As a third grade teacher, I’m constantly on the lookout for tools that make parent communication easy and efficient. The days of having to type up weekly newsletters are no more, and I’m excited to share with you a brief overview of a new tool I just recently discovered, that literally allows you to communicate with parents in every single way imaginable.
This free app is called Bloomz, and in addition to allowing me to send messages to families, it also helps me schedule volunteers and conferences. Bloomz is user-friendly and works with all platforms including web browsers, Android, and iOS. Check out this brief overview from the awesome people at Bloomz:
Downloading the app took me only a couple of minutes using iOS, and once I opened it, I liked that I was able to create a quick demo class to try it out without actually inviting parents right away. This is a unique feature that I think teachers will really enjoy. Consider it a test drive before purchasing a car. Regardless of how you download it, this handy PDF has step-by-step directions with pictures to make the process super easy for you.
Once I set up my demo class, this is what my screen looked like on my iPhone. As you can see, I can schedule a post to share a quick update, with a photo or video, posts an announcement, message all parents, post an alert (think early dismissal or other emergency), schedule an event, ask for volunteers, or schedule parent teacher conferences. They recently added two new features to the app: student portfolios and behavior management.
When posting a general update, there are a couple of features in particular that I think are really convenient. One, I can push the post or picture right to a Facebook page. If you have a classroom Facebook group, this is a perfect option to share it there instantly. I also like that I can disable resharing, which prevents parents from sharing the post with others if necessary.
Posting an announcement allows me to pin an announcement at the top of the page until the date I have specified expires. I think this feature is awesome, because it’s easy for messages to get buried, especially if you send daily updates like I do.
When you’re ready to write a message, you can do it one of two ways. You can either send a message to the entire class, or to just one parent. The versatility of this is a really nice feature, because sometimes I need to reach just one parent.
Alerts can be posted for urgent messages. Since I teach in rural North Dakota, I feel like I will be using this feature during the winter to post weather-related announcements. Alerts are outlined in red within the feed, and parents will also get a push notification on their phone, text message or an email (or all of them), depending on their notification preferences.
The next two features of the app might be my favorite. Next month, my students will be having Pumpkin Day in our classroom. I’m going to be inviting all of the parents to come in for STEM challenges and all things pumpkin. Instead of sending home a paper note with all of the details and a slip to cut off the bottom with an RSVP, look at what this app allows me to do! I can even schedule an alert to remind parents about the event. Impressive.
I can request volunteers for events, as well as items, like pumpkins! I can repeat the event if I need a volunteer each week, or choose not to if it’s a one-time event. Here’s what that screenshot looks like.
Lastly, this app allows me to schedule parent teacher conferences. I can insert the time slots, even allowing time for transitions. In our classroom, students actually lead the conferences, so I will want to make sure parents select times that allow for students to attend as well. No more sending papers back and forth to finally nail down a time that works for everyone! Hello simplicity and efficiency!
I’ll be writing a couple more posts about Bloomz over the next two months to share even more about this app. Be sure to check back, and leave any questions or comments you have below.
This is a sponsored blog post. All thoughts are my own.