New School Year Resolution: Organizing Parent Communication Tutorial

It's summer time, and that means it is time for teacher's to make their New School Year's Resolution! We do it every summer . . . we say, "Now that I have time to do it, THIS year I'm going to . . . " and for me, the end of that sentence usually has something to do with organization. 

As a technology specialist, I want to give you some ways that technology can help you get more organized than ever and save you a ton of time in the process! Who doesn't need to save time?! At the beginning of the year, there is a lot of information we need to collect from parents. I've created some pretty lists for you in a few different color schemes:
If you are afraid of technology and you are perfectly happy printing out your word doc and sticking it in a binder, you can download these as a word doc. I have a set of each of these lists that you can choose in all of these colors, and while it's nice to have a pretty checklist, that doesn't exactly save you a lot of time or paper and ink. 

When you download these lists, there are also links available that allow you to make your own copy as a google doc. Google docs will save automatically and allow you to share the lists with subs or other staff members. They can see all the changes live, so no need to send a new copy when you have to add a new student to list. Google docs also give you the option of going paperless. No need to upload, download and upload again to save your changes and print them out. Seriously. You can stop doing all of those extra steps!

Google forms is the trick that will save you the most time. By sending a google form to parents, THEY do all of the work for you! They fill out all of their information, and everything is automatically saved on one google spreadsheet. 
Here is how to see the responses:

1. When you click on the link included in the download, it will ask you to make a copy of the form.
2. Click on "responses" on the top, and you will see the responses from all parents when they have filled out the form.
3. If you click on the little picture of the spreadsheet in the corner, it will put all the responses on a google spreadsheet for you. It's not as pretty as the form I created, but it is a quick way to get all the info you need in one place!

The picture below shows you how to do it step by step:

I've created the forms for you and included them in the download as well, so all you have to do is share it with the parents and you're done! 

Not sure how to get these forms to parents? There are 2 easy ways. 

First, you can email it to parents. 
1. Click on send
2. Click on the link icon in the middle.
3. I usually click on the url shortener in the corner so that the link is shorter.
4. Click "copy" and paste the link into an email. Although you can send it as an email straight from the form, you have to type in each email by hand. If I copy the link, I can send it to the group I have set up in my email. 

The picture below shows you how to do it step by step.

But what if you don't have an email list for parents set up yet?

Make a QR code! That might sound a little scary, but it's not. I promise! After you copy the link following the steps above, go to
1. Paste the link in the box. It will automatically create a QR code on the right hand side.
2. Click on "download QR code." You don't even have to set up an account to do it!
3. Now print the QR code. During open house, ask parents to scan the form and fill it out. Done!

The forms included in Organizing Parent Communication ask for parent email addresses, phone numbers, and a detailed volunteer questionnaire of how parents might like to offer their help from donating supplies for the classroom to volunteering every week. There is also a form for parents to sign up for helping with classroom parties. You can send the spreadsheet of responses to your room parent with the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of the parents who would like to help and what they are willing to bring. Another task crossed off the list!

You can find all of these docs and forms as a free download here on Teacher Sherpa.

Happy New School Year! Enjoy!

You may also like Notes from the Staff Meeting:

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