Interactively Involve Parents and Community Members: Classroom Newsletter

Goal: To increase connections between family interests and classroom learning related to subject matter.

Why: Interactively involving parents and community members into the learning environment promotes the establishment of a reciprocal relationship. This reciprocal relationship fosters culturally responsive learning by connecting interests and talents to classroom content (e.g. the science in fishing, the math in cooking).

What: Create a classroom newsletter that is student-centered to facilitate meaningful communication between the school and home environment.

How:

  1. Review and download classroom newsletter template [PPT Format | PDF Format]. Explain the purpose of the newsletter.
  2. Type in your school’s name and insert an image of your school’s logo.
  3. Print and distribute your template to all students.
  4. Explain to the purpose of the newsletter: To create a newsletter that will be sent home to families.
  5. Describe elements which may be included:
    • From the Teacher’s Desk: This section of the newsletter is to inform parents of major assignments, class events, and any school district news.
    • What We’re Learning: This section is to describe current lessons or any on-going projects within the classroom. This is also an opportunity to ask the students what information should be included in this section. Be creative, have students work in small groups and develop suggestions as to the content of this section. Put up suggestions on the board and have the class decide as a group which suggestions will appear in this issue of the newsletter.
    • What’s New in Standards-based Instruction? This section allows teachers an opportunity to inform families about how projects and daily work conform to the state standards. This section could be completed before the template is handed out to students.
    • About Your Child: This section is to be completed by each student. Ask the students to write 2-3 statements about their own activity in the classroom. It may be helpful to present examples to the students before they begin writing for the first time.
    • This Week’s Highlights: This section of the newsletter is designed to briefly highlight activities, events, or learning opportunities that occurred each day in the classroom. This allows families to know about their child’s day at school, which could promote conversation at home. Again, this is an opportunity for active student-centered learning and participation. Discuss with students what should be highlighted each day.
    • Upcoming Events: This section is to display upcoming events or activities that will be occurring in the classroom or even list school wide-related events that families should mark on their calendars. Be sure to include dates, times, and locations.
    • Reminders to Parents: This section provides parents with a gentle reminder to send in forms, supplies, money, etc.
    • Reminders to Students: This section provides students with a gentle reminder as to what they are responsible for remembering in terms of school-related items.
    • Thank you Students! Catch students doing something GOOD, then acknowledge them for their good deeds, and also let their families know about it. Social praise should be a common practice within the classroom. Catching students being good also serves as a model for parents to engage in positive reinforcement of their children.