Every week in my sixth grade class, I would pry open the lid of my MacBook and open the text editor Pages. This weekly ritual of writing my classroom newsletter was cumbersome and frankly seemed antiquated. I would type endless paragraphs about our school lunch schedule and what labs we took part in for the week. Sure my newsletter was colorful, but it wasn’t as engaging as it could have been. There were times when I wished there was something I could send to parents, something with audio files of their students debating current events or videos of science lab that went awry. If only there was a way for events to be added, an interactive poll would be nice….if only. Finally the biggest question of all “Did anyone actually read this incredibly crafted piece of literature,” I could never know for sure.
Well Dorthy, there is no need to click those ruby red slippers together and wish anymore. I would like to introduce you to Smore. Smore lets you create online newsletters that you can share with parents and students alike. This tools not only allows you to embed videos and audio files, but gives you the option to allow for comments, add Wufoo forms for surveys, calendar events, and much more. The best part is that they have templates created for you, just add your content and bam, Done! With the free edition (Educator Edition $59.00/year) after 30 visits you open analytics option, this gives you information about where your readers are located and how long they are spending on your newsletters. I love this little tool and wish I had it for use in my classroom, I think it would have really added life to that newsletter that was always stuck at the bottom of student’s backpacks. As always, I would love to hear what you think or how you are using this tool in your classroom.