Just Off Central

Volume 8

School is back in session, and we are ready to roll with new tech tips and tricks to make your job a little easier!

Did You Know? Remind

Many of you are already familiar with Remind, formerly Remind101. It's a great way to safely communicate with parents and students. You can set up a group that can be joined either through text messaging or email. Members receive your updates, but they are not able to respond to them. You also have the ability to schedule messages to go out at a future date and time.

One thing you might not know is that you can put a widget (or window) onto your teacher web page that shows all your recent Remind messages. This way parents who have not yet joined your group can still see what you are sending out to your class. Check out the video below to see how to set it up:

Using the Remind Widget in Weebly

Cool Tools- SchoolCircle

If you need a communication tool that goes beyond a simple message, maybe you should take a look at SchoolCircle. Here are some of the features that are available:

  • invite parents to join and designate "room parents"
  • send invitations to events; parents get an automatic reminder on the morning of the event
  • share updates, post pictures, upload assignments and permission slips; edit/delete them if necessary
  • use tasks when you have something that you need parents to do by a certain date; they will receive a reminder the morning it is due
  • send an urgent update and the message will go out immediately
  • keep an online repository of documents that parents can refer to at any time; class schedules, expectations, project rubrics, and other important documents are easily accessed at any time
  • parents receive a Daily Digest email that summarizes all the content that has been posted in the past 24 hours for all circles of which they are a members
  • they also receive a Week at a Glance email each Sunday to help them prepare for the coming week
  • parents with more than one child receive a single email that combines their information
  • multiple teachers can share the same circle and all can have posting privileges; team teachers and grade level teams can create a shared circle
  • SchoolCircle is in the process of adding volunteering and sign-up capabilities as well

SchoolCircle is a free tool that you can access at http://www.schoolcircle.com/ .

App Spotlight- TeacherKit

This is a great free app to help organize your classroom. We asked Stacy Dial to share how she uses it. Here's what she had to say:

"TeacherKit is a nifty app that allows you to keep up with your grade book, attendance, seating chart, behavior, and notes for any student. I use it to keep up with my RTI data. It's free, and most of what you would want is in the free app. There is also an in-app purchase available that allows you to print off and export reports for your class.

This app is a great way to keep everything in one place and to be organized. It's also easy to use. Once you create a class, you can add students (along with any data that you wish to keep) and a picture of the student. When you look at a student you can see who, and what data you want. Using the seating chart feature provides you with a picture as well as the student’s name and where you have them arranged in your room. Then you can just print that off for your sub. Very handy! To take attendance all you have to do is open up your class and swipe over the picture and name of one of the students, then touch who was present, touch it twice for absent. It marks the student with a red number, so you can see the number of absences right there on the screen.

You can also keep behavior records. If you have input parent or student emails, you can send email without leaving the app. Clicking the student information button allows you to see a collective display of attendance, behavior, and grades all on in one spot. It really makes everything handy in one place."

Thanks, Stacy! Check out the video below to see TeacherKit in action.

Teacher Kit Tutorial

Geek of the Week

So, how do YOU keep parents connected to what's going on in your classroom? Shoot us a short email telling how you keep the communication lines open (techy or not) by Wednesday, October 1, to be entered in the Geek of the Week drawing.

Contact a Geek