Teachers would do well to take a tip from businesses that use newsletters to communicate and motivate their customers. A regular newsletter is welcomed by parents who get the same answer everyday when they ask their child "what happened in school today?" "Nothing".
And newsletters have one great quality that every teacher will love. It doesn't cost a dime.
Everything from mailing list management to newsletter templates can be found for free online. All the teacher needs to do is fill in the blanks with information from the classroom and you are done.
The basics that you will need are a way to manage the list of email addresses that you will be receiving your newsletter and a newsletter template to give you a ready to go design for your letter.
An online service such as MailChimp will handle your list and automatically let readers add their address to your list or unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive your newsletter. If subscribers forward your email to their friends and family these readers can simply press a subscribe button to automatically sign up for your letter without you having to do anything. And if you have under 2000 subscribers and plan to send less than 12000 emails per month then MailChimp is free to use.
Both Microsoft Office and Open Office provide free school newsletter templates on their websites. There are also many other free templates and information on how to use them available on line with a quick Google search. Check the Education World website for a nice full year of themed school newsletter templates beginning with an August-September back-to-school template and monthly themes covering October-Halloween, February-Valentine's Day etc.
Quick tips for getting started include the following:
Keep it relevant and concise. Very few people are eagerly waiting for more email to appear in their inbox.
Know what the goal of your newsletter is and what you are hoping to accomplish. Write accordingly.
Send it to a few test email addresses (even if they are your own) before you mail to your entire list to make sure everything comes through the way it should.
Most parents, and especially grandparents, are eager to hear about things that you may consider mundane everyday events. (Remember, all that they know about what goes on in school is "nothing").
Your percentage of completed assignments and returned signed permission slips will skyrocket when parents know about them directly from you ahead of time.
And interest and participation in special interest groups will increase when their activities are publicized. (I didn't know we had a Math Club)
You can have the first edition of your newsletter ready to go out this week. What are you waiting for?