This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Most teachers would like parents to be more involved in their children’s education. The problem is we still haven’t figured out the best way to make that happen. Several apps and tools have come out in recent years that help with individual pieces of the puzzle: Some allow us to send announcements, some help us coordinate volunteers, and others provide tools for creating newsletters. Wouldn’t it be nice to get all these features in one place?
With ClassTag, you get all that and more. And it’s completely free.
Streamlined Parent Communication
On ClassTag, teachers can share reminders, announcements, and fun learning moments with parents from the same platform. Because ClassTag is available on any device (on the web and as an app for iOS and Android phones and tablets), parents and teachers can access the information from anywhere, and at any time. From the class page, parents can see a list of upcoming activities and sign up to help or donate items for these activities.
They can also access a directory of other parents in the class. Any parent can elect to have their email address shared in this directory, making it easy for parents to contact each other.
Coordinating Volunteers and Donated Items
If you’re still using reply-all emails to coordinate parent volunteers and donated items for special events, you’ll be amazed by how much time and hassle ClassTag saves you. In just a few minutes, you can create an announcement with all the details for a class activity, specify exactly what items or volunteers are needed, and send it out.
Parents sign up to volunteer or donate items right inside their accounts. ClassTag will show which items have been taken care of, so you won’t have to worry about duplicates. What’s even better is that ClassTag will send these parents a reminder two days before the event and again the day it’s happening. If parents have not replied, they will be prompted to RSVP 15, 10, and 5 days before. And if any requests are unfilled, parents who have not volunteered will be notified of available opportunities.
As a parent, I absolutely LOVE this feature. When a teacher sends an email about needing volunteers or donated items, I often hesitate, not knowing if other parents are going to sign up for the same time slots or items. Volunteering to help at school takes time and effort; I’m most interested in stepping up where and when I’m most needed.
ClassTag allows teachers to organize and schedule parent-teacher conferences in just a few clicks. Once the desired time slots are set, parents can sign up for a time that works for them, and ClassTag will update the schedule for your convenience. Reminders are sent to get parents to your conference on time.
Simply choose the dates and times you want, send the announcement to parents, and ClassTag takes care of the rest.
ClassTag takes all the hard work out of creating weekly newsletters. Accounts are automatically set up to send weekly summaries of important events, deadlines, and other announcements. You can customize a weekly message, or if you’re short on time, just have ClassTag send out the summary.
Get to Know Parents Better
Every parent has his or her own set of life experiences, talents, and interests that can be shared with your class. When parents are first added to a class, they have the opportunity to list things they are interested in, such as hobbies or sports.
The Parent Interests word cloud. As more parents indicate their interest in a specific activity or topic, the word grows larger. Clicking the word brings up a list of parents interested in that topic.
In the teacher’s account, these interests populate in a word cloud, which teachers can then click to see which parents are interested in a particular activity. This feature allows teachers to invite specific parents in to share what they know with students. For ideas on how to best use this feature, check out article from ClassTag’s blog on five ways teachers can use parent interests to improve engagement.
See Which Parents Are Engaged
It’s frustrating to send out an email and hear nothing back; it makes you wonder whether anyone is even reading! ClassTag’s stats feature takes all the guesswork out of your communication loop. It shows you exactly who is viewing and responding to your emails and announcements, helping you see which items are getting parents’ attention and which ones need work.
From the stats page, you can take immediate action by directly emailing specific parents to thank them for their help or find out what you can do to help them get more involved.
A Holistic Approach
ClassTag is more than just a tool. As a company, ClassTag works hard to educate teachers on ways to improve parent engagement. Because parents don’t always know the best ways to get involved, ClassTag offers suggestions that teachers can send out to parents, everything from how to create a study space at home to questions to ask about what the child learned that day. Their free e-book, How to Turn Parents Into Partners, is full of research-based, actionable tips you can use with parents this school year.
With ClassTag, you can turn parents in your classroom into real partners. It can be implemented even in the middle of the school year – you can be up and running in a few minutes. The start of 2017 is a great time to give this awesome tool a try.