I can’t believe every educator isn’t using this website already! I’m excited to share with you a website that you can start easily today and build upon all school year with your students. It’s also free! The best word the the dictionary for any teacher because when you are in brick and mortar, you already pay for enough stuff!
So when you start the school year next year, you can use the Smore as a great welcome letter to your students. Not to mention, you can impress all those parents right off the bat, that you are apart of the 21st century! Once you have your main newsletter, you can update it weekly and embed links to other newsletters that you will create for the subject(s) you teach. You can even search on google to see how other teachers have created a Smore newsletter as an introduction to class.
Once you’ve created your “About Me” page basically, you can use this for SO many things:
- Let your students see you! Add pictures of your family, vacations, hobbies, interests and become a real person to your students
- Embed your school’s Facebook page link so they can stay up to date on school events
- Include weekly announcements and reminders (like check your grade book and school email DAILY)
- Include important dates coming up (school field trips, tests, fun things that relate to your subject(s)
- Your contact information
- A brief summary about you to highlight how awesome you are
- Add pictures of the class/students during the year to highlight how awesome they are
- Include student work that you would like to highlight or classroom contests
- Bring in some international fun by becoming pen pals with another class somewhere far away to share work
- Add a survey link to Google forms for students and/or parents to leave feedback
As you can see, you can do a lot with your first newsletter and weekly newsletters from there. Here’s an example of one that I built.
Then you can also create other newsletters that target the content that you teach. I embed the links to those resources on my main page. So for the newsletters that represent your subject, I recommend to have them centered about the state objectives! This gives you focus. After all, if you’re not teaching the state objectives, you are wasting not only your time, but your students as well. Nobody has time for that.
With these newsletters, you have:
- Pictures to represent the content
- Student pictures to showcase what they have done and to engage/encourage them
- State objectives listed
- Links to videos from the web or links to videos that students have created themselves
- Songs that students have written or that you have found online
- Lab ideas for things students can do at home
- I use an incentive badge program where students can earn 8 badges during the course of the school year after they have mastered certain groups of objectives so I have the questions they need to answer to earn that badge
- I use Quizlet.com for online flash cards and embed the link for students to click on to find their flash cards. During the first part of the year, I leave the back side of the flash cards blank and towards the test, I fill in the back side so students who haven’t done them can still print out and have a chance to study before the test
- Showcase student written work for those who like to “teach” others what they have learned
- Include textbook links and textbook page numbers for students to access more information about that topic
I have to keep stopping at 10 things because the ideas are limitless. You can add comments below to share with others about what you have put on your newsletter or content newsletters below! Here is the link to show one of my content newsletters.
Now here is the best part, in my opinion, and I can’t wait to start doing this next year. I am going to have my students create their own Smore!!! What?! Yes! They are going to be so excited to share what they have learned with others, it will be a great way to keep all of their resources organized in one place, and they will have a great resource to study before the test at the end of the year. They can share with each other and I can share their links on my home page. They can leave comments for each other and suggest a video or song that they really liked and want to share. I know some students who would love to find jokes about or create a joke or comic strip about what they have learned that week.
The possibilities are endless. You could even mention to your administration to use this to keep up to date with staff. Let’s save some trees! Please comment below.