Saturday, September 21, 2013

5 Reasons You Should Start Using the Class Messenger App....TODAY!

Last spring I discovered this fun little app created to keep teachers, parents, and students connected. (At the time it was called "What Did We Do Today?" or WDWDT? - and is now funded by Scholastic and known as Class Messenger.) I decided to give it a try, and parents just loved it!

What is Class Messenger?

This free app is essentially a private messaging service. Simply take a quick picture of something happening in your classroom with your tablet or phone, add a brief message, hit "send", and parents will be emailed your message. You can also take advantage of other cool features like Homework/Reminder Messages, Surveys, Meet With Me, and Volunteer/Donation requests.  And it's fantastic that you can send your entire class the same message, or send a personal email to just one student's family about a special moment in that child's day.

So...if you're not totally sold on this app already, here are:

 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Class Messenger

1. It's Quick and Fun
Important messages are distilled down into a couple sentences and a picture.  If you love Instagram  - Class Messenger is right up your alley. And if you use photo editing apps (like A Beautiful Mess), you can really add some "pop" to your photos by adding text, border, or doodles.

2. It Keeps Students Engaged
When students know any picture I take might get sent home to parents, they definitely kick it up a notch and want those pictures to show them doing their best work and making an effort.

3. It's Simple
Setting up your class will be easy - it took me less than 15 minutes to add the contact information for my 24 students. (You can also have multiple classes if you need them.) And I think you'll find using Classroom Messenger is very straightforward.

4. It's Private
Unlike classroom blogs, Twitter, or Facebook - Class Messenger is completely private. This is a great way to give parents real-time snapshots of their child's day without compromising on security. Plus - you can be sure your messages won't get buried in a Facebook or Twitter feed. Everything gets sent to their email inbox or they can sign up for push notifications.

5. It Builds Positive Parent Relationships
What parent wouldn't love to receive a picture of their daughter triumphantly holding up a rocket she just built in school that day?  Or a picture of their son hard at work drafting a personal narrative?  Rather than relying on their kids to answer the "What did you do in school today?" question (which even my first grader just shrugs at) - Class Messenger can serve as a conversation starter with families. A consistent flow of positive messages sent home from teachers keeps our focus on all the great things happening at school. Plus, it provides a strong foundation for teachers and parents when they might need work together if a problem does arise with a student.

This was my first picture sent to parents  - with a note complimenting the class on their fantastic behavior and effort during the first few days of school.

How Do I Let Parents Know About Class Messenger?

Here is the letter I sent home explaining the app to my students' families. If you like what you see, you can download this Class Messenger Parent Letter for free and adjust it to suit your needs.
Have I convinced you yet?  I truly know you'll love it, so head over to your app store to download Class Messenger. Like Today. Right now.  :-)
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  1. I LOVE it! I can't wait to ask for permission to use the app tomorrow at school (our district has certain ones we can and cannot use, but surely this one's okay). Got my SLANT box today! You are super sweet, and I love every single thing in there!!!

  2. I did not know that it was run by Scholastic!! Wow! This sounds fantastic!

  3. Glad I read this. Just an FYI your link is dead.


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