I was all about the weekly classroom newsletter as a beginning kindergarten teacher. It had cutesy graphics by DJ Inkers, homework information, tips and tricks for parents, and what I thought was an abundance of resources for my classroom parents. As my workload increased, I found myself slacking on the newsletter front; what had been a weekly resource was turning into a monthly gig.
It wasn’t until I went to a session at a local Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Summit that I learned that newsletters didn’t have to boring, paper things – they could be digital, they could be engaging, and they could be fun.
The presenter at this particular session introduced the class to Sara Malchow’s newsletter – a completely interactive newsletter made through Google Slides. (I also liked Meagan Kelly’s newsletter – something she shared with her students and families.) There were hyperlinks! There were animations! It was colorful and pretty – but it was also a source of information! And I knew that I needed to have one for myself.
That was two years ago.
The time to get that newsletter done never came – until my new job and a new purpose for the newsletter came into perspective. As a Technology TOSA, I have the amazing opportunity of working at four different elementary schools across our district. I go into TK-5th grade classrooms, working with approximately 1,200 students (give or take) and about 53 teachers. And I have teachers who are actually using the technology and want to learn more!
So, taking inspiration from Malchow and so many other educators who have transitioned to digital newsletters, I dove in and created a newsletter of my own. I’ve started simple but have my staples – my notes to teachers (where I review what I’ve been working on with students and where we will be going in the next month), no-cost-low-cost professional development opportunities coming up, a “Did you know..” section (where I include information on free resources for teachers), and finally, a chrome extension/add-on or website of the month.
Short, digestible, and to the point – most of the time. Something that the teachers I work with could read and pull information from – maybe even get inspired by. (My journalistic heart skips a beat every time I see teachers live on the document!)
Do you create digital newsletters for your class? Who do you share them with? Let me know by giving me a shout-out on Twitter @KristinOropeza – I would love to see what you’ve created!