The Genius Blog

Genius Reflection: How to Survive the Kindergarten Year

Posted by: Erin Dunn on 08/25/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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SignUpGenius kindergarten tips ideas survival guide volunteering parents involvement PTA
Erin Dunn
Genius Marketing Strategist

As a marketing strategist, Erin spends her days writing, editing, planning promotions/contests and talking to SignUpGenius’ world-changing users. At home, she’s a mom to a 6-year-old boy who’s about to start first grade. She’s sharing with us some important lessons she learned from surviving the kindergarten year. 

As a family with two full-time working parents, balance and routine are key to a happy home. No matter what, kindergarten is a major shift in a family’s schedule. Here’s my advice about dealing with the change successfully and setting realistic expectations. 

Don’t Compare Your Child. Kindergarten students come into the year on totally different levels. My son is on the younger side, and there were a handful of classmates who were a whole year older — and a lot taller. Whether your kid is the shrimp or the giant, the kid who can already read picture books or the kid who hates practicing letters, remember that abilities tend to even out through the years. 

kindergarten tipsEstablish a Sleep Routine. This might seem self evident, but it takes some time to figure out. Our son got into a bad habit because his full-day pre-school still required a naptime he didn’t need — meaning he wouldn’t go to sleep until far too late in the evening. No naps in kindergarten, so it took his body some time to adjust. 

Get to Know the Teacher. Above all else, remember that you and your child’s teacher are on the same side. Parent-teacher conferences are important, but make sure to keep up the lines of communication throughout the year. Your child’s teacher knows what they need to work on — whether it’s academic or social. We were blessed to have an awesome kindergarten teacher. If for some reason you find that’s not the case, try to address any problems directly. 

Expect Bumps Along the Way. Your child is probably going to learn some words you’d rather they didn’t know. They might even have an all-out conflict with another student. (Just like adults, not all personalities go together well.) Developmental or psychological problems might surface. Take these all in stride, and make sure to ask for advice from friends and experts along the way. School is a marathon and not a sprint. 

Be Selective with Activities. The great thing about kindergartners is they are still figuring out their interests. Give them the opportunity to try different activities throughout the year, but don’t force any on them. Start slowly at the beginning of the year, so you don’t overwhelm them. We found one weekday extracurricular and one weekend activity were a good fit. 

Find a Way to Get Involved. You probably won’t be running the school carnival when your first child is in kindergarten, but find a way to get involved — it’s really important to a school’s success. If you work full time like me, you might not be able to sign up for duty-free lunch on a weekly basis, but you can help supervise the course at the school’s 5K run.

If your school could use SignUpGenius, introduce it to the PTA or your child’s teacher. You’ll look like a genius! 

Want more advice from our team members? Read The Evolution of the Class Party and Confessions of a Fundraising Mom.        


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Free Download: SignUpGenius Makes Back-to-School Photos Easier

Posted by: Kayla Rutledge on 08/18/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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The first day of school comes with a comically long to-do list. After easing your kids into a new morning routine, planning simple meals and hunting down all those school supplies, how can you make time to take one of those seemingly impossible Instagram-worthy back-to-school pictures?  

You know the ones — a child wearing fresh, ironed clothing, carrying her organic, healthy lunch, smiling perfectly.  

While we might not be able to do your grocery shopping, we can help you capture this important milestone. Download our #MiniGenius printable, fill in your child’s grade and get to snapping. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #minigenius when you post your picture. Now that’s genius! 

Need more time-saving ideas? Check out all the simple sign up tools that can help you get organized during this busy time of year. 


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Your Back-to-School Resource Guide 

Posted by: Kayla Rutledge on 08/17/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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back to school, guide, tips, teachers, parents, students, organizing, planning, organize, school supplies, wish list, conferencesThe smell of new backpacks is in the air, and here at SignUpGenius we are getting ready for all the surprises this school year will bring. As the year gets off to a swift start, make sure you’ve got your freshly-sharpened colored pencils in a row with these genius resources! 

Tips for Parents

You’ll be top of the class with these ideas for staying organized this year.

Tips for Teachers

Stay in control and avoid the fall frazzle with these resources.

Be a Pro

With SignUpGenius Pro, you can take your organization to new heights this school year. Dozens of features make it easy. Plus, we’re offering a special discount through September 15.

  • Assign multiple administrators with different levels of privileges and access, all in one account. The book fair just got a whole lot easier.
  • Organize large events or volunteer opportunities spanning multiple months with Sign Up Tabbing. Great for carpools, yearlong volunteer events and large festivals.
  • Sync events directly to your calendar with Calendar Sync and save time tracking down your commitments.
  • Add attachments to sign ups to save paper and distribute information easily to all your participants.

 With all these ideas in your thinking cap, you’re sure to have an A+ school year!


