Why Schools Should Use An SMS System During The Summer
Earlier this fall we tried to help schools prepare for the upcoming year with some tips on using SMS Alerts to help students and parents of students. Now that we’re in the spring it’s time to start thinking about ways to use SMS to close out the school year and keep your students engaged over their summer vacation. Obviously, no child wants to hear from teachers over the summer. But with some creative SMS prompts, they can still enjoy their vacation while sufficiently preparing for the next year
Reading Lists and Discussions
We remember dreading the summer reading list that was part of the final-week-of-school preparations. Even kids who enjoy reading can’t help but see such lists a being too much like homework. But if the reading list they get in May can be integrated with information and technology they use from June to August, the stack of books won’t look so intimidating.
Yes, summer reading is supposed to be the students’ first encounter with independent study. But if something happens during the summer (i.e. a news story, a movie release, a blog article) that will reinforce the themes of your summer reading list, making them aware of it will help them retain those books when fall rolls around.
Making children think they’re not learning is a tried and true method of getting children to learn. Summer offers countless ways to do that for the creative teacher. English teachers can encourage critical thinking and composition by asking students to chronicle family vacations. Science teachers can give a “what to look for” list for trips to the zoo and park. Social studies teachers can keep their students aware of current events by directing them toward newspaper and blog articles discussing topics that will be covered in next year’s class.
Math teachers in particular can use America’s pastime as an entire course away from the classroom. The ultimate statistician’s sport, baseball is a great way to get kids engaged with math through all levels of education. Encourage them to track their own stats, make predictions on future games based on those stats, and create “fantasy” teams based on player performance. Some of your students will already be at the ballpark. If nothing else, some math awareness will allow them to discuss the sport at a higher level than the average talk show caller.
New Student Support
If there’s one group of people who need the help of a summertime SMS service service it’s parents and students who are planning to transfer to your school the following fall. Post a keyword for new student and their parents/guardians, and help make the transition easier with convenient little 160-character primers on your school community. Provide mini-bios on teachers, directions to neighborhood points of interests, information on school traditions and activates, and anything else that could benefit a family moving to a new town. The first day of class is going to be taxing enough for the newcomer. Use the months preceding it to make sure they are as much a part of your community as possible.
Unfortunately, every summer must end. And there’s no more dreadful prelude to the end of summer vacation than school supply shopping. This ritual might be worse for the parents than the kids. So make sure parents are equipped with a comprehensive shopping list combined with the convenience of checking text messages. Make sure to include the names and directions to stores with the best deals on supplies and uniforms. If nothing else, it’s a tiny step to make your school greener and less paper-dependent.
If used judiciously, your school’s SMS system will keep learning on the minds of students without nagging them about the upcoming school year for three months. The work of a teacher is a yearlong obligation. Hopefully you can find time to lend a little SMS helping hand to your students. Try it and you may find yourself this fall with an energized class and a huge head start.