During the summer I usually spend a good amount of time planning for the upcoming year. I come up with tons of all these awesome sounding ideas and decide that I'm going to try them all out and be the best teacher ever. It's not until I actually get into the classroom and try them out with kids though that I figure out which ones are the keepers.
Remind 101 is one that I'm really enjoying this year. If you haven't heard about it, their website does a great job of explaining the details, but it's a free secure way to send text message reminders to a group of people. Initially the idea of texting might be slightly questionable, but it's very secure and well thought out. Kids are always on their phones so Remind 101 takes advantage of that and makes it so easy to get messages out to them.
I set up a group for each different class that I teach and everyday I just send them a quick text with the homework. I've also sent out reminders about tests and supplies and stuff like that. I even have a couple parents that signed up for it too so that they get the reminders sent to their own phones.
The most convincing part of it has been the reviews from my kids. They are loving it. I have one period that will often ask me to text things when I mention them during class. I had another kid tell me that it's been so helpful to him and he really wishes some of his other teachers would use it too.
Just as a precaution, I had kids get a permission slip signed at the beginning of the year to make sure their parents knew about it. What's nice about it is that I have the ability to remove kids from my lists, so if they didn't get the permission slip signed I can just take them out. Also cool is the ability to schedule texts. I don't really want to be texting them during school, but sometimes I would like to get the homework posted early so I can just schedule it to send after school and not have to worry about it later. They have had an iOS app for awhile now and recently released an android app so now it's even easier. I could probably keep going on, but instead I'll encourage you to go try it out. Your kids will love it!