"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." --John Dewey

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Go Bananas for Mail Chimp

It is certainly no secret that frequent, regular communication with families is important to the success of your students.  I know plenty of teachers who spend countless hours typing up weekly or monthly newsletters, and decorating them with lovely clipart images or even class pictures.  Then they dutifully copy enough for every family and have their students put them carefully into their backpacks so that their parents will be sure to get them. The trouble is, there really isn't any way of knowing when, or even if the parents read those beautifully designed, carefully-worded newsletters at all.  So now what?

Posting important information to a class web page is helpful, I suppose.  Still, you have no way of know who's actually reading the information.  Wouldn't it be great to know exactly who is taking the time to read your literary endeavors?  Get yourself a Mail Chimp and know for sure.

Create a free account at MailChimp.com and you can easily send professional looking email newsletters and reminders, and get detailed reports as to how many of your recipients are opening the messages.

Mail Chimp has loads of pre-formatted templates from which to choose, all of which can be used as is, or customized with logos and color combinations of your choice.  Import recipient information from your online address book or an Excel spreadsheet, and choose to send your emails to your entire list, or a specific segment of your list.  Your newsletters can include images and text, of course, and can be personalized by merging "subscriber" information into the body of your message.  How much nicer would it be for parents to see news addressed to Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones, as opposed to Dear Parent(s)?

Once complete, your emails can be scheduled to go out on a specific date and time, after which you can check reports to see exactly which recipients have opened your communication, and whether or not they've checked out any links you may have provided.  The point?  Well, we all know the importance of documenting . . . just about everything that involves communication with parents, right?  Mail Chimp reports provide important documentation of your efforts to communicate.  And, more importantly, give you the information you need, to know who you may need to reach out to more personally.

Check out this sample Mail Chimp email http://tinyurl.com/mail-chimp-demo, and then try creating one of your own.  Perhaps you can send a nice end of the year message of thanks to parents, with links for summer activities and even a year-end online slideshow.  Or, just get your feet wet so that you can begin next year with an informational newsletter introducing yourself to your new students and their families.  Go on.  Get a little feedback from your first message, and you'll go bananas for Mail Chimp.


  1. I often wonder if any of my parents are looking at my website (that I spend hours updating) or reading my emails. This sounds like a great little program that would help with that question.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I can't tell you how many times my colleagues and I have said the same thing. It really is nice to use an email service like Mail Chimp and know for sure who your hours of hard work is reaching--and more importantly, who is not getting the message. Let me know what you think if you decide to give this a try.