Keeping parents informed is an essential part of teaching, and clear, consistent communication can build trust. Effective communication is a two-way street. For this reason, teachers must find creative ways to not only keep parents up-to-date but to get feedback from them as well.
But it can be challenging and even overwhelming for teachers to make phone calls to parents after hectic class sessions and plenty of lesson plans to draw out. Fortunately, there are more efficient ways to initiate two-way communication without feeling stressed out.
This article shares some of the most effective parent teacher tools that can improve communication between both parties and ultimately build long-lasting relationships that will affect students positively.
As a web-based program, Google Forms makes data collection quite easy. Since teaching involves a lot of data collection, this tool can cut down all that work and do the heavy lifting for you.
Teachers can simply create different types of forms from their Google account and send them to parents, who will respond accordingly. There is a wide collection of Google Forms templates available for different purposes, so you don’t have to create each form from scratch. Some of the templates include surveys, assessment forms, events registration, updating parent’s contact information, and more.
Google Forms is one of the unique parent teacher tools because only the teacher is required to have a Gmail account to create or use the form. The respondent (student’s parent or guardian) doesn’t need a Gmail account to use the form.
After creating a form, teachers can share the link with parents, and all they have to do is paste it into their web browser to access and fill in their responses.
Want to learn more about Google Forms templates? Check out this post on 7 Great Google Forms Templates to Use in Your Online Teaching.
Chat apps are rather common these days, and while many of them are great, the GroupMe App has unique capabilities that make it one of the chat apps as far as parent teacher tools go.
First, the app allows multiple cell phone users on different devices (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc.) to share one message platform. If you are a teacher who sends messages to parents quite often, this tool will help you reach all parents in an instant, as long as they are on your group chat.
The drawback to group chats is keeping up with plenty of back and forth messages when individual parents send multiple messages. However, the tool is highly effective when teachers need to get urgent messages across to parents.
Now here’s what’s unique about GroupMe. Parents don’t need to have the app on their mobile devices to be on the group chat. Teachers can add parents from their phone book, and they can immediately start chatting over SMS if they don’t have the app.
The classroom website is another excellent communication tool where teachers can include information about class projects, test dates, weekly homework, field trips, and more.
Apart from important classroom announcements, teachers can also share class group photos and different student projects on the platform. If you want students to visit a free web game or site that can improve their learning while they are at home, you can include the link on the classroom website.
You can create a personal website if your classroom doesn’t have one. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to do this. A basic website that includes the following features should get the job done:
- Your phone number(s)
- Email address
- Your picture (one that you really like) and a short bio
- General overview of what will be taught
- Goals or expectations
- Grading system
- Homework policy
- Links to helpful academic websites
You can include as many or few information as is meaningful. The important thing is the site should be able to pass vital information as well as receive feedback from parents. Also, make sure to keep the site updated.
Modern technology is not the only means to ensure communication between parents and teachers. Good old student agenda books are also indispensable parent teacher tools that can help teachers run the best classrooms. It also encourages students to stay organized, manage their time, and plan well.
Typically, student agendas will include homework assigned for parents to see and verify that the work is done. But besides homework assignments, teachers can also include any school updates for parents to be aware of.
To ensure that parents read and sign communications sent home, teachers can include the document as an agenda item. Typically, when parents review their children’s agenda, they will see any communication that needs their attention.
Kickboard Family Portal
Here’s one other great communication tool that offers real-time monitoring of student’s progress. With the Kickboard Family Portal, parents don’t have to wait for a weekly report from teachers to know their children’s performance or behavior. They can stay in the know about student’s behavior using the family portal.
Parents can log in to the portal from a mobile device or computer to keep track of their children’s progress. To make things even more interesting, parents can receive updates through devices with built-in Alexa support. Parents can simply ask Alexa how their child behaved in school and get up-to-date information at their fingertips.
Kickboard is not limited to generating behavioral data only. It also allows two-way communication between teachers and parents as it relates to students. As you may have guessed, the program is not free. But considering it is one of the most effective parent teacher tools, Kickboard is definitely worth signing up for.
Effective teaching doesn’t end in the classroom. It goes beyond the walls of the classroom and involves consistent and efficient communication between stakeholders – parents, teachers, and students.
Parents need to know their children’s academic performance and general behavior in school. Teachers also need to get up-to-date feedback from parents as well as permissions or consent in a timely fashion. Effective parent teacher tools can make this type of communication a lot easier.