January 12

How Technology Connects Parents and Teachers

Guest post

By Jessica Sanders


Studies have proven time and time again that parent involvement is crucial to a student’s long-term learning and well-being.


“Children are more likely to become proficient in reading and math during the early elementary school years if their parents are involved in home learning activities, provide materials such as dictionaries to nurture their children’s cognitive growth, and monitor their children to make sure that they spend enough time on homework,” according to a July 2010 Child Trends Report.


Technology helps teachers ensure that parents are provided with all possible avenues to become involved. It brings the classroom directly to them; often allowing you, as the teacher, to deliver real-time updates directly to parents, whether they’re are at work, in the car or at home.


This also allows parents to be involved in their child’s school day without much effort on your part or theirs, which is a major benefit: “When schools invite and encourage parent involvement, parents are more likely to become engaged,” according to Empowering Parents Through Technology.


Use the following tech tools to connect with parents— whether they’re reading a blog post or checking the classroom Facebook page—and ultimately improve student learning and success.



“There’s an app for that” is a phrase most people are familiar with and holds true in education. Teachers have many apps to choose from that help connect parents with the classroom. Whether you’re sharing student photos or updates on grades, these two apps are a great addition to your technology toolbox:


Collaborize Classroom: Use this app to connect with students and parents in an exclusive, class-specific forum. Here you can privately discuss grades with parents and share links, photos and information the entire group as well.


Remind 101: Use this app to remind parents about school field trips—“Forecast is calling for rain, don’t forget to send your child with an umbrella and rain coat!”—Or send real-time updates, for example while you’re in the classroom or out at recess. Busy parents will appreciate the reminders and updates and you’ll appreciate the convenience.


Social Media

 This is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with parents because most people are on social media in some capacity. Remember these important details when using social media for school:

  • Always create a private group on Facebook if possible. This decreases the likelihood that personal information could be shared with more than just your class.
  • Keep personal information private. Don’t share information about grades in comments or wall posts. It sounds obvious, but is an important detail to keep at the front of your mind at all times.
  • Make a “teacher” account so you can keep your private information to yourself.


Consider which tool will be the most helpful. Facebook is likely the most popular platform, however Twitter is a great option as well. If using Twitter, create specific hashtags for your class so it’s easy for parents to find information in one place.



 A classroom or teacher blog is a great way to connect with other teachers and students but especially parents. Nicole Long, a secondary language arts teacher recalls how the parent page on her blog has become one of the most important spots for parents: “This has become a place where parents know they can find important information, whenever they need it, without having to send an email and wait on a response.”


A website or blog is a simple and free medium for posting student work, classroom updates and classroom photos; don’t forget to have a special place for parents to visit with important information and updates.


Free Learning Tools

 There are variety of free learning tools that teachers and parents can use to monitor the progress of student work. For example, Whooo’s Reading is a free online platform where students can log their reading, answer common core-aligned questions and comment on their peers’ reading. Parents are involved in account set up and can log in at any time to see how much reading their children have done each week, month, etc. Some other free tools include:


  • Google Classroom
  • Moodle
  • Turn It In



 Most parents have email addresses, making this a simple way to keep them involved without asking for much in return. Use email to share:

  • Class newsletters
  • Field trip permission slips
  • Class photos and videos of students working on a project or presenting
  • Announce major assignments


The proper use of technology ensures parents are involved in their child’s education, whether you send daily photos from the classroom or write weekly blog updates. Studies draw direct correlations between parent involvement and student success and this is a simple way to ensure that happens.


Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to social@learn2earn.org.

March 2

“The Atlantic Ocean” guest post

The author, Henry W. Cook

I am so proud to have a guest blogger this week (although I have to do the typing)! My third grade son wrote a very interesting piece and after reading it, I asked him if I could put it on the blog. He was smiling ear to ear. He really loves his Russian heritage, and when given the opportunity to write about immigration, he got right to work.


The Atlantic Ocean

One day Henry will visit Moscow!

My name is Reznov and my dad’s name is Nikoli. We’re from Moscow, Russia sailing to America. My dad and I brought some food and water. I’m excited to have freedom. Our ship name is the Thorn Of Hope. After two days…. a storm! The boat is shaking crazy. We’re all starving and thirsty but we won’t give up. We’ve come too far to quit!


Russian immigrants at Ellis Island

On the 88th day we see a star, unsure what it is, we get closer and closer, “The Statue of Liberty,” says the crew. We went to Ellis Island. There are 22 of us (including crew). Four of us were sent home and eight were held for more inspections. The rest of us made it through.

We can translate some words like me, you, love and there by hand motions. On the 31st day we learned English. We got our names changed too. My name is Henry Reznov Venskov and my dad’s name is Dominic Nikoli Venskov.

By Henry W. Cook


He really enjoyed the unit on immigration. He interviewed his grandfather on his mom’s side, and his grand mom on dad’s side. I think he combined some of the stories they told him. Henry’s fascination with Russia (grand mom Checkoff) has continued to grow and develop. He really wants to visit Moscow. We will make sure to one day make his dream come true…..


March 19

Turtle On The Fence …Post By Dr. Pamm Moore

Source: beeryblog.wordpress.com

“If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know someone helped him get there.”  I’ve been reflecting on that saying lately as I settle into my assistant superintendent position. Many people have offered encouragement, guidance, and much needed support throughout my journey. I realize that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people who were placed in my life.   So my question for you is who have you helped along the way?

Each of us has an obligation to reach back and bring someone along with us as we journey through life. I’m often saddened when I hear comments such as “He/she will just have to learn through their own mistakes,” or my favorite, “If I help them, they may do a better job than I can.”  You may say that these comments are not the norm but I beg to differ. These sentiments, whether vocalized or merely demonstrated through actions, are present in each of our work environments.  

So I offer a challenge to you today.  Call one person in your organization and do one the following:

  • Offer your support
  • Help them avoid a potential landmine with one of the written or unwritten policies
  • Have lunch with them to help them brainstorm ideas for one of their current challenges
  • Call to see how they are progressing with their new position
  • Send them a note of encouragement
  • Listen

This list is finite but the possibilities are infinite. This is just the beginning of what you can do.  Each one of us is in a different job situation but everyone of us can do something.  I encourage you to do something today to help someone else.  My name is Dr. Pamela Moore (@DrPammMoore) and I am proud to say that I am a turtle sitting on a fence.  I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to all of those who helped me get there!