George Lucas Educational Foundation

Communicating Online With Parents

Communicating Online With Parents

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Hi All, I'm a Grade 2 homeroom teacher who, for years, has communicated classroom activities via a detailed monthly newsletter. In recent years, of course, I've gone green and begun e-mailing it out. However, I'm thinking it's time to start communicating online somehow. Twitter won't work as far as being spontaneous, because anything we send home requires admin. review and, thus, a 24-hour advanced notice for said review to take place. (Plus, I'm not sure how many parents actually pay attention to Twitter...) What online platform(s) do you use to communicate with parents about what is going on in the classroom? I'm thinking of some way to share about curriculum, special events and needs, maybe some photos and/or video, etc. But I don't want something exceedingly difficult or time-consuming (in addition to being a classroom teacher, I'm also a parent to a young child!) Thanks for any suggestions you can share. Chris

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susan offen's picture
susan offen
Literacy Graduate Student

I would suggest creating a classroom website. The internet is becoming a much easier method of communication for some parents. Time works as an advantage when communicating using the internet. Most parents time is after work when most teachers have gone home for the day. I would like to suggest you visit the site This site shows how to create an effective classroom website. It offers suggestions on which programs would be useful for different needs. For example, SchoolRack is a free classroom website and Shutterfly has met the needs of teachers for years. The advantage of creating a website is to have open communication between the students, parents and yourself. I would also like to recommend using programs in your classroom online and communicate to parents through the programs. One example would be to use, an online reading program for younger elementary students. There is an option to communicate to parents about the students reading progress on the program and the parents can communicate back. I hope this helps!

Matthew Ketchum's picture

A free web-based application that has look and feel of Facebook but with educational applications. Parents, Teachers, and Students can have accounts on

Another great free site is which also allows Parents, Teachers, and Students communication and feedback features.

April's picture
SLP from VA

Our school is powered by Google. Therefore we have Gmail, Google Docs, and Google sites. Each teacher has a site that is easily updated and can be accessed be others. It also has a comment feature that allows others to comment. You could post your newsletter on the site and it would allow for parents to comment with questions or concerns. Just an idea!

Rafranz Davis's picture
Rafranz Davis
Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD

Remind101 is amazing for communicating with parents! You can even create newsletters using and send links via remind101!

Darlene Andre's picture

We have an extensive web site with to communicate and share information. There is a page for parent information, photos, student work, daily schedule and a link to a google calendar where events and reminders can be added. I do publish my newsletters on the site, but also email them to parents. We have a class wiki and a class blog for students to write and share too. The more ways information is provided, the more chances parents will see it. We get busy and so do they. Good luck!

Holly Willis's picture
Holly Willis
Former Social Media Marketing Assistant at Edutopia

Great question, Chris. I decided to throw it out to our Twitter followers to get a bit more input. They had some great suggestions! Here they are:

Gina: Lms and email messaging systems
Christina: Remind 101 and Google Voice
Laura: Google sites, e-mail, but best of all, Twitter. Instead of "What did you do in school today?" Parents can say, "Tell me about..."
Playcorner TV: I think @edmodo is a pretty good tool. So is plain old #email.

In addition, I'd recommend checking out this blog from Joe Mazza: It looks at data around parent engagement and offers suggestions on how to tailor outreach specifically to parents/families at your school.

Hope these help!

Brett Kopf's picture
Brett Kopf
Cofounder of Remind101

Thanks for the shout out Rafranz!

-Brett, cofounder Remind101

Brett Kopf's picture
Brett Kopf
Cofounder of Remind101

Hey Chris,

Great question! I'm the cofounder of Remind101. We make it safe & easy for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents.

We built it working hand in hand with teachers across the u.s. and Canada. You'll notice a few things about the product:

1. It's safe- a teacher never sees a students phone number and visa versa.

2. We track a message history and make it impossible to delete

3. Students/parents can not respond back, it's only a 1 way broadcast.

You can read about us here: or watch a quick video we produced

Last thing - the entire product is built around simplicity. It shouldn't take teachers more than 2 minutes to sign up and students and parents only take seconds.

My personal email is, feel free to email me anytime with questions!

Michael Buist's picture
Michael Buist
5th grade teacher from Chandler, AZ

Chris, please take the advice from Brett and RaFranz. Use Remind101. For the past two years my parents have overwhelmingly said of all the communication tools I use (FB, Twitter, class web page, emails, etc.), Remind101 was the best.

It's easy to set up. It's easy for others to subscribe to your group. It's safe. It's free. And Brett and the rest of the R101 team are building this tool around the needs of teachers.

Lisa Brubaker's picture
Lisa Brubaker
Former Math Coach, will be PreK teacher 2013-2014 Fort Worth, Texas

Our district has a parent portal, but they also offer ed tech training on things like Webly's which is a sort of blog. Then there's Remind 101. Lot's of options, just have to pick what works for you. Best of luck.

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