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July 28, 2016

The Parent Communication Tool That Changed My Life

I've been meaning to blog about this topic for the past six months, but life kept getting in the way! You know how it goes. But before the new school year starts, I wanted to be sure to tell you about the parent communication tool that literally changed my life. Seriously.

{Disclaimer: This post is entirely my professional opinion. I am not being paid to discuss Bloomz. It is simply a tool that I found works well for me in my classroom.}

Last summer, as I was doing my usual blog stalking reading, I happened to catch Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera's post about an app that replaces all of the other communication tools in your classroom. I was intrigued! I've tried every trick in the book to keep parents informed about what is happening in my classroom: weekly and monthly newsletters, Remind.com, frequent reminders, emails, etc. You name it, I tried it. Each tool had its benefits, but it frustrated me that there wasn't one singular tool that could do it all. Until now.

Well, hello, Bloomz! Bloomz is "one app for all your parent communication. Teachers can safely communicate with parents, share class photos and updates, and coordinate through volunteer and conference signups." It literally does it all. So, how does it work?

Before I tell how you amazing Bloomz is, just keep in mind that it is all entirely FREE! FREE! It's a no-brainer!

OK, here goes. First, you'll need to create a user name and password. Simple. Once you've logged into Bloomz as a teacher, you are ready to set up a class.

Just click on "Add/Join Class." You'll be asked what your primary role is. Click "Teacher." 

You should be able to choose your school from the drop-down menu. Assign your class a name. I used "Mrs. Shafer's Class," to keep it simple. You'll also be given the option to enable or disable parent-to-parent communication. I enabled communication between parents because I wanted to remove myself from the role of the "middle man" when it came to birthday parties, play dates, etc. 

See? There's the class I created! Easy, right?

You can even customize your profile picture and cover photo! It's like Facebook for the classroom.

The next step is to invite parents to join your class on Bloomz. So, at our Get Acquainted Conferences, I explained what Bloomz is to all of my parents, and I made sure to have them all provide me with a current email address that they check regularly.

{Side note: I've been using Peace, Love, and First Grade's Meet the Teacher pack for the past two years, and I absolutely love it! This page is from her editable pack.}

I made sure to reassure my parents that Bloomz is completely secure. It is an invitation-only network, and new members can only gain access through an invitation from an existing member. As if that isn't secure enough, parents are required to be verified again once they have been invited or approved by a Bloomz-recognized school.

Now, it's time to invite parents to join your class on Bloomz!

Just click on "Invite."

Click on your class.

Click on "Parent."

You'll be given the option to enter your parents' email addresses manually or use Gmail. I typed mine manually, and it didn't take me long at all. Pinky swear.

Bloomz generates a generic email to send to your parents, but you can personalize this, as well.

Once you've invited your parents, you will be notified when your parents have joined your class. With a little determination {and maybe a little obnoxious pestering}, I was able to get all of my parents to join by the third week of school.

So, how do you start posting on Bloomz? Easy!

Start by clicking on "Create." 

You'll be given the options below. To create a post that will show in your "Feed," click on "Post."


 I typically used this option more often than any of the others. I used it to remind parents about important upcoming events, to let them know about any important papers that might be coming home with their child, to attach documents that I {may have} forgotten to send home during the school day, and to post pictures of the kiddos learning. I mentioned that this fantastic app allows you to post pictures, didn't I??? Parents absolutely loved being able to see their children working hard in the classroom.

 Once you click "Post," your invited parents can view the post.

You can also choose to add an announcement to the top of your "Feed" for a designated period of time. This is really helpful if you have an early dismissal day or parent/teacher conferences coming up.

Bloomz gives you the option to message your whole class, but I usually chose to message individual parents when the need arose {more on that a bit later}.


Goodness forbids if there is ever an emergency, you can notify parents, using the "Alert" option.

The "Events" option is AMAZING. This is where you can add important events to your class calendar.

I love that Bloomz will send parents a reminder before an event! No missed parties or conferences!

I love all of the choices you have when you create an event. Having these options allowed me to do away with a Room Parent. Say what? All I had to do was create the event, note the date and time, and let parents know what items were needed. Simple! Parents could see what other parents had already signed up to bring, so I didn't end up with 48 cupcakes or 5 bags of cheese curls {that may have happened a time or two}.

