Tried-It Tuesday: Are Your Parents Really Reading Your Newsletter?

Happy Tuesday!
Today I'm linking up an idea I tried with my friend, Holly, from Fourth Grade Flipper
Do you send home a weekly newsletter to your parents?
I always have - I think it's a great way to keep parents updated with what's going on in the classroom and answer general questions. At this new school I'm teaching in, we're required to have a weekly newsletter. All week long the office will send us important updates or information that needs to be included in the newsletter.

This year my newsletter is called 
"Travel Tales"
I include the pages/lessons we'll be covering that week, as well as the Bible verse, and important upcoming dates. I send it home (on blue paper) every Friday in the students' Friday File, which contains all of their graded work from the week, as well as any important school information.

But here's the thing: my teaching partner and I were getting the feeling that our parents weren't reading the newsletter - at least not thoroughly. So we decided to try a little experiment:

In our last newsletter we put a little line in the middle of the paragraph in the newsletter that said "as a special treat for reading this newsletter carefully, cut off the top (the part that says Travel Tales) and send it in on Monday to earn a special treat for your student."

On Monday, I received...
 3 back! 
Out of 24, only 3 were reading carefully :)

So, as a special treat, I awarded those three students a free homework pass (highly coveted) and a lollipop

Needless to say, I think the students and parents will be reading each line more carefully from now on - because I've promised to do this again...sometime :)

9 comments :

  1. Oh...very sneaky! I love this idea. I do an online newsletter that the students go over with their parents on Monday nights. Parents then have to sign agendas that they read it. I often email the link also. I "think" most everyone reads my newsletter, but I could be wrong. I'm going to try your tactic! Thanks for sharing!
    Alison
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

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  2. What a clever idea! I don't send home a weekly newsletter but have often thought that I should. I do type up a nice one for our team each quarter but even that had never been done before. It is sad to say that we can't get at least 50% of our parents to sign the homework charts each night. :( I love your newsletter and think I should give it a try next year! Thanks for linking up! :)
    ~Holly
    Fourth Grade Flipper

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  3. What a GREAT idea! I think this each and every week. I even have a class website that I keep updated with everything, that I feel I do for myself. I really like this idea, and think that it would be cool to do some sort of scavenger hunt or something to go along with the newsletters for students and parents to do together. I'll have to figure something out like this... Thanks for sharing!
    Ana
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

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  4. I love the little note idea mixed into the newsletter. I send a weekly email to the parents that I am pretty sure is not read by most. I am going to add a little note like this next week and see what happens. :)

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  5. Very clever!! My newsletter is very detailed with events from the past week plus important info on the following week. It is so upsetting when I get an email or note asking about something that has been clearly communicated for multiple weeks in the newsletter and then I get the "Oh, I must have missed it." I would love to do something similar like this just to get an idea of how many of my 27 families are reading it. Thanks for the idea!

    Kelli
    Tales of a Teacher

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  6. I LOVE it! I know most of the parents in my class aren't reading the newsletter I work so hard on each week, because every Monday, when I hand out the new ones, the kids throw away the ones from the previous week! You are a genius to figure out a motivational and fun way to get everyone involved. Also, I have to say, to Ana, that as an experiment of my own, I haven't updated my class website since October, and not one parent has even noticed! WOW - we really do spend a lot of time on things that end up being just for the sake of saying they're done, sadly.
    Brooke

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  7. I used to include a trivia question or a challenge in my weekly newsletter. The kids knew it would be there and they had to ask their parents for it in order to come in with the answer and receive a prize. It worked to increase readership somewhat, and it got the kids and their parents talking about other content in the newsletter besides just the challenge/trivia. I haven't done it in a long time, though. I think I'll do your little experiment this weekend, just to see who is currently reading. Thanks for sharing, Stacy @ What's New in Room 202 

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  8. What a great motivator to get the parents reading the newsletter. Thanks for the great idea!!

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