Parent communication is so important to a successful school year. There are lots of different ways to keep in touch – phone calls, newsletters, emails, Facebook groups. However, the easiest way I’ve found is by using ClassTag for parent communication.
10 Reasons to Use ClassTag for Parent Communication
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I’ve tried a lot of different ways to communicate with my students’ parents. When I first started teaching, I typed a weekly newsletter and sent it home with my students every Friday. Some of my students were very responsible and made sure their parents got it every week. Others shoved it in their backpacks or desks, and their parents never saw it.
Next, I tried emailed newsletters. I created an email list with all of the parents’ email addresses. Every Friday, I typed up what we were working on that week and upcoming events and sent it to the parents. Again, only a handful of parents read my emails. Sometimes they lost it in the hundreds of emails that came into their inboxes. Other times they just didn’t bother to open it.
Finally, I tried ClassTag, and I’ll never go back to a paper or emailed newsletter. Here are 10 reasons why I love ClassTag.
#1 – ClassTag is really easy to use!
At the beginning of the school year, you don’t want to deal with something complicated and hard to use. Luckily, ClassTag makes it really easy to set up your class and get started.
When you first set up your account, there will already be a trial class ready for you. You can play around with it to get used to how everything works before adding your real class.
You will also receive welcome emails from ClassTag giving you tips and suggestions for getting started.
#2 – Parents love ClassTag!
My students’ parents love ClassTag. I know one of the biggest concerns is getting parents to download the app and sign up so they can receive all of your communications.
Here are some tips for getting all of your parents to join your class.
- Print and send home the Parent Signup Codes from the “Directory” tab. I do this the first time I meet my students’ parents at our Popsicle and Packet night. That’s when my students learn who their teacher will be.
- Remind the parents the next time you see them. The second week of school, we have a Meet the Teacher Night for parents. I print a second copy of the Parent Signup Codes and give them to the parents who haven’t signed up yet.
- Give your students a challenge. I take a secret picture during the school day and post it on ClassTag. Then, I tell my students that anyone who can come back tomorrow and tell me what the picture was will get a special prize. I write the signup code the assignment books of any students who haven’t joined yet. My students are usually pretty persuasive, and most of the parents sign up at this point.
- Make them sign up at conferences. If you have one or two parents who still haven’t signed up, you can corner them at your parent-teacher conference. They will probably have their phone with them, so give them the join code and have them download the app and join while you’re there.
Once they’ve signed up, the parents will love using ClassTag. They can quickly and easily send messages to you, and they will always be in the loop with classroom events.
#3 – You can send messages to the whole class or individual parents.
When you write a message, you can choose to send it to your classroom or to an individual parent. You can also choose to attach a file, picture, or video.
I love this because if a parent says he didn’t receive a paper that went home, you can send it to him directly through ClassTag. Parents also love receiving pictures and videos of the students.
#4 – You can see who viewed your message.
I think this is my favorite feature, because I never knew who read my paper newsletters or email newsletters unless they responded. ClassTag tells you exactly who saw your message.
#5 – You can get help with a classroom event.
Under the “Activities” tab, you can create an event. Include the event name, details, and the location. You can also tell the date and times when the event will be happening.
The part I love most about creating an event is that you can ask for volunteers or donations right through ClassTag. This is perfect for class parties, field trips, and lots of other events. You can even ask parents to RSVP to an event so you know how many people will be attending.
Under the “Activities” tab, you can also just request volunteers or items and have parents sign up.
#6 – Schedule your parent-teacher conferences.
This is another of my absolute favorite ClassTag features! Scheduling parent-teacher conferences has always been a struggle. My school used to send a paper form home where parents told us when they were available. When they sent it back, we had to pencil everyone in and send another paper with the exact time. Then, parents would write back saying that time didn’t work. It was a nightmare.
Then, we tried SignUpGenius. I liked that the parents had to sign themselves up for an available slot. However, setting up the forms was not easy. It took me a while to figure out how it worked.
ClassTag makes parent-teacher conference sign-ups so easy! You choose the time slots you want to open, and parents sign up on a first-come, first-serve basis. Then, ClassTag automatically sends reminders to parents who haven’t signed up once a week until they do.
ClassTag will even automatically send reminders two days before and the morning of the conference. This couldn’t get any easier!
#7 – You earn prizes for using ClassTag.
Under the “Rewards” tab, you can see how many coins you’ve earned by setting up your class and having parents join. You can spend your coins on lots of amazing prizes, like supplies for your classroom, a TPT gift card, or Amazon gift cards.
#8 – You can see how active the parents have been on ClassTag.
The “Stats” tab gives you an overview of the parents’ activities on ClassTag. You can see when they last visited the ClassTag app, how often they’ve volunteered, and how many of your messages they read.
#9 – You can send a weekly newsletter to parents.
In the “Weekly Summary” tab, you can send home a weekly update of everything that’s happened during the week and upcoming events. You can choose the date and time it will be delivered.
If parents don’t read your weekly summary, ClassTag will let you know, and you can print a copy to send home to the parents. Who knows if they’ll ever see that, but at least you’ve tried 2 different ways to get them the information.
#10 – You have complete control over your ClassTag classroom.
In the “Class Settings” tab, you can control who posts and comments in ClassTag. A series of checkboxes allows you to choose whether or not you want parents to be able to comment on posts, upload photos, and message other parents. You can also choose whether or not you want to send the weekly summary and if you want parents to view the class directory. I love how much control I have and that I can update these things whenever I want.
Bonus Reason #11 – ClassTag is completely free!
That’s right – you get all of these amazing features, and they don’t cost you anything!
I’ve teamed up with ClassTag for a special back to school giveaway. Enter to win a $30 Melissa and Doug gift card and a $20 TPT gift card to get your new school year off to a great start! One winner will be chosen on Saturday, July 27th. Good luck!
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What Do You Think?
Have you tried ClassTag for parent communication yet? If you have, do you love it as much as I do? If you haven’t tried it yet, what is working for you?
Let me know in the comments below.
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