Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BEE Books - Parent Communication Binders

Communicating with parents through a daily or weekly folder can seem like a chore.
Everyone has their own way of doing this, but you you've just got to find what works for you.
About 6-7 years ago, one of my kindergarten teacher friends discovered the idea of BEE Books on JMeacham's website.  Click here to view her original post about it.
The BEE in BEE Books stands for:
We immediately loved this idea and have now been using it for years. 
I honestly can't even remember what I used for a parent communication folder before this.
Over the years, I've modified and updated the pages to fit my needs, or just to add new clipart.
So here's a look at what the BEE Book has evolved into in my classroom today.

First, every student brings in a clear-view 3-ring binder.  It's on their supply list.
Then I slip this page down in the front pocket with each child's name.

Each student's behavior chart can be found in the left pocket of the binder.

I got the idea for this little sticker from DeeDee Wills kindergarten blog.
No more "but my mom didn't know not to take it out."  Mmm hmm, sure she took it out.
Now there's no excuse for a behavior chart to be missing.
I printed the stickers on badge sized avery labels.

 The behavior charts are usually tucked down in the pocket, but I pulled it out so you could see the entire page.
To check out my blog post on how I manage student behavior, and how I utilize these charts, click here.

Next up is a pocket pouch for money and notes.
These stickers were printed on Avery file folder labels. 
Obviously, any money or notes coming from home should be placed in this pouch.
This way, when I do a quick BEE Book check every morning, I can quickly see who has money, transportations notes, etc. and pull them out.

Next, is the BEE Book information page.
This explains to parents what is included in the BEE Book.

This page lists my contact info for parents, email and school phone number, along with our district number and the names of the encore teachers.

A class schedule, so that parents will know what's going on during the day in case they need to pick their child up early, and so they'll know what encore class we have each day.

This is a classwork rubric that my kindergarten team and I came up with 8 years ago.  I still use it faithfully to this day.
Before the rubric, I would just randomly put a smile or check at the top of a student's paper.  There was no rhyme or reason to why they sometimes got a smile or sometimes got a star.
So we came up with a rubric so that when parents are looking through their child's papers each night, they know exactly how well their child performed on each page.  Simply by looking at the symbol on the top.
I'm using this grading rubric in first grade for classwork; daily work that is not given a recorded grade.

On the back of the classwork rubric is the first grade grading scale that they will see on progress reports and report cards.
This way, they'll know what each letter and percentage means.
I also have a page with a class list on one side and sight words on the other.  But I didn't get a picture of it for some reason.

Next up is a 2 pocket folder.
In kindergarten the kids brought in their own, but it wasn't on the first grade supply list, so I just bought a bunch and let my kids pick the one they wanted to use.

This folder is where each student's work goes.
On the left are papers that can be kept at home and do not need a signature or need to be returned.

These stickers were printed on Avery address labels.

And then the right side is for papers that need to be viewed by a parent.
Signatures, field trip notes, etc.

I  used to just tuck my Friday newsletter down in the left side pocket on Fridays.
But then I'd have parents who "didn't get one."
So I got clever and put a plastic page protector with the newsletter in the middle of the folder.
So if the parents have checked their child's BEE Book then they can't help but see the Friday letter.  And if the BEE Book comes back without a Friday letter, I definitely know that saw it because they took it out.
Haha sneaky!
I love these newsletter templates from Mrs. Magee.  She has 10 seasonal templates and 10 holiday templates.  And of course I have both sets.
I love changing my  newsletter theme with the season.

And I love these homework sheets by Sassy Little Teacher that go with our Wonders reading series because I don't have to type up all of our reading info for the next week.  I just copy it onto the back of my Friday newsletter.  Thank you very much!

On the back is a little contract for the parents and students to sign.  It basically says that they'll take care of their BEE Book and be responsible for it.
I can't remember if the contract comes from JMeacham or not.

This is where my students' BEE Books stay during the school day.

But each morning I relocate them to my reading table.
This way I can sit and quickly check each BEE Book for money or transportation notes while my kids do their morning work.

These are my student mailboxes.
All of their graded work, and notes from the office, get filed here.

And since I'm already checking each BEE Book in the morning, I usually just go ahead and put their papers in the folder to go home as well.  This way I'm not rushing around at the end of the day to make sure that everything gets sent home.
BEE Book tip -
If you're going to use a BEE Book or other form of parent communication folder, I recommend purchasing extra materials and having a few extras already put together.
I've never done that before, but this year I decided I wanted to make 4 extra BEE Books, just in case I had a student join our class in the middle of the year.  I used to always make a few extra BEE Book pages and have the supplies ready.  But there are already so many things to make and think about when you get a new student.  So I wanted to have some on hand and ready to go.  One less thing to have to do for a new student.
And I'm so glad I did, because last Tuesday I had a student leave my school and a new student join my class within 2 hours. 
I was excited to have a BEE Book all ready to go for her, all I had to do was write her name in the box at the top.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Miss. Kriss!!!

    I was doing a Google search and ran across my Wonders homework sheet! I am stoked that you use and love it! I, too, copy my newsletter on the back! You rock!!! Thanks so much for your support!

    Sassy Little Teacher ��