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 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 spelt wrong

Missed the s in edublogs

Spelt as

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


2.  Add the email subscription widget to your sidebar.

Adding email subscirption

3.  Go to Subscriptions > 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.

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

  1. Annie S
    September 14, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Hi there!
    Thank you for the tips on making connections with our parents. Our blog is currently linked to the homepage of our school website. This has made it easier for our students to access the blog. However, I still need to try and promote more parent connectivity. Through this challenge I have added the ‘subscribe via email’ widget. I have also set it so that the email notifications will be sent out each Thursday to align with our newsletter day. I really like Kathleen Morris’ note ’2Km and 2KJ Blog information note’. I might need to send a note home like this at the beginning of next term.

    • Sue Waters
      September 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Annie

      I’ve just checked your email settings in and it is currently set to “Immediately when a post is published” If you want it to send it weekly you need to change it in Subscriptions > Settings.

      You can also manually add email subscribers using Subscribers > Add Subscribers. If you use this option we recommend you select “Skip email confirmation”.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  2. Mrs. Capalbo
    September 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    The things that I have done to promote blog activity are:
    - Including the link on my syllabi
    - Demonstrating blog usage at Parent Teacher Night
    - Created a link to my blog via my school’s website
    - Included my name in my url
    - Added a link in my email signature
    - Set up an email subscription

    The things that I still want to try to promote blog activity are:
    - Writing a “How to Blog” article for the school newsletter
    - Create a QR code

    I think the most important thing for connecting with parents and students via the class blog is to make sure it serves a purpose that you believe in, merely having a blog just to say you have one isn’t enough. It has to be up to date, it has to contain important information, it has to be easy to find and navigate, it has to serve a function and as an art teacher I feel it has to be visually interesting.
    Amy Capalbo

    • Sue Waters
      September 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Amy

      Great point re “most important thing for connecting with parents and students via the class blog is to make sure it serves a purpose that you believe in, merely having a blog just to say you have one isn’t enough. It has to be up to date, it has to contain important information, it has to be easy to find and navigate, it has to serve a function”

      That aspect isn’t something I had thought of including in my information for this section but it is a very important point. Parents and students need to see value in how you are using the blog; without that you will struggle to make the connections with them.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  3. Tina Mayling
    September 10, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Finding out how to use all QR codes in all these useful ways has changed the scope of what I can do. My intention will be to host a parent session run by the students demonstrating and sharing tips and advice about the blog. This is where I can give the parents an information pack with QR codes and other relevant information.
    In the classroom I like the idea of the QR codes saving time by eliminating the problems with students typing url’s incorrectly, especially for younger students. We will promote our blog on our school Facebook page and launch a family blogging month. Having an initial promotion and targeted project for everyone to be a part of should contribute to a sense of momentum and engagement for the students.

    • Dan Leeman
      September 12, 2014 at 4:42 am

      Hi Tina,

      I agree, early involvement with families and initial promotion are a great way to get students engaged and excited!

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

  4. Amy Brill
    September 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    I have a class website through Haiku Learning that the entire school uses to stay connected. When I introduced my blog, I put a link to the blog on my front page, which is where parents and students go each week to find information on homework and what we are working on in class. I also have an “English Blog” page on my site that can be found on the left side of my homepage. I instructed parents and students to bookmark my page in their browsers, but they can always find the link by going to my “English Blog” page on my Haiku page. It makes it pretty simple. I love the QR code idea, though! I am going to create a mini poster of my blog page with the QR code and post it in my classroom. Great idea!

    • Sue Waters
      September 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Amy

      QR codes are very popular with educators currently. We’re seeing so many amazing ways they are being used. Paul Heubl just published a post on how he uses QR codes with Mystery Commenting on student blogs –


      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  5. kwregglesworth
    September 2, 2014 at 12:02 am

    QR Code is a great idea – I love them, but never think to make my own and use them!

    I have the address of my blog on the top of the syllabus that is sent home to parents, but on the day we first start using the blog, I will hand out QR code to students as well – and hopefully some of them will make it home to parents!

  6. katiethiedeman
    September 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    These tips are great. My school has already done a few of them, ie the permission form, a sticker in students communication books and emails to parents to encourage them to subscribe to the blog so that they get email notifications and a direct link to the blog. I also try to post questions on the blog to encourage students and parents to log on at home and answer. For example, which countries were involved in the Commonwealth Games? Now that most parents have subscribed, I find that there is a lot more involvement from parents.

