I love this!
I work in a Title 1 school where about 90% of our kiddos qualify for free or reduced lunch. We have many very involved, very caring families--but unfortunately all students are not in that situation. Sometimes we have to do the best we can without that support.
I think communicating with families is very important. They need to know what's going in class and also what's going on with their child. Where are they academically and behaviorally? I do this in several ways, I never want to hear a parent say they didn't know about an event:
1) Remind 101-I totally jumped on that bandwagon last year. I had 15/26 parents sign up and I think that's a pretty good turnout. They have flyers you can print with instructions on how they should sign up. The only problem I had was remembering to actually send the texts! :)
2) Class website-I do mine through Weebly.com and have had very few issues with them. I upload lots of pics and videos as well as doing digital portfolios on there to show their growth throughout the school year.
3) Dialogue journals-this is something I started last year and plan to continue. I have a journal for each student and will write something about their week to send it home on Fridays. I try to find something funny or interesting that they said or did and share that with their family. My hope is that they will write back over the weekend and return it on Monday. I want them to feel free to voice any questions or concerns they may have-sometimes I believe they feel like they are bothering you, even with just an e-mail. I would say about 50% of the parents participated regularly last year and a few said they really looked forward to reading the anecdotes about their child. So I got some composition books for the kiddos to decorate this year to continue with the tradition.
4) Weekly newsletter-I send mine every week despite rain or snow or broken copiers! :) I include the objectives for the week as well as any calendar and class updates.
5) E-mails-About once a month I will take pictures of an activity we are doing and forward those to parents who have provided me e-mail addresses. Last year I took first day of school photos and sent those to all the parents establishing that form of communication.
Do you have any other ways you communicate with your parents?