Friday, 20 March 2015

The “Fan Out” button and why we love it

It’s almost week 9, I can hardly believe it. My son is at kindy this year and I am really relishing the chance to use KindyPortal as a parent again. It’s just so good to see photos and read about what he’s up to. He comes home so excited, telling me all about what he’s been doing. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out what he’s on about, in all his four-year-old excitement.

“We put a balloon on top and the first one didn’t work but the next one blew up like this! Weeeeeeee!!” - Um, what? Without a bit of a hint I’d have had no idea he was telling me about their yeast experiment, using a balloon to catch the carbon dioxide released by the bubbling sugar, yeast and water mixture. A well-timed article makes it so much easier to make the most of that post-kindy conversation.

And I have to say, as a parent, the photos are definitely the drawcard. I obsessively scan all the group shots for a glimpse of his little face, hoping to see he’s smiling or engaging with a friend. And the best thing is reading a few words about my son in particular - a project he initiated or something clever or funny he said - with related photos of course.

I’ve been chatting at the playground to some of the other kindy mums and the consensus is that we love hearing what the kindy group is up to as a whole but the most special articles to us are, of course, the ones about our own child. It’s hard in those first few weeks to separate from your little one. I think in many cases the parents are more nervous about that first day than the kids. One of the best ways to calm our first-term jitters is a quick sentence or two and a photo of that special smiling face so we know they’re settling in and making friends.

If you’ve been using KindyPortal for a while you might already know about the “Fan Out” button and how to use it. But for those who don’t, here’s how it works.

Say you want to write an individual article for each child in the group - just a quick one to let each parent know that everything’s going well:

  1. Start by creating one new article with all of the student names checked, and the relevant learning outcomes added.
  2. Write the generic information you want to tell everyone, for example “Today we started working with clay. The group as a whole were so excited to get stuck in with different tools, sharing ideas and inspiration.”
  3. Once you’ve finished the text and maybe added a group photo, make sure the article has saved then press the “Fan Out” button. This will create a draft article for each student, with the text and photos you’ve already added.
  4. Now you can go into each article and add an individual photo and perhaps another line or two saying what they created with the clay.
  5. Hey presto, you now have an individualised article about each child and some very happy parents!


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