    • Sue Waters
      September 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      H Katie

      Great to hear you have strong support from your school to help with promoting it to parents and that using email subscription has helped encourage parent involvement.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  7. misscruice
    September 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    This was very helpful as my next step on the blog is getting my students set up to begin posting. For the first few weeks of school, I have just been running the class blog as a class website with information for parents and extra resources for students. In the next weeks I will be working through talking with my parents and training students to begin their own blogs. I thought the family blogging month was a neat idea – and could be a great positive way to kick off the student blogging!
    I thought the parental consent form was excellent and will be adapting it for use with my parents. I will also be adding our class blog to my email signature.
    One thing that I did was to post a QR code to our class blog on the window of our door to our classroom – parents could scan it on open house night (I don’t think anybody did…) or a parent or administrator could pull up our website on their phone as they walk by to get a glimpse of the workings of our classroom.

  8. Kae Cunningham
    September 1, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Great suggestions on how to promote our blogs in the ’10 Simple Ideas to help”. I plan to include a link to my blog in my email signature and will also post a link to it from our school class page on our school website. If time permits, I will also create a brochure/handout for parents at our upcoming parent night. I have already sent home an intro letter that informed parents we were going to be blogging in class. ( a CYA, of sorts), but also plan to followup with an email message with more details when I get closer to implementing in the classroom.

    I am curious how others have addressed the issue of limiting our posts with a blog password vs. the motivational ideal of the authentic/global audience. In my intro of the concept to the class, I received the comment/attitude ” nobody’s gonna read it anyway”. Any thoughts/suggestions for this “non-believer”?
    Mrs. C

    • September 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      G’day Kae,
      Back in 2008 I began blogging with my class. We had the class blog open to the world, but who was leaving comments … only the students and myself. I had to find a way to get that global connection for the students.

      Thus began the student blogging challenge which I now run twice each year for a ten week period each time. This is a chance for students and classes to connect, read posts and leave quality comments with students all over the world. So far over 400 classes from 20 countries have registered their class blog. I am expecting more students to start registering their own personal blogs in the next few weeks now school is back.

      If you are interested in joining, click on the link in my signature area. The most recent post has links to the class registration as well as student registration (only students who have their own blog)

      Sue Wyatt
      Mentor: Teacher challenge
      Founder: Student blogging challenge

  9. library1884
    August 31, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Sorry, my comment was not finished.
    Once the blog is ready for the children and parents I intend to do a few things:
    – share the link with the children via email
    – add the link to the children’s pages on google drive and the children’s website

    • library1884
      August 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      I’m still not finished.

      • library1884
        August 31, 2014 at 3:27 pm

        I also intend to put an item with some education in the school newsletter and create a QR code with a link to the blog. Wish me luck.

  10. library1884
    August 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    My blog is not ready to be introduced to the chlldren yet as there is no real content (we only have 3 weeks of the term left) but I am going to send an email to all the staff with a link to the blog address and ask them to comment on it – set up and colour scheme, etc.
    Once the blog is ready for students and parents I intend to do a number of things

    • Sue Waters
      September 1, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Hi Cheryl ( library1884 )

      Sounds like you have it all really well organised and are giving yourself time to make sure it is set up as you want.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  11. jennygraham
    August 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    When we first started, we emailed all our parents with a link to the blog. This way they could see what a blog was, and to get permission for their daughter to be part of the blog. At the start of the year we included information about blogging in our Curriculum Information Evening, and all parents subscribed. They love the connection to their daughter’s education and see the blog as a way to start conversations with their daughter. When asked, “What did you do at school today?” instead of responding with “I don’t know!” or “Nothing”, the families can ask specific questions and have a richer discussion.

    • Sue Waters
      September 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Jenny

      Thanks for sharing how you helped parents connect with your class blog and how it has benefited both families and your students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  12. August 30, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    This is great fun and I can’t wait to teach to my students. I have added some widgets to our blog and created a QR code which I will be sending home with students. I could not find the ‘subscribers’ widget to set this up.
    Mrs Monaco

    • Sue Waters
      September 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Hi Mrs Monaco

      The widgets look really good. Let us know how the students go with the QR code.

      The email subscription widget is an Edublogs Pro widget. You only see it in your widget area if you are using an Edublogs Pro blog.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  13. Mohammed Khurshed Alam
    August 29, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    This is one of the important elements of blogging that we often over look. I like all the links and love to follow the rules that will consolidate my online blogging for my class. Thank you very much, Edublogs team.

