No two words spoken at home can cause the paradox that "snow day" does. Kids are thrilled to learn they get to enjoy a free day off from school, while mom and dad are terrified to find out they have an unscheduled day where they must provide entertainment at home. Take the terror out of a snow day alert by being prepared with some entertaining ways to keep the kids from burning up with cabin fever:
Let the Morning Pass By Slowly
Embrace the impromptu day off with nothing planned, and stay toasty in your pajamas for a few extra hours. Let the kids turn the living room into a campsite using blankets and couch cushions. Drag out the sleeping bags and spend the better part of the snowy morning just snuggling, telling stories and snacking on foods that are normally a no-no in the morning.
Frolic in the Snow
Midday is the best time to get out into fresh snow, as this is likely going to be the warmest part of the day. Pile on the winter gear and let the kids burn off their energy outside. You have to shovel your driveway anyway, so why not let them build a snowman or make snow angels alongside you. Bigger kids can even help with the shoveling task, giving you some free time to throw a snowball or two before it's time to head back inside.
Bake Your Dinner - And Dessert to Go With It
When was the last time you had the time to bake a lasagna, or roast a chicken? Snow days at home are perfect opportunities for preparing family meals that aren't put together on the fly. Add some homemade cookies or a cake inside the oven, and your snow day with the kids just turned into a holiday. Get your kids involved in the preparation by letting them whip up some mashed potatoes, clean the greens for a salad, or even fill the pans for their snow day cake.
Bring Back Family Game Night
It's easy to flip on Netflix to keep everyone entertained, but with some time to spare, you have time for a few hours of Monopoly. Game night is a past time that can be brought into the present, giving your family a rare moment to spend some real quality time together. If Monopoly is too much, try UNO, Scrabble or for young ones, a race around the Chutes and Ladders.
Remind the Kids to Study
The unscheduled day off from school won't last forever, so keep the kids on course by having them study their school work for an hour or two before bedtime. You can make it fun by letting them have a hot cup of cocoa or popcorn while they go over the times tables one more time.
If the flakes are starting to fall again as you turn down your lights, don't forget to check your messages to see if the school is sending out yet another snow day alert for tomorrow. When they are using a school notification service like DialMyCalls, you and your kids will never be left out in the cold.
The cell phone has evolved into much more than just a phone. It provides you with access to music, video games, your social networks and of course instant advertising. With the high probability that an SMS text message will be read, businesses have begun using them as a way to draw in new customers.
Businesses have quickly learned the value of text messaging as a marketing tool. This is an inexpensive way of reaching thousands instantly with just a click of the send button. Yet like email marketing, a business must ask permission of the consumer first before they start sending special deals and event invites via text message.
Building an opt-in list is a must if you plan on using a text message campaign to build your business. You don't want a random list of names, but rather a database of interested customers where you can personalize messages based on what you know about them. This is not nearly as hard as you think with a carefully crafted plan for gathering opt-in numbers.
For Brick and Mortar Stores
Signs on doors, inside of dressing rooms and at the cash register that show your SMS keyword will grab the customer's attention and get them initially interested in learning more. All employees that deal directly with the customer should be trained in how to talk up the program, and how by opting in they will be getting exclusive discounts on merchandise, and real-time notices for when their favorite items are going on sale. Cashiers should be explaining to each customer how text messaging opt-ins work. For example, I you were to use DialMyCalls' text messaging system then your customer would simply text your custom SMS keyword to DialMyCalls' shortcode (80123) and they will be opted in to receive alerts from you.
Always Offer an Incentive
We all love the feeling of getting free stuff or discounts designed just for us. Make sure you are giving people an incentive to opt-in. Restaurants could give a free appetizer, bars a discounted drink, and a store an extra bonus discount for their first purchase. When the customer weighs the value, they see a freebie for nothing more than handing over their cell phone number.
Bars and Restaurants
Bars and restaurants have an advantage over other business types in getting people to opt-in for SMS text messaging, since their customers generally spend more time in the restaurant. Put out table tents with your unique keyword with directions and an explanation on what they can get by opting-in. Make sure that your staff is trained to help customers opt-in if they need assistance.
