I can’t believe it is Spring! Well, the calendar says it is Spring, but we just got 12″ of snow so I am not sure anyone bothered to send Mother Nature a reminder. Speaking of sending people reminders, Issue #10 of the MiddSouth Innovates is here and we are focusing on Remind. Did you like that transition?
Remind is a fantastic messaging app that allows you to keep your class up to date on everything that is happening at a moment’s notice. But, you can do so much more than just send out reminders. We talk about building relationships with parents, Back-to-School Night, sub-plans, and more. We also take a moment to talk about Spider Web Discussions–a spin on the Socratic Method from Alexis Wiggins. She wrote a book titled The Best Class You Never Taught where she explains how Spider Web Discussions gets the students actively involved in a class discussion and moves the teacher to outside observer. As always, I hope you enjoy!
I have been using Remind for a little over a year now and I absolutely love it. For those who don’t know what Remind is because you have been living in a cave for the last 2 years, Remind is a free, messaging service that allows you to send short (140 character) messages to subscribers. Those who sign into your class can receive your reminds via text message, email, and/or through the app. Since everything is funneled through Remind, the text messages are not linked back to your phone so everything remains private.
Since I have recently been accepted as a Remind Connected Educator (see badge on right), I thought I would share some of the ways I use Remind.
- Class Announcements–this is the most common use for Remind. I setup a class and have my students join the class. Then I simply send out quick reminders for class whenever I remember them. Messages can be sent immediately or scheduled to send at a later date/time. This is especially helpful on lab days because I can schedule a Remind to go out at 6:30am (when students are getting dressed for the day) to remind them to wear appropriate lab attire to class.
- Club Announcements–same as the class announcements, but for my club. I have a hard time getting students to come to club meetings so I schedule a bunch of reminds to go off at regular intervals. Eventually students just come to the meeting so that I stop sending reminds. But then after the meeting, I send out a recap of what people missed.
- Presentation Reminds–When I was at the NY/NJ GAFESUMMIT, Rachel from Remind asked me to use Remind to send out information during my presentation. This was a fabulous idea because often people miss key pieces of information during a conference and want to refer back to it later. So, I created a Remind class for my presentation and shared it with the group. I also took one of Remind’s stickers from their table, wrote the class code on it, and stuck it to my laptop which would be sitting in front of me during the presentation. Then I scheduled a bunch of reminds to be sent throughout the presentation like a link to the Google Presentation, Twitter information, and a thank you at the end for attending. I also happened to be giving away T-shirts for TechSmith so I sent out tasks through Remind for attendees to complete to earn the T-shirts. It was a lot of fun all the cell phones in class ring at the same time and people jump up to give me high-fives.
- Chat–one of my biggest complaints about Remind was it was a 1-way service, meaning I could send messages out, but couldn’t receive any responses. Then a couple of months ago Remind added Chat and I did a little dance of joy. Chat allows you to engage in a conversation with a member of one of your classes. I use Chat to coordinate with the student leaders of my club, to check in on students who I know are having some turmoil in their personal lives, and to find out why a student didn’t submit assignments. Very recently, Remind has improve Chat to allow you to engage up to 10 people in a Chat at the same time.
- #wordsofawesome–My friend, Kate Baker, recently started a Remind class in which she sends out a quote a day. I am changing the format for my #wordsofawesome board so I am totally stealing this idea from her.
- Scavenger Hunt Clues–I am one of the organizers of EDnado–Taking Education by Storm. During the conference we decided to run a scavenger hunt as a way to win a Chromebook at the end of the conference. Throughout the conference I would send out tasks for attendees to complete such as ‘Take a picture of someone learning something new and post it to Twitter’, ‘Find the smallest of the small to get a swag bag and tickets for the Chromebook’ (that one referred to finding my son who was at the conference), ‘Make something in the Makerspace, take a pic on Instagram and tag #EDnado.’ Since you can attach pictures to Remind messages I would also send out pictures of the people you needed to find to get the tickets, just to make things a little more challenging. I also ran a scavenger hunt professional development session (unrelated to EDnado) and used Remind to send out time reminders, hints to find clues, and some pictures I was taking of different teachers involved.
- Inclement Weather–My principal also uses Remind for emergency school announcements. I get to school as soon as the doors open and I have a 35 minute drive, so it is not uncommon for me to receive the call that school is closed after I am already on my way into work. One time I actually got it as I was putting my key into the lock of my classroom door. By him using Remind, I usually get the remind well before the phone blast from the school.
Obviously, you can also use Remind with parents as anyone can join your Remind class. I don’t have a separate class for just parents so they need to register for the regular class. One student actually commented to me that his mom woke him up in a panic, shaking her phone in his face, saying “Mr. Seigel reminds that the schedule changed for today. You are late for school!” That’s a direct quote, by the way.
Once you start using Remind, you will realize all of the different ways it will impact your class. But, most importantly, it has helped me build relationships with my students, and that is always my #1 priority.