Let’s face it: kids forget things. Test dates, homework, pencils, jackets on cold days, and sometimes, they forget to close their lockers (it’s funny to see them freak out and run back to their locker after leaving it wide open. How do you forget that?).

Last year, I started using Remind101, a web-based text messaging service that helps ease some of that… forgetfulness. I’m a huge fan of this site, because it provides (yet another) way to keep in touch with students and parents, but does so in a way that is private and extremely convenient.

Sign up — it’s a free service!

Signing up is free and easy. When you get to the Remind101 home page, click on “sign up” — you’ll fill out a simple form (1 minute of your time) and then you’ll directed to your site, given a computer-generated phone number, and able to set up your classes. I’ve set up three: one for my smiley core, one for my star core, and one for my heart core, but you can set yours up as one for each prep, one for all of the same preps (last year, I had one for all three of my math classes and one for my reading class), or any other way that you can imagine.

My classes.

Once you have your classes set up, it’s time to add recipients to your classes. Remind101 has made that easy for you by offering handouts for how to sign up! Students and parents will type a code (that you can designate, yay) in a text to your generated number. Once they text the number, they’ll be sent a message asking for their name. That’s it — they’re signed up! They will never see your phone number (because it’s a web-based service) and you’ll never see theirs (because you only get their name).

Yay! You have people who care about getting your messages. Now, it’s time to send one (or 7). You select the class or classes that you’d like to send your message to — it’s awesome that you can send the messages to more than one class — and type your message. My favorite part of this service is that you can schedule a message to go out later, because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll forget to send it when it actually needs to go out. I’ll often schedule my messages to go out a week at a time, because I know that once the week gets rolling, I’m a space cadet and can only think about making copies and grading papers. (And actually teaching, of course.)

Scheduling messages to go out later.

Remind101 is available online, but has also come out with an app that allows you to send and schedule messages from your phone, just in case you remember to send a message out while you’re sitting in front of the television watching Real Ladies Who Live At Home in Denver (uh, no, I don’t watch those shows…). I’ve used the both the website and the app many times, love both, and have no complaints. Messages I’ve sent include bonus math problems, review problems, homework and progress report reminders, funny/cheesy jokes, and more. It’s such a great way to keep in touch with your families!

Sending your families a message — super easy!

I’ve had many parents who love this service! They all sign up for it themselves, and if their kids have phones, they have their kids sign up too. Parents love it because they can keep tabs on homework better (ideal for those kiddos who claim that they never have homework), kids love it because they don’t forget as easily, and I love it because it’s easy, private, and I feel like I’m offering one additional intervention to help my kids be more successful in class.