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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.

171 Comments

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  1. 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.

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

  7. 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
    • /
    • /
    • I mean #11

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