There is a separate option, completely devoted to volunteers!

You can dictate whether you need items {this can also be done in the "Event" section} or people. You can let parents know what you need them to do and how long you will need them to be in the classroom. Oh, and again, Bloomz will send parents a reminder before their designated volunteer time!

When I first started working at my current school, our school secretary would schedule all of our conferences for us. We were spoiled, I know. Last year, after our secretary retired, we had to start scheduling our own conferences. Bloomz took all of the time and stress out of the process. Just click on "Parent Teacher Conferences."

 All I had to do was note the date, what time I wanted conferences to start and end, and the duration of each conference. I could even build in my own lunch time and breaks between conferences!

The last feature I wanted to tell you about is the messaging option.

In the top right corner of your screen, click on "Message." 

Here, you are given the option to select to whom you'd like to send a private message. You can choose one person or several individuals. This was UH-mazing! If a student had an emotional morning when a parent dropped him/her off, I could message the parent a short time later to reassure him/her that the child was feeling better. Or, if a child forgot his/her lunch, I could message the parent and ask him/her to drop it off. I didn't have to find coverage to run to the office to make a phone call. I didn't have to deal with sending hand-written notes back and forth. Quick, efficient, easy.

As if all of these amazing features aren't enough to convince you to try Bloomz, I got an exciting email a few weeks ago about some updates coming in August!

My favorite of these new features are the behavior tracking option and the video sharing! Last year, I created a private YouTube channel, and I posted links to it on Bloomz so parents could see their children in the classroom. This feature will eliminate that extra step. I can't wait!

Last year, I had my parents sign a district-generated release, giving me permission to post pictures of their children on social media {I checked in advance to make sure that this covered my posts on Bloomz, as well}. This year, however, I went ahead and decided to create my own form, asking for parents' permission to post pictures of their children on Bloomz and on my blog. 

If you decide to give Bloomz a try, click on the picture above to grab this freebie. {Again, you may want to check with your district before you send this release home, just to be sure that you're covered. You can never be too careful!}

I can't tell you how much positive feedback I got from both parents and administrators about Bloomz last year. My principal even had me present an inservice about it last October to encourage other teachers to try it! Both of my children's teachers used it, and I can honestly say that it was a godsend {especially since I was the Room Parent for both classrooms...organizing class parties was a snap!}. I heard from one parent who didn't live locally, and he loved being able to see what his daughter was doing in the classroom each day {he was even kind enough to email my principal to tell her how much he loved Bloomz!}.

UPDATE: One of my wonderful parents from this past school year kindly reminded me that Bloomz also helps to promote communication at home! She loved knowing what her son had been working on in school during the day, and she could easily jumpstart conversations about his learning at home. {Thank you, Melissa!}

I highly recommend Bloomz to all classroom teachers; it will unequivocally change the way you communicate with parents for the better! Let me know if you have any questions about Bloomz...I'd be more than happy to answer them!

7 comments:

  1. Love Bloomz! Please do another inservice as a refresher (I will need it!). I like the sign up sheet for "meet the teacher" and the letter for photo permission. I did not start Bloomz right away last year, but I will definitely get a head start at our "get acquainted" conferences. I am so blessed to have you at my school! You are the best!

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    1. Sue, I am so glad you love Bloomz as much as I do! It is such an amazing tool! And believe me, the feeling is entirely mutual...I feel so lucky to work with you every day. :)

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  2. Yes, yes, yes!! We love it too! We started in the middle of the school year last year and it was great! Looking forward to starting off the school year with Bloomz this time!

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    1. It's amazing, isn't it??? Have you seen the student behavior piece that will be coming in August?

      https://www.bloomz.net/blog/sneak-peek-student-behavior-management-from-bloomz-coming-aug-16/

      I can't wait!

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  3. Since I am a long term sub, I have no web page like the other teachers so I asked if I could give this a try. My principal said yes so I will. I always communicated with parents a lot and this seems to have it all in one. Do you still utilize a newsletter or is this kind of your newsletter. I was thinking I could get away from that if I can get everyone to sign up for this.

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  4. A parent just messaged me thru my bloomz acct to join their bloomz network. What does that mean?

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