Classroom blogs are a fantastic way to share resources with your students and create a learning and resource hub. It takes far less work to spend 5 - 10 minutes posting to your classroom blog each night than it does to write a monthly newsletter. The most recent content is at the top of the page, so it's easy for students and parents/guardians to locate the resources that are most relevant. It's a great place to keep everyone up to date on your classes learning goals and the assessments that are happening.
One thing I learned after a couple of years of blogging what that you can dramatically improve the impact of your blog, if you can push the content directly to parents/guardians. In my classroom, that began by having every parent that came in for "Meet the Teacher" night in September, sign up for email updates from my blog. That way, parents didn't need to log on to my blog to find out what was happening, it just showed up in their email accounts. What I also learned, was that most often, it showed up on parent and guardian phones.
As I updated my Blogger tutorial (linked below), one of the things that I was focussed on was how I could push those same email updates into the social media stream of parents in a way that was "safe" for teachers (i.e. didn't require friending or following students/parents/guardians/etc.). 93% of Canadians that use social media are on Facebook (Macleans on Campus, April 2013), so I knew that if I could push content onto that platform, I might have even better engagement than email.
Here are the resources I'll be sharing at YRDSB Google Camp 2.0. Right now they feel a little like instruction manuals, but that's the intent because I want teachers to be able to do this without me. I hope to add a little flavour to them over time.
Feel free to share!
Getting Started Resources
- Introduction to Class Blogs with Blogger (Blogging 101): Step by step instructions to take you through the complete process of setting up a blog, through your first post, adding a calendar page and gadgets to make it easier to connect to parents. (View only Google Doc)