Do you dread trying to get return forms from parents to schedule conferences? Then when you do get them back you need to spend hours looking over first, second, and third choices to schedule time slots. So much wasted time!
This year I encourage you to try Sign Up Genius for super easy parent teacher conference sign ups. It's so easy to do and scheduling your conferences is as simple as logging in and looking at your schedule. Keep reading and I'll show you step-by-step how to create your first sign up form.
Create an Account
First, you will want to click on the "create a sign up" button. I recommend creating an account using your school email. This will allow the notifications of parent sign ups to come directly into your work email.
Log in and Create a Sign Up
When you have filled out your information and created your account, you will want to click on "create a sign up." This will take you into creating the form your families will see when they go to register their conference time.
Fill In Your Sign Up Information
Next you will fill in the information for your form. As you can see from the bottom of the picture, the information you fill in creates your form. For the title of your sign up you will want to pick something easy that tells parents exactly what it is. Mine simply says "Parent Teacher Conferences." You could say Fall or Spring Parent Teacher Conferences, Virtual Parent Teacher Conferences for some more ideas.
Next, I choose the category of scheduling and eductation. Last, you can choose what you want your form to look like. Keep in mind that the orange awards means those choices are paid. I have been using the free account for years and haven't felt the need to unlock the paid features.
Edit Parent Directions
Clicking on the pencil will open the window to edit the directions. I like to add a Spanish translation (using Google Translate). Then click on done.
Create Time Slots
For parent teacher conference sign ups, you will want to sort by date and click add dates. Then you will want to create the time slots using the Add Time Slots tab which will create them automatically for you (saving you even more time).
If you have 15 minute conferences, choose 15 minute increments. Later you can delete slots if you want to schedule a break for yourself.
Repeat For Multiple Days
Do you conferences take place over several days? Simply repeat step 5 for the additional days. Tip: If you have conferences scheduled the exact same times for both days, you will want to add time slots all at once using "include this days" and adjusting the days of the event.
If you want to do morning conferences and then need a break in between before you start the afternoon, you will simply do this step twice using the same date but different time ranges.
You are almost done!
Click on the orange "Add Slots" and then title your slots. I simply called mine "Conference Appointments." Next make sure you just have 1 for the number wanted. This means that only one person can choose an appointment for that particular time slot.
Want to schedule some breaks? Simply log into your account, click on the sign up you want. Then you will click on Edit Content (find it at the top of the screen on the left under Admin Tools). Once your form comes up you will click on the X next to the slots you want to delete. This way, families will not be able to see or choose this time.
Invite Families to Sign Up
Now that you've created your form and time slots it is time for the most important step - inviting your families! As you can see, there are several options for signing up. If you already have a list or template of family emails you can choose invite by email. However, I believe it uses the Sign Up Genius system rather than your own email account.
I find it easier to copy the link (in orange at the top) by clicking copy link. Then I open my Class Dojo and add it to a message I've typed up telling families to come and sign up. You may wish to edit the slots and schedule some breaks before sending out the link. I've added the directions to the step above.
Check Your Sign Up Form
Once you've created a sign up form you will want to check it and see who has signed up. You will receive email notifications to the email address you signed up with that tells you the name of the person who registered but not what time.
To find the time slot they have chosen log into your account (or simply click the link in the sent email) and click on your sign up form. Taken slots will have the family name instead of sign up. You can view the list as a calendar or list. I prefer calendar because multiple names on one day will not show up on a calendar.
The best part is you can print the schedule out and post it on your door if holding virtual conferences. Sign Up Genius will also send an email reminder to families that provided their email address (I believe). I still make sure to send reminder notes to families though just in case they miss checking their email.
Register a Guardian Yourself
With all technology, you may run into parents saying they are having difficulty using the sign up link. More likely they are uncomfortable registering an account and providing their email address. 😉
You have the ability to sign up families yourself. This is also especially handy if you have several parents that haven't signed up and you need to assign them a slot.
To register someone yourself, click on the link like your families would. Then, leave your email as the default email. While it is tempting to add their email, adding their email puts them on the sign up genius email list. You've worked hard to build a positive relationship with your families - don't undo all that hard work by signing them up for an email list they may not want.
Once you've entered their details (add the child's name for the comment) click on sign up now.
While this post may seem long, I promise that it only takes a few minutes to create a new account and sign up form. You will love the benefit of doing away with slips of paper with first, second, and third choices. Having parents simply log in and find the available slots is such a timesaver and less stress for you. I refuse to ever go back to collecting forms for sign ups!