Should you do a newsletter for your classroom? How often should you send home your newsletter? What should you include in your newsletter? Find all the answers here!
Should You Have a Class Newsletter?
YES! Yes, yes, yes! Classroom newsletters are a great way to keep parents informed on what is happening in your classroom and are a simple yet effective way to deliver messages home about all different odds and ends that come up throughout the week or month. No matter what the demographics of your school may be, parents want to know what is happening with their child at school and how they can help support this learning at home. This is a great way to keep parents in the loop about grade level expectations and makes it feel to parents as though you are keeping good communication lines open between you and them. This also helps parents know what to ask their students about rather than just saying “how was school” or “what did you learn at school” because now parents can ask specific questions about events happening in their child’s classroom.
How Often to Send a Newsletter:
This is totally based on preference. I would recommend AT LEAST sending home a newsletter once a month, however, I like to send mine home weekly. When I finish writing out my weekly plans, I simply type up what I am doing in each subject in parent friendly terms. This is a great way to think about upcoming struggles and talking to parents about front-loading their child for these more difficult topics. For example, in second grade we focus a lot on skip counting from random numbers up to 1000. I ALWAYS encourage parents to practice this skill at home weeks before it comes up, that way, when students are exposed to it in my classroom they have had some oral practice at home and it is not as foreign to them.
I think you need to find your flow for your own newsletter. I think monthly newsletters can also be helpful for a teacher that doesn’t feel that they have enough time to sit down weekly and get their thoughts written out in an effective way for parents. Monthly newsletters can also be appropriate for teachers that are on one monthly theme for a long time in all subject areas. Perhaps parents don’t need to hear the same repetitive skill each week.
What to Include:
Here is what I would consider putting into your newsletter:
- A brief description of what is happening in your classroom in each subject area that you teach. Look at your lesson plans for the week/month and highlight the most important things you will be reviewing.
- What can parents do to help at home with the more difficult concepts your are teaching? Or what can they front load their students with?
- Important reminders from the school (bring a snack, wear tennis shoes on Thursdays, etc.).
- Upcoming dates/important events
- Your CONTACT INFO – let them know where to reach out with any questions
- Grade level goals/expectations. This is a GREAT place to remind parents about your grading scale and grade level expectation. This way, when conferences come, there will be a minimal amount of surprises for students who are possibly not getting desirable grades.
- Photos of things happening in your classroom – parents LOVE to see what is happening and pictures of their students in action! Let them see it!
- Suggesting books/read alouds for the upcoming season or at an appropriate level for their students. Many times parents do NOT know what books are appropriate for their child to be reading at home. Make some suggestions based on what you are reading in class and what your class is responding well to.
- Remind parents of how important READING at home is to their child!
- Remind parents of other resources that are available to them either via your school such as online resources or through local venues such as the library.
Other Important Tips:
It is important to be consistent with your newsletter. If you are going to send a weekly newsletter, parents are going to be expecting it. Be sure that you do not start off sending one and then taper off. This could make parents that are expecting this upset.
Frame EVERYTHING in a positive light. Make sure that you are always remaining positive and framing reminders and tips in a helpful way. Do not shame parents, your school or put ANYONE in a bad light. This writing has your name attached to it and you do not want it to come back with you looking at fault.
Think about what format you want your newsletter to be in. I find that if you type your newsletter on a computer, you can say less with more. I type mine up on PowerPoint, make it a PDF and then email it to parents. If your community does not have widespread internet access, then perhaps a hard copy in homework folders is the way to go. If you are looking for a newsletter format to send home with your kiddos, you can snag this editable newsletter from my store. You can save as a PDF, or print and send out as a hard copy. Another option is to simply type an email out to parents and organize it in a user-friendly way. Again, you need to find the best fit for you and for your classroom. If you are going to send it via email, I HIGHLY recommend that you BLIND COPY parents so that they are not responding to each other on your email chain.
Do you have any more tips or tricks to share about weekly newsletters? Drop your ideas in the comments below so we can all learn and grow together. Enjoy and have a great week!