Communication is key in any classroom. Finding a system that works in your classroom is really important! I am always very honest with my parents at the beginning of the year and say that although I will try to make phone calls throughout the year, I have found that e-mails and notes are an easier way for me to share information...well that was true until I found an incredible tech tool called Remind.
Let me start from the beginning. Each year, I make it a goal to reach out to all of my parents within the first two weeks of school. I want to send parents a personal message about their child and I want them to understand that I aim to partner with them throughout the year. Our goal is to ensure that their child learns and grows as much as possible during the school year and the best way of making that happen is together. I find that having an open line of communication is so very important and it builds trust and a more positive climate. The parents are informed and the students understand that I talk to their parents all the time!
But let me be real...talking to parents takes time. I used to stay after school for hours making phone calls to parents within those first two weeks of school. It was exhausting. So after my first two years of teaching, I decided to use e-mail to communicate with parents. I was able to send notes before, during, or after school. Parents could send me notes about student absences or questions about student work, and I could respond quickly. It was great! Yet I still wanted to make my communication more personable. I wanted parents to feel like they had an understanding of what their children do each day and I wanted flexibility to send notes, pictures, reminders, etc. to not just one parent but a group of parents very quickly. Then I found Remind and it changed the way I communicate with parents in incredible ways.
Remind allows you to easily communicate with parents from a computer, phone, or tablet. Parents also have the flexibility of receiving or viewing any message via their computer or phone. It is simple to set-up at the beginning of the year and allows for quick (140 characters or less) notes to families. Teachers can make a class announcement, have a group conversation, individual message, or create an activity. Remind has saved me so much time and energy when it comes to parent communication because it is so easy to use for both myself and families.
I have the Remind app installed on my phone which means during the school day, I can quickly snap a picture of students engaged in collaborative learning or reading a book intently and post a message for parents to see! I have sent reminders about field trips or upcoming school events. If students have a project or important note coming home, I can quickly tell parents to be on the look-out for these things in the students’ homework folders. It is short messages but I can communicate more frequently with families which increases parent engagement and awareness.
Check out Remind and all of the amazing ways it can improve your parent communication!