*Disclaimer – I teach kindergarten, grade 4/5, and technology preps. The following is written from my personal experiences and therefore takes an “elementary-centric” point of view.
Towards the end of the last school year I was approached, along a couple other teachers at my school, to participate in colleague’s Masters Thesis research. The study would focus around using various tools in technology for effective communication with parents. I have definitely latched on to one of these tools and can’t imagine my classes now running the same without it. Through talking with other teachers I know am a little late to the party; however, if you are too, here it is... Remind.
The following are examples of real Remind messages that have been sent by either myself or my colleagues…
- The “Please Return” “We have received a notice from the PAC that your entertainment book has not been returned. Please do so ASAP. Thank you.”
- Words of Affirmation “___________ did an amazing job on his math test today. Keep up the good work!”
- The “Time Changer” “Don’t forget tomorrow is a late start day. I’ll see you at 10:06 A.M. Have a great night.” or “Early dismissal Wed & Thurs at 1:45 for parent teacher meetings. There are still a few slots available if you haven’t signed up”
- Did you know? “Did you know the student have started blogging on our website? Check it out at…”
- The “Please Send” “On Friday we will be doing a special movie in the gym. Students can bring a treat to share (no nuts) as well as a cozy blanket to curl up in.”
- Homework/General Reminders “Science Test Ch.2 Tues, Dec. 16. Animal Tales due Wed, Dec. 18. Check to see if you child has handed in early.” or “Tomorrow is the Holiday Store. Items are $2. Students will get 2 visits to the gym with the class. Help your child pick 2 people to ship for.”
- Voice Note “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Division 4!” (click to listen)
What is Remind?
Remind is a free, online tool (or app if you choose to download it on your smartphone) where you can safely and efficiently send messages to a group of people. The messages are one way, the receivers cannot respond through the program, and a third party phone number is created so that no one can ever see each other’s contact information (i.e. parents/guardians can not see my phone number and I can not see theirs).
Why I love Remind…
- It forces me to be concise. Yes, I admit I am guilty of splitting reminds into two messages now and then to get what I need to say in; however, it makes me mindful that parents sometimes just need the facts, not all the word-play we teachers have come so accustoming to using, and social etiquette can be left for the personal conversations. “Thank you so much for the ongoing support” takes far too many precious characters. It is now “thanks”. Six characters, that I can spare.
- You can schedule messages! Whether it is the dreaded dinner hour and you don’t want to interrupt, or you are like me and often forget to update your website in enough time for parents to get the information, the scheduling is probably my favourite feature. You can schedule messages to be sent months in advance if you so choose. The app will even question you if you are sending a message too late at night and suggest you schedule it for the morning!
- You can even attach photos, voice notes, and PDFs if needed.
- You have to send the message to at least three recipients. How do I get around this when I am only trying to contact one person? I send the message to the intended receiver, my job share partner, and myself.
- Those times when a message just can’t be trimmed any more and must adhere to the 140 characters of a standard text message.
- As hard as you try, those parents/guardians who need it the most might not be willing to sign up.
Remind is an easy to use communication tool - give it a try!