More Than Just For Parents!

MGSD Summer Institute 2016

Learn how to use Smore to spice up your communications. Although we all have seen a Smore done as a newsletter, what other applications can we think up? This session will explore using Smore to build flipped lessons, student-authored newsletters, and digital portfolios.

ACTIVITY 1 - Read, Discuss, Share

The Importance of Communication in Education by David Andrade, Tech&Learning

Communication is paramount in education. Whether it is teacher to student, student to student, teacher to teacher, teacher to parent, teacher to admin or admin to parent, or vice versa, communication is needed to make sure our students are successful.

Communication is something that doesn't always happen. Sometimes is a lack of time, a lack of resources, a lack of knowing how to get the point across or a language barrier.

Technology can help improve communication in education:

  • Email - connect with staff, teachers, students and parents through email.
  • Websites - post relevant information and resources on district, school, and classroom websites. Include a parent section.
  • Google Classroom, Edmodo, etc - use these systems to share assignments and announcements with students and parents.
  • Phone blasts - there are a lot of automated systems that will robo-call phone numbers with information.
  • Social Media - use social media at all levels to connect and communicate with teachers, parents, students and the community.
  • Translation tools - Google Translate and other translation tools can help ELL parents and students access the communication that you share with them. This exists for websites, email, social media and even the phone blast systems. This is huge in our district where there is a large ELL student population and even larger ESL parent population.
  • Variety of media - technology allows you to provide communications in a variety of formats - written, images, audio, and even video to help everyone access and understand the communications.
  • Reaching students who are absent - online resources, video recordings of classes, video conferencing, and more can make home or hospital bound students part of the class and keep them engaged. In addition, these resources can help connect parents and schools.

Technology can also help educators research topics, find resources, and connect with other educators to learn and share from each other.

"The Importance Of Communication In Education | Tech Learning". N.p., 2016. Web. 8 July 2016.

Using the sticky notes provided, share a communication blunder & a communication success!

ACTIVITY 2: Two Types of Newsletters - Document and Smore

WHAT IS SMORE? is an online flyer creator that provides easy-to-use templates and design options to help users create attractive and professional-looking flyers. You can add pictures, link to websites, or embed videos and calendar events.

  • Examples: This flyer is from Smore!
  • Pros: Very easy to create, move and edit each part of the flyer; Easy to share with others.
  • Cons: Limited design choices. Only allowed 5 flyers in free accounts. Cannot collaborate on the same document.
  • Sign Up: Click "Sign Up for Free" button on top-right. Use your MGSD Google email when signing up for your Free account. (pro account for educators is $59 per year)
  • Submitting Link: After you have Published your flyer, a unique URL is available at the bottom of the right sidebar.


Below are 2 types of team newsletters, one is a PDF document and one is a Smore. Compare the 2 newsletters and post your thoughts on this Padlet.

ACTIVITY 3 - Read and Explore Ideas



From Presenter KYLIE LLOYD (@mslloyd_stem) who teaches Pre-A/P English II and III in the STEM Academy at Northwest High School.

Lake Highlands High School used Smore for their New Teacher Orientation. This is a great example of how Smore acts as an efficient tool for communication, as it allows for you to put all of the information and resources, in varying formats, in the same place. Another great example of using Smore is this high school's announcement for their choir auditions. Simple and to-the-point flyers are effective.

The STEM Academy at Northwest High School used Smore to create and distribute their newsletter. For this assignment, their Smore newsletter acted as the students' assessment and their final product. This is a great way for the students to both employ technology and connect to a global audience. Using Google Analytics, creators can easily see and monitor visits to their flyer. As a teacher this is a great way to monitor how many of your students and parents are engaging with your newsletter.

The number of educators using Smore to share out information, specifically numerous technological resources, is growing. Through the Smore website, you can find others' flyers and can add a plethora of resources to your teacher toolkit.





ACTIVITY 5 - Participant Feedback