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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 11 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. Comments motivates students 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 parents or students 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 are redirected to the 404 page not found error page.

urlwrong

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.

11 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. Students write a letter to their parents

Organize for your students to write a letter to their parents to introduce the class blog and how the class will use the blog.

Here are student letter examples from Land of Year 4’s Class blog.

Student letter 3
Example 1: Student letter to parents
Student letter 2
Example 2: Student letter to parents
studentletter3
Example 3:  Student letter to parents

#11.  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 completing the following tasks:

  1. Read through our 11 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. Read through the most recent comments in reply to this step and leave a response to another person’s comment.

206 Comments

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  1. As I was reading these tips, I added the link to my class blog in my e-mail signature. With how many students and parents I e-mail on a daily basis, I think this would be a great and easy way to help them connect!

  2. hello.i create my edublog .but noone beside me can access to the blog.further the files which i attached does not open in the blog

  3. I am going to do ideas #2, 3, 4, and 5. I already added it to my email address! I will be sending an email to my parents with the URL on it to make access easier.

  4. I am choosing #3 and #4. I included my name in my url, and I put my url on my school webpage. Hopefully this will help parents and students navigate to my site!

    • Desiree Beard
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  5. I’m not finding the subscribe by email widget…

    • Hi Mrs. Englot

      The Subscription Widget can be found at Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard. We have added the widget n your behalf to show you how it is done.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  6. Of the 11 ideas, I particularly like 3, 4, and 5. I already include my name in the URL, but it had never occurred to me to post a link to the blog on the school website (although I have links on the blog to a couple of pages on the website). Even better, I’ll include the URL on future e-mails. As a private school teacher, I often e-mail parents. I also like the idea of a business card with the e-mail address and the blog URL, but would I use business cards much? When I shared the URL with parents at last week’s open house, many jotted it down, although I’d also given it to them when I sent home policy statements at the beginning of the year. I suspect the policy statements are returned signed but unread.

    • I think I will add it to my email signature, too. Great idea!

      • Desiree Beard
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  7. I am going to try a few! I have made a QR code already and then I will be linking it to my school website as well as a parent letter home.

  8. I am at the beginning stages of introducing blogging to a new group of students. I have created a QR code to post at each work table to ensure students can locate Edublogs and save the address correctly.
    Common Sense Education provides great resources for families to prompt discussion on digital citizenship and support the home-school connection (available in English and Spanish). Find a glossary, tip sheets, contracts, surveys and discussion topics at
    https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/connecting-families/share

    • ​Hi Ms Layne

      ​Thank you for sharing That is a great resource.

      ​Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  9. Our blog will be linked to our school’s website, I have already created a QR code for it and I will send an email out to all my students with the correct link.

    • Forestdweller
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  10. I’ve already linked my blog site to my teacher website, but I will also:
    1) Have it linked to the school website
    2) Have the principal give the link in a FB post from our school FB site
    3) Add (I’ve done this) a widget for subscribing to the site

    I’ve just asked this question on another page, but I’ll do it here as well, just in case it’s more relevant here. I currently have one page and have added the subscription feature, but would it be better to have a separate blog URL for each class that blogs? Or is it better to have a separate page within this one blog for each class?

    Thank you!

    • That is an excellent question. I think it is nice to have seperate URLs, so that one lass can identify with the blog. I will start out with 15-16yr olds this year, but might add my 11 yr olds as well later – I guess the layout, widgets … that appeal to the smaller students won’t necessary work with the teenagers… So I’ll have two seperate class blogs I guess.

      • Forestdweller
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  11. Hello! Lots of great ideas here! Reading other teachers post I realized what a great idea involving the students could be, so that they can be the ones to tell their parents about the blog. So I have created some slides to explain to them what is a blog and why we use it, and then they have to fill in a handout for their parents that includes an authorization form for their parents and a contract for them to sign… I think it is a great idea parents and students feel part of the blog. Here is a link to the post I created about this:
    http://tiradelalengua.edublogs.org/2016/09/03/explicaselo-a-tus-padres-que-es-un-blog-y-para-que-sirve/

    • Hi “sacalalengua”

      Thank you for the positive feedback.

      Setting up your page to help parents understand what you are trying to achieve with your blogs is a great idea. You might want to add this video too? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDxg5ODEXEQ

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

    • Thanks for sharing, sacalalengua. I will also create a handout for parents to authorize and invite them to visit the blog. I like that you created a visual presentation for viewers of the site.

