First, there's our classroom website and Facebook page. I already blogged about those, so I'll spare you a repeat. It's my favorite format, but I will say that in our smaller community many houses don't have reliable or fast internet at home. When I surveyed parents, most wanted paper copies. That's definitely something to keep in mind when you're trying to decide primarily how to keep in contact with your families.
Second, there's our classroom Weekly Reports. I love them! I learned about them from my cooperating teacher during student teaching. I put our classroom expectations down the side and the days of the week across the top. I use tally marks and short notes to mark in the boxes when expectations aren't met. Fortunately, I usually get to draw a big smiley face over the whole grid to show students had great weeks. Then there's a comment space at the bottom. I love writing positive notes there or things like, "Ask Student to tell you about her poetry unit!" to get conversations going at home. Parents sign the reports every Friday night and students return the forms on Monday morning to earn raffle tickets for our classroom auction. It's such a great system! You can grab an editable copy of mine in my TpT store if you like the idea but don't want to start your own from scratch.
Third, we have student planners/assignment books. All intermediate students are required to copy our agenda every day. Parents are required to sign the planner every night and I check their signatures every morning. This is supposed to be a way for students to talk to their parents about what we did in class every day. It's also supposed to be a guaranteed way to make sure any notes to/from school are seen every day. Unfortunately, a few planners have been lost and many of them are never signed at home. I don't really rely on them for those reasons.
Finally, I send home Reading Strategy Newsletters once a month to highlight our comprehension strategies. You can see individual ones in my TpT store or a bundle in my TN store if you don't want to create your own. I also send home general class letters about once a month to update parents with upcoming events and summarize our next units. Again, these aren't super reliable because they often don't get read. I'm not sure why that happens as we have binders with Friday Folders and set routines each week. For some reason, so many papers just get tossed. I hate to admit how many extra copies I have to send home for permission slips and things. Those poor trees!!
All of this has me thinking... What is your favorite way to comment with parents? Leave a comment below because I'd love to hear from you!