As previously posted, our blogs for this month are focusing on the Communication aspect of P21's 4 Cs. This week’s tip is about using Schoology and other tools to help increase positive communication in your classroom. As teachers, we all know the importance of ongoing communication with parents. The problem is that we often get into the habit of only letting parents know when their students are misbehaving or when there is a problem or concern. This leads to regular communication with only a small handful of parents, and those tough phone calls always seem to turn into 20 minute conversations.
Well here enters the Power of Positive Messaging. When teachers take the time to send positive messages to parents, they are building positive relationships with those parents as well as with students. Therefore, behavior issues start to decline, and when issues do come up, the parents are more likely to work with the teacher to help solve the problem.
So let’s get to easy ways to send those messages. There are many tools out there that can help you, but today the main focus will be on building a positive community within Schoology. Schoology makes it easy for teachers to communicate with both students and parents through their messaging tool. To send a positive message to one of your students or the parents of one of your students, simply go to your Schoology course, click on Members, and click the wheel to the right of the student. There you will see the option to send a message, which will go to the student, or Message Parents, which will send an email to the parent(s) of the student.
While students are not given access to message each other in Schoology, they can message their teachers. This feature could be used for students to send positive messages to you about other students in class, which can provide you even more positive feedback for your messages to parents.
Posting positive Schoology updates can also help create positive relationships with parents and students. You can post about your entire class, or by using first names if you feel comfortable with that. Maybe give a shout-out to some of your students each day or week for something they accomplished.
Media Albums in Schoology can be used to show off positive behaviors and classwork as well. Simply use your phone to take and post pictures of kids doing great things, add a quick caption, and those can be seen by all of the members of your course and their parents. To learn more about Schoology's Media Albums, click here.
Another great tool for positive parent communication is Class Dojo. If you aren't familiar with what Class Dojo can do for you, check out our post from last August about it by clicking here.
The next time you have to make that tough phone call to a parent, take time to reflect about what the Power of Positive Messaging could do to help you build positive relationships with your students and parents in the future. Carve out a little time in your calendar each day, or even each week to give it a try and see what happens from there.