Raise your hand if you’re an educator who loves to call people at the end of a long, nutty day of teaching.
Now, raise your hand if you know you should build positive relationships with parents and caregivers from day one of the school year.
If we’re not talking directly to caregivers at pick-up or drop-off, how can we build that relationship? I was always taught to be on the phone calling parents after school.
But as an introvert, that is really hard for me to do. Especially after exerting all my energy to teaching throughout the day.
I needed something that would provide consistent communication with caregivers starting day one. Something that I could use when I was not feeling like making a phone call at the end of the school day.
Something like a positive note home.
Why Use Positive Notes Home?
Positive notes home are an easy way to keep caregivers in the loop when their child exemplifies positive behavior while at school. As a parent, I want to hear all the good things that my child does when I’m not there. Is she kind to others? Does she pick up after herself? Does she take initiative? Things she may not remember to tell me, but a teacher will see.
Positive notes home are an awesome alternative when calling home isn’t an option (whether it be because you’re drained of energy, you have meetings, or one of the other countless things teachers do when students aren’t around). Giving a student a positive note home will let their caregiver know that you’re watching their child and appreciate their positive choices.
Not only are positive notes home great for parent-teacher communication, they’re also wonderful for building relationships with students.
I’m a firm believer that relationship-building is the most important classroom management strategy. Giving students praise for their positive choices helps build that relationship as it sends the message, “I see you and I appreciate you.”
When I made these positive notes home, I was very intentional with the character traits I put on the choices.
I chose perseverance, self-control, respect, integrity, empathy, and influential because these are all traits needed in the real-world.
Children want to do well. It’s my hope that when they receive a positive note home, the characteristic and action described sticks with them. I hope that when they hear someone else receive a positive note home they’ll think, “I want to do that, too.”
When Should You Use Positive Notes Home?
Easy. All day, every day, starting day one.
While teaching, I always had a stack of positive notes ready to be filled out. As soon as I saw someone exhibiting a positive behavior, I called it out, filled out a note, and handed it to them to take home. Eventually, the class learned to wait while I filled out a note.
An easy thing you can do is at least fill out your name beforehand to take up less time while you fill out a note.
Another thing you can rely on is students’ memories. I would call out behaviors, explain why it was positive, and tell students to remind me when I have the time to fill out a positive note home. They always remembered. 🖤
How Do You Use Positive Notes Home?
I explain to caregivers when I first meet/talk to them that one form of communication that I’ll use is positive notes home. That way, they’re expecting them.
Starting on the first day of school, I’m passing out note after note. It’s a great way to start the year off by letting students know you’re always watching for the positive and giving credit.
Teachers have a weird superpower that allows us to know right off the bat if we’re going to have a tricky student(s) on our hands. Those are students I make SURE to give positive notes home to. All of them. For any reason.
For one, these students need to start the year off on the right foot. To be encouraged. To have someone seeing the best in them.
In addition, caregivers need to know that we see the best in their children. I once had a really tricky student and on his first day, I called his parents to tell them something good. Their first response?
“Thank you for telling us that. We never get these calls.”
It means a lot to caregivers who only ever hear negative things about their child. What a relief to know that their child is displaying positive behaviors.
And when those negative behaviors do pop up, these positive notes home lay a foundation of trust that you’re going to update them with the good. It lets them know that you’re on their team and want the best for their child. Truthfully, it makes those tough conversations so much easier to have when you’ve had positive interactions first.
A Quick Note
I used these positive notes home so much in the classroom. However, I did still call caregivers if I didn’t consistently see them at pick-up or drop-off.
I do believe that caregivers should also hear your voice explain the positive choices their child makes and that you just had to tell them. Even if it’s a voicemail.
How Do I Get Positive Notes Home?
These positive notes are the perfect thing to maintain positive parent-teacher communication. And they’re only $1.00! You will use them day after day, year after year.
Simply follow this link or click the picture below to learn more.