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Home-school communication ideas - anyone entered the digital age?

(10 Posts)
Agnesdipesto Fri 05-Aug-11 10:17:44

A recent thread started me thinking about how we should communicate with DS school when he starts in Sept
The home school book always starts well and fizzles out
would a daily printed sheet be better they have to tick boxes etc?
Or a weekly email from the teacher?
He has ABA so we will get good feedback from ABA each day, but since we have had ABA we have not had any feedback from his nursery at all.
While this has not been an issue, getting support from school about his progress is going to be crucial for keeping ABA, so we do want them involved and to be making comments throughout the year.
I was also thinking could school use photos / video we we can share what he does at school - as he is not able to tell us. Does anyone have an enlightened school which has embraced the digital age?
It would be easy to send DS with his brother's ipod nano and have some clips or pic of him at school. Equally we could send in his ipad with pics of what he does at weekend for news time etc
Any good practice out there I can borrow?

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 05-Aug-11 10:23:37

My son's secondary used email, either from the tutors or from the SENCO when there were questions or issues that needed answers from either side.
Not daily or weekly to a timetable, but as the need arose
As a teacher, I used to have a weekly meeting for 20 mins with a parent, as well as a daily diary. Does he have a statement and 1:1 support?
In a MS school, time to complete the strategies you suggest will be a huge factor. If the teacher has a class of 25-30, you will need to work out something that is manageable for all involved.
Have you discussed this with the school at your transition meetings in the summer term? What was their response?

silverfrog Fri 05-Aug-11 10:40:59

are school onside with ipad going in? this would be a good way forward, ptoentially. dd1's ex-school were fab at communicating - great home/school book, always there for a chat or email etc.

btu I still sent in additional stuff because dd1 could not fully answer questions about what we did at the weekend etc - so photos on ipad, holiday scrapbooks etc - to go through together with tutors, and then she could comment more easily.

if school are likely to not want to, could you maybe link it to learning targets? ie I use the OU Our Story app with dd1 - I upload photos, add text, and she reads the story I have made up (using key words, high frequency words I know she is currently learning etc) - would this be possible for your ds? then it is less about home/school communication and more about learning targets, but the home/school communication gets done also.

I asked school for a folder of pictures of dd1 at school doing various activities to use in this app, and they obliged happily. you could maybe ask for updated photos once per half term?

otherwise I do just send in new picture folders on her ipad, but not sure how muh they get talked about.

I do a holiday scrapbook each time we go away too - add photos, and write it as though dd1 & 2 have written it ("today we went to the beach. mummy got sandin her shoes, and daddy fell over paddling" type stuff), so it can be read with dd1, and she can comment on it. this provides the main gist of the holiday, with picture support, and leaves room for dd1 to comment on her favourite bits too.

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 10:49:02

Interesting thoughts....

I thinks secondary schools use email more than primary.

I like the idea of a printed sheet with tick boxes and obv a comments section.

Then you could tailor your questions to find out exactly what you want, but it still only take a few secs for the teacher or TA to fill in........

I think I'd print off a sheet of questions and glue it into the home school book.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Aug-11 12:04:16

I'm interested in this too.

I have some ideas, but no teachers ever like my ideas. The look at me and sigh if I ever suggest them.......

How about all children have an IT workspace that can be accessed from home, where they can upload some examples of their work, homework can be sent, reports and updates can be written during the year rather than all for one date. The unique workspace/portfolio is theirs for life, although once things are 3 years old they have the right to edit/remove things they might not like. Topics can be sent to the parents as well as any differentiation and teachers can try to communicate with each parent at least once a week meaning 4 short quick mails per day, but saving lengthy meetings or parents just wanting a quick word at the end of the day. IEP targets and other targets are their as well as a tickbox to say that the target was worked on. A quck TA tick box of current activities/lessons too.........

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 12:08:32

Starlight - my school is def exploring the idea of sharing an IT workspace with home. It's part of the 'fronter' program that my school (and maybe most) have........

Thing is, the school is so technologically illiterate it's very hard for them to do anything. All of their IT is outsourced to the LEA - so you can imagine how good it is smile

Honestly, they are so hampered by what they can do with all of their computers it's not funny.

insanityscatching Fri 05-Aug-11 12:10:07

We email daily and sometimes more often because ds would read home school book and get anxious. Sometimes it's head of unit with a general overview and sometimes it's his individual TA's with more specific details.
Emails to head of unit's school account send an alert to his phone so I can contact him any time and was useful when ds would email me about to blow but not communicate with school.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Aug-11 12:11:57

It's not a new idea Indigo. Educationalists have been banging on about it for over 10 years afair

Tiggles Fri 05-Aug-11 12:22:44

The DSs school in at least nursery and reception, for all children, fill in a home school book which includes photos on a weekly basis.
Any time I have had a specific query e.g. is DS eating his snack, that has been added into his comment book. As the school (Wales) does foundation phase right through until juniors, most of their work is recorded using photos, after 'special' days, or school trips etc. photos are put into a book and shown to parents after school. But parents can have a look at the current recording book to see exactly what their child is up to.
At the end of DS2s year in nursery I have now received home loads of extra photos of him doing stuff through the year.

Agnesdipesto Fri 05-Aug-11 13:54:25

We employ ABA shadow so subject to consents about photos of other children etc we can entrust the ABA person to do the actual work and be in charge of the ipad etc, I just wondered if schools were generally happy with using technology.
From the point of view of recording school comments, we don't want it to be too onerous on the teacher, but equally we don't want them to opt out as nursery has done for the past year, because its their judgment which will be used to decide if provision should continue.
When nursery were doing the home school book they put some really useful stuff in it which meant months later we could prove at tribunal what DS could do and that he had generalised his learning,
As far as DS progress is concerned his ABA team will keep us well informed, but I would like to get regular comments in writing from school as its less likely they will be tinged with the concerns that arise when it comes to writing reports for reviews etc
We will be talking to them in Sept(DS teacher is new to the school so we have had to wait until then), but I was just interested whether anything innovative was going on out there.
With smartboards it seems a shame not to use technology as a tool

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