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Kansas City Church Shows a Heart for Teachers 

Posted by: Kayla Rutledge on 08/15/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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school supply wish list teacher church closet givingA few years ago, members of North Heartland Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri, were inspired to address a pressing problem in their city: Teachers at low-income schools surrounding North Heartland weren’t receiving the school supplies they needed to give students a great learning experience.  

Money was coming out of the teachers’ own pockets, and church members were determined for that to change. The church raised supply donations and held a free teacher supply giveaway, setting their church up like a store for a day. 

However, organizing the event soon became more complicated. While 120 teachers attended the first year, and the event went off without a hitch, 525 teachers showed up soon after church doors opened the second year. Instead of being helpful, the event was a frustrating and disorganized scramble to grab supplies. 

Enter a genius tool. This year, the church used SignUpGenius to let teachers sign up for time slots during the event, limiting the number of teacher each hour to about 100.  

Since volunteers could create the time slots, they were able to leave time for restocking in between, ensuring that every teacher received helpful supplies. The event went smoothly, and the church gained valuable information about which schools in the area were struggling by setting up a custom question on the sign up asking teachers where they taught. 

“I love that users can edit their own information, as well as receive reminders and that I can communicate with them about things to bring or a note of thanks when the event is over,” says Shannon Horn, an associate pastor at the church. 

Now that’s a genius idea! Know a teacher who could use some extra support this school year? Nominate them in our $5,000 Teacher Wish List Giveaway. We’re awarding $500 to 10 teachers to help them stock up on school supplies this year.  


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Look Smart: Introduce SignUpGenius to your Groups this Fall

Posted by: Kayla Rutledge on 08/10/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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SignUpGenius, introduce, information, FAQ, starter kit, introduction, share, groups, downloadThe start of fall activities presents a chance to reintroduce yourself and pick from a fresh slate of clubs, sports and groups for you and the kids. Hoping to make a great first impression? If you’re like us, we’re willing to bet you’ve got at least one group in mind that you think would benefit from using SignUpGenius. 

To make your job super simple, we’ve put together resources and ideas you can share at your next meeting or during your next email exchange. Whether you’re scheduling Sunday School volunteers at church or a snack rotation at school, we promise they’ll help lighten the load as your planning shifts into high gear. 

  • Check out our Starter Kit for videos and simple tutorials on how to get the most out of your SignUpGenius experience.
  • Want to use SignUpGenius in a specific area? Download a one-page PDF to share with your group, whether it’s for your school, church, business, nonprofit or sports team.
  • Learn how to collect money on your sign ups using SignUpGenius Payments. It makes collecting money for registration fees, group gifts and ticket sales a breeze.
  • Introduce SignUpGenius Pro to your group for more organizational firepower, from assigning multiple administrators and adding attachments to your sign ups to syncing your entire sign up to your digital calendar and gathering volunteer reports.
  • Search our FAQ database for answers to common questions or watch our video tutorials that walk you through creating a sign up, using advanced features and more.
  • Wonder who’s behind this genius product? For information about our team, our corporate culture code and how we got started, check out our about us page.

If there’s ever something you need that we haven’t addressed here, please contact our award-winning support staff. We’ll be happy to introduce ourselves!



Posted by Gilma Hernandez on Monday, August 15, 2016 8:12 AM EDT
Hi Marie and Betsy,

How do I sign up for the epic training? This is my first time using this system. Please share any ideas. Thank you!
Posted by Betsy Lytle on Monday, August 15, 2016 9:20 AM EDT
Hi Gilma,
We offer a quick tutorial that will walk you through the steps needed to sign up. Please go to the link below to access this video:
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Grant a Teacher’s Wish with our $5,000 Giveaway

Posted by: Kayla Rutledge on 08/08/2016 12:00 AM EDT
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SignUpGenius contest giveaway deal raffle $5,000 teachers schools education wish list

Does back-to-school season make you nostalgic for new pencil boxes and matching binder-folder combos? It’s not just us, right? 

Organization is a back-to-school essential, and this fall SignUpGenius is helping grant the color-coordinated wishes of your favorite teachers. We’re awarding $5,000 — $500 to 10 lucky teachers — in our Teacher Wish List Giveaway

Think of all the paper clips that can buy!                                                                                  

The rules are simple: Nominate your favorite teacher by September 15. Then, we’ll randomly select 10 teachers for a $500 Visa gift card to go toward filling their wish list! Winning nominators will also get a $25 gift card as a thank you. 

You can enter up to once a day, and sharing the contest on social media will increase your chances of winning. 

GENIUS TIP: If you’re a teacher hoping to drum up some nominations, it’s easy to create a school supply wish list on SignUpGenius and share it with parents, friends and family. 

After all, teachers do vital work — organizing their year can make all the difference! 


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