I am always looking for ways to step this up. I think it's probably one of the most important elements in making a child's school year successful. I had an idea this year and I posted about it this summer, but wanted to update with how it's going.
I decided to do dialogue journals this year with my parents. I was inspired by one of my administrators who told me parents don't complain about teachers as much when you go out of your way to develop a relationship with them. And I completely agree with that, there are just so many hours in a day. I don't get to see my parents dropping off or picking up my students. I do exchange e-mails with many of them regularly, but that's what I've always done, I felt like I had to do something more. I was at a training and they were talking about using dialogue journals with the kids and it was like a light bulb went off.
So every Friday I send home a note regarding what their child did in class: a great answer they gave, a funny thing they said, sometimes I even include pictures. And my hope is that they will write back. The only downfall is, I have 26 kids in my class, so it is a little time-consuming. However, about 1/3 of the parents do this and actually look for them every Friday, writing back a meaningful message. Another 1/3 I think still read them, even if they don't respond. Some have been lost and replaced, lost and replaced. Next year I think I'll invest in the composition books Wal-mart sells 2 for $1 so they don't look so much like our writing journals (always finding them in the wrong box). I didn't want to post any of the pages that were written because I feel like that information is confidential. But this is what the opening page and where we keep them looks like:
I really like using them and will continue to do this year after year. Just wanted to share! :)