One of the most important parts of education is parent/teacher communication. At the beginning of the school year, teachers will include parent letters in their welcome packet. Parents see these every year and often don't even read them. How can you make your parent letter sparkle and get noticed?
Sparkle With Personal Details
At the beginning of the school year, parents are busy. If your beginning of school year letter to parents is boring, it will be tossed to the side, unread, and that important information you want all parents to know will not be known by a majority of your parents. Parents are used to reading teacher letters that give personal details about how long a teacher has taught or what grades she has experience in. Make your teacher letter sparkle with details about:
- Your children and your pets (maybe even include a picture of two by the paragraph about them)
- Your favorite hobbies (especially if they are unusual)
- Your favorite books you read over the summer (some parents may love these books, too)
- A cool place you went over the summer and something unique you did there
Parents want to get to know the teacher as an individual. Add some humor to your beginning of school year letter to parents, and a couple personal photos to make that parent letter sparkle.
Sparkle with a Game
In the first sentence of your beginning of school year letter to parents, write something like this:
If you read this entire letter, your child will win a prize on the first day of school.
Then at the end of the teacher letter, put a fact that the parent can tell the student, and the student has to tell you on the first day of school such as: "My favorite color is yellow." For younger students who may not be able to remember facts, you can include a coupon that parents can cut out and send in with their children to give to you.
Now, even with this statement, it is unrealistic to think every parent will follow through, read your parent letter, and tell their child the fact. So, make the prize something everyone can earn even if their parents didn't participate. For example, you can make the prize 10 extra minutes of recess. If even one child brings in the coupon or knows your favorite color, they all get the 10 extra minutes of recess. If you are collecting coupons from the parent letter, just ask if anyone has anything to turn into you; so if students don't have the coupon, they won't feel left out.
Sparkle the Whole Year
Many teachers send parent letters weekly--not just a beginning of school year letter to parents. Make your teacher letter sparkle the whole year with games like the one above and feature as many students as possible. For example, make it a regular feature to write a paragraph about the student of the week. You can also include a section called Fun Facts and write something interesting about 10 of your students each week such as: Mary kicked a home run at kickball yesterday. Bob helped water plants this week, and they grew an inch. Parents will read teacher letters if their children are featured. In between features, include information about upcoming field trips, tests, and school events.