CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Elementary, middle, and high school students will hear the first bell ring in a few weeks and teachers are already getting their classrooms and course schedules set. One thing that hasn’t changed much since parents were in school themselves is how teachers communicate outside of the classroom.
I think every parent has gotten a note sent home from school about an assignment or an event in the classroom and the student doesn’t tell them about it until the night before. I know I’ve made late-night runs to pick up construction paper and poster board. You can’t blame the teacher, the student simply forgot to tell you about it.
With social media and apps, there’s no reason to hear about an assignment the night before it’s due. But teachers using social media to stay in touch with parents or students is not always a good idea.
A solution is a Facebook page for the classroom. To set one up, go to any page you follow and select “create a page”. Facebook will walk you through the rest. I’d suggest making the group private so you’ll have to approve anyone wanting to join.
There are many examples of teachers using Facebook pages in the classroom. Just search Facebook for “teacher page”, or “classroom page”. I found a classroom page that’s a good example from Mr. Edelman. I can’t see his first name or even the name of the school or which city it is located in. That’s good. There’s no reason anyone outside of his classroom should know any details.
Mr. Edelman allows current students and former students to join and participate. He makes it clear that it is to share class announcements only and he uses it to arrange tutoring or homework help. If someone posts something that doesn’t belong on the page they’ll be banned and if they’re a current student, he’ll take care of it in class.
One of his most recent posts was a warning to followers of the page to not post anything about another student. Mr. Edelman first launched his classroom page back in 2010.
Some school districts do not allow Facebook to be used for classes but they do endorse the app “Remind” as a way for teachers to communicate with parents. Remind eliminates the need for teachers to send notes home with students. It also allows teachers to make assignments and they can post links to apps such as Quizlet to help with homework assignments.
It allows the teacher to communicate with everyone in the class, or individual students and their parents. There’s a free version of Remind for teachers for up to 10 classes.