Tech Thursday - SignUp Genius

I'm excited to be linking up with Teaching Trio for Technology Thursday this month!

I've been trying to think of which of the many great resources I wanted to share, and it has been hard to narrow it down. I finally decided to focus on something that I think would be helpful to every teacher - regardless of grade level or subject area.
Tech Tip: Use this free online tool to create sign-ups for everything from parent-teacher conferences to food donations for classroom parties to field trip volunteers. Read about how simple it can be for teachers to create an online sign-up.

It's almost fall and with that time of year comes Parent Teacher Conferences.
I actually look forward to meeting with each parent - despite the long hours. Some parents don't ask for meetings through the year and I feel like I've missed the opportunity to connect if I don't catch them for a beginning of the year conference.

BUT
Every year I struggle.
I create a sign up list and ask parents to list their top three choices.
Some of these papers get returned and some don't.
I keep sending notes and eventually most parents give me a selection of times.

THEN
I have to figure out who fits into what time slot. I have to rearrange things multiple times because everyone seems to want the same times. It's a headache and I just didn't want to face it again.

SO
Last year I tried SignUp Genius for my parent teacher conference scheduling.
It. Was. A-MAZ-ING.

Step 1:
Create a free account.
I used my school email - I get notifications when a person signs up.

Step 2:
Click "Create a Sign Up" following the directions provided on the website. It really is user friendly. Each step is explained and you can navigate between screens if you choose to make changes.

Step 3:
Invite/Publish your sign up. You have the option of inviting people immediately, or you can wait until you are ready to take your sign up live.

Step 4:
Wait to get emails notifying you of the sign ups. I got 14/24 conferences scheduled the very first day.

Okay, so maybe you aren't sold on this yet.
Here are the main reasons I see this as a major benefit:

EASE OF COMMUNICATION
First, all parents are invited via email so there is not a worry that the students will forget the paper or lose it or simply not give it to their parents.
Second, any parents without an email can be given a link to access the sign up online.
Third, any parents without access to the internet (or who don't sign up on their own) can be contacted by phone and YOU can add them into a slot.

LESS ORGANIZATION
You determine the dates, times, and length of each meeting when you create the sign up. It is first come, first serve. Parents sign up for the exact time slot they want and know they have that time without worrying that someone else will be given their choice. Once a person signs up for a time slot, the slot is no longer available and others will know what times remain available. No more sending home additional notes with certain times/dates blocked out. And, if a parent needs to change times, they can do so online without you having to do anything!

REMINDERS ARE AUTOMATIC
I still send a Remind notification and include a reminder in my newsletter that tells parents that conferences are coming up, but I no longer have to send specific reminder notes to parents home with students. SignUp Genius has an option of sending a reminder email to parents 2 days before their conference with the specific time and location of the conference.

After I used this for my sign ups last year, I got the rest of my team on board. They loved it too!

And the best part is that SignUp Genius is great for any type of sign ups.
I have used it to collect party foods and supplies for our holiday celebrations.
I have used it to ask for donations of supplies for a STEM challenge.
I have used it to encourage parents to volunteer for field trips or other school events.
Seriously.
It's amazing and I don't know how I ever lived without it.

Try it out this year.
I guarantee it will save you so much time!
Has anyone else ever used SignUp Genius?
Do you have any other ideas for using this site?

10 comments

  1. I love SignUp Genius and have used it for my daughter's volleyball team. I haven't used it in the classroom yet...it's time to try! Thanks for linking up with us. Great tip!

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    1. I know. It's such a great tool. I'm so glad someone shared it with me.

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  2. I love this idea! We used a different scheduler but this one looks so easy to use.

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    1. It is pretty simple to use. I like it because it has so many options available.

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  3. I LOVE SignUp Genius! I don't know what I ever did without it!

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  4. I agree. It has been such a life saver!

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    Replies
    1. Now you might wonder, what is MobileArq and why do I need it? MobileArq allows teachers like you to send a message to all the parents in your class with a single click. It is an online directory and fundraising platform for PTAs. Parents can call/email/text other parents in their class/school, stay on top of events and contribute easily to fundraisers.

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