- Go Digital - In a day of desktops and iPhones, a digital file can be a highly desirable means for receiving a classroom newsletter. Parents are on the go! With a digital file they can open the attached newsletter any place they have access to email. Clearly mark the subject line of the email with 'important classroom newsletter', so it reminds parents to take time to read.
- Paper can be a Plus - Parents might be able to read the digital file on the go, but they don't always have access to a printer. The newsletter might be read by the parents, but the information might also be forgotten. With a paper copy, parents can stick it on the refrigerator or hang it on a bulletin board. Having it visible gives daily reminders of upcoming tests, curriculum being studied, or events happening in the near future.
- Digital and Paper - I prefer to send both digital and paper classroom newsletters. You know the saying, 'two is better than one'. Well, using two methods of sending home the newsletter increases the chances parents will read it and stay informed. I have found it is worth my time to attach it in an email, as well as send it home in a weekly folder.
- Link Up the News - Another way to keep parents informed is to save the newsletter and upload it as a Google document. Add a link to the document on your class website. Parents can then reread the newsletters any time they want. They can also print a second copy if they lost the first one. It's convenient for parents, because they have access to all newsletters throughout the year. With this method, there is no excuse for not knowing what's happening.
Planning to go the paper route?
- If paper is what you choose, let parents know from the get-go that a paper newsletter will be coming home. Meet-the-teacher day is a great time to let parents know you will be sending home a weekly or monthly classroom newsletter. You might even want to have an 'introduction to the newsletter' example on hand to share. This allows parents an opportunity to see it and become familiar with it from day one. They will recognize the newsletter when they see it in their child's school folder. They won't mistake it for something random they can dismiss. If you can't share an example newsletter when you first meet the parents, curriculum night is a great time too. You can hold up an example and tell them what to expect.
- Send the newsletter home the same day each week, such as in the students' weekly folders on a Friday or Monday. Consistency is important.
- Try to use the same newsletter template format each time you send it home. It creates uniformity, so parents know what to look for. You can change the images or background on the newsletter, but keep the information in the same locations. They will know right where to look on the sheet for upcoming tests and important events.
- Print the newsletter on bright paper. If the parents are financially able to make donations, ask them to donate a pack of colored copy paper at the beginning of the year. You can change the color each week while keeping the format the same. It will stand out in the weekly folder among all of the school work. You could also choose one particular color. For example, parents would know the pink paper is the newsletter.
When it comes to class newsletters, choose the method that works best for you. Remember to set a precedent from day one, and stick to it. With consistency on the teacher's part, the parents are sure to get in the habit of looking for and reading the information. It makes for a smooth school year.