The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus – Catchy Communications

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid-Week Focus!

Mid-Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function, and LET’S ALL – TEACHERS AND PARENTS – KEEP COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN TO HELP CHILDREN GET THE BEST EDUCATION POSSIBLE.

Eileen Batson, communications guru

Eileen Batson, communications guru

Meet a communications expert, Eileen Batson, shown in my blog pic here.

I first introduced Eileen to readers last November (11/28/12). She has graciously agreed to serve again as a guest blogger on Attentionology, offering us a second set of “tricks” to achieve effective online communications.

Eileen works with individuals – educators and parents, business owners, authors and artists – to help them reach desired audiences, including elementary school students.

More about Eileen’s good work in a while. First let’s check out the new pointers she shares below.

According to Eileen, one of the most valuable actions that parents and teachers can take to ensure a good education and overall well-being of children is this…keep the link between classroom and home strong throughout the school year by using attention-getting communication tools and tricks.

Eileen is aware that creating and maintaining these “links” may seem like a daunting task, especially considering school breaks, the track system, and the number of students a teacher has in her/his class(es).

But, it’s doable, she believes. Eileen offers the following Parent Teacher Communication Tips to try, using technology whenever possible, and other resources such as the “good old telephone.”

1. Contact parents with good news regularly with calls or emails.

As most teachers know, the most important thing to remember when creating rapport with a parent at the beginning of a school term or initially at any time is to make the first phone call a positive one.

Getting in touch with a few students’ families or guardians per week is likely manageable during a planning period or after school. I suggest that you put the names you select to contact each week in your planner; you’re more likely to follow through with this strategy.

2. Create a Web Site for Yourself and/or Your Class.

A Web Site doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. I suggest that you design or get assistance designing a basic Web site that includes the following:

  • important contact numbers
  • your email address
  • a short biography and picture of you and maybe you interacting with students
  • an overall explanation of your “yearly mission” as a teacher
  • an outline of what you will be teaching
  • a brief statement about the importance of students using notebooks and an agenda
  • your homework policy
  • your grading system
  • tutoring (if any) you or other staff members offer after school
  • a recommended student supply list
  • your expectations and goals for the term/year
  • suggestions for parents on how they can reinforce student learning in language arts and reading using pictures and helpful Web sites

You can set up your site using Wordpress or Blogger.

3. Publish a Pamphlet.

If, for whatever reason, you’re not able to manage

Color catches attention; no doubt about it!

Color catches attention; no doubt about it!

a Web site, there’s huge value in distributing a  traditional newsletter or pamphlet to parents during Open Houses or when you conference with them about their students.

Microsoft Publisher can help you design and print an attractive, informative newsletter or pamphlet (with a colorful cover like you see in the blog pic above).

4. Set up a social network on or where students and parents can message their teacher and each other.

This creates a sense of community and belonging.

What is Gaggle’s communication suite enables educators, students and parents to communicate anytime and anywhere. Gaggle ( is dedicated to providing safe email accounts for students. The tools that Gaggle provides allow schools to feel secure when giving their students email access.

On the Gaggle Network, teachers control what can be written and who can correspond with the students. Messages with inappropriate words are automatically re-routed to the teacher’s account. This allows the teacher to decide whether or not the student gets to see the message.

Check out the awesome communication features of the Gaggle Network:

  • Gaggle Email: Allows safe electronic communication for schools and students.
  • Web-based service for access anywhere with constant filtering and control of student accounts.
  • Gaggle Blogs: Provide a place where students can share their thoughts, ideas, and creativity in a secure environment. Teacher blogs can be shared with parents for easy home-school communication.
  • Discussion Boards: Support curriculum and extend learning with ongoing classroom discussions. Teachers can create boards restricted to specified students and classes, with all of Gaggle’s filtering in place.
  • Parent Accounts: Provide accounts for parents to easily communicate with teachers and their own children, but prohibit contact with other students. Parents can access and review their child’s email messages, locker files, and blogs.
  • Gaggle SMS Texting: Provides safe teacher and student mobile texting, with all incoming and outgoing text messages filtered and logged thru the Gaggle SMS Gateway. By utilizing the Gateway, individual cell numbers are protected with only Gaggle’s number displayed.

Great information, Eileen; thank you! 

As a publicist and owner of Batson Group Marketing and PR for 25+ years, Eileen Batson consults, holds workshops, and speaks on public relations, social networking, marketing and blogging.

She is currently on the Board of Directors for Women’s Power Networking and Co-Organizer for their Crabtree Chapter in Raleigh, NC (US). Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha selected her chapter on public relations for inclusion in their book Social Media for Business. Eileen lives in Raleigh with her husband, award-winning author and publisher Jon Batson. Visit Eileen at

What will be under the magic hat in coming weeks?

YOU can help decide by scrolling down and leaving a comment about topics you’d like The Magic Hat – Mid-Week Focus to address.

Check back with Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers, Mid-Week Focus
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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