A great way to communicate with parents on a weekly basis, and to have students reflect on major events each week, is to establish a weekly class newsletter. You're probably asking, "How on earth do I fit this into an already busy day?" Believe it or not, it can be very easy.
First, ask for parent volunteers. It doesn't have to be the same parent each week, but it does need to be on a consistent day and time. I've had one parent take on this responsibilty for the whole year. I've also had 2, and some years 4 parents, share this responsibilty. When it's more than one parent, have them work out the weekly schedule among themselves.
Second, rotating through a class list, select 4 students a week to become reporters. Generating topics with the whole group helps to refresh everyones' memory. With the parent, the students select one topic each to write about. I restricted the topics to events within our class. That is to say, it couldn't be about events in their personal life or at recess or during specialist times. I also had the parent work with the students outside the classroom, e.g. hallway, cafeteria, library.
Third, you, the classroom teacher, should write a message to the parents. It should include upcoming events, important information, e.g. thank you to all the reporters and the parent, progress within units of study, etc...
Fourth, the parent puts the newsletter together and makes all the copies. Remember to provide the parents with a model of what the final newsletter should look like.
You did it! And, you have created a strategy to involve parents in a non-threatening way.
If you like this strategy and all the others, I hope you will share this blogsite with other colleagues and become a follower.
On Wednesday I will share a strategy for establishing Learning Partners.
Thank you for your support.