When my daughter began kindergarten, she would come home with notes pinned to her shirt–informationa about upcoming events, permission slips for field trips, and monthly newsletters. I found this incredibly amusing, but I had to admit it was an effective way to get information home to parents when you are dealing with 5-year-olds.

As a high school teacher, I often wish I could pin announcements to my students’ clothing or backpacks to ensure they actually make it home to parents. For the last 3 years, I’ve used Remind to send text message announcements and reminders.

This year, I decided to embark on digital newsletters. I was concerned about the time this would take, but I was delighted to discover how simple it is to create beautiful multimedia newsletters in minutes with Smore.

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After putting my digital newletter together with information about what we’ve been up to first semester and reminders, I copied all of my parent emails (from the Parent Survey Google Form I use at the start of the year) and sent the newsletter to all of my parents. I immediately received an email telling me it was sent succesfully!

Smore Analytics

I was able to check the analytics on my newsletter to see how many people had viewed it and how much time they spent reading it.

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I could even see a map that showed where the viewers looking at my newsletter were located.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 11.54.25 AMI was able to go into my Flyer Settings to make my newsletter private, so only the people I was sharing it with directly could view it. Teachers can turn comments, name and profile information, social media buttons, etc. on or off depending on their preferences.  
Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 11.54.51 AMThe free version gives users 5 credits to create free flyers. They can send up to 200 emails a month. If teachers fall in love with Smore, there is a special price for educators!

I’m always looking for more effective ways to communicate with parents, so I wanted to share this! Smore was so easy to use and I love that I was able to see how my audience was engaging with the newsletter! I no longer have to rely on students to get my parents information about the class.

10 Responses

  1. This is really a great idea, Catlin! I started using it 3 years ago but I wasn’t able to use it effectively primarily because I did not have the parents’ email. The google form for getting email addresses is something I will do this year once we go back to school.
    One question I have though is how often do you create and send one, Catlin? I was originally planning on just doing it once every 3 weeks which is our typical checkpoint grading period but then that wouldn’t be a good platform for making announcements then, would it?

  2. Catlin, we have the paid version in our district which opens the access to all of our students in Smore Classroom. Great platform and students have all the bells and whistles of the pro version, as well as the teacher can view what the students are working on.

  3. Does this work on iPhone or only full access with computer? Thanks. Making newsletters on the go would be beneficial too!! Thanks for the info. Many parents still seem to not know what’s going on even though our district uses PowerTeacherPro.

  4. Good evening. I was wondering, in the monthly Newsletter, what specifically would you include? Especially now that we have moved to distance learning.

    • Hi Kristin,

      I would consider including the following:
      – Important due dates and announcements
      – Describe the focus of the current unit (topic, essential question, key skills)
      – Reminders about workflow (e.g., When will assignments be posted each week?)
      – Samples of student work to give parents a sense of what kids have been working
      – Tips for supporting learners at home

      Anything teachers can do to open the lines of communication with families is helpful.


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