Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Remind" Parents to Get Involved!

“Remind” Parents to Get Involved

When the bell rings, ending yet another school day, all across the United States parents are asking their kids what they learned in school that day. The overwhelming majority is an answer of “nothing.” Remind helps to erase that and get students and their parents talking and discussing the school day. Remind helps parents get involved in their child’s school life and take an active role in helping the learning take place outside of the school day.
Remind has been a huge success in my school with my students and parents. It is by far the number one thing parents comment on during parent/teacher conferences as far as something I do that they really like and find beneficial. I get a very high subscription rate amongst parents, so I have a powerful opportunity to reach them in a very easy way. One way I use Remind to get parents involved is to send a Remind text out a couple times a week with questions for the parents to ask their child. I stay away from Yes/No questions because they are too easy. I want the student to be explaining, discussing, analyzing a topic/concept with their parent so I create questions from Level 2, 3 or 4 from Webb’s Depth of Knowledge chart. I also use the “attach” feature to send out a symbolic picture of our concept/topic, which the parent can show to their child and have them explain it.
I want to ignite a conversation and keep the learning going outside of school. I have found that parents enjoy these questions because it makes them feel like they are right there with us, learning and discovering. It also provides the student the opportunity to teach their parents something, as Ancient Civilization is not typically common knowledge. Students are proud of themselves when they can teach their parents something new. They come up to me the next day and are excited to tell me that their mom or dad didn’t know that Democracy came from Ancient Greece and that they explained it to them.  
The scenario I started with doesn’t happen anymore with my parents. Instead of asking what their child learned in school that day, they get a question sent to their phone to ask their child, such as “Explain how the Black Death led to famine.” Or, “Tell me how the Black Death gave the peasants more power in society?” (Cause/effect). These questions get the students thinking, talking, and learning outside the classroom. These questions take only minutes to ask and answer, but the impact is huge. These questions provide opportunities to build relationships.
Remind is an amazing tool for communication amongst students and parents. As educators, it is our responsibility to come up with innovative ways to use the tools we have to maximize learning. As a new school year approaches, “Remind” parents to get involved!

Dan Klumper
6th Grade Social Studies
Brandon Valley Middle School (South Dakota)
Twitter: @danklumper

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