    • I like this idea. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I was in the classroom getting ready for our open house and created a QR code. It was super easy and practiced it with a fellow teacher. It was able to take her right to the blog and was super easy. I plan to have that out on Open House night and then send a follow up email to keep the message fresh.

    • I love this idea. I’m not sure if we are having an open house this year (high school, sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t), but it’s a great venue for the QR code.

    • Very good ideas! It’s smart to have a variety of ways to help parents and students connect to your blog. I’m sure they will love it!

  13. I added my blog address to my email signature, it has been added to my staff bio on our school website, and my name is part of my blog address.

  14. I like #7. I plan to create a handout for parents and students to help them navigate the blog.
    Check out my new subscribe button…Can anyone tell me how to customize the email so the subject doesn’t have that default latin text? That’s not in the directions.

    • Mrs. Haflett

      The default Latin text is just there for the test email. Subscribers will get the subscription emails in the correct format.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  15. My plan is to introduce blogging on Back to School Night this week to parents and students by incorporating it in my presentation. I also designed a flyer for parents to take home that gives information on why and how we will be blogging, and it will be attached to a permission slip. I really liked the subscription widget so I added that as well! There were so many good examples on this page.

  16. I created a temporary model for a business card magnet with our workshop blog URL; I added a signature to my e-mail with our blog URL; I’m looking forward to being allowed to have our blog link in our future school newsletter. I’ll invite my most enthousiast young writers to explain to their parents how we would love to use our writing workshop blog.
    Ines
    http://cadescrita.edublogs.org

    • Good idea having students help out with that!

    • I also think it is a great idea to involve children!

  17. I plan on creating a parent handout as well as blogging permission page. I plan on having my students be a part of creating each of these documents. I will also include my blog url in the school newspaper. I would like my students to create the business cards that are distributed.

    • Mrs. Dominguez
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    • Hi Mrs Dominguez, I like the idea of having our students to create the business cards themselves. I’ll just have to provide the material they need. Thank you for the suggestion.
      Ines

    • I really like your idea to include students in creating the parent handout! I wanted to have something ready for parents at Back to School Night before school begins, but maybe I could have my students help create a blogging newsletter.

    • Hi Mrs. Dominguez-

      Love the idea of having students help in creating the documents. I plan to put that into my first week schedule as well. Thanks!

  18. I added the URL to my email signature and added a subscribe via email widget to my blog!

  19. I like the QR code and the email subscription ideas. The QR codes would be good when we do iPad activities. Since I deliver at TAFE we do not have a newsletter or parental contact. I have no idea how to post a link to a private website in Blogger.

  20. The examples of blog info pages were helpful. I will be creating an info page to upload onto my school’s website.

  21. Hello. I actually am having my students complete several of the above steps (narrowed down to 6). They are creating a QR code, inserting the code into business cards with their blog address and email address – this they are submitting to me for a grade. They are also posting a link in the class edmodo account (in lieu of their personal social network sites), and have added the blog and email addresses to their email account signatures.

    • Hi “Mscoultas”

      Adding QR codes to business cards is a great idea. It might also be useful to add the QR code to their blogs.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  22. I have added the blog address to my email signature. This will make sure other staff are aware of and have access to my Blog.

    • Hi “casmith123”

      Adding your blog address to your email signature is a great idea. You can also add it to your twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, or any other online presence you may have.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

    • Adding the blog address to my email signature is a great idea. This could also allow staff to see what we are doing in class and can offer students VET pathways where they have not had offered before.

    • I hadn’t thought that adding the URL to my e-mail signature would inform colleagues as well as parents. Thanks for pointing that out, “casmith123.” I’ll be sure to do so now. PJ Liebson (mrsliebson.edublogs.org)

  23. I have added a subscribe by email widget onto the blog page. I have tried to change the format of the confirmation email.
    The blog is not going live yet, but am thinking about producing a ‘Blog Newsletter’.
    Blog- http://bowleepark.edublogs.org/

    • Hi “casmith123″

      Your blog is looking really good! Please consider moving your ‘Subscribe by Email” to nearer to the top of your widgets t make it imediately visible to site visitors.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  24. I have added the ‘subscribe’ widget and have also posted the link to my blog in various places for my community members to find.

  25. I would like to try number 10, however I am not a pro level user so I will have to find a third party text widget to enable this option.

    • mrpthescienceg
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    • I mean #11

      • mrpthescienceg
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      • Yes, this applies to me also. This will be a work in progress for the time being. Hopefully you have some success with it.