Every couple of weeks I send a brief email update to all the parents/guardians on my email list for the year. I include special school information in addition to class updates, which include units of study/quiz/project information. What started as a little extra thing I did to open lines of communication, morphed into one of my favorite must-dos each year.
The basics: My emails are very short and to the point. I spend about five minutes writing and sending each one. And even though I teach three classes, I send only one email using the general subject line “[School Initials] Math Update #1, etc”. I bcc the email addresses so that parents do not have access to each other’s emails.
The most frequently asked question I have heard in response to a teacher hearing that I do this is, “But how long do you spend answering all the emails sent in reply to your original email?” The answer: not long at all. In fact, most of the emails I receive just say a version of, “Thank you so much for sending these updates! They’re so helpful!” Occasionally parents write back and ask for a quick update on their child’s progress. However, I have never received more than two of these requests at any one time, so I am happy to oblige.
I have had students come into homeroom and say, “Ms. Kohn, I got home from school yesterday and my mom said ‘Hi, go study for your math quiz’… how did she know???”
Here’s a sample email I send at the beginning of the year:
“Hello! My name is Heather Kohn and I am your son’s or daughter’s math teacher this year. I will be sending math updates every couple of weeks to let you know what is going on in our classroom. The year is off to a great start and I believe that together we can help all our students succeed!
Open House is this Thursday night from 6:30-8:30pm. I hope to see many of you there!I will be discussing my grading policy, the curriculum, and how your child can succeed in math class.
Algebra 1 – We are studying a unit titled “Solving Equations and Inequalities.” We have been using the distance formula to solve interesting problems (ask them about the football players!) and have been rearranging physics formulas. Students have received their first project (the Calendar project), which is due Friday, September 28th.
Geometry – We are studying the building blocks of geometry: points, lines, planes, and angles. We have been learning to use Geometer’s Sketchpad on the student laptops. Today, we investigated the geometry behind playing pool. Students will receive their first project in the upcoming week and their first quiz will be on Friday, September 15th.
I am available for extra help most Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I post all homework on my school fusion webpage (the link is below). Please encourage your child to come see if they have any questions. If you have any questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.