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March 11, 2024

3 Easy Strategies for Communicating and Connecting With Families

Did you know there is a simple and straightforward way to increase student success in school? There is, it’s family engagement!

Education isn’t just about what happens in the classroom. It’s a team effort and being proactive about involving families in their student’s learning is a win-win for everyone involved. When teachers and families communicate well, learning can seamlessly continue long after the bell rings.

Here are three easy strategies you can incorporate into your teaching right away!

1. Get to Know Your Students’ Families

Getting to know your students’ families is crucial for creating a well-rounded and supportive learning atmosphere. When you understand where your students are coming from— their family background, values, and the challenges they might be managing outside of school—it gives you a fuller picture of each student.

Learning about families also means better communication, so you can work together to address any issues, and create a sense of teamwork. By recognizing and respecting the diversity within each family, you can adapt your teaching to suit the unique needs of every student, making the learning experience more inclusive and supportive. This 20-Question Family & Parent Survey is a great resource to send home with students at the beginning of the year to set the stage for great family communication!

2. Support Family Interest in Student Learning

“How was school today?” “Good.”

This conversation may be all too familiar for any parent trying to connect with their child on the way home from school. However, this is a great opportunity to be an ally to families and to support interest in their child’s learning.

In younger grades, consider sending students home with a prompt ticket for families. This is a great way to keep them informed about what is going on in the classroom while providing support for family-student connection. You can include a few question prompts around a new strategy or learning topic, a special event, or even something kind their student did that week.

Examples:

  • Ask me about the story we’re reading.
  • Ask me about helping my friend during reading circles.
  • Ask me about our big science project

In older grades, have your students create a weekly or monthly newsletter. Encourage students to write about a topic they find interesting, something new they learned in class, a project or activity they’re excited about, or even the outcome of a school sporting event. Then, compile their short articles into an e-newsletter. There are plenty of free templates from Google Docs or Canva that you can use!

3. Use AI to Streamline Family Communication

Even when we understand the importance of family communication, it can easily fall to the wayside as we juggle everything happening inside the classroom. Thankfully, new AI tools are cropping up every day to make communication easier and more efficient. Try ChatGPT to write your weekly family email, or better yet, utilize a program like TalkingPoints to send quick updates throughout the week.

TalkingPoints is a free classroom communication platform designed for teachers and families that provides an AI-powered translator to overcome language barriers. Build strong partnerships by engaging with families in over 150 home languages using TalkingPoints with text messages, the app, or on the web.

Explore additional AI Tools to Streamline Family Communication.


Along with these strategies, there are two tried-and-true methods for engaging parents and families: Family Night Classroom Events and Family-Teacher Conferences. To make the most of these events, check out the following resources:

Resources for Classroom Events

Resources for Family-Teacher Conferences

We’ve saved the best resource for last, if you’re ready to level up your family communication this year then check out course 5294: Communicating and Connecting with Families. In this course, educators will explore the benefits of engaging families in classroom events, and strategies for effective culturally responsive communication. Student success is a collaborative effort, and this course will prepare you for fostering deeper, more meaningful connections.


About the Author

Susanne Leslie is a Professional Learning Specialist at Teaching Channel. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. As a parent educator, Susanne’s specialty is Culture and Early Childhood instruction. In her current role, she writes courses and content, focusing on our Hybrid Blended Learning courses

Fun Fact: Susanne has jumped out of two (perfectly good) airplanes!

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