Elementary school teachers are accustomed to working in a fast-paced, high-pressure, deadline-driven environment. We get the job done and at the same time the job is never completely finished. There are always more parent and student questions to answer. The topics of questions can range from "What are the dietary restrictions for the first through third grade chaperones on the overnight trip?" to "What types of tri-fold boards are the cheapest/best for the upcoming cultural fair?"
These were two questions I needed to provide answers to today. I had a few choices here. For the tri-fold board question I could have researched local office supply stores and compared prices. I could have looked online or called the managers to see what was in stock. This would most definitely eat up at least a half hour of my planning time if I wanted to find answers to provide an accurate response and email the parent back. Rather than doing this, I spent 2 minutes creating a Bloomz post and let the community take care of the rest.
The question was answered while I rode the bus home from work. Nine people from my parent community responded with types of boards, store options, and price ranges. My student's parent received a comprehensive and detailed response from our classroom community via Bloomz.
In regards to finding out the dietary restrictions of the chaperones for the first through third grade overnight I could ask my colleagues to email their class families and email me back with their responses. This would take a while being that each teacher would have to wait for responses and then compile the list to send back to me. I need the answers right away so I made a quick Bloomz post to my school community.
It's been two hours and I have received the answers I need! I rest easy knowing that when I return to work tomorrow I can email the director of the overnight camp with our school's chaperone dietary needs. This task was completed in one day. This is pretty exceptional when you think about all the moving parts to communicating with parents of students from other classes. Bloomz makes networking with other classes' families accessible to all teachers.
How do you crowdsource to save time within your Bloomz school community? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.