Effective communication between teachers and parents is one of the greatest factors of student success. The more teachers communicate with parents, the more parents will understand about the classroom, procedures, and their child’s progress in class. While we all know that teacher/parent communication is important, it can often be difficult to put systems into place that are not time-consuming or overwhelming to the teacher. With grading, lesson planning and a personal life (yes, teachers have those too!), parent communication tends to be the first thing that falls to the side. But…what if there was an easy and quick way to update parents about classroom assignments, activities and progress?
In this two part series, I will share two ways that I have created a newsletter to share with parents on a weekly basis. This week, I will share how you can create a weekly newsletter using Google Forms and MailChimp. Next week, I will share how you can create a weekly newsletter using Google Docs and Remind. Excited? Let’s get started!
Below you will find the step-by-step directions, including GIF’s, of the process for creating a newsletter. At the bottom of this section, you will also find a video that will walk you through the entire process.
Step #1: Create a Google Form
Before you create a newsletter, you need to gather the names and email addresses of the parents to create an email list. An easy way to do this is to use a Google Form. And…guess what? I already made the form for you! Check it out:
Click HERE for your own copy.
As you can see, this is a very short and simple Google Form. We only need the name and email address of the parent to create the email list. I’ve also included a question on asking permission to email the parent, since this is a question that MailChimp asks and it is always important to ask permission, especially living in an age of data privacy concerns.
Step #2: Share the Google Form
Now you need to gather responses from the parents for your email list. The easiest way to gather this information is…Back to School Night! Set up a couple of devices at a table and encourage parents to sign up for the newsletter as they visit your classroom. Usually, I created a sign that said “Sign up here!” that encouraged parents to sign up for the newsletter and shared a little information about what they would receive by signing up.
If Back to School Night has passed, you could always create it as an assignment in Google Classroom and ask your students to complete it with their parents at home.
Step #3: Download the Email List
When you have gathered your responses, you will need to download the email list from Google Sheets as a .CSV. By doing this we can automatically upload the email list to MailChimp, instead of inputting the responses one by one.
To download the email list as a .CSV, you will need to:
- Go to the Google Sheet of your responses
- Click “File”
- Go to “Download As”
- Select “Comma separated values .csv, current sheet”
Step #4: Create a Mail Chimp Account
Go to MailChimp and create an account – it’s free!
Step #5: Create a List in MailChimp
To create an email list, you will need to:
- Go to “Lists”
- Click “Create List”
- Fill in the information
Step #6: Add Email Subscribers
To add subscribers to your newsletter, your will need to:
- Select “Import contacts”
- Select “CSV or tab-delimited text file”
- Attach the .CSV file you downloaded from Google Sheets
- Select the columns you want to include
Step #7: Create a Campaign
To create your newsletter, you will need to:
- Go to “Campaigns”
- Select your Email List
- Go through the email options
- Click Send!
Phew! I know that is a lot to do but once it is set up, you can simply copy the campaign each week and enter the new information. Finally, if you want to see the entire process (from start to finish), I’ve also created a video of this process. You can watch it below!
As always, I love to hear from those of you that are reading this (LONG) blog post! How do you communicate with parents during the school year? Share below!