As you know, students aren’t always the most reliable couriers. Sometimes “Friday” folders come back with a parent’s signature, sometimes not. Sometimes the progress reports were delivered; sometimes they were insert excuse here. On the whole, folders are a useful organizational tool; they’re also nice for strengthening lines of communication between you and parents. But we happen to think there’s a more efficient way to keep parents up to date on their child’s progress—one that might actually cut down on your paperwork and guarantee that your messages will be delivered.
Using Voxie Pro to Record Student Progress Reports
In lieu of a weekly evaluation or progress note for every student, what if you were to spend a measly $4.99 on Voxie Pro (bottle rocket), an app that allows you to record CD-quality audio files to your phone and email them directly to parents?
Your messages can be as long as you need, but 60 to 90 seconds should be more than enough time for you to:
- State the student’s name along with the date
- Briefly describe student progress, both socially and academically, over the last week
- Offer suggestions for how the student can improve
- Ask parents questions about the student and request that they call or email you answers
What’s wrong with handwritten progress reports?
Besides the fact that they’re so commonly “lost" or "eaten” by insert animal/person/thing here, there’s also the fact that many teachers have resorted to turning evaluations into vague checklists they can work through quickly.
But can we really boil our students’ progress, both socially and academically, down to “Outstanding,” “Satisfactory,” or “Needs Improvement?” We think not. On top of this, checklists offer little opportunity to share your personality or offer substantive feedback. Podcasting gives parents the opportunity to actually hear you. In fact, they can even create their own podcasts and email them back to you.
Podcasting your students’ progress reports is only one way to “digitally enhance” communication between you and your students’ parents. If you’re looking for other ideas, you might check out one of our recent blogs, 5 More Indispensable Classroom Management Apps. Pay specific attention to an app called Remind 101. We think you’ll find it useful.