If your business is primarily online you can still use SMS text messaging for advertising. Create a landing page that encourages visitors to fill out the form, letting them know that they will be getting exclusive information on your upcoming sales. Another way is by having the option at check-out, giving the customer an extra percentage off of that sale as an incentive for opting-in to receive your texts.
With the information you gather from the form, and the way in which your customer shops, you can send them messages relative to their habits and likes. With this type of in the hand, personalized marketing, you will see positive results in your bottom line.
*It is against DialMyCalls' terms of service to send out any unsolicited marketing/sales text messages through our system - only recipients that have opted in to receive your text message alerts may be contacted.
Since the first classroom was opened, teachers have searched for ways to help them open the minds of young students. Imagine how lucky early teachers felt when they were first introduced to a blackboard, or even just desks for their students. Education has come a long way, and with the introduction of the computer and internet, a teacher can now focus almost all of their attention on ensuring that they create an interesting learning environment that sparks a child's thirst for knowledge.
Technology Helps Teachers Save Time
Almost all technology geared toward education takes time into consideration. Teachers spend a great deal of time, both on the clock and off, grading papers and planning lessons. Online lesson planning tools and calendars are extremely helpful for managing the entire year, not to mention the day to day activities and will save a teacher a lot of time once implemented. Planbook.com for example, will help in developing custom schedules for each class. You can attach links and files to easily access any information related to a lesson and even allow the students to view the schedule for their class online. This is certainly a step up from the handwritten log books teachers have been using for decades, and gives teachers more time to focus on their primary responsibility.
Technology Can Make it Easier to Track A Student's Progress
There are a number of online portfolio providers available that can be tailored to fit the specific needs of any classroom type. Student portfolios are excellent ways for educators to assess the student's progress in subjects where this is not easily seen by your typical grading system. With the tools that students can access online, their portfolio can contain a myriad of elements, like music and video that truly express their creativity. For the teacher, being able to see and store the portfolio on their computer makes it easier to manage and to view how a student is performing and where they could use some extra help.
Technology Can Make it Easier to Keep Parents in the Classroom Loop
Successful teachers understand that their classroom extends to each student's home, and that the parents are just as much a part of it. However, keeping those parents engaged in the classroom is one of the most difficult challenges a teacher faces. The cell phone can be the savior when it comes to communicating with parents on a regular basis. School notification system providers like DialMyCalls allow you to store an infinite number of phone numbers in your web-based account. When you need to share information or news with the parents, you simply create the message and send it to all of the parents at the same time that have opted in to receive your alerts. The message is received as an SMS text message on their cell phone, where you know they are going to see it right away.
Teachers should be taking advantage of every available resource possible that is positively improving a child's learning experience. There is only a small window of opportunity to provide a quality education, so make the best use of technology that can help you to better enrich those minds.
There is no denying that text messaging has become the preferred way to communicate, taking the place of making direct contact phone calls. People are quick to decline a phone call, but it is estimated that 97% of text messages are opened and read within minutes of being opened. Real estate agents have a great opportunity to take advantage of the convenience of text messaging to help close on more sales.
Text messaging your realty clients will be simple if you sign on with an automated text messaging service. These work online, with no extra installations to worry about. With a company like DialMyCalls, you can register a unique keyword for your real estate listings and begin collecting opt-ins.
Potential clients can text your unique SMS keyword to 80123 which will automatically add them to your contact list within DialMyCalls - you can have the text message opt-in information on the "For Sale" signs located at your listings. When you want to send out text messages, you only need to pull up those contacts and the message is automatically sent.
Keeping Your Real Estate Clients Up to Date
With quick text messages to your clients letting them know about a new listing, or how their offer went over, you are showing that you value their needs without it taking too much time out of your day. Real estate clients are stressed, and will appreciate knowing that you are hard at work for them.
