Remind Me Again: Tools to Remind Students of Upcoming Tasks

At the end of the school year teachers often start mulling over changes to their teaching strategy and methods for the upcoming school year. Educators often seek ways to improve involvement in their classroom. One of the biggest concerns teachers suggest is their student’s ability to remember what they’re required to do or upcoming tasks.

Gone are the days where most students are utilizing an agenda book. Here are some tools for reminding your students of upcoming assignments.

eTask:
eTask is also known as the Electronic Teacher Assignment Kiosk. This is a tool your entire school district would likely use, as opposed to you by yourself. With eTask you create a page that can list your education, teaching credentials and a listing of your class activities and homework week to week.

This tool creates class activities in a table format, so it may be difficult for students to synthesize the information if you store multiple weeks at once.

Website:
Within most school districts there is an encouragement to have your own website associated with your teaching. Most school districts will push using space allotted on their own web server or using Google Sites. My recommendation is creating your own website. This allows you to store all resources you’re using and add to them as needed year to year. The best way to go is to have your website be like a blog, so you can constantly produce content and students will follow the material posted that day and come back to the website as needed.

Check with your district’s technology director before creating your own website domain outside of the district’s space or Google Sites, as often school districts like to clarify that what is listed on your personal website is not necessarily checked by them.

Remind:
Remind is a text messaging tool that is becoming a widely used application for classroom reminders. Teachers setup the application to remind students and parents of anything they feel necessary via text message. The application is similar to the Honeywell Alert services most school districts currently use, but this tool also includes students in the information.

Check with your district’s technology director for approval of using this tool prior to use.

myHomework:
myHomework is an application that teachers can use to add homework assignments to. Educators can then set priority deadlines and reminders through this tool. The app is available on a number of platforms and through their website. The application offers a free version and a $4.99 per year version as well. The application can be purchased by individual teachers and by the school district.

This application does seem to have some limitations in the free version, like many applications.

Remember to talk with your school administration before utilizing any tools that aren’t commonly used within the district or unfamiliar to your district’s administrative team. Be able to convince your administration why the tool will be helpful within your classroom.

Instagram Instruction

Prior to August 2014 I was hesitant to use Instagram for any purpose. I’m not the selfie type or really even like taking pictures. But I noticed a lot of my friends were using Instagram and had great looking pictures. So in late August 2014 I finally joined. At the moment I seem to be using it in the same manner a lot my friends are: showcasing pictures of our canine chums and our food/beverage interests. I use Twitter in the classroom and wondered if I could use Instagram in the classroom as well.

If you use Instagram in a different way, tell us about it in the comments!

Student Based Ideas:
Featuring student work is ideal with Instagram. Not only does it allow you to have a record of great student products, but it allows you to display it to other classes, parents, etc. This will likely encourage greater production if students know their work will be viewed by other eyes. The student work doesn’t have to be specifically visually aesthetic items. A great poem is just as worthy as a great picture.

Featuring a student of the week is another great way to have a productive classroom Instagram, while encouraging students to do their best. The student of the week can send out pictures of where the sit, their favorite aspects of the classroom and much more. There should be some criteria in place to determine the student of the week for these purposes.

Students can interact with their classmates in a way they did not before. They will have more to talk about now that they the creativity of their classmates. Featuring student work allows classmates to learn more about each other such as hobbies and interests.

Teacher Based Ideas:
Since you’re presenting student work and providing students with a platform to express themselves it is also a good idea to chronicle what they’ve done. You could make a collage for each student using sites like collage.com. You could make an end of school year timeline for each student using Dipity. With either choice you can document all of the wonderful things your students did all year.

You can also capture important moments for the students. Things like field trips should be remembered. Things like graduation should be recorded! These items, if student specific, can also be added to their display of progress.

Remind students of reading assignments. Send a picture of the book you’re reading and include the page numbers that need to be read before the next class meeting. This gives students an interactive reminder of what they need to do.

In this same regard Instagram can be used for all homework reminders. Need to remind students a worksheet is due tomorrow? Send it out with a reminder in the description. You can do the same for anything: book report, homework problems, PowerPoint assignment, essay, etc.

While there are items out there like Remind101 administrators often frown upon text messaging type reminder systems, so use Instagram. Send out reminders about class trips, end of marking period, school closings due to holidays and delays/closings associated with inclement weather. This can also be used for sports and clubs.

You should also use your classroom Instagram account to send out encouragement. There are a lot of standardized tests these days, so make sure to encourage students via inspirational items you can find or create.

Finally, I think I will use Instagram to assign some fun homework or extra credit. NOTE: Students must be 13 years of age or older to join, so this may only be plausible in a high school setting. I would provide a visual prompt for students and expect them to synthesize the prompt and create an articulate response. I would encourage net etiquette so there are no arguments in the responses.

Originally posted on FAAET Blog.