Hi friends! Tonight I'm stopping by to share about one of my favorite ways to keep families in the loop - Remind - and tips for getting the most out of it! Our students spend 8 hours a day in our classrooms, and even though I'm not a parent, I can't imagine not knowing what's going on. So from Weebly, to Twitter, to newsletters, to YouTube - I want families to know what's going on in the classroom. Remind texting has been the most effective of resources for joining all of these communication methods.
Remind offers teachers a FREE and safe way to send out information (texts, pictures, documents, links) to families. You don't have phone numbers of those who sign-up for your class list and the subscribers don't have your phone number. Rather, every time you send a message (via phone, iPad, or computer), they receive it! Here are my 3 top-tips for getting the most of your Remind texts!
Remind is perfect for directing parents to a new post on a class website or a new photo album of your latest science experiment. We work hard to document and explain these moments for families, but sometimes I wonder - Is anyone actually using this? That's why my #1 tip for using Remind is to include a Bitly link anytime you are sending parents to a website or video. Bitly is a web-link shortener and tracker, meaning that you use less characters in your text messages AND you can track how many people clicked on the link. Say what?!? Yep! You can check your Bitly Dashboard (for free) to see how many people followed your link.
Here is an example of a link I included in a Remind text and on our website about Making 10 to Add (a hard skill for kids and an even harder one for families to understand). Over the course of a week, I saw that the link was clicked on 72 times. Having this information, I knew that my tutorial video was helpful for families and worth making!
When I first set-up my classroom Remind account (very, very simple), Remind gave me the option to print parent invitations. At the beginning of the year, I sent out a batch of letters without any explanations. After 2 weeks or so once registrations stopped coming, I re-printed the letters and sent them with a personal note to each family that had not signed-up yet.
Today I have 35 people on our classroom's Remind account (note - I have 23 students). I want ALL the people who are helping to raise my students on this list. Many of my families have a mom and a dad on the list, a grandparent, or an aunt/uncle. Family members always have the opportunity to unsubscribe, but I've never had that happen. My families love receiving pictures, videos, links that spotlight their child, grandchild, or niece/nephew.
#3: Send a Mix of Media
Remind has gone through some awesome updates in the last year that allow a ton of versatility. Pictures, links, voice recordings, and documents can all be sent via text. On an iPhone you can send a picture or a voice message (i.e. a group of children singing a song or a Whole Brain Teaching oral writing paragraph). On a computer, you can send a picture or a file (i.e. Newsletter), or a link. Make sure to utilize ALL the features Remind offers and give your families a nice mix of media. Plus, don't forget you can schedule all of these messages, so your spelling list can go out every Monday evening around 5:30 PM and your class newsletter can go out every Friday afternoon - teacher's choice! :)
Well, friends, I hope you use Remind to keep families in the loop. It is a phenomenal FREE resource for classrooms, sports teams, and church-groups around the country! If you're not using Remind, you can start a class here for free.
If you are using Remind, what are your tips and tricks? I'd love to hear them!