present for as long as 45 minutes; in bambino seduto di spalle disegno, the teachers are lucky to get 15 minutes. Ask your colleagues what Open House is normally like at your school. How to organize and prepare for open house There are several components of the typical Open House. Some schools have parents go to the cafeteria or auditorium first for a general welcome, then to individual classrooms.

    The younger the children you teach, the higher the priority parents will give to your classroom. Some schools have two minute sessions so parents with more than one child can visit multiple teachers without missing a lot of information. After most people arrive, you will give a short presentation about your class. However, because of the trickle-in effect, you will need productive activities for your families to do while they wait for you to begin. Talking with you will not be an option as you attend to a million other things that seem to pop up.

    Open House is not always the best time to have parents fill out forms because they are often rushed and distracted. You can, however, have volunteer sign-up sheets for them and handouts to peruse. Right inside my classroom door I have a desk with nametags, a sign-in sheet, and a packet of materials that I will be reviewing that night.

    Some teachers like to offer a small bowl of candy or treats, as well. Have extra chairs available for families to sit together. You may want to have all the children sit on the floor in the front or back of the room if space is limited.

    One parent sent me an email afterward saying how much she enjoyed it because she had a purpose in walking around the room and knew what she was looking at. How well do you know me? The kids get to grade it for the parents the next day, which they love! The families complete the journal entry at Back-To-School night and children read them in the morning.

    Have another morning warm-up for kids whose parents did not come. Be aware that some parents may not feel comfortable with their own reading or writing skills or may be preoccupied with their young children or the papers you have handed them, and may not take part. I have had moderate success with this activity in that regard, but the parents who did do the journal entry absolutely raved about it. What to include in your presentation Your school will probably give you guidelines on the material they want you to cover.

    There is no one right way to do this, but I have found the following format effective: 1 Tell a little about yourself. Some teachers show their family photos, which can be very endearing and encourages parents to view you as an approachable, real person.

    I like to tell why I chose the grade level I did and what I think is special about it. Of course, I told her that I had tried to call on numerous occasions. Needless to say, I felt so bad. I felt like a failure. I had no idea what days I called, which numbers I dialed, or how many frantic messages I had left. So, as you can imagine, I needed a good way to keep up with documenting my communication with parents. No more visits from the police, please! I wanted the form to be straightforward, but at the same time, have every little bit of information I needed to contact the parents.

    NOTE: Some links are affiliate links. At no cost to you, I make a small commission on those purchases. What contact information to include on the Parent Communication Log?

    I added in the email a little later too. Email is actually one of my favorite ways to contact parents. It gives me documentation of exactly what I said to parents. You do have to be careful about your wording when sending emails, though, as parents will also have proof of exactly what you said.

    What to document on the Parent Communication Form? Make sure to write the date. This is important. You can also jot down the time in that same section. Include the person you communicated with. With stepparents and grandparents thrown into the mix, it can be difficult to remember who you contacted.

    Check the concern you have with the student. Is it behavior, academic, a daily routine like homeworkor something else? In this sample letter of introduction, posted on WebCT, the volunteer tutor included personal information, as well as a reminder of the tutoring times and location see Appendix A, Letter of Introduction.

    Posted on the site by the volunteer tutor, family members were able to revisit the contents and track the entire semester of communication with the tutor. The informal tutoring notes required of all tutors serve to reinforce the type of written home communication many schools expect of teachers.

    By requiring updated notes during the course, tutors can hone their informal communication skills, and the course instructor can gain additional insight into tutoring activities. Reading Assessment Letter During the initial campus class sessions, instruction focused on informal literacy assessments with video samples, discussion, and peer-practice.

    All tutors then administered literacy assessments during the initial three meetings with the child they were tutoring. Assessments typically included an informal reading inventory, interest and attitude inventories, a student think aloud, a writing sample, and if needed, a decoding assessment. Since students in this class do not usually have experience in summarizing assessment results, the instructor previewed and provided feedback for each Reading Assessment Letter before it was shared with the family.

    Tutoring Summary Report During one of the last campus class meetings, all tutors read samples of Tutoring Summary Reports from previous semesters.

    This summary report provides a general tutoring overview written for the family. Finally, the volunteer tutor thanked the family, encouraged home literacy activities, and suggested at least two books and two Web sites for home use with the child see Appendix F, Tutoring Summary Report. Tutoring Portfolio For all tutors in the class, a portfolio, created by the child and the tutor during the course, highlighted their semester of work together.

    Tips for Open House and Back to School Night

    For the past decade, the Tutoring Portfolio has taken the form of a three-ring binder with artifacts and captions in plastic sleeves. The instructor required that all tutors organize artifacts in the portfolio by goal areas. Figure 2. Tutoring portfolio contents. The volunteer tutor had established goal areas of enhanced comprehension and enhanced writing for the child she was tutoring.

    As indicated in the example in Figure 3, she addressed the comprehension goal mainly through a series of literature lessons. Figure 3.

    Why you should send positive notes home (with a free template)

    Tutoring portfolio comprehension goal artifacts. Figure 4. Tutoring portfolio writing goal artifacts. The tutoring artifacts, organized by goal areas, were each to be accompanied by a caption that consisted of the following: The goal area e. A brief description of the context that resulted in the artifact.