The mass communication feature can be used when you have an upcoming open house that various real estate clients may be interested in. This simplifies the process of having to call a number of different people to give the details to. With a single text message you can have the location, date and time and even add directions if necessary, and have that sent to all of your clients in just a few minutes. Not only are your buyers given up-to-date information on homes they may be interested in, but your sellers will be impressed with the amount of effort you put in to having their house viewed.
Another way in which mass text messaging will help your sellers is if they change the asking price or make an improvement on the property. You could then contact all of the agents that you know showed the listing to their clients, so that they in turn could pass that information on to any that had shown an interest.
Using text messaging will streamline your daily tasks and make it easier to keep track of who you have touched base with that day. Rather than missed calls and waiting for clients to return your call, you have the peace of mind in knowing that they are up to speed with how things are going. With this faster and more efficient means of communication, you will be increasing your chances of making a sale and closing more deals.
School administrators are just as strapped for time as the teachers who work directly with the students. It is your duty to keep track of the many school rosters, ensure that there are no overlaps in scheduling and keep the different groups of people involved in your school up to speed with what is going on. Even a principal of a small school knows that all of this is not an easy task to accomplish.
Simplifying Communication is the First Step Towards Simplifying Your School Day
School principals, secretaries and support staff talk with a lot of people during the day. There are a lot of inside school conversations taking place, but there is also a lot of time being spent on sending various communications to the parents of their alumni. Emails about upcoming meetings from the principal, field trip information from teachers, and vaccination reminders from the school nurse make up just a small percentage of a school's outflow of information.
Rather than multiple phone calls or emails that all relay the same message, you can simplify how messages are being sent from your school with a one call system.
How a One Call System Works
A one call system works in the same way as an old fashioned phone chain would, except without all of the links in the chain. A principal, teacher, or any other member of your staff can create a message that is then sent to all of the people on your chain with just one click. For example, if a teacher wanted to let their student's parents know about an important project that is due soon, they would either record the details and send it as a voice message to the parent's cell phones or it can be typed out and sent as an SMS text message.
From a large university setting to a small pre-school environment, any sized school would be able to benefit from this type of school notification system. Not only is it simple to integrate, it requires no installation of additional hardware or software into the school's computer systems.
Setting Up A One Call System For Your School
Setting up a one call system is as simple as inputting the phone numbers of all the parents, teachers and staff members of your school. These lists can then be classified into separate groups, such as by class. A contact can be added to as many groups as it fits into. In this way, when an automated call or text message needs to be sent, the sender only needs to click on the group or groups it wishes to receive it.
Not only is this a great way for all sized schools to keep parents updated, it also works as an emergency notification system. In the event of a snow storm for example, not only will the principal be able to send out an email to the parents in just a few minutes, but to the staff members who are wondering if they have to shovel their way to work that day.
Even for small private schools, there are tons of better ways for administrators to spend their days then on creating and sending home countless notes and making multiple phone calls. A one call system handles this all with greater speed and much better efficiency.
Our third annual "Tweet For Success Scholarship Contest" ended last Friday and we have finally selected the winners. Four students will be receiving a $250 check to put towards their college education. Two of the winners were selected by receiving the most votes for their scholarship entry - the other two winners were picked by the DialMyCalls staff.
This year the contest asked students to, in 140 characters or less, explain the benefits of online courses and degrees vs. traditional schooling. Over 12,000 students submitted an entry into this year's contest so it was extremely hard to pick only two winners.
Below you will find all four winners and their Tweet For Success Scholarship Contest entries - each winner will be receiving $250:
Top 2 Entries With Most Votes -
1) Jazzlynsworld - 641 Votes - "Online Degree= Flexibility. Diversity Broadens perspective, Communication enhanced, Innovation through Virtual teamwork, Saves time & money!"
2) Jasmine L. - 264 Votes - "Some students have to work to survive. Online coursing allows them to work while receiving proper education to improve their futures."
Staff Picks -
3) Connor - "One of the top benefits of online courses is the ability for disabled college students, unable to come to class, a chance for an education."
4) Heather - "Online courses allow students to become a sort of superman. They can work hard, play hard; all while completing an education online."
Thank you for everyone that entered this year - keep an eye out for a chance to win next year!
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