Well-executed classroom newsletters are one of the best management resources a teacher can have. Whether by email, dropbox or traditional paper, you cannot go wrong with committing to a weekly forma of communication with your students' families..
Parents like to know what is going on during their child's school day. And they have a right to know.
Teachers - especially those without kids - need to remember that many children do not go home and tell their parents all of the wonderful things you do during the school day.
Usually they say, "Nothing." I know because my own boys say that all the time. Sure they must do something all day other than recess!
I am an advocate for weekly newsletters in the primary grades and at least monthly in intermediate. That may seem like a lot of work, but once you get a great newsletter template that you like (mine is shared with you at the bottom of the page), it's easy just to fill in the blanks.
One of the characteristics of a good teacher is being sure families have an avenue to support their child with school and opening lines of parent teacher communication.
When you begin to design a classroom newsletter template, ask these questions first:
I use the same newsletter template every year, simply because I like it. It takes me about 15 minutes to write it each Thursday night and I "personalize" each one very quickly the next day at school (usually about 5 minutes for all).
What's always included? Glad you asked!
1. Curriculum News
This is the bulk of the newsletter. I include things we did in class during the week, upcoming units of study and any particular mentions regarding school related issues. I adjust the font size to either 10 or 12, depending on how much I have to say, or if I am just too tired to write any more! It's a nice little trick that keeps it looking full each week.
2. Focus Skills
These are the standards that we are working on. I write them out in "kid-friendly" language that makes sense to parents. No, I don't list everything. Just a few that I know would be of special interest.
3. Save the Date
This is just a quick blurb about upcoming events like BookFairs, skating parties or field trips.
4. Weekly Behavior Update
I just included this one this year. The idea came to my from a colleague who does it on her newsletter. This was one of those AHA! moments where I slapped my forehead and wondered why I had never thought of using newsletters as classroom management resources before. I just check off the behaviors each child is showing that week and send it home. My students have all told me that their parents look at that first thing and they are in trouble if they get any negative check marks.
Improve parent teacher communication by leaving a blank line at the top by the date and hand-write each student's name on it. Then, check off their behaviors, add a written note if necessary and send it home.
Click on the blank newsletter below to get my template. It's an editable template in Word (.docx) and is in a ZIP file. Share with your teacher friends if you think they will like it too!