Communicating with Parents
Every night students come home and parents ask them, "How was your day today?" And how does the student reply for 170 out of the 180 school days? "Fine."
The parent presses on: "Did you learn anything?"
Isn't it amazing that we spend hours pouring into students and still these are their replies?
That's why it's important to communicate with parents. We need to give parents more information to help them have conversations about school with their students.
I've found that it's helpful to send an email home to parents every unit that explains my goals for the unit and different questions they can discuss with their student to learn more about what we are studying.
I think this year I will also start adding a digital citizenship question to the mix, even if it's not something directly related to our curriculum.
Parents are hungry for more resources to help them raise their sons and daughters as digital citizens, and we as teachers can partner with them by sharing what we know teens are facing in the digital space.
Communicating with Teachers
In many ways, we work in an isolation. More and more schools are pushing for collaboration among their staff, but many teachers have negative attitudes towards these forced methods (of which I am even guilty).
And yet, we are missing out on powerful ways of teaming up to teach our students.
We need to communicate with each other about the digital obstacles students are facing.
We need to communicate with each other about the topics we are teaching students and the expectations we are setting for them.
We need to communicate with each other about the strategies we use to teach students to be positive citizens.
For example, are we all requiring our students to use and cite Creative Commons media? Are we sharing strategies to stop sitting down so that we can have intentional conversations with students? Are we setting a positive example of spending our own time offline?
We need to communicate with each other to support each other. It's not about competing for the teacher of the year. It's about caring for students and teaching them to be the best that they can be.
So teachers, what are your favorite ways to communicate with families and colleagues about digital citizenship?