Teachers are always on the lookout for innovative ways to contact parents. Now, with access to a wealth of Web 2.0 tools, teachers can efficiently and effectively communicate. Consider utilizing one of these three powerful resources.
Text Message Reminders. Ensure that all parents know of tonight's homework, tomorrow's test, the permission slip deadline, or whatever important reminder you have. Remind 101 is an efficient way for teachers to digitally communicate with parents (and students) for free. It's a one-way text that students/parents cannot reply to. This text message is private--no phone numbers or email addresses can be seen by anyone on the list. Click to view a tutorial on how to set it up for your classroom.
Virtual Scheduling. Using a simple online group sign-up, post your parent-teacher conference schedule. Avoid playing phone tag. Omit the handwritten notes to and from parents. Even disband the back and forth emails. Virtual scheduling allows parents to see your available time slots and sign up for what works best for them. Free sites you might want to check out include:
Embrace Social Media. With the number of Facebook users reaching 1.26 billion and Twitter accounts at 500 million, it's likely your students' parents are already regular users. For that reason, start a classroom Facebook page or classroom Twitter feed. This is a great avenue for sharing your parent newsletter, featuring creative lessons, explaining class projects, even posting snapshots of assignment notebooks. Check out GilkisonClassroom or@gilkisonclass for additional ideas on how to incorporate classroom social media for parents.
Administrators could utilize HootSuite to expand their reach to parents/guardians across the district. Not only can pertinent information be relayed to parents in a timely manner, but administrators can schedule posts to go out at certain times. Watch this video to learn more about how to utilize HootSuite.
Dr. Flora Reichanadter, superintendent of Franklin Township Schools and HootSuite user, provides a valuable tip--"Be conscious of achieving a balance in the frequency of posts to parents. Post too much and they won't follow you any longer. Don't post often enough, and parents don't see the need to follow you."