Edublogs Teacher Challenges

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Step 6: Help parents and students connect

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Welcome to the sixth step in our free professional learning series on class and student blogging!


The aim of this step is to:

  1. Explain why it is important to help parents and students connect with your class blog.
  2. Show common problems parents and students have locating class blogs on the Internet.
  3. Provide 9 simple ways you can help parents and students find and use your class blog.

Why help parents and students connect

Class blogs are an excellent way for parents to find out what is happening in class and what their child is learning.  While students love seeing their work on the Internet and adore getting comments from people. It motivates them to write as it gives them an audience that is real.  The blog opens up a whole new world of people who can offer encouragement and feedback.

But there’s nothing more frustrating trying to find your teacher’s website and not being able to find it — make it too hard and they’ll quickly give up.

If you want to get the most out of your class blog you need to help parent and students connect with, understand how to use your blog and easily find your class blog.

Finding your blog on the Internet

It’s quite common for educators new to blogging to assume their class blog is easily found using Google or that students will write the blog URL correctly in their notebook.  These are bad approaches and decrease the chances they will be able to find your class blog.

Here’s how frustrating it can be searching for a teacher’s website using Google:

Frustration of Googling a blog

Here is how annoying it is if the student (or you) writes down the wrong blog URL.

In the examples below the correct URL is mrswaters.edublogs.org. Each example is a common mistake we see in blog URLs sent to Edublogs support.

First part of the blog URL incorrect

If the first part of your blog URL is typed wrongly they will be redirected to the Edublogs sign up page where some parents and students have been known to try to solve the problem by signing up for a new blog.

Sign up for new blog

Edublogs.org spelt wrong

Missed the s in edublogs

Spelt as edublog.org

Forgot the l in edubogs

Forgot the l

Or writes it as an email address:

Writes as email address

What you need to do

Most experienced educators use several different methods to help parents and students:

  1. Understand what is a blog and how they can participate.
  2. Easily find the class blog on the Internet.

10 Simple Ideas to help

The most important tip is make sure you go to your class blog URL and then copy/paste your blog URL from the address bar of your web browser into any information you share with students and parents!

It’s really easy to type your blog URL wrongly – copying/pasting your blog URL ensures you get the URL correct every time!

Copy URL

#1.  Business card magnet with your class blog URL

Business card

Example of a business card

#2.  Include the link to your class blog in the school newsletter or send home your own blogging newsletter

Here’s an example of a blogging newsletter by 34MK 2012.

Example of Blogging newsletter

Example of blogging newsletter

#3.  Post link to your class blog on your teacher or school website

#4.  Include your name in the blog URL

Here’s examples of class blogs that use this approach:

#5.  Add a link to your class blog in your email signature

Examples of email signatures

Examples of email signatures

#6.  Create a QR Codes for your class blog URL

Student holding a QR code

Example of a QR code

#7.  Create detailed Parent handouts

Here’s an example of Eagles Writes handouts designed to help parents know: what is a blog, the blog URL and why they blog.

Parent Handout

Example of Parent Handout page 1

Parent Handout

Example of Parent Handout page 2

Here’s Kirsten Tschofen’s parent consent form and parent handout.  If your school or school district doesn’t have a consent form then we recommend you discuss what needs to be included if you develop your own form.

Parent consent form

Example of a parent consent form

Here’s  2Km and 2KJ Blog information note designed to help parents know: what is a blog, the blog URL, why they blog and their safety guidelines.

Here’s 10 Steps to Navigating 2M and 2KJ blog for helping them understand blog jargon, subscribe to email notification, leave comments and so on.

#8.  Have parent information nights.

#9. Host a family blogging month

Encouraging parents and families to comments makes it more meaningful for students.   It also helps familiarize family and students with how to interact with your class blog.

One way to do this is to have a family blogging month that focuses on a commenting challenge by family members.  How it works is students record the number of comments by each different type of family member on a class blog chart and the student with the most comments at the end of the month wins a prize.

Check out Miss Jordan’s Class blog Family Blogging month post to learn more and here is a post designed to encourage family members to respond.

#10.  Set up email subscription for notification of new posts

It’s as simple as:

1. Go to Appearance > Widgets

widgets

2.  Add the email subscription widget to your sidebar.

Adding email subscirption

3.  Go to Subscriptions > Settings

Settings

4.   Click on Mail Template and personalize — if you want to customize the look.

Customizing the email

Here’s example of part of a full post email notification:

Full post email

Full post email

5.  Click on General Settings and customize your settings (optional).

General Settings

6.  You can even add email subscribers using Subscriptions > Add Subscribers!

Add subscribers

Your Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about student blogging by undertaking one or more of these challenges:

  1. Read through our 10 Simple ideas to help and choose one or more of the ideas to use with your students and parents.  Leave a comment to let us know which ones you are going to try with your class or share a link to any resources you’ve developed.
  2. What are your tips for helping parents and students connect with your class blog?  Leave a comment to let us know.

Also feel free to leave any questions you are having (or tips/advice) as well.

5 comments for “Step 6: Help parents and students connect

  1. lhaskell
    August 13, 2014 at 5:16 am

    This step gave many helpful ideas. I know I will link my blog to my class website. I think I will also create handouts for curriculum night in Sept. and maybe even add the link to my school email.

    • Sue Waters
      August 13, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Linda, I like the idea of a handout! Would you mind sharing your handout once it is created? Would love to check it out.

  2. madamechristian
    August 9, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Having read through the 10 Simple Ideas to Help, I have decided to create a business card with all of my contact information and insert a link to the blog on my e-mail signature.

    • Sue Waters
      August 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Madame Christian, I like the idea of the business cards especially if they have handy way to clip onto the fridge.

  3. jbrownlee24
    August 7, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Welcome!

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