Top 5 Effective Tools to Communicate with Parents and Students

Top 5 Effective Tools to Communicate with Parents and Students

Long gone are the days of report cards being mailed home, going to the front office to call your parents. Teacher phone calls home are even becoming a rarity thanks to the ever changing use of technology in schools. From online gradebooks to automated phone calls and text messages, there are a plethora of tools out there to communicate with your students and parents. Here are 5 effective tools to talk to parents and students. 
Remind App

The Remind App is a great tool to communicate with both parents and students without giving out your personal cell phone. It is a text message service with options for email as well. It’s user friendly and offers a safe way to communicate. With Remind, you can set your office hours, it integrates with Google Drive, OneDrive, Google Classroom to name a few. You can set Remind up to allow notifications to your email and your phone. If a student is absent, you can send a PDF or a file of your lesson and assignments.

One of the best features is message history, which can come in handy for documentation purposes.  You can send out a message or announcement to the whole class, multiple classes or to individual students or parents. Remind also gives you the option to check a box if the student is under the age of 13.  They can still join and see the messages, but you will not be allowed to individually message them if you check the box. Finally, it’s FREE! With the free version you can create 10 classes with up to 150 people per class!

Take it Old School with Email

Can you believe that email can be labeled as an old school form of communication!?! However, email remains one of the most effective forms of communication with parents and students. Email is not only a great way to communicate fast and effectively but it helps to create a positive parent-teacher relationship. 

Many school districts utilize gradebook/attendance platforms that have email options. This makes it easy to communicate with parents and students about grades, progress reports, missing assignments to name a few.

Blog all About it
Teacher blogs and websites are another great way to effectively communicate with students and parents. This can be a lifesaver during times of school closures whether it be from a winter storm, severe weather such as a hurricane, or a pandemic, an updated blog will keep students and parents in the know. Building a website or a blog will take some work to get it started but once you have the hang of it, you’ll thank yourself! There are many free blog sites out there. Here are a few:

Take it to the Virtual Class with an Online Learning Management System (LMS)

Learning Management Systems such as Edmodo, Schoology, and Google Classroom all have built in communication tools, and they are all FREE!

Edmodo offers a messaging service, an ability to share class materials and instructions and allows for e-learning anytime and anywhere.  It’s easy for students to message teachers and ask questions or share ideas.  Edmodo offers automated grades, as soon as a teacher grades an assignment a message is sent out letting you know that a grade has been posted. Edmodo is user friendly on a desktop as well as on a mobile device allowing for communication on the go!

Schoology is similar to Edmodo; perhaps the hardest part is how to pronounce it! Is it School-o-jee? Or School-ah-lo-jee? Actually, according to their website it’s /skoo.luh.jee/. Schoology has many of the same features as Edmodo including messaging within the platform, mobile notifications, mass updates, and communication built right into the framework.

Google Classroom is a favorite among many educators and students alike. Google Classroom makes it easy to email your students, whether individually, the entire class, or a handful of students. In addition, Google Classroom has a stream where a teacher can post announcements such as new assignments, reminders for  upcoming tests, or just basic communication. Parents can elect whether or not to receive class summaries, unfortunately these cannot be personalized but it’s a great option to stay up to date on what’s happening in class.

Enter the Dojo

Classdojo is a fun and entertaining communication tool. ClassDojo is unique in that it has a  behavior management system that allows teachers to award or deduct points for positive or negative behaviors. Behavior reports can be instantly downloaded and shared with parents. Classdojo is accessible through any online device and in any language.  Classdojo is great for nonverbal communication as well.  It can be used to communicate within the classroom setting without verbally saying a word. If a student is not following the class rules, a simple click and a ding sound notifies the class that a point has been deducted. If a student is displaying positive behavior in class, a simple click and a chime sound lets the class know that a point was awarded.  Classdojo may seem a bit elementary for students in high school, but you’d be surprised. Offer your students a choice of which tool they want to use, providing them a voice creates buy-in.

One of the best ways to create a great student-teacher-parent working relationship is through communication. These tools will help foster that relationship and help you have a wonderful communicative school year!

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