Do you send out a newsletter? Monthly? Weekly? Bi-weekly?
I’ll be honest, I always struggle to be consistent with a newsletter. It gets to a point in the year when I think to myself, is anyone really reading this? The answer is always yes. So, I’m going to share with you my best tips to ensure you continue to stay in touch with families through a high quality, but not super time consuming newsletter.
Newsletter- Nuts & Bolts
Decide the frequency. When will you send your newsletter? Your answer will depend on the other communication structures you have in place, if you are self contained or departmentalized, your families preferences, and your time. Whatever you decide, commit to holding yourself accountable to this predictable communication for families.
Include the essential information. I suggest including a brief explanation of what you’ve been learning. Hot Tip: include some questions parents can ask their student to get them talking about their own learning. Include upcoming dates & reminders. I use the “reminders” area to call attention to anything that may be problematic in my class. For example, when we are nearing colder weather I remind parents to send students in hats & gloves.
Delivery- Print or Digital? In these times I assume it will be best to send newsletters digitally, even if we are in person. So, consider your options for digital delivery. Email? Post to your class website? Send out in Remind? Get fancy & use Mail Chimp?
Why Send a Newsletter?
- Keep busy parents in the loop. I’ve found that newsletters are often read far after bedtime or before the kids wake up when parents are checking backpacks. Most parents often don’t have time to attend events or call you with a concern, but these newsletters keep them informed.
- Build the bridge between school and home. Parents want to know what their kids are learning and how to talk to them about it. Give them prompts and questions to ask their student to get them talking about school.
- An “easy win”. Let’s face it, writing a newsletter is way easier than calling every parent. So let’s call it a good investment in the communication bank.
Schedule your “newsletter” creation time. At the beginning of your team meeting or the last 15 minutes of your prep period. Whenever it is, if its scheduled you’re more likely to do it.
Share the load. Each person on the grade level team can write the newsletter for a month/week. Do the math, that means you only have to do it 1/4 of the school year- what is that only 1,000 days? I’m kidding. But you get it. Collaborate— Talking to your team about what to include helps make the writing easier & makes sure the message is clear.
Make it a student job!! Whether you teach 3rd or 6th, would they LOVE to write the newsletter? Choose a few friends to help you or assign it to volunteers. Share a Google Doc with them and have them write about their own learning.
Include student quotes. Maybe your students aren’t ready to be the authors of the newsletter. Ask them about their learning and include quotes in the text of the newsletter. “Jose says we’ve been learning to read new words by using clues from the picture.”
Use a template. Save a template and change up the text each week. I have a free one available on TPT. Make sure you save each week in a folder. Save the file with the date so you can find past ones easily. (After you download and check it out– would you PLEASE leave a feedback?! Will love you forever!)
Good Luck, Friends!
You’ve got this. Make the time, build the relationships, and forge the bridge between home & school, even (most especially) in these difficult times!
Let’s stay in touch! Leave your name & email address in the bar to the right. I’ll send you monthly newsletters with freebies and my tricks and tips. Believe me, I don’t have time to fill up your inbox! As a thank you for joining me on this journey I’ll send you my 10 Ways to Transform your Classroom Culture.