There is no teaching situation that depends more heavily on consistent, scheduled communication than the virtual classroom. There is no body language and there are no facial expressions to give clues to teachers or to students. If we want students and their parents to feel valued, supported and encouraged, we must do this deliberately through our communications. We have already talked about netiquette and appropriate emails in other quests. We know that a word texted, emailed or chatted lives on in infamy.
We need to look at the occasions that need communications. When I input grades, the gradebook has a way I can email students from right there. I send shout outs to the students who are doing well. These can be very brief…just an acknowledgement of work well-done. I also email students who are behind and ask if there is an issue and how I can help.
The NEWS in my courses is updated on a regular basis, even if there is nothing concerning content or schedules that needs addressing. I use eye-catching animations to pique their interest. I’ll send “cheerleader” emails en masse to give encouragement, especially near testing time or when grades are coming due.
One way I keep parents informed is by sending updates periodically . These let the parents know some of what we are covering in content and live classes. If the timing is such that parents need to be updated on grades, I write an all-purpose email and insert the grade of the individual student to whose parents the email is sent. Preferably, I have some positive information in the email, rather than just sending a “here’s a bad grade” email.
Every couple of weeks I call parents whose students are not doing well in the course. I also send the information to the advisor and the instructional coordinator. Our school collects this information to be used in several ways. Some of the states we serve require truancy reports. This does not hinge simply on attendance versus non-attendance. Part of attendance is based on work completed. For these reasons we must keep very accurate records of our communications with parents about student work issues. Emails are automatically saved and phone conversations are logged in the seating chart portion of D2L which can be populated so that communications are saved for each student.
This is a typical e-mail. The appropriate grade would be put in for that student.
The end of October is a busy time for our French students. Grading Period 1 ends and Grading Period 2 begins. French students have been working diligently to take care of missed assignments and make improvements in their grades. Your student’s current grade in the course is XXXX.
We have had an interesting subject to explore. Historians are not quite sure how much of the Celtic celebration of Samhain the Celtic tribes brought across La Manche (the English Channel) when they sailed from Britain to France hundreds of years ago. This is the ancient celebration in which Halloween has its roots. We do know, however, that a Parisian restaurant introduced Halloween in 1982 to its customers. With corporations like Disney, McDonald’s and Coca Cola jumping on the bandwagon and adding Halloween to their advertising images in France, this very American celebration has spread through France. There are costumes, parties, jack ‘o lanterns and even trick or treating being increasingly enjoyed on October 31.
So, we have looked at a Halloween children’s book in French and next week will see French children actually celebrating. Not all French citizens appreciate this item of pop culture crossing the Atlantic. We’ll just have to wait and see if it sticks around.
As always, please monitor your child’s progress and encourage following the checklist and attending Live Classes. Also, please remember that I am available to answer any questions and work with your child. I am just a email or phone call away. We can also schedule a Live session if that best meets your needs.
Happy end of October!
Whenever it is appropriate, I try to insert humor.