Parent Communication the Easy Way

Getting information to parents is always tricky. We all send newsletters home, but lets be honest it usually ends up crumpled at the bottom of a book-bag. It always seems like administration is changing plans and gives teachers less than 24 hours notice. This makes any information you put on the newsletter out of date. I was talking to Sarah Hardymon, and she showed me a new way for parent communication, Remind.

Remind allows a teacher to send a mass text message to parents. I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want to give out your phone number. When Remind sends a message a different phone number appears. Parents are unable to respond to the text message. The communication goes one way. Oh and the best part, it’s free.

Think about how great it would be to send parents a text that Picture Day is tomorrow or that report cards need to be signed and brought back. Signing up is easy. You can fill out the information to create an account or you can sign up using your Google account. (One less password to remember.) Next you have to choose a class name. I just used my last name, but you can use whatever name you want.

You’ll want to send parents the share link. This will be how parents will be able to sign up for the service.

On this screen you will be able to compose your messages. Just type and send. Parents will receive a text message of what you just composed.

Sign up for free today and get started.

You Really Should Stop Stealing Music…

Music brings your classroom projects to the next level. Unfortunately it can sometimes be hard to find music you can legally use. Then when you do find music there are restrictions on how you can use it.

I found a website that has public domain music. So what’s the big deal? Public domain music is music that is free to use; no copyrights, no restrictions. FreePD.com is a website that has tons of public domain music. There are many different genres avaiable on FreePD.com such as classical, folk, rock and jazz.

I know this seems a little too good to be true. This is a little FAQ that comes right from the site:

Can I use this in my project?
Yes.

Do I have to credit anyone?
No.

Can I resell these on another site?
Yes. Such is the beauty of Public Domain.

Can I claim ownership of these?
You can claim it… but it won’t be true. You can also claim that you’re a dolphin.

Go to FreePD.com now and start enhancing your projects.

Introduction to Windows Movie Maker

Here is a short introduction to Windows Movie Maker. I think you’ll find this program more user friendly than iMovie. This is just an introduction to get you started. I’m working on another video that highlights some of the more advanced features of Windows Movie Maker. Enjoy!

Introduction to Windows Movie Maker from Jim Covais on Vimeo.

Google, Google, Google

I know this year has been crazy and you all have a ton on your plate. Let me help you by taking one thing off of your plate.

Many people have already taken me up on my offer to help set up your class Google Drive folders. If you haven’t signed up there is still time. Just go to my sign up page and schedule a 45 minute lesson. No planning meeting is required. This is for grades 2-5 right now. Later on I’ll make the same offer for grades K-1.

So what do you have to do to take advantage of this offer? Sign up for a 45 minute lesson on a day that I’m at your school. Then you will have to make sure you have a COW checked out for that day. You will also need to make sure your students have their username and password.

Let’s do this together. Go sign up!

Happy First Day of School!

Lunch is packed, pencils are sharpened, computer is charged, I’m ready to roll.

With the first day of school your students (and you as well) might have a short attention span and need to have breaks. I suggest taking short structured brain breaks with GoNoodle. Check out the blog post I wrote about it. I spoke with some teachers that used it and I only heard positive feedback. The phrase “kept them focused” and “it saved me” came up a lot.

The start of a new school year also means the revamping of behavior systems. Try Class Dojo. I started using Class Dojo while I was in the classroom and I loved it. You are able to reward positive behavior as well as correct negative behavior. Parents can connect to it and get a detailed report on their child’s behavior. I loved bringing up the overall class data during classroom meetings to look at trends with my students. Click here for more info on Class Dojo.

 

I hope you and your students have an awesome first day of school!

Here We Go…

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I hope everyone had a fun relaxing break, you know between all of the summer training sessions. With all of the changes this year I bet everyone is feeling super stress free…

I know one of the biggest apprehensions about the start of the school year is the new Dells. When I was first handed the Dell, it felt awkward and weird. I would get frustrated because I knew what I wanted to do but it took me a while to figure out how to do it. It was like writing my name with my left hand. I knew how to write my name but when I do it takes a long time and looks horrible.

But that was just for a couple of weeks. After I started using it more I became faster and more comfortable with the Dell. I now realize all the great things I can do with this machine. I can do just as much if not more than I could do with my old Mac. The possibilities for the students are endless.

You may feel a little overwhelmed by all the choices. Like a kid in a candy shop, you want one of everything and don’t know where to start. That’s where I come in. I’m a resource for you to help navigate the choices and pick the piece of technology that works best for you.

Schedule a time with me and let’s have a conversation. Let’s talk about the choices and what will work best for you. Remember, I’m here to help.

The Elementary Tech Conference is Coming!

New laptops, new year, why not come and learn new strategies and techniques for connecting content, technology and 21st Century Skills with your new Dell? This year only, full day participants will receive a stipend for attendance! Sign up is now available on ERO. Conference attendance is limited to 300 participants.

(http://ero.henrico.k12.va.us and search the SRN Number for: 20142921301)

Are you an Expert Educators and want to convey your knowledge of 21st century skills and instruction? We need you! We are in need of teacher experts to present. Click the link below to submit a lesson proposal.

Submit a Lesson Proposal!

Stay tuned by visiting: http://tinyurl.com/TechyBunch

We hope to hear from you soon!