Friday, June 7, 2013

Favorite Things #1: Remind101

Welcome to my new series-- Favorite Things.

As I become more and more comfortable in my classroom and my career, I find myself starting to appreciate the day-to-day things that help me hold it together at work.  Those things include websites, office supplies, gadgets, apps, games, and books-- and I am a better teacher for all of them, big or small.  

In the spirit of Oprah, I want to share my Favorite Things with the world.  Unlike O, my favorite things are all under $20.00 (and most are free). . . because Ms. Winfrey makes slightly more money than your average schoolteacher, right?!  Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I break down the list of some of those favorite things and where you can get them for yourselves.

Favorite Thing #1: Remind101

Remind101 is a free communication tool for teachers.  It allows teachers, without ever sharing phone numbers or worrying about inappropriate behavior, to safely send text messages and emails to parents and students.  It's both a website and an app-- just sign up for a free account and set up your classes.  Once you've done that, print free flyers with instructions, and hand them out to your students/parents.  All it takes is a prescribed text message or email to a specific number or address, and they're registered.  Then you simply sign into your account (via a computer, tablet, or phone), type a quick message, and broadcast it to all registered students/parents for that class!

I used Remind101 for the first time this year, to rave reviews from parents.  I sent a text message each time I assigned homework, and made sure to send it immediately after the school day ended.  Students had a quick, non-invasive reminder from me, and parents stayed in-the-loop.  I also used Remind101 for reminders about events, permission slips, clubs, or weather-related changes.  

a sample of some of the texts I sent out to my 2nd period class 

Really, this site has become one of the best resources I have.  Of course, I had to make clear to my students that this is a service, not a requirement of me. If I forget to send a text or if it doesn't arrive, work is still due on time.  Honestly, though, that wasn't even a problem.  Kids were grateful for the reminder, and it made parents' jobs a little easier, I think.

I should note-- Remind101 is certainly not paying me to write this.  I'm just a huge fan.  But umm . . . if you want to send a check my way, creator @BrettKopf, I certainly wouldn't be averse to it!  ;)

Seriously, y'all-- go sign up!
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