Classroom Set Up Tip: Parent Communication

Because of the financial state of education, many schools and districts are going paperless. Communicating through email and a classroom website is more efficient than sending home paper copies, and I have learned a few simple tricks that will help you be more creative by keeping things digital!

Here are a few tips to easily make your digital communication cute, colorful, and creative. You can use clipart, digital scrapbook pictures, and cute fonts to make great looking letters and websites. This is the back to school email I sent to my students this year:

To make your own, first layer your pictures and words. I like to use iweb or photoshop, or you can even create it in a smartboard lesson. By using these programs, you don’t have to worry about margins or lines; you can place things wherever you want. If you don’t have these programs, Microsoft word will work. Once you’ve finished your picture or letter, you can take a picture of it. This will ensure that your pictures, fonts, and layout will look the same to the person who is receiving it. On a mac, hold down shift-command-4 and drag the box around the picture you want to take. It will automatically save to your desktop. You can insert this picture directly into an email, or onto your website. For birthdays, this is the picture I insert directly into the email (not an attachment):

(This birthday letter is part of the “back to school start-up pack” from the Teacher Stuff store. Click here to check it out.)

I love to be creative, so I have been using digital communication as an outlet for my creativity. It’s kind of therapeutic! There are SO many cute digital things out there for you to use. My favorite thing to use for my classroom website is the clipart from Thistlegirl Designs. There is a membership fee, but I think it is a better deal than buying a clipart CD. You get so many new designs with your membership every month. You can check out my classroom website to see how I use this clipart: click here.

I also love Shabby Princess for digital scrapbooking. There are a lot of really nice, free kits on Shabby Princess. Here is the donation list that I made for my classroom website with digital scrapbook items:

You can also get some great free fonts on the internet. One of my favorite places to get fonts is from Kevin and Amanda.

So have fun being creative! The more interesting your newsletter is, the more likely parents will look at it!

4 thoughts on “Classroom Set Up Tip: Parent Communication

  1. Hi Emily,
    I took the CL class with you this summer and have really enjoyed your blog….I also checked out your school website and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED your search story…..I stole….but would like to think it was “borrowing” your idea! We did some of the same things (zoo,gardening) so borrowed those! Thanks for sharing, I’ve never been up with blogs, but seem to check yours out to see what new stuff you are talking about! Thanks for sharing! Have a great start of the year!

    • Thanks Elizabeth! And don’t worry–you’re supposed to borrow the ideas! That’s why they’re there! 🙂 thanks for reading my blog!

  2. Hi Emily! I have Microsoft Word 2007 and saw that you mentioned how to take a screenshot pic of something using a MAC and it saves to your desktop. Can you be so kind as to explain the process for WORD?
    I would love your feedback!
    Thanks so much!

    • No problem Julie! As far as I know, on a Mac you can take a screen shot in any program–even your desktop, and it’s the same process. If you push shift-command-4 it will let you drag your mouse to make a box that takes a picture of just the section you want. You’ll hear a little camera click sound & the picture will show up on your desktop as a jpeg picture file. Shift-command-3 will take a picture of your whole computer screen exactly the way you see it. If you don’t have a Mac, I’m not sure what buttons you push to take a screen shot, but I’m sure you can. If you are using a word program, however, on Mac or a pc, you can save a word document as a PDF (instead of a .doc). By saving it as a PDF, changes cannot be made to the document, but the font, pictures, etc. will look the same on any computer that opens it. To save it as a PDF, just go to file-save as- and change the file format from .doc or .docx to .pdf ( I think it’s that easy on a pc, but I’m not sure). If you do have a Mac, the geniuses at the apple store shared a lot of those shortcuts with me. They’re awesome! And it does not cost anything to see them. You just have to make an appointment ahead of time. hope that helps! Sometimes explaining stuff like that in writing gets lost in translation!

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