Saturday, January 31, 2015

timely parent engagement

Have you heard about Remind

Remind is a free tool for teachers to use to communicate announcements and other information with the parents of the students in their class. Teachers set up a "class" for parents to join and then are able to text parents without anyone sharing their personal phone numbers. Once the class is set up, Remind gives a little image that can be shared with parents to get them enrolled:

This graphic includes a secret number to access the class (in this case 81010) and then a code to text for parents to join.

Teachers share the graphic, parents text in the code, and then they are enrolled in the class updates. I've been using this since October with the parents of my Tiger Blogging Club. I text them once a week to let them know that we will be meeting (or in just a few cases when I had to cancel the meeting). You can set the message to go out right in that moment, or you can schedule it to go out later on. Either way, it's a very convenient way to share information with the parents of my bloggers!

Last week I also sent an additional message:

In this message, I asked parents to take a look at their child's blog and gave the link that has all their blogs listed. I kid you not, within 10 minutes, I was getting emails stating new comments had been left on the children's blogs - comments left by the parents I had just texted! In their research, Todd Rogers states, "What's really cool about this is that the messages reach parents at a time when they can act on them." That was exactly what happened to me last week!

Because of that article I quoted above (which my principal shared with me in November) a colleague and I are teaming up to start Tiger Tips for Parents. We created groups for parents to join - by grade level and by language - and plan on sending out weekly tips to parents at the various grade levels. We're thinking these tips will provide information about literacy, math, and content areas and our PBIS goals. Plus, with the ability to send links, it's an easy way to share great articles or blog posts we find online.

To set this up, we have explained everything on our Emerson Collaborative Blog. We'll share that link on our PTA Facebook page, via twitter, on our school home page, and through emails with parents to get the word out and have parents join. Once we get families enrolled, sharing Tiger Tips will be a piece of cake!

How else are you using Remind? Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for us as we begin our journey with Tiger Tips for Parents!


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