Periods of Reflection

Just random musings from an elementary perspective. Views are my own.

Month: March, 2014

Using Remind101 in the Classroom

Looking for more ways to engage parents and students? Try taking Remind101 for a spin.  This is a tool that I have been incorporating into my classroom for quite sometime, and the feedback from parents has been fantastic.

Why?

Let’s be honest.  Increased communication with parents is vital to ensure the most successful year possible.  Frankly, it’s a non negotiable for parents to be aware of current activities and beyond happening in their child’s classroom.  Study after study indicate the importance of working collaboratively increases student achievement.

How?

It’s super simple to sign up.  Simply visit the Remind101 homepage and fill in the appropriate fields in the right column.

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After signing up, you will asked to create a class name.  Type the name in the blank field and click add.

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You will then be presented with a unique phone number and class code.  You can then have parents and/or students text the number and code.  By doing this, they will be automatically subscribed and will receive text updates.  There is also an option to receive email updates if they chose.

Once parents and/or students sign up, you can send out a message to everyone, or select a specific individual or group.  I teach elementary school, so I only have one class. But if you teach middle or high school, you also have the option to create multiple classes on the left column.

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There is also an option to schedule messages for a later time, as well as sending an attachment with your message.  Keep in mind you are limited to 140 characters, so brevity in the name of the game.  There iOS app is designed beautifully for ease of use.

Additionally, you have the option to embed a widget into your classroom website.  This is done by clicking your name in top right hand corner of the page and “My Widgets.”  This will generate code to copy and paste into the HTML of your website of blog.  Click my classroom website for an example.

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The possibilities for types of messages you can send to parents is limitless.  Let’s increase parent engagement and make them aware of all the wonderful things happening in our classrooms! So, what ways are you using Remind101 to engage parents?

Springdale School Read Aloud

Inspired by the Global Read Aloud, Springdale Elementary School has decided to host its first annual Springdale School Read Aloud.  Grade 3-5 are going to participate, due to time constraints of the primary grades.  Our specialists and ESL teachers were also given a copy of the book to read to incorporate discussion and activities into their respective classrooms,too.

The book we are reading is “The Tale of Despereaux,” by Kate DiCamillo.  Anyone who has read the story can attest to how beautifully written it is.  Our timeline for reading is below:

Timeline:
March 17-28:    Chapters 1-15        Pages 11-81
March 31- April 11:    Chapters 16 -33     Pages 82-171
April 21- May 9:   Chapter 34-Coda   Pages 175-270

The administrative team and I drew up this plan to continue to build on the positive momentum of  creating a community of readers.  It’s imperative to teach our students skills and strategies to become better readers.  It is equally important for teachers to read aloud for the sake of pure enjoyment. The playing field is leveled and it gives classrooms an opportunity to connect, share ideas, and discuss the book.

Students will be meeting with different classes, on a bi-weekly basis, to show creative ways to demonstrate their understanding of the text.  This will be done every other Friday for an hour.  The possibilities for collaboration are endless and the conversations already happening are so powerful.  Students have been talking about making book trailors using Animoto, Haiku Decks, Google Presentation, Kidblog, and good old fashion poster board.  Their voices will be heard in this process and creativity is encouraged.

Students will be promoting the book over the PA during morning announcements as well.  Students will be discussing vocabulary, sharing thoughts about plot lines, and overall impressions of the book.  There has also been discussion about having a centralized bulletin board for students to use during the read aloud.

Sample activities and questions can be found below using my social bookmarking link on Diigo.

Tale of Despereaux Diigo Links

I plan on updating my blog frequently about the successes of this read aloud and what we can improve on for next year.  As always, feedback and comments are always welcome.  I’d love to hear from teachers and/or administrators about how you implemented a building wide read aloud.