Building Relationships with Families with Mote & Canva — Template & Instructions Included

Building Relationships with Families with Mote & Canva

Good communication with parents and families from the very start of the year can make all the difference. I believe that gaining a student’s trust is the first step in building their (math) confidence, and it begins with making sure parents are part of the team. If a student goes home frustrated or confused, I need to know that I’ve given families the resources they need and a good sense of class expectations so that they can guide their child. Yes, we have back-to-school night, but that event can feel rushed and packed with information. Additionally, not all parents can attend. I’ve learned that emailing home a personal newsletter early in the school year can make all the difference.

Learning from my mistake

Back in 2010, I began flipping my class. It was an incredibly positive experience! Two years later, I decided to flip my 9th and 10th grade Honors Algebra 2 classes thinking the parent reception would be the same. That was my first mistake! Consider that this was a time before “flipped learning” was a thing. Despite the fact that I had explained class expectations and the rationale behind my setup during back-to-school night, many parents were left without a clear understanding — either because they were not able to attend or for the simple fact that back-to-school night is action-packed and quick. And so, when students were nervous about a new challenging math class in September, parents didn’t have the resources to calm their child’s worries.

What I did next

While not the most pleasant experience, it was a powerful learning moment for me. I also realized that I was missing a golden opportunity to model my flipped classroom philosophy with parents. The following year, I decided to create a #FlipClass Welcome video, shared with parents during back-to-school night. This allowed me to pack a clearly communicated message into only 4 minutes and gave me the rest of our time together to address other expectations, even allowing time for questions at the end. What’s more, I was able to send home a message after back-to-school night with this same material for parents who were not able to attend.

Parent Newsletter for My Online AP Calculus AB Course Created in Canva with Mote Voice Note

Using Canva to create a newsletter

Canva is one of my favorite tools for creating well-designed graphics, newsletters, lesson plans, posters, and more! Canva for Education is 100% free for educators and students. I have created a video walkthrough to show you the process of setting up your free teacher account & creating a Canva class.

  • The ability to design with ease, choosing from beautiful fonts, recommended color palettes, and built-in graphics, plus the ability to embed content from a variety of sites
  • The ease of sharing — viewers do not need a Canva account and viewing on mobile is as friendly as viewing on a computer

Adding a personal touch with Mote

Voice adds warmth, tone, and care. Adding a voice note to your Canva creation requires just a couple of clicks. The compatibility behind these two platforms works beautifully. When you insert a Mote recording in Canva, you see an embedded player including auto-transcription during playback.

Accessibility & translation

Language can be a barrier when sending communication home. With Mote, translation features are automatically built-in, ensuring all families are able to interact with your newsletter in a way that works best for them.

Watch my MoteCon presentation to learn more

If you want to learn more about how I built my newsletter in Canva with embedded Mote voice notes, you can watch my presentation from MoteCon here:



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Stacey Roshan

Educator | Keynote speaker | Consultant | Author: Tech with Heart | #EdTech Enthusiast | NAIS Teacher of the Future |