Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Better Way to Communicate with Teachers

I had a work day when I got back to school, and the first thing on my list was to communicate with our teachers about dates, schedules, and new books. I created a Tackk before the holidays rather than just a plain ol' email, and it got 62 views in about 8 hours! Considering I only sent the link to our teachers and staff, and we only have 27 classroom teachers, I think it was a success. I decided that this is how I will communicate with my teachers weekly.  

What is a Tackk? I’m glad you asked!

A Tackk is an online newsletter. More accurately, Tackk says it is a “place to connect with friends, be creative and have fun conversations.” I don’t use it that way at all. I create newsletters in which I embed photos, text, and links, then send the link to the Tackk to teachers or parents or to teachers to send to parents. I haven't tried video yet, but I might do that soon. I was required to follow 2 people when I installed the app on my iPad (I usually create on the PC), but I unfollowed as soon as I could.

It is free, easy, colorful, and eye-catching, and looks so much better than bulletted or (worse) rambling emails. Did I mention EASY? Really easy: click, type, upload photos, add links, no problem! Tons of templates, fonts, and colors. The biggest hangup that I have is that the photos can only be two sizes: big or bigger. Sometimes I’d like a photo on the side, but that’s ok. Did I mention it's FREE?

Here is an example of what I sent to teachers the week before our winter break:

I am really trying hard to curate what I need to communicate to teachers and send it out in one catchy, colorful, short newsletter a week, thus eliminating the random and numerous emails throughout the week. I hope that by doing this, my emails will get more attention and be more affective. You can try Tackk here:

I have also used, which I LOVE!

There are some differences in the way you build your newsletter. Smore is specifically for online newsletters, not a social site. I don't use it right now because you need a membership after the first five newsletters, and I blew through those pretty quickly. There is an educator’s account, so it may be worth staying with that site if you like it. I have already spent too much of my budget this year, but try it for yourself and see which you prefer.

I have created a Smore about an event then tweeted the newsletter URL. Then teachers retweeted me and we reached even more parents. The metrics are easy to view and understand, and I got good coverage with the Storybook Pumpkin flyer above.

Try either or and let me know what you think!
place to connect with friends, be creative and have fun conversations.

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