Jul 5, 2013

Fabulous Find Friday: Back to School Night Infographic

Infographic courtesy of Easel.ly

Do you ever get the feeling parents aren't reading your class newsletter...like, never?  I used to get frustrated when parents would ask me questions I had already answered in the newsletter, several notes home and the class website.  Incidentally, these were also the same parents saying on the end-of-year survey that they wished they were more informed about classroom happenings and curriculum and I thought, "Seriously? What more can I do?"    I finally realized that it wasn't about doing more but instead communicating in a way that worked better for parents.  I had to take a step back and think about where the break-down was happening.  As much as I don't want to face it, because I'm not a super tech saavy person, our world is changing, information is flying at people at a much faster pace and parents just don't have the time or the energy to sit down and read anything unless it's 144 characters less, so to speak.  This has led to my weekly newsletter about curriculum being condensed to bullet points under curriculum subject headings, calendar events written like a shopping list and all other information about classroom happenings being sent to parents in an e-mail listserve.  And can I just say, thank goodness for the e-mail listserve.  I write one e-mail with a brief intro, bulleted list of 1-2 sentences about what I need to communicate (fieldtrip info, supplies needs, volunteers wanted, etc), finish it off with an explanatory paragraph for those still reading the e-mail by that point, and sign off with a positive statement and a compliment to the parents.  Voila!  No lost papers in the dark abyss of the child's backpack, no copies or formatting needed, and the amount of "in-the-loop" parents more than doubled!
Ever since then, I have reassessed the way I communicate important information to parents, making things simpler, less cluttered and less wordy.  Last year, at Back To School Night I went with an information packet in the form of a double-sided, 3 column brochure.  This was much easier for parents to read and understand.  This year, I'm thinking of branching out even more and putting my classroom information in the form of an infographic.  I have little experience with graphic design and no experience with programs like Photoshop but will that stop me? No.  Because I have found a site called Easel.ly that allows you to create infographics, well...easily.  And the best tip about creating infographics I've come across is to plan out ahead of time which information you want to display.  For me, this is important weekly dates like spelling tests or when homework is due.  I'm also including a month-by-month timeline of general curriculum topics, e-mail and class website links, a quote about my educational philosophy, dress code options, etc.
The more I work with Easel.ly, the more I'm seeing how easy it is and thinking of the possibilities for student use.  Utah history infographic?  The steps for dividing multi-digit numbers?  The timeline of Sleepy Hollow?

Have you used infographics yet?  I want to hear how you use them and what I should know as I jump into this technology adventure!

No comments:

Post a Comment