Thursday, August 29, 2013

Remind101: Keeping Parents Updated Has Never Been Easier

I'm back! I can't believe my last post was in March. I guess the three graduates living under my roof and the unwanted 15 pounds around my middle edged out blogging for a while, but I am back and bursting with information and ideas to share. 

My first post for the new year is actually a rerun. I had separate conversations with two colleagues recently which both included a reference to a texting tool I use called Remind101. After our conversations, both of my teaching friends went home and registered for the program immediately. They were so impressed with Remind101 that I feel compelled to share it with everybody again. In case you missed it the first time around, here is my Remind101 rerun...

Right now, I am really excited about the latest addition to my digital technology toolbox. It's an app called Remind101.You can look for it in the App Store on your phone or visit their website at Remind101 is an application that allows parents and students to text a code to a phone number assigned to you by the program. Once parents and students have completed this step, they are added to a roster and you can send them group text message reminders and updates. It is a one way system that only allows parents and students to receive messages, but they can not reply. The teacher does not have to worry about responding to incoming texts. You simply have the luxury of reaching parents with important information in real time. 

Since I started using Remind101, many of my parents have approached me to tell me how much they appreciate the reminders and my efforts to keep them updated, and I see a direct impact on the rate of return for assignments, signed forms, materials, supplies, etc...

To get started, download the app for FREE or register on the website. Then send home this reminder that is provided as a PDF when you register. (Since it is the beginning of a new school year, you could have the flyer on your students' desks at Back-to-School Night. That way you can walk parents through the registration process.) It takes two minutes to set up the class, and parents are automatically added to the roster when they text the code. The simplicity of it, is what makes it so perfect. 

I teach fifth grade and several of my students got permission to register their own phones on Remind101. I think I gained a couple "cool" points in their eyes when they got that first text from ME. I know the children who have been publicly recognized for achievements like mastering their multiplication facts on, have appreciated seeing it appear on their phone at home. 

Remind101 has earned itself a permanent spot in my digital technology toolbox. I know I'll be using it with my classes in the future. If easy and effective is what you like, add it to your toolbox, too.