Yes. That is not a “typo”. If you have an “Audioboo” account, as of this past September, they have a new name and a new look. No worries. When you log in, you will find your “boo’s” still online and enough changes that you won’t be disappointed. You still get ten free minutes of audio with each recording, and you can share them with a QR code, image, and a shortened URL link that links to each of your audio files.
Check out the page specifically for “Educators”. There you will find examples of audioBoom in the classroom with the message that you can give your students a “voice”. In addition, you will find podcast resources and professional development tutorials. When you visit the link for “widgets”, you will find embed codes for your audio posts with design choices to fit your website or blog.
Finally,there’s an app for that. Free. Download the app, allow access to your device microphone, and you will have the easiest way to create an audio file. We hope you will experiment with this site and give your students a voice.
My “anchor” was thrown over the side of my little “retirement boat” when I agreed to finish the year for a very special friend who discovered that she was expecting her first baby.
Teaching the last five weeks of the school year in what was my own classroom,
in my own school,
teaching the same curriculum,
(Well, sort of…)
seemed very doable.
Until the doctors decided that bed-rest was required for the expectant mother.
The five weeks turned into eleven, as in a full quarter, of what is the most beautiful spring I can ever remember.
The hardest part of this teaching assignment has been working without the technology that I had in place,
and the connections that I had built with parents that were used to support and enable student achievement.
Last Thursday, my dear friend was scheduled to deliver her new baby boy.
All day we checked our text messages, Facebook updates, and emails.
Finally on Friday, we received pictures and a text announcing the arrival of a beautiful red-haired 8 pounds 5 ounces baby boy. His mother had to have an emergency C-section, but good news prevailed with Lucas Kyle’s arrival and the news that everyone was healthy and happy.
It was checking my texts that made me think about a student that I had last year.
His mother would not answer phone calls from “unlisted” numbers, which is how our school number appeared to the Caller ID.
One day, Alex suggested that I “text” her.
“That is the only way my dad can get her.”
As reluctant as I was to text a parent from my personal cell, I felt it was worth it.
I can honestly say that the impact texting Alex’s mother had on his success in my classroom was amazing.
So, finally, I present this “tip” for my morning “Sunday Sit, Sip, and Sync” post.
Kikutext is one site that would be on the top of my list for implementation in my classroom.
For years I had emailed parents daily, and it was one way that enabled communication and connection that helped foster student achievement and growth.
Email, however, is no longer the only option, nor is it the best use of technology in terms of communicating.
Both Shannon and I check our email on our phones,
and a text will be answered much sooner than an email or a “call-back” from a message left on our voice-mails.
Just this Friday an important note went home from the nurse’s office,
and if I had Kikutext set up and running, I could have sent a text to parents notifying them to expect the note before their students got on the bus.
Students, in turn, would know and expect that they would be responsible for delivering the note, and expectations for student accountability would be raised and reached.
Your Distribution List is made, and you are ready to send out your first note.
Remember, you promised your parents that you would keep their email addresses confidential!
It’s easy and the secret is…
Bcc (or “Blind Carbon Copy”).
The benefits of sending emails to recipients using the Bcc Option is that it
1. keeps addresses confidential;
2. protects recipients from receiving spam; and
3. protects recipients from receiving a reply when someone accidentally selects “Reply All”.
When writing your note, address it to yourself using your school address. Next, choose the Bcc Option, and use the Distribution List contact name as the recipient.
Another benefit of using this option is that you will also receive a copy of your note, in addition to the one that is in your “Sent Folder”.
One more reminder:
You might want to use the day/date as your Subject. This also helps parents keep track of notes/reminders. If your note contains important information or deadline reminders, you might want to use that as your subject to get their attention.
You are now on the road to being heard, and more important, they are listening!
You read the word, “Email” last week, and now you will begin to see how a daily email note to your parents will solve a lot of “communication” problems. Let’s start with the necessary steps to begin the implementation of your new system.
The first day of student attendance is quickly approaching. Your weekends and days are filled with organizing your room, finalizing first lesson plans, and memorizing your student names on your new class list. As you fill your students’ “First Day Folders”, make sure you include the “Parent Email Note”.
Your “Parent Email Note” is the first step.
Send home this note on the first day, and then present it to your parents at the first Parent Orientation Night or Open House. This note must be your first priority at starting your new year. Getting every parent “onboard” is essential. Remind them they can use any email address. They may also use as many as they want.
Notice in your note that you make three promises.
Promise #1: Keep their email address confidential.
Promise #2: Write daily.
Promise #3: Don’t, and again, NEVER spam your parents’ in-boxes.
Remember many of your parents are professionals, as we are. They use their emails to conduct business. Also, an increasing number of parents receive their email on their cell phones. Keep it short, and keep it simple.
Below we have provided a link to a template of the “Parent Email Note”. Please feel free to adapt and use this to get started on the road to the best school year yet.
Finally, join us next week to learn how to keep the three promises.
You work hard writing, editing, and finally publishing your class newsletter. It’s filled with important topics like field trips, your week in review, and students’ upcoming tests.
Picture AND fundraiser money are due, and the permission slips for next week’s field trip.
Top that off with finding just the right piece of clip art and seasonal font, to make YOUR newsletter something you are sure will be kept in a memory box forever.
The reality is that today’s parents are different than yours were. And all of your hard work is failing.
Parents are busy just like you.
Do you want to get through to parents? Do you want to save trees? Do you want to regain some of your busy life?
Everyone is busy every day all of the time. That includes your students and their families. Most of the time, student book bags are cleaned out, and after your notes and newsletters are skimmed through quickly, they go straight into the trash after mom or dad asks, “Hey, do we need this paper anymore, or can I throw it away?”
You have to get with the times if you want to get through to your students’ parents.
Face it. The days of the mimeograph and ditto machines are over. Telephone calls take up too much time, and callbacks waste even more of your precious time.
The solution to all of this is email.
We can’t wait until next Monday when we will continue with our four-part series to help you set up a quick system to get you on the road to productive, easy communication with your students and their parents.
In the meantime, enjoy your Monday, your week, and your students!