Building a strong channel for communication is a critical piece of teaching, but it is also a stressful piece. Organizing for home-school communication is something that I take really seriously, and I like to set myself up for success by having some basic supplies each year.
I currently use Vistaprint to stock up on the essentials I need for communication via their website. Luckily, I can typically buy things on rotation, and there are some good discounts if you are willing to search, but I like to have everything ready before heading back in August.
My favorite tools for home-school communication
Here are a few of my favorite tools, I have collected over the years…some are inspired by others, and several are my own designs. I use them for quick communication in my classroom:
Home-School Communication Stampers
These are a huge help for student planners, assignments, and more. They save me huge amounts of time and let me better track and communicate the support I am providing to students.
I use the stamps on student assignments, to quickly mark planners, and to save me time. Below are my four most used stamps.
Home-school communication is something that I always strive to master. There is still work to be done, but these stampers definitely help.
So I used to buy just about all my postcards from Vistaprint, but I've made a transition this past year to make my own and sending them to our district print shop or to Kinkos (depending on how far ahead I plan).
This has given me more choice in design and has kept the process cheaper, overall. I have created postcards for welcoming students back, scheduling and reminding about picture day and parent conferences, and more.
However, my favorite is definitely the positive postcard shown below. I try to send 2 per student each year with a little note about something I noticed they did that was above and beyond the norm for them. (If you love the design, you can get my whole set here.)
Student Information Cards
These are a lifesaver. I use them ALL. THE. TIME!
At the beginning of the year, I have parents fill them out (they are each a half-sheet of cardstock), and I hole punch them. I place them on a large ring in ABC order.
I hang them by my phone, door, or emergency readiness kit to make things easy. As a result, I no longer have to dig for parent information when I need to make a quick call home during planning, and I'm not leafing through binder trying to find what I need.
Click the button below to get a free copy of my student information cards sent right to your inbox.
These are another great tool for adding to papers and planners.
I even have a label I use for documents that need to be passed to my whole team. The label has the initials of each member of our team. Everyone crosses off their initials to show they have seen it when the document comes to them.
As a result, I've saved a ton of time writing our initials every time we have to share a paper. The Redo & Return label shown below is my favorite, but I also have a great one for students when their supplies run low. It is bright yellow and is titled “Supplies Needed”. I write what supply the student needs to bring. Consequently, parents are able to quickly and easily replenish anything that runs out.
What tools do you use to help organize and streamline your parent-student communication?