As teachers, we always have a need to communicate important reminders with students and parents throughout the year. I have found Remind texts to be a simple and safe communication system for my classroom.
Sure, emails are great for this, but in today’s world, most people don’t go anywhere without their cell phone. Although most people can still access emails from their cell phone, texting lets us connect with others more quickly and allows us to keep our messages direct and to the point. So it makes perfect sense that we carry this over into our school communications as well.
Now before you say anything, no, I do not give my personal cell phone number out to parents and students. That’s just pure crazy talk. In fact my school district even has policies in place that prohibit this. This is where the Remind text app comes to the rescue! I love Remind and it is the one app I consistently use throughout the year. Even my school uses it for communication with its own teachers and for additional communication with parents for school events. It’s a fast and easy way to communicate with numerous people and allows you to both give and get information quickly.
So what is Remind and how do I get it?
Remind, formerly Remind101, is a text messaging app that markets itself as a communication tool to help teachers connect instantly with students and parents to any device. And the best part is that it’s free! All you have to do is go to www.remind.com and create a class.
I like to create multiple classes because I don’t always want to send the same message to all of my students. I create two classes to represent the two different levels (Level 1 and Level 2) in science within my district. But you can create as many as you’d like.
You might need multiple classes because you teach different grades or even different subject areas. Some teachers even like to make one for each individual class period, but I personally like to group my classes together as much as possible to make it easier on me when sending messages.
I also make sure I select the option to keep my texts a 1-way announcement. Remind gives you the option to have students and parents reply back to your messages, but I personally found that to be too overwhelming. But if you’re up for it, you can choose the 2-way conversation setting to keep those lines of communication open.
How do parents and students join your class texts?
Once you’ve set up your class or classes, you now just need to add your students and their parents. Remind has four ways to add people to a class. You can directly type in their phone number or email address, print out or send the PDF instructions, display in-person instructions in your classroom, or share a link to your class.
I personally like to use the PDF instructions (pictured above) because it simply shows how to sign up for the class with two different options. They can go to a web browser to get the app or they can simply text you.
When you create a class, Remind creates a phone number and a unique class code for you based on how you named your class. You can’t alter the phone number, but you can change the class code if you prefer something different.
At the end of the first week of school, I like to take about 5 minutes to have my students (if they have their cell phones on them) sign up right then and there. I just display the PDF on my board that shows my Remind phone number and the class code to text me. Once they text me the class code, they get a reply text back saying they’ve been added to my class. It’s so simple! I then email the PDF home so their parents can sign up as well.
I also like to print out the instructions and have them out on a table during Open House the next week. That way any parents who didn’t sign up yet still can. It’s also a great resource to keep on my school webpage for any new students I get throughout the year.
How do you use Remind texts?
Now that you have your students and parents added, you can start sending important reminders with a simple text message through the Remind app. You can send messages from any electronic device, but I tend to mostly use my cell phone. When they receive a text, it comes from my assigned Remind phone number and it displays my name at the beginning of the message so they know it’s from me (you can also edit your name signature in your settings if you want it to say something different).
Once I started using this system, I realized all of the things I could text home about.
For example, I like to send a text each week to remind my students (and parents) that science homework is due the next day. I even direct them to where they can find additional copies on my webpage (something required by my campus).
I also send remind texts for any upcoming quizzes or tests and tutorial dates. I can even attach review sheets, keys, or other documents to my text.
Remind texts are also great for getting my students to bring needed class or project supplies or getting necessary forms signed and returned.
I can also use it to remind my students to meet me for class in a different location the next day like the library or computer lab.
I even like to use it to send fun science articles and review game links, or just reminders to go outside that night to see the super moon, or the ISS as it travels by, or even the moon phase we were just learning about in class that day.
There are countless ways you can use Remind texts in your classroom and once you start, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!
Remind texts are great for any classroom because you don’t have to be a tech genius to use it. You only have to open the app and send a message. It allows my students and their parents to get quick and direct information from me through their phone without having to sort through a sea of emails, which they really appreciate. I’ve found that has cut down on the late work in my class and it gets both students and parents more involved in what we’re learning. As a parent myself, I have absolutely loved getting Remind texts from my kids’ teachers on upcoming events. It’s a great way to keep up with their busy schedules while I’m trying to juggle my own. I’ve found it to be an extremely effective resource for any teacher!
I’d love to hear how you use Remind texts in your classroom if you’d like to comment below.
Thanks for reading!