  14. María Jesús García San Martín
    August 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    All these tips and ideas are just awesome, thanks ever so much!
    As I have no parents to connect with because I teach at University and I train teachers online at the Spanish Ministry of Education, what I have done is develop a page for my trainees to connect with other peers through a range of collaborative projects they can be part of, and so there we have the “Proud to be part of …” page, In that way, I hope they can become e-connected learners too.
    Hope you find it is OK
    Best regards

  15. Dallas
    August 29, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I am definitely going to put the classroom blog’s link in the signature of my teacher email address. Then every time I email parents the link will be right there for them to click on!

  16. Petra Willemse
    August 29, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Since I’m using my blog more as a professional resource than a classroom resource, I’m not sure I need to promote it to parents. However, I’m not adverse to doing so either. It’s not hidden information – I tweet posts etc, but the information is more reflective, more critical of my practice and pedagogy.

    What are other people’s thoughts? Do you share your professional reflections with parents?

    • Sue Waters
      August 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Petra

      Most teachers I support keep the two blogs separate. They have the class blog which they share with the families and students. While their personal educator blog they are more likely to share with other educators. You’ll find our tips on sharing personal educator blogs here –

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  17. brandonch58
    August 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I have a subscribe by email box on my home page. However, I also send home a letter at the beginning of the year to parents, show them personally during our beginning of year conferences, as well as send home a handout on blogging tips. The handout was from edu blogs. I really like the idea of parent blogging month! I might give that a try for students to blog at home about their reading books.

  18. Musekiwa Mafara
    August 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Since I teach in High School I would like my students to submit assignments to different folders like you can with Google Drive. Is it possible with WordPress/Edublogs? If not I also would like to know how its done with Google Drive.

  19. leah sharp
    August 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I am going to add my blog addresses to my email signature for starters but our specialist team of teachers are planning to release them for open to school inspection at the end of this term which will be done with a specialist newsletter home. I also have my blog address listed in the hard copy visual book of art room stuff that is kept in the front foyer of the school.
    A suggestion might be to add your address to Facebook pages as that will easily access a lot of current contacts and most schools seem to be on it now. Twitter could also be another option or link it to your pages through Pinterest and other social media :)

    • Sue Waters
      August 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Leah

      Love the idea of adding the blog URL into the hard copy visual book of art room. I hadn’t thought of that. Wonder if also worth adding it as a QR code as that might grab attention?

      Pinterest would be a really lovely way to share student art work as it works well for visual areas.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  20. August 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I have already included a link to my blog for students and parents on my class website. Additionally, in the classroom I have included a QR code for easy access to the blog and placed the code on my course syllabus that went home for parents. Lastly, the blog name is my name which I think helps students remember the URL in order to navigate to blog site.

    • Sue Waters
      August 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Kara

      Great idea of adding the QR code to the course syllabus!

      Including your name in the blog URL definitely helps provided they don’t get the rest of the URL wrong or include @ in the URL. You would be amazed at the number of URLs we’re sent daily by educators that include @ or the wrong URL. Having the URL included in some many sources like you’ve done helps addresses these types of problems.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  21. Amanda Levine
    August 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I am completely invested in having my parents involved in my blog. Last year’s blog served as valuable one-way communication – parents enjoyed it and appreciated getting what turned out to be the equivalent of a weekly newsletter.

    This year, I am handling my blog differently. I want my students to eventually write the posts. Right now (we have only had 2 days of school so far), we are writing the posts together as a class. I have sent emails home to parents informing them of the two posts we have created and have encouraged them to comment. For homework tonight, I asked my students to share the posts with their parents and to comment. Since they are so young, I know parents will be doing much of the typing and the posts/comments will be enjoyed together.

    I have my address in the signature section of my email and on the weekly homework sheet the students have received.

    Right now I am accepting almost any student comment, provided the grammar/spelling/mechanics are okay (which they are because the parents are helping). My next step is going to be paper blogging with my students to teach them about how to comment. Once they learn about commenting, I am going to teach them how to write the posts. If two students post a week, the rest can comment on those posts.

    In our two days of school, my students have been quite excited by the blog and have begun commenting among themselves. Please let me know if you have any other general advice for me. This is new territory!

    • Sue Waters
      August 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Amanda

      Great approach and it looks like you have it all organised well!

      Teachers like Kathleen Morris and Linda Yollis get the parents to help their younger students with leaving a comment on posts. It helps parents connect with class blog while supporting the students with their literacy skills.

      Some teachers rotate their students through publishing posts on the class blog once they feel the students are going well with their commenting while others get their students to publish post on their own student blogs. Ms Cassidy’s blog ( )is an example of younger students with their own student blogs where as Mrs Yollis blog the students publish posts on the class blog.

      Great to hear how excited your students are!

      Only tip I can think of is