To Flip Book or NOT to Flip Book... That is the Question

Guys- I'm in a pickle. I don't know what to do. I'm lost. I need guidance.

Here's the dilemma: at Open House/Back to School night, do I give out my brochure I've been doing the past 2 years or switch it up and do a flip book full of info?  I've been trying to weigh the pros and cons and I just don't know. So I thought I'd take it to you and HOPE you'll give me some much needed insight.


I've seen the pins of the amazing organized and beautiful flip books. The organizer in me just ooohs and aaahs over them. There were a few reasons though that I didn't spring into action right away and make one:
  1. They take more paper than my current brochure.
  2. Formatting seems complicated- even for those that you can buy at Teachers Pay Teachers
  3. Along with formatting, making sure they cover my needs is another reason why I haven't boughten one on TpT
  4. They'll take longer to assemble
So I put the idea on the back burner, for once, trying to convince myself that my time and resources are more important than the aesthetic affect the flip books have on me. 

Then, I snagged an alternative version that at least takes out (or more so lessens) a lot of the formatting concerns, for FREE none-the-less (it no longer is free, but still in Lindsey from Thriving in 3rd's TpT store.)

She took out a lot of the guess work which was nice! But my Type A came out and I still tweaked the borders and clip art to make one that might work for my needs.

These will still use more paper than my brochure, especially with the scraps that you get since you don't do any folding, but rather cutting... but I'd much rather cut and have scraps than trying to fold enough flip books for 28 kids... not happening. I tried to "save" some paper by only doing 4 flaps (which would use 3 1/2 pages of paper for each flip book).

Because I only did 4 flaps I had to be more general on the names of each tab so I came up with:

Flap 1: Contact and Communication
I thought this tab would be the one mostly used so I didn't do a cover tab + a contact tab- I just combined them.
I put my direct line, my email, and our classroom website. I also put the attendance line phone number and a little blurb stating when our classroom newsletter comes out (which is each and every Friday)

So what did I manage to squeeze on the other pages?

Flap 2: Day in the Life

 Here I put information on our daily schedule. Self explanatory, but I think it is important for when parents are scheduling appointments. I'd often get a little frazzled when parents would pull students at certain parts of the day because they were missing big content areas. So I figured if they knew our schedule, it might help them plan it out a bit better.

I also include homework information: what daily/weekly homework they have; when it's due, etc. It's pretty broad honestly because I still don't like how I do homework in my room so it's still up in the air a bit.

Lastly, I did a little blurb on bathroom breaks and water bottles. I hate it when kids leave to get a drink. I know it's important so I obviously let them go, but I'd much rather have them have water bottles. It is so less distracting. Same thing with bathroom breaks- we have a bathroom in our classroom so this cuts out setting up "bathroom breaks."

Flap 3: Classroom Info

 This one was tricky for me this year. I will have 2 students with severe food allergies. Therefore, we can not have any food in our classroom unless it has been bought by the parents of the students affected to ensure that no foods with allergens are entering our room. This will be a big change for me. Not that I do a lot with food, but still. I'm actually glad about kids not being able to bring in birthday treats. Call me a curmudgeon, but I really don't like handing out birthday treats. They are not always practical for the classroom and can create huge messes. We'll still celebrate birthdays and I'll give them their birthday straws (like last year) and students will still be allowed to bring in a treat (stickers, dollar tree items, etc.) but we won't have food, and I'm ok with that. It just takes the right words to explain it.

Also on this page is a blurb about our school folders that each student gets. I was shocked at how many parents wouldn't look at these on a regular basis. I wanted them to make sure they know how we use them and to check them often!

Flap 4: Odds and Ends

 This last flap changed 3 times. I think I settled on discussing our classroom community, volunteer options, and field trips.  Here I described how students are involved in creating the classroom climate through our RC practices, our Day 6 Olweus Bully Prevention Lessons, and our Welcoming Schools work.

