Working as a team with families is key. It’s important to establish a consistent method of communication for keeping everyone organized. Parent teacher communication folders was the answer for me! If you do a Google search for “Moose Binders,” you’ll have access to lots of information on communication books. I’ve experimented with several ideas and methods and have found that a pronged pocket folder works best for me. In my experience, the binder was too bulky and I didn’t need that much space. I found them awkward to check, cumbersome for the kids to manage and transport, and I struggled with where to store them during the day. My teaching partner LOVED them. It really is a matter of personal preference in regards to what you use, but I do think it is important to have some form of parent teacher communication tool.
What are Parent Teacher Communication Folders?
Parent teacher communication folders are a tool that students take back and forth between school and home. Parents put items like notes, lunch money, and completed forms inside of it. Teachers put items like homework, school notices, notes, and newsletters inside of it.
Why Teachers Need Communication Folders
Teachers need parent teach communication folders because it builds the home and school connection by opening a line of communication.
How to Implement Communication Folders
Below are instructions for how to implement communication folders.
1. Download the Communication Folders Template
You can download this communication folders resource from my teacher store.
This resource includes the following:
- Daily Folder Labels
- Editable Name Labels
- Editable Student Number Name Labels (numbered 1-40)
- Pocket Labels
- Editable Money / Forms Printables
- Blank Sleeve Inserts
- Home to School and Back Communication Pages
Why Teachers Love It
Some of the reasons teachers love this resource include:
- They are editable so you can customize them to meet your needs and personalize the folders with your students name.
- Printing and adhering the labels with Mod Podge or transparent tape makes them last so much longer than traditional labels.
- The set includes printables for money pockets and other forms.
- There are a variety of options in difference colors and both with and without clipart.
- The daily communication pages make it easy to keep track and document notes between home and school.
- The consistent use ensures that money, permission slips, dismissal changes, etc. make it safely between home and school.
2. Print the Pages from the Communication Folder Resource
Print the pages from the resource so you have enough for a class set. Consider printing extras just in case you have a new student added to your class.
3. Purchase Folders
Purchase one folder for each student. Consider scooping up a few extras. You may need them if you get new students or someone loses their folder. I love using the 2 pocket / 3 prong folders because I can easily fit everything I need inside, yet they are super easy to store and manage. Oh, and they are cheap!
4. Assemble the Folders
I label the front of the folder with each student’s name and number in the top right corner. The reason I do this is because one of my classroom jobs is to put the folders in order. It’s quick and easy because the numbers are there and it saves me oodles of time. It allows me to easily see who is missing a folder and on the days when I am pulling out homework, permission slips, etc., everything is already in alphabetical order and I can just zip down my list.
The front inside pocket is for assignments that need to be returned to school. Some examples are homework, makeup work, and incomplete classwork. The small calendar is part of my behavior logs system. This resource is not included in the communication folder printables packet, but you can purchase it separately.
On the right, you see a clear, plastic page protector. I leave it empty with the exception of the small slip of paper you see at the bottom. Families use this pocket to send in important forms and money. Some examples are field trip money, book club orders, lunch money, and change in dismissal forms. I love this because it is deep enough that things don’t fall out. You could add a velcro dot or a paperclip at the top if you are concerned about it. I can easily see if something has been sent in. Best of all, I can also see if a parent has written me a note without having to flip through pages. It may not seem like a big deal, but every second in the classroom counts and when you can save time on daily administrative tasks it’s always a bonus.
Which leads me to the communication pages. I use them to write back and forth with the families. When the front gets filled, I pop it out and file it. Again, this is to save time by not needing to flip and check for notes.
Behind those pages is another sheet protector. My school sends out a monthly school calendar/lunch money. I slide that in each month so it’s always handy-dandy for the families to access. On the other side I slide in a data sheet to track student grades so their progress is available to the families at all times.
The back pocket is for items that are to be “left at home.” I highly suggest you come up with a routine for sending specific items home and you may even want to consider putting a label onto this pocket outlining this routine.
5. Introduce and Send Home the Folders
On the first day of school, introduce the folders to your students and explain how the folders work.
As a teacher, I found that when I sent things home on a Friday, they were never looked at as evidenced by them still being in the folder on Monday. As a parent, I confirmed this to be true when I found myself tossing the bags in the corner on Friday afternoons and getting my weekend on. On Mondays, we scramble around to find the bags and get out the door.
And so based on that logic, I send home all of the graded work on Monday afternoons. This includes work that I’ve either assigned a grade to or work that I have used as an informal assessment and written feedback onto. This is the ONLY day it goes home, so parents know to look for it.
If something is time sensitive, I put it into this pocket as soon as it comes in. Otherwise, I try to wait until Wednesday to send home things like book order forms, permission slips and important school information.
In closing, we hope you found this post about parent teacher communication folders helpful! If you did, then you may be interested in these behavior logs for your parent teacher communication folder!