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Reflecting & Raising Clarity: Parent Communication

You know what choices you’re making and why your instructional decisions are good for kids, and I know because we are educators. But, how do you help parents understand the academic choices you make?

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.14.59 PMIn a recent conversation, I was asked to reflect on the question above.
I found myself feeling a bit defensive at first.  I have a class website on Weebly, a private Facebook group, a class and professional Twitter account, student blogs on KidBlog, my professional writing here on Two Writing Teachers, and my personal blog, Primary Perspective.  How could it be possible any parent would be feeling uninformed about our classroom?  Never has our classroom been MORE transparent!
As I paused to reflect on the question, I began to see what my parent communication was missing.  The families have various opportunities to see what we do in first grade, but I have not provided consistent access to the thinking and rationale behind my teaching practices.
I created the table below to help myself see the classroom from the perspective of a noneducator.  I pulled from conversations with classroom visitors, student teachers, and coaches who have been in our classroom in an attempt to anticipate the thoughts and confusions of others.

Since I last sat at a student desk, education has changed considerably.  No matter the age of our parents, chances are it’s changed for them as well.  So as I plan my lessons, I will also be planning how I will help parents see the intention of the teachings.

This table is just a start. How do you keep your parent communication transparent?

6 thoughts on “Reflecting & Raising Clarity: Parent Communication Leave a comment

  1. As s parent, I’d probably question some of these things if I didn’t know your thought process. I think you’re wise to share your thinking with parents so that they understand all of the time and thought that goes into all aspects of your classroom.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. As a new school I think this type of thinking will help build trust. We are an unknown. We do communicate, but I’m not sure we are communicating what people want. In order for parents to trust us. I think they need to see the why behind what we do. Great perspective.

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  3. Including our students’ parents in our thinking and intentional teaching is SUCH a good idea. Rarely do our parents have opportunity to glimpse the depth of work that goes into differentiating instruction for THEIR children. I love your thinking becoming so visible for your parent community. What another great way to include them as true partners.

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  4. Love this post, Deb, and your chart! It made me think of Beth’s recent post about how teachers don’t always read the letters she sends. I wonder if the way we share our thinking and philosophy with parents is like that, too. Like maybe we need to find creative ways to explain the WHYs of what we do in writing. It would be cool to have the kids explain some of those reasons, perhaps in audio or a video. How powerful it would be for them to say they know their learning style and why they select a certain tool!

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  5. You bring up excellent points. I love the suggestion of layering your plan with parent communication. I think informing them at the beginning of a unit is a doable thing. I like to get their permission to text them info at back to school night. People usually at on top of their Tex messages!

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  6. I couldn’t agree more with your reflection. There are levels and layers of communication with parents…showing them what’s going is only a part…it’s the why that’s much more important sometimes. Great post!

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