liztrimaloff Feb 7, 2012 9:27 AM (in response to beckyjohns)
This is an interesting question. I can speak to it as a parent - and I feel like it really depends on the age of your students and how articulate they are.
The younger students probably should have weekly letters. It really helps support family discussion and you don't spend time trying to figure out what your child is talking about but actually expanding on the work from school and making connections with things going on at home. As students get older, monthly is a good way to fill parents in without removing the accountability from students to share on their own.
I am really interested in other peoples' experiences and preferences.
abride Mar 15, 2012 8:45 AM (in response to beckyjohns)
I think alot of that depends on your grade level. I taught Elementary my whole career and even with the 6th graders I tried to send a Monthly overview newsletter that covered events, the big themes, and any big items that were coming up that would need continuous preparation. However, I would also send out a weekly flyer with the specific things the kids must be able to do by the end of the week, These were very specific. For example, "The students will be expected to identify and spell at least one homophone for each spelling word". This was not an all inclusive list. But, the vital skills for each subject area, 99% of the time these were the focus standards for our state. This helped keep my kids aware of what they really needed to key in on, and it kept me from wandering off subject or losing a very focused approach (I have always worked with the struggling kids in low performing schools). I found quickly, and painfully, that when parents and students are not aware of the goal and vital skills they needed to learn, they got bogged down with trying to figure out what I truly needed them to learn and lost focus or got frustrated. Now that I have kids, I struggle daily with this same thing because I see every day the frustration that builds with the sheer volume of what is being thrown at them and if I didn't know standards and grade level expectations, I would be powerless to really get them focused on what they truly had to learn.
aelam Mar 23, 2012 12:26 PM (in response to beckyjohns)
As both a parent and teacher, I like weekly newsletters. Life is very busy and this makes it easier to keep up with what's going on. However, teachers are busy too so keep it easy and simple. My newsletter has labeled boxes that I can just go in each week and type over. I can give a simple description of what we are working on in reading, writing, spelling, math, social studies and science. I also have a box for dates that I try to post as much as a month in advance for working parents. Each week I pull up the previous weeks newsletter and make whatever changes are needed. If you save these on your laptop, next year you can pull up this years newletters and make changes. This way if you are adding seasonal clip art you arent reinventing the wheel. Since we do the same spelling and word families as well as reading and writing skills about the same time each year, there are some weeks I only have to make changes with the dates. Just don't forget to change the date at the top of your newsletter. Yes, I have done that before.
cgarland Oct 24, 2012 7:27 AM (in response to beckyjohns)
I teach 6th grade and just getting material home is a job! The more opportunities I give the students and parents to get involved, the more disappointed I am in our areas' functionality as families. Phone calls and emails often go unanswered. Any help you can give me to motivate families and students would GREATLY be appreciated!
moconnor Dec 19, 2013 4:02 PM (in response to beckyjohns)
Definitely a monthly news letter. Share with parents what skills their child will be developing for that month and ways in which parents can assist; trips to the museum, supermarket, sharing family stories, etc. It is also great to include a monthly calendar highlighting special dates. Students are eager to go home and share with parents special upcoming events. It is also a great way to keep yourself reminded of these special dates. M OConnor