Parent Communication Log- I NEED IT TO BE EASY
Using Google Forms as a parent communication log is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. It is so easy and super helpful!
A few years ago, I was about halfway through the year when I realized that I wasn’t keeping logging any of my parent communication! Eeek! It wasn’t that I wasn’t communicating with parents. I wasn’t making any record of it. I tried to jot down a sticky note and put it in a file, but it wasn’t working. It wasn’t easy enough for me, and all those crumpled notes in a file folder weren’t helpful. Then GDPR rolled around and writing random notes and shoving them somewhere wasn’t going to work. I had to digitize my communication log. Luckily this worked in my favor, and I was able to keep track of parent conversations much more convenient.
Hooray for Google Forms!
I made a Google Form and then pinned it in Chrome right next to my Gmail. Any time I had a conversation with a parent, I simply logged it on the form. I was able to easily keep track of who I had talked to and what I had discussed.
BONUS! When I used Google Forms for my parent communication log I was able to more easily look at and analyze my data due to how the form presents it. This was revolutionary. Here’s how I did it and the sort of data you can discover. Hopefully, this can help you too!
How to Create Your Own Form
- Open Google Drive
- Click the new button on the top left
3. Hover over more
4. Click Google Form (purple logo)
Name Your Form
Name your form and add a description if you would like. I named it Parent Communication 19-20 just to keep track. Usually, I keep the description blank because this is just for me. I don’t need a description of a parent communication log. I know what this form is all about.
QUestion 1: Student Names
I like the first question on the form to be the student’s names. On the right choose dropdown. Enter student names. I make this question and most of the questions on the form required. Just in case I’m in a rush that will ensure I included all the necessary information.
*I have obviously created a fake class for this and have chosen fake names for this fake class.
Question 2: Date
The date is obviously helpful for tracking parent communication. Here you can keep track of when the conversations took place. Click date as the question type on the right. Again, I make this question required.
Question 3: Method of Contact
Click checkboxes as the question type- every once in a while you’ll have multiple methods of contact. This allows you to select what you need. I also have an other option because you really never know what else you might need. Having that option available just makes things easier.
Question 4: Reason for Contact
This one is so important and I struggled a bit with what categories it should be. I also add an other box to this one because sometimes the reason for contact doesn’t match any of the options. A few years ago I had an academic progress option but I felt that fell under academic. Choose what works for you. You might find that you are constantly typing in an option. If that’s the case, edit your form and add that option in.
Here I chose multiple choice but it could also be beneficial to use checkboxes so that more than one option could be chosen.
Question 5: Initiated By
This wasn’t originally a question on the form but I soon realized I wanted to know who reached out to who. I chose multiple choice for this question and also added an other option.
Question 6: Notes
Use the paragraph option this will allow you to type whatever you need to type in the box. This is the box where I type in all of the details of our conversation. What topics were discussed? What ideas were expressed by me and what ideas were expressed by the parents? This is really the reason you’re using a parent communication log so make sure to write all the details.
Question 7: Follow Up
Sometimes this just says none and sometimes it lists out different things I need to do after the communication. This helps me keep track of the next steps. Sometimes I also schedule next steps into my Google Calendar just to help me stay on top of everything in the classroom.
Analyze Your Data
Once you have your form set and enter the communication data you can see all your parent communication very clearly laid out. I am using the fake names and fake student data that I created for this blog post. (aka I just filled out the form by randomly clicking several a few times)
Just peaking at this data what do you notice? What sticks out to you?
Usually, in this section I notice that I’m communicating about one student at a far larger scale than the others. I reflect on this and make adjustments as needed.
I also notice that there are students who I’ve made no parent contact with or limited contact with. I reflect on that and also adjust as needed.
It used to be that if you didn’t hear from me, everything is going well. That just isn’t the case anymore. We need to communicate with all parents and give them insights into their children’s learning. Of course, Seesaw opens up an amazing venue for parent communication but a quick email or phone call doesn’t hurt either.
This one I find interesting. Emails typically win out and when I notice that I try to be more conscious of picking up the phone. Even though as an introvert I despise talking on the phone it is usually the best way to ensure your message is heard in the proper tone and with the proper delivery.
I like to try to keep a balance between academics and social-emotional contact. Here you can see I made contact for social-emotional reasons far more than any other reason. Depending on the time of year you might make contact for one area more than other areas. Just keep in mind that we educate the whole child and therefore our parent communication should reflect that.
Thoughts on Parent Communication Logs
Any questions or comments just leave them in the box below! I would love to hear how the form is working out for you and how you keep a parent communication log.