As we all start becoming teachers, we have to remember that not only are we teaching students, but we also need parents to continue to be well informed in what their kids are learning and doing in the classroom so they can also be involved in the learning process. Parent involvement allows students to be able to go to them for help and support since the teacher can't always be there. Since almost all communication is now technology-based, I found a great website that shows you how to keep parents informed digitally/online. Teachers can build websites that have links to daily activities, grades, polices, private notes, newsletters, and calendars. This allows parents/guardians to be a click away from knowing what their kids are up to for the day and even the upcoming weeks so they can plan around it. I have seen from my own experience that sometimes when papers are sent home to parents, students tend to forget them or they get lost along the way. I mean, students aren't that well organized especially in the younger grades. If some parents don't have access to the online classroom, you can still keep it as an option to send hard copies home, but the digital way more reliable for parents and guardians to get the information in what's going on in the classroom.
This website gave many options for free website creators:
Lunar Pages: http://wiki.lunarpages.com/Free_Education_Account
I feel that this option for teachers and parents is great. Teachers can be able to easily update things that are going on in the classroom daily and be able to plan well enough ahead of time for parents to be informed of what's going on. Parents can access this information anywhere there is internet access and don't have to worry about their kids either forgetting to verbally tell them what's going on, or losing handouts that teachers send home with the students. Another benefit is that if there are any changes at the last minute, teachers can go online and easily fix it without having to send another message home with students. This way also helps save trees. Go green!
As I mentioned before, some parents/guardians don't have access to the internet at all times so some students may still need a hard copy to bring home, which is okay too just in case parents haven't looked at the website in a while. Until everyone is ready for the digital world, both are a great idea to have.
In My Own Classroom:
When I have my own classroom someday, I will definitely create my own website using one of the above free websites (all look really great!). I think parents will really enjoy being able to check what their kids up are to that day with just a mouse click away. I will download my policies, assignment rubrics, upcoming events, etc. on there so parents can be really well informed on what's going on. I think this was a brilliant idea and I can't wait to incorporate into my own classroom!
Here are a couple of examples I found online of what teachers are doing right now!
Tenkely, Kelly. "Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers-4.Involve parents by creating a link between home and school. The Apple. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.