Beyond Email: using technology to provide a window into learning for parents of middle schoolers

How can we use technology to create more communication points between parents and teachers AND students and parents?

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Keeping parents informed of what their middle school students are doing and how they are doing is a challenge. How can we build relationship with parents throughout the semester so that the mid semester parent teacher conference is not full of surprises and results in just a  a list of strengths and challenges for the students?  At my school teachers are exploring ways to use technology; blogs, weekly emails, class newsletters- some written by the students,  and even shared google documents that monitor weekly or bi-weekly progress and include very brief comments from teachers. We have found that more frequent, brief points of contact with parents are more meaningful and effective in providing parents with a window into their child's school experience as well as updates on how their children are doing. These brief check-ins can actually take less time. Having students bring home work on a weekly basis to review with parents using a checklist, is another way for students to be more accountable and reflective of their learning, and get in the habit of articulating their own successes and areas of growth. 

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Lynn - I think your post here has some ideas that would be quite relevant for the one I have in the selection process. If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the post and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea even more! Thank you!

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