Monday, July 22, 2013

First Day of School Forms

We all have information we really need to get that first day of school to help everything run smoothly. Primary teachers especially, like to have lunch and dismissal info at the very beginning of the day. But the reality is, with 30 or more kids and families all coming in at the same time, you may miss someone. They might not see the form, the sign up list, or whatever it is you have out. Then you need to somehow make contact on the busiest of all days, the first day of school.

I decided to put my Google Geekiness into this and try to lessen the need for me to interrogate make contact with every single person. Using a Google form means many of my families can get me this info prior to school starting (we don't have "Meet the Teacher" events at our school.) And if they missed the link that I will put up on the class list, and on my website, I will have it on the front door both with the link and a QR code. Then I can concentrate on greeting my new kids and families and calming the criers helping everyone feel welcome.

Google Forms are awesome for this task. I created this one with just the info I needed to get through the day - student and parent name, quick contact info, lunch info and dismissal info. I'll save all of the "How can I help your child be more successful this year" questions for a follow up form. 

Here is what it looks like when accessed from a smart phone:

Creating a Google Form is very easy if you haven't tried it before. Here is the Google Forms Tutorial:

Then, if you want to make it into a QR code, go to a QR creating site like, add the link to the Live Form, and save your QR code. It's that simple.

Edited to add: Of course I will print out several forms for those who do not have internet access or a smart phone. Google Forms has upgraded recently to make printing out the created form just as easy so you don't have to create the form twice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Communicating with students and parents

As most of you probably do, I use electronic communication to keep in touch with students' families. Most of the time email is the best way to go for me. But often there are families who are not quite as crazy frequent in checking email as I am. Sometimes, I just need to get a quick message out about a change in homework, info about the days field trip, or some other brief but timely reminder. I've seen info about an option for texting parents through Remind101 but didn't understand how it all worked.

Tonight I finally checked into the program and I'm definitely going to add this to my plan for this year! With Remind101 parents can quickly and simply join your class. Then you can send a text reminder at any time to the entire group and even schedule a text to go out in the future. I like this idea to be able to give quick reminders of library day, last minute changes, etc. If you end up adding a text late in the evening, it even reminds you that it seems kind of late, do you really want to send that now? You have the choice to preschedule the text to go out in the future at a better time. And it's super simple!

The big deal about Remind101 is that parents will not have your phone # and you don't need to add theirs. Also, they cannot reply through this. If they need to reach you, they still go through your regular email.
Check it out!