Something to write home about!

This morning I sent out my Newsletter for September. I thought I would share with you how I go about Parent Communication.

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NOTE: THIS BLOG IS NOT MEANT TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO ADD SOMETHING MORE TO YOUR PLATE! WE DO SO MUCH ALREADY! YOU ARE AWESOME!

Here is my Newsletter. If you would like to see previous Newsletters you can find them all on my website here.  I make mine using Pages on my Mac. Here is the pages “file” in Drive so you can download and edit if you have a Mac. You WILL have to download it first. Tina Hargaden is working on trying to convert it nicely to Word for me. This is the only thing I still do using pages. I am a TRUE Google fanatic! Since I now find myself working at a school with MUCH more parent involvement than I ever had in public schools, I decided to start a monthly parent newsletter to give families a window into my classroom.

In my first few months at this independent school, I received countless emails from parents asking “why” their students were watching YouTube videos in class or talking about Unicorn and Dinosaur poop?! HOW could that possibly be related to Spanish!? After starting my newsletter, these emails decreased by a lot. In fact, after two newsletters, I didn’t receive ANY more emails questioning my method because parents were well informed in my Newsletters (and their children started speaking ridiculous amounts of Spanish at home!) I explained the idea behind COMPELLING comprehensible input and how that looks different at different age levels. I shared with them that I was staying 95% in the Target Language, something that their students were forgetting to mention when they were coming home laughing about Spanish class’ topic of Unicorn poop for the day. I explained Movie Talk too, so their concerns about “YouTube” videos was no longer an issue.

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The biggest benefit for starting these Newsletters was the INCREDIBLE rapport it built between me and the families of my students. Parents so appreciate seeing and actually READING about what their students are doing in school. Many of my families are working several jobs to afford to send their child to St. Martin’s. Sometimes children are less than awesome at explaining “what they did” in school each day. My newsletter gives a short sweet explanation of everything we are doing. I cherish the notes and emails I get back from parents. They are treasures. Parent’s also love hearing how much their child’s teacher truly cares about them and loves them for the time they are away from home.

My colleague Sara Broussard does another Newsletter for Lower School that is beautiful, and very simple. She makes it in Google Slides and just adds a slide each month. I love how visually appealing it is! It’s informative and includes pictures of the learning too. You can look at it here.

So, there you have it! If you don’t do some form of Parent Communication, a simple newsletter may be just the trick! Remember though, if you are already maxed out, you don’t need to do ANYTHING else! You are doing PERFECTLY well! 😉

Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING!

Love,

La Maestra Loca

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Surprising Miguelito’s mamá for her BIRTHDAY!

 

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10 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing! Your blog has been sooooo freaking helpful! I love ❤️ it! Glad that I was able to attend the conference with you all this summer!

  2. Would you mind giving details of the adult Spanish class you offer? Is it through your school? I have often toyed with doing an adult French class…

  3. Thank you for sharing this. It is true that keeping parents informed about what is happening in our classrooms pays off. At my school, we are documenting the learning experience all the time and writing blog posts on a by-weekly basis, parents appreciate that. For me, it is also a way to track my non-target lessons. I teach in the lower school, but I am very interested in the kind of proficiency pre-assessment that you do with your MS students. I have been thinking of doing something like this, sort of pre-assessment that is developmentally appropriate for the little ones and at the same time manageable, not completely OPI- style at this time. I am on the lookout for that.

    • Yes, you should totally do it for your elementary students. I would do some sort of “writing” assessment for 3rd-5th and you can probably do a video/vlog pre-post assessment for your smaller learners!

  4. Hi Anabelle! Thanks for sharing.

    I too teach 2 year olds through Spanish I. This will be the last year that my Spanish I will be full of students new to Spanish. Next year the 8th graders will be my students who have been with me since 2nd grade, and they are definitely advanced. I am asking my administrators to have a Spanish I Honors and a regular Spanish I so that I can move faster with the Honors. It sounds like you asked to have your students all mixed, and I would love to learn how you handle that. I feel with the new students it is necessary to go slowly and really stay with that core, high-frequency vocabulary, whereas with my returning students I could be doing less-basic grammar structures and more in-depth activities.

    How do you do it?

    Thanks! Laura Cenci Beaufort, SC

    >

    • I only asked to mix so that students WOULD be matched together better level wise. I have 6th and 7th graders who are as advanced as my 8th and I want them all in the same class. It is VERY challenging to manage a class with brand new students and advanced students. If your admin can make two classes happen for you, DO IT! for sure! I have one class this year that is VERY challenging for just this reason. There are students who’ve had Spanish in a CI classroom every day for two and a half years, there are students who’ve had CI everyday for 1 and a half years and there are students who’ve NEVER been exposed to Spanish yet. It is INCREDIBLY hard to manage this in a CI classroom. I just have to stick to SLOW high frequency vocab and keep it INCREDIBLY compelling!

  5. Annabelle – I’m so glad that I met you this summer at the iFLT to conference in Denver! I’m implementing tons of your strategies and teaching is really fun! It is amazing how much French and Spanish the kids to speak when that’s the only option.

    I really hope that you are subscribed to this YouTube channel! https://youtu.be/YbYWhdLO43Q

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