The connection between parent involvement and student achievement is obvious. The question is how do teachers go about increasing this parent involvement?
There are many different ways teachers can do this, but I think the best way to increase parent invovlement is through your own “teacher blog" (granted, nearly all of my students have internet access).
Nevertheless, I think every teacher these days should have some type of website or blog.
Having a “teacher blog" allows teachers to very easily contact parents on a weekly basis.
On my classroom blog I make a simple post each week informing parents (and students) of what we are doing that week and what the homework is each day. I also inform them of important upcoming events and due dates (such as the History Fair, fcat testing etc. ). I even include helpful links to the school calendar, district website, homework philosophy, curriculum map etc.
What I did is really not that difficult. But you should know that my way does cost a little money (about $6.95) per month.
First, let me tell you about a couple of free ways. First of all, check with your school. . . . you may have some type of web creating software and you could host your site though the school's servers. However, the program at our school is so bad I don't even bother. . . it's really a joke. The other thing you can do is set up a free blog with blogger.com or wordpress.com. Both of these are free, but you are limited in several ways.
Personally, I enjoy having my “own" web site where I have complete control AND my own domain name. To do this you must purchase a domain name and host your web site. Fortunately, if you do this right it does not cost much.
Just make sure to sign up for a hosting account with a reputable host that has a Cpanel. This will allow you to automatically install the wordpress blog script. . . that is what I use. This may have sounded complicated, but really it's not. . . it's quite easy and any good hosting company will have a great support staff.
Once you have your blog up and running you will want your parents (and students) to be able to sign up for automatic notifications. This way, every time you update the blog your parents will automatically get sent an email with the blog post embedded in the email.
Think about this from a parent's point of view. . . how great would it be to get an email each and every week letting you know what your child will be working on that week and what the homework is each day of the week.
To do this you can use a site such as feedburner.com. Simply follow the directions provided on that site that show you how to publicize your “feed". You basically copy small amount of html code from their site and paste it into the sidebar of your own site (via your control panel). Again, this may sound complicated, but it is actually very easy. . . you could have the whole things set up in less than 20 minutes.
Just think how impressed your parents, students, and administration will be, but more importantly, think about how much it will help improve your students’ academic achievement.
A teacher blog is the best way to increase parent invovlement. See exactly how I set up my own teacher blog here: http://teaching-tips-machine.com/blog/?p=79