For volunteering, I simple stated I'm open to them in different capacities! I'll have an actual volunteer form for those interested to fill out so I know what kinds of volunteers I'll have.

Lastly is the field trip blurb. We can only ask for a donation- families do not have to pay. However, we found out this year that if a lot of people don't donate, our trip may not happen. This simply states that we need donations to make our field trips possible. It also talks about the need of background checks for chaperones. This year, we'll have anyone interested in chaperoning to do a background check at the beginning of the year so that we have it on record for when a field trip pops up. We had issues last year with this too.

Here is my brochure that I finagled a bit to try to fit all of this information on. Not everything fit and it looks pretty full. I could always cut something out but I'm bad at deciding. The lines don't match up perfectly when folding, but after a couple years of making brochures I've finally been able to let it go. (small victories) I print these back to back so I only use one piece of paper and folding them takes around 5 minutes. One problem with these is that they are small so they might be overlooked.

The only info from the flip book that is not included is classroom community section. It's important, but can be explained in other ways than the flip book.


So here I am back at my question: Do I go for it and make the flip books even though they will take a bit more time and paper? Is the extra information and way it's accessible more valuable to families? Will families be more likely to look at these over the brochure and keep for future use? The best way to find out will be to give it a go, but I'm not convinced yet. Thoughts??

How do you share important classroom information with your families?


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9 comments

  1. Honestly, the parents just want the information to be as clear and comprehensible as possible. I don't think they care out the flipbook - it would just be something that would make you happy; and it does look nicer and fancier, but you could accomplish this in Word by adding clipart/borders. Just my opinion - do what's easier/less time consuming.

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    Replies
    1. Great advice, Susan! I always seem to make things more complicated for myself so I appreciate the "less is more" insight! I've already started to finagle my brochure (which I do in Word) to see that maybe after the face lift it'll serve it's purpose and in about half the time!

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  2. I actually like the look of your brochure much better. I went paperless a few years ago and just hand out a magnet with my class website on it that has all of the information that they need. They can keep the magnet on their fridge. The parents that would be the ones to read the brochure would be the ones that will check my class website. Some parents wouldn't do either...SO..that's my solution.
    Here's my class website if you want to look at it. www.myteacherpages.com/webpages/ARose
    I still like your brochure! :)
    Alison
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

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  3. I like how you really utilized all the space on the flip book. Having your contact info on the front was a really smart idea! I'm planning on using flip books this year only because I've never done any type of informational handout for parents in the past. I think the brochure looks great and if it has everything parents need and is easier for you I'd say go with that option.
    Courtney
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

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  4. I vote for the brochure. Your parents unfortunately won't appreciate the flap book as much as us teachers do. It's cute but I think the brochure is the way to go. Even the brochure is totally awesome and just as informative. I just have a class website that my parents review the ABC's of First Grade. Hope you have a happy 4th.

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  5. I think that they are both useful, however you need to consider what parents will use more. I don't know if they will appreciate the flip book as much as you do. It's super cute, don't get me wrong.... however since I have tired to go paperless, I put all of my info that they need on a magnet (mostly contact info) and hand it to them. Then a small paper goes home with the basics. I try not to overload them with too much information. I too have a class website that I put everything on for parents to go back to. If they don't have internet access, then I will print the pages out to send home. Hope you figure out what you want to do!
    Ana
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

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  6. Love the flipbook, but the others are right. We appreciate them more than that parents would, I'm sure. It's like when I spend a lot of time on something that I think is really awesome for the students and then I find one in the trash :/

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  7. I think the brochure is the better choice; it's more easily accessible to parents and it looks like "less to read".. several pages to flip through often means they stop after the first one. Just my two cents! Both are very cute and have given me wonderful ideas, but I think the brochure is the better bet as far as parents reading all of the information provided :)

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  8. I tried something like this last year and the parents absolutely loved it! I love how clean and pretty your books look! :D Great work! XoXo ~ Teaching Takes the Cake

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