Monday, September 2, 2013

Daily Notes

According to some of my fellow bloggers, I seem to be the only one talking about communication logs at the moment so some questions were directed my way.

Communication has been a continuing issue throughout all of Alex's school years. Not getting enough information, the right information, or any information at all. This is a problem for me because 1. I'm a control freak. 2. Alex is nonverbal. 3. I can't take him to school. So when do you talk to the teacher and how do you get the information you need?

Right now is actually the perfect time for me to talk about this because Alex's teacher is a frickin rock star. This year he has the best communication log I have ever seen.

I'll ask her if I can get a blank copy to post for you.
But let's back up to the when and how...
Alex's communication binder is a book full of  daily notes.
One at the regular elementary used just a plain spiral notebook where we jotted a few sentences back and forth whenever we felt the need. I liked this because it was an open line of communication. I did not like this because it was only random information and didn't happen every day. Another at the same school used a folder with daily sheets.
The special school uses 1" binders that stay in his backpack. Last year, it was a dry erase page that gave him the option of helping fill it out by hand over hand circling his activities from the day. That may have been good for the classroom, but it was not good for me. While cheap and environmentally friendly, there was no record for me to look back over to track whatever needs tracking (with Alex, it's mainly behavior.)
This year, as you can see, it's full of anything I could ever ask for. Every section has a purpose, and they use the space available to tell me more than yes, he had OT today, or Alex had a good day. There are actual things here I can talk to him about. It doesn't matter how much we love our kids, how absolutely perfect they are, we all have those times where we wish so hard for just a few minutes of "normal," having this chance to talk to your child about his school day handed to you is a priceless gift.
Alex is nonverbal, he doesn't actually talk back about his day. There are times where he will nod yes or tell me no or start laughing about something I mention, there are times he will give me a dirty look or a bored look about what I say but he doesn't talk. Being able to talk over things helps him because as much as hearing fluent and expressive reading expands your vocabulary, helps build your stamina, and make you a better reader; listening to someone talk does the same. Alex doesn't speak but he understands me just fine and he gets excited when I say something about what happened in his life.
This year's binder is 100% the teacher. She's awesome, I can't take any credit for that. I can tell you what I did in the past. probably not going to be a popular opinion and considering I have teachers, therapists, etc. on my page, I hesitated to write this... so, to all of those people-  I'm sorry! If you have any better suggestions, please leave a comment. serious. suggestions, please.
E-mail. You might be able to get it  through the staff directory on their website, or you can call the office and ask for it. Make a list of what information you would like in your daily notes and e-mail it to the teacher- asking nicely. ...the first time. The second time, you can be more direct in what you want and why- and don't let them tell you it isn't necessary or that they aren't there for your convenience, if you need the information, you need the information and that's that. After that, I'm impatient so I end up in the principal's office pretty quick. Again, ask nicely the first time. Then I move on to pestering. Every day that you don't get the information you need, send an e-mail asking the exact same questions  every time (the ones you asked for), and be sure to cc the principal. CC, not BCC. BCC is just underhanded and ...dishonest. Anyway, eventually someone will give in. If it's you, you suck at this game ;)
Most important, I think, make sure it's in the IEP.


  1. As a former teacher, I did these all the time! I taught high school students, so I would have them fill out the information as much as possible (usually by circling the picture icon) and I would fill in the rest. Like you said, if your child is nonverbal, you don't know what happened during the school day and can't talk with him/her about it. And honestly, they aren't that time consuming to do and also helped me establish open communication with home. Great idea for posting this!

  2. Your communication log looks a lot like Lily's.

  3. Love that log! So happy Alex has a great teacher :)

  4. Thanks for sharing Mac! I'm moving from Kindergarten to a grade 1-3 AS class and I was just doing some research on communication logs today. If you could get a blank copy I would love to incorporate it!

    1. Courtney, Got it! Right click, "save as", and print. :)