TECHspired Tuesday: Using Remind 101 to Strengthen the Home-School Connection

This is my 2nd post in my TECHspired Tuesday series in which I feature free technology I use in my classroom. This website and phone app is one I found on....[drum roll please]...Pinterest!
Fortunately, I found it over the summer and was able to introduce it to my students' parents on our Back to School night.

The website/app is: Remind 101 created by two brothers, Brett and David Kopf.
Remind 101 allows you as a teacher, coach, professor, etc. to send a reminder text message/e-mail to your students, or to parents in my case since my kiddos are too young to have phones.
Here's a snap shot of recent messages I've sent to my students' parents:

Why I love it:

  1. My classroom is literally the farthest one from the copier room. Therefore when I type a reminder note to the parents and need to get it printed, copied, and passed out I have to plan it during either my lunch or while the kids are their special. Typically, I forget and don't remember until the minute the last bus is called and it's quiet enough to think, lol. Now I can send a text from my phone or computer to remind parents of important events and approaching deadlines that they need to be aware of. 
  2. It actually reaches the parents- I cannot tell you how many times I've found conference reminder notes or permission slips crinkled up in my students' desks that doesn't make an appearance until about a month after the due date. Typically the only reason it makes it out of the desk alive is because the desk gets so jam-packed with random papers that it finally erupts into a huge homework lava mess onto the classroom floor. Sending a text message to parents ensures that they will receive the message whether they are at work, grocery shopping, or changing diapers. There's something about getting a message directly to your phone that makes it hard to miss. Even e-mails get looked over, but texts ALWAYS get read. 
  3. You can see who subscribes to receive your alerts, therefore you know exactly who the messages are reaching, however they cannot "text" back. 
  4. You do not share your personal email or phone number which keeps it professional. 
  5. You can schedule your reminder alerts for specific days and times. I usually think of things early in the morning and late at night-not during the hustle and bustle of the school day, so as soon as I think of something I can send the text and schedule it for an appropriate time. This also comes in handy if you want to establish a routine with your students/parents and send a weekly text about specific information. I've toyed with the idea of sending parents the weekly vocab words, or other similar things that are updated weekly. 
  6. My whole team uses it- once you have a login and password you can share it with your team so that you can look like a unified front. My team is departmentalized so if my students need math updates, their math teacher can send alerts, etc. 
  7. It's super easy for parents to sign up they just have to send a text to become a subscriber. Remind101 gives you a free printable to pass out to parents with the information so it's done for you. 
  8. Emergencies-I pray that I'd never have to use Remind101 for this, but when the unfortunate event happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, I thought about how having instant access to parents through text could also be used in emergencies. 
  9. I love sharing tips for parents to help their students succeed. It's almost like a personalized Twitter account just for my kid's parents.
  10. At the end of the year you can delete the class, or parents can unsubscribe at anytime by simply replying "stop." The ease and simplicity of this app is amazing!
Well, those are just the reasons I personally love Remind101. Other teachers and my principal think it's amazing how our grade level communicates with parents. I definitely recommend trying it! One tip: Share it as early in the school year as possible, it took a few reminders to get all the parents signed up. Next time, during our Meet the Teacher/Back to School Open House I will have all the parents pull out their cell phones and subscribe at the same time rather than just talking about it. 

Happy Pinning!
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