Welcome to the third post in the Class Blog series of free and open professional development for educators.
In this challenge, you will:
- Take a look at excellent class blogs
- Setup your About page
- Set up your Rules and Guidelines
- Make it easy for people to find your contact info
- Create a blogroll or links in your sidebar
Example Class Blogs
Your class blog (or class website) is the online hub that extends your class beyond the four walls of your classroom.
As you get going, you will decide the kinds of content and information you wish to have on your blog such as assignment information, student discussions, calendars, documents, and more.
Here are some example (and real live) class blogs you should check out for some ideas:
You should be looking at the types of information available. There is a wide variety, huh?
Setting Up Your “About” Page
You never know how someone might make it to your blog – google search, twitter, facebook, or link from somewhere else.
One of the first things a new visitor will probably look for is an “About” page.
When you first create a new blog, an “About” page or “Sample Page” is already created.
To edit it you go to Pages > All Pages and then click on the Edit link that appears when you put your mouse over the About page or Sample page title.
Watch the video below to learn about Editing Pages
- City or school name
- Grade level and subjects
- Any bio info about you as the teacher you would like to share with parents and others
- And just change the title to About if it’s title says Sample Page.
Setting Up Your “Blogging Rules” Page
An important part of using an online tool with your students is educating them on appropriate online behavior. Just because your students grew up with technology doesn’t mean they appreciate or understand what is/isn’t appropriate to post online.
Your class blog provides an excellent opportunity to educate students, parents and other readers on proper online behavior such as:
- Types of identifying information that is appropriate in posts and/or comments e.g., What are your rules about use of last names, IM, images and personal information?
- What should/shouldn’t you write in posts and/or comments?
Here are examples of different ways they are used on class blogs to help you with the task:
- 2KM and 2 KJ @ Leopold Primary School! Our Blog Guidelines and General blogging information (Grade 2)
- Math Error Class Blogging Guidelines
- Mr. Salsich’s Class Blog Guidelines (Grade 3)
- Mr Mundorf’s Class Online Safety (Grade 5)
- Huzzah’s Commenting Guidelines (Grade 5/6)
- Endless Questions Responsible Blogging (Grade 6-8 )
- Mr. Pfluger’s Discussion Corner Blog Guidelines (Grade 6)
- Our Space Student blogging Guidelines (Year 6)
- Mr. M’s History Blog Posting Comments (Grade 8 )
- Mr Jorgensen’s Blogging Guidelines (Grade 8 )
- Scattergood Biology How To Post and Comment
- Biology in Action Blogging Guidelines (High School and College)
Why not facilitate a collaborative discussion with students to create the rules together? This’ll give them more ownership and a better understanding of what is required.
If you want to include Online Safety activities as part of the process then, Larry Ferlazzo’s The Best Sites For Learning Online Safety post is a good starting place to identify suitable resources.
Once you’ve decided what you want to include in your rules and guidelines it is now just a case of publishing them on your blog.
All you need to do is go to Pages > Add New and create a new page for your blogging rules. These are normally published as pages because pages are ideal for important information like this that you don’t expect to update frequently.
Watch the video below to learn about Writing New Pages
Creating Sidebar Links (Or a blogroll)
One of the things you may have noticed on just about all of the class blogs featured above is that in the right sidebar, they have links to different blogs.
Some link to student blogs of students in the class, some link to their favorite class blogs, and some have links to their school websites or other relevant info.
The idea is that you want to make it easy for visitors to find information they may be interested in. Proving links to your favorite blogs is also a great way of building an online network of like classes.
You have two ways of creating these links:
- The old (but still good) method of using the built in “links” and “blogrolls”
- The new (and also good) method of using custom menus and widgets
You can really go wrong with either way. Click on the links above to find more information about whichever sounds better to you.
Making Contact Easy
Those that visit your blog might also have a need to contact you.
Many teachers choose to create an entirely separate “Contact” page to go with the “About” page.
You might also choose to have a text widget with your contact information placed in your sidebar.
Either way, here are some tips to consider:
- It is most likely best not to put your email address on your blog. A contact form (using a contact or form plugin) is better as it protects you email address from spammers.
- If you do want to provide your email, use text and something like support (at) edublogs (dot) org to make it hard for spammers to pull your email address.
- Home phone numbers are probably not something you want to share as well – but perhaps a classroom phone number is.
Other things to share would be facebook, twitter, or other social media profile information.
Leave a comment below with links to your about page if you’d like!
Or let us know here if you have any questions about the above, or have additional tips to share!