    Each caption had to be error-free and written for a family audience. They often have difficulty describing the activity without jargon. Since WebCT easily accepts audio, the volunteer tutor selected a portion of this real-time documentation of a Language Experience Sequence to share online with the family see Audio 1.

    Figure 5 shows the caption that accompanied this artifact. Figure 5. Caption for audio artifact included in online portfolio. Students self-evaluated their videos for strengths and growth areas of pacing, teacher modeling, guided practice, and independent practice. The volunteer tutor selected a video portion of her direct instruction lesson in writing to share online with the family see Video 1.

    Figure 6. Caption for video artifact included in online portfolio. These elements formed the basis for discussion during an end of semester parent-tutor conference. Parent-Tutor Conference As indicated earlier, a parent-tutor conference is the culminating communication experience. In preparation, the students have viewed video segments of a parent conference from previous semesters. Video 2 provides excerpts from a conference that tutors view in preparation for their own parent conference.

    Understandably, beginning teachers all reported observing but never leading parent-teacher conferences during student teaching. Embedded in the concluding section of this article we share plans for a study to explore a broader use of online parent communication during tutoring. Several advantages were realized as a result of using this online environment to facilitate communication. We anticipate that at least half of the families applying for tutoring will have high-speed Internet access at home National Center for Education Statistics,allowing several tutors to use a Web-based environment to facilitate parent-teacher communication, while other tutors would use a more traditional, hard copy approach for communicating with parents.

    We perceived definite advantages to a technology-based approach to parent-teacher communication. Posting examples to a dedicated online site was completed easily and successfully with scant ancillary technology needed. It is important to note that the volunteer tutor had extensive experience with digital video and was comfortable with posting artifacts to an online environment.

    We also anticipate, however, that most students enrolled will have used these processes earlier during a required undergraduate technology course. We also determined that modeling and instruction sheets would adequately review these video, audio, and posting processes that tutors will need. Digital audio recorders and scanners are readily available Wide hips ssbbw search the department for tutoring use, so tutors will be able to create audio and graphic files to post for parents with little effort.

    The WebCT site is password secure and private, offering an important security advantage. A school-sponsored web site could be organized to offer the same confidentiality, so posting communication during this class will serve to further prepare tutors for future professional practice National Center for Education Statistics, This type of access for families is becoming increasingly popular with the development of sophisticated school online student management systems and portals Fusco, ; Meyer, ; Weinstein, However, she reported that when planning for tutoring she had a tendency to more carefully consider artifacts from the lessons that could be posted online than she would have normally.

    She reported that during their TechCo undergraduate field experiences Thompson et al. This will be a logistical facet to explore during our study next semester.

    Consequently, students are a bit overwhelmed at the time it takes to write a careful description of the context that resulted in the artifact and the tutor interpretation.

    Interestingly, even though she had her own professional portfolio online, the volunteer tutor was still a bit hesitant with the concept of sharing an electronic portfolio during the parent-tutor conference held at the end of the tutoring experience.

    The student wondered if sharing in an online format would be as effective. Throughout the semester we contemplated the effectiveness, the efficiency, and the educational merits of the online approach to parent-tutor communication. This will be one of the major areas to explore during our study. One valuable lesson learned was that since many asynchronous, online forums operate in a linear fashion without the opportunity to move and reorganize postings, each forum for sharing with parents required preplanning.

    That is, for the spring semester study we have created a posting template for the students who would use this approach with families during the tutoring experience. Informally, we considered that the advantages of using online postings seemed most appropriate for during-tutoring communication rather than as a fully developed electronic portfolio approach.

    We anticipate that this will be a simple transfer task for tutors during the proposed study. Also, by its very format, posting each communication piece and each artifact online poses potential communication problems that we have had to contemplate. This will be included as one of the areas to explore during our study. Interestingly, this experience raised questions about the extent to which new teachers have internalized technology use.

    Only one of the 24 students in the class volunteered to experiment with the online approach to family communication.

    A PBIS Idea: Positive Notes Home

    Nineteen of the class members were new graduates of our teacher preparation program that includes a required, three-credit technology course in which students learn how to develop Web pages, digital video projects, and multimedia projects for classroom applications. This suggests that campus experience alone is not enough to create technology-minded teachers. The volunteer tutor had worked with teachers during field experiences and student teaching placements who regularly used technology with students and managed classroom Web sites.

    None of the other new graduates or practicing teachers in the class had had experience with school-based Web sites.

    12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email (With Poster)

    For them, home communication used the more traditional format like hand written notes and phone calls home, newsletters, parent-teacher conferences, home visits, weekly folders, dialogue journals, and open house nights Baskwill, ; Bohler et al.

    In addition, the volunteer tutor whose experience is shared in this article was one of only two students in the class who had created an electronic professional portfolio.

    This suggests that a technology-rich teacher preparation program may not always result in seamless educational application. They were also able to compare and contrast across activities with a single click of the mouse.

    References Ames, C. Report No. Ammann, T. Baker, S. Gersten, R. When less may be more: A 2-year longitudinal evaluation of a volunteer tutoring program requiring minimal training.


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    1. In my opinion it is very interesting theme. I suggest all to take part in discussion more actively.

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