With students at home because of COVID-19, family engagement is more important than ever. At the same time, the pandemic has made it more difficult for some parents to be involved.
As you figure out what works best for you and your community, here are some tips to use your free teacher account to help families stay connected and feel supported.
1. Establish a line of communication that families can access.
Families without broadband or smartphones at home can still receive Remind text notifications, which are available on any phone with text messaging. Signing up takes just a minute and can be done entirely through text.
Two-way messaging works via text, too: If you have replies enabled for your messages on Remind, families can text you back with any questions or updates. They won’t see your personal phone number, and you can always download a full message history of your conversations.
TIP: Keep in mind that internet or data will still be required to open attachments or visit any links you include in your messages, so we recommend asking families to download the app if possible.
2. Make it simpler for parents to encourage student learning.
You can use Remind to send home short, lightweight messages that make it easier for parents to support learning through the disruptions they might be experiencing. Here are two suggestions:
Questions that parents can ask their students about class topics
More conversation-starter than subject review, these might be as broad as “We learned about rabbits today! Ask your kid about rabbits,” or as directed as “What’s the difference between lava and magma?”
Prompts for parents to share updates about student learning
After you’ve enabled replies, ask parents to send you updates about what students are working on—in whatever form learning might take right now. If they have the app, you can also ask them to snap and send photos of student work and activities.
TIP: If you work with ELL families, you can translate your messages before sending them. Families with the app can do the same—or, if their phones are set to one of these supported languages, access Remind in that language.
3. Reach out and check in.
It’s a challenging time right now, and one of the most common ways teachers are using Remind is to check in with their classes—just to let families know they’re thinking of them.
To help add some consistency to upended routines, try scheduling daily class announcements with morning updates, affirmations, or positive quotes.
You can also use Remind for quick wellness checks. In addition to asking families to reply with a message about how they’re doing, other options include asking them to reply with specific emojis or sending out a link to a survey.
TIP: Feeling like text just isn’t cutting it? Try recording and attach a voice clip to personalize your message.