Writing newsletters is one of least favourite chores. I’m not sure how many parents actually read the newsletter, moreover the production of newsletters takes time away from the things that matter.
Could this old-style communication become more effective?
Enter Dean Shareski.
One of his suggestions from the recent Singapore Google Apps for Education summit was the idea of instead of sending out a text-heavy newsletter video could do a more effective job of telling what is going on in classrooms. People get to hear tone, voice and realise that yes you are a person not just a teacher.
I decided to have a go at producing a video newsletter for my year group.
During a non-contact period I pulled 3 children out of each of the Year 4 classes out. I asked the group what they’d learned in school for English, Maths and Unit of Inquiry. Each child talked a little bit about what they had been up to in the class. I then dumped the footage into Final Cut and uploaded it to YouTube.
The whole thing took about 20 minutes and was a lot more satisfying to produce than the written newsletter.
I quickly realised that the reason I didn’t particularly enjoy the newsletter was that it had very minimal input from the kids. This format potentially gives children a lot more voice and gives them an opportunity to reflect on their learning.
I’m sure a few doubters are wondering how much I had to ‘prep’ the children to be able to talk. We had about 30 seconds which seems about right. Surely the proof of effective teaching in my classroom is that the children should be able to talk about what they’ve been learning about in school the last few weeks.
As this project progresses, I imagine it will become easier and we’ll be refining the newsletter.
Maybe written newsletters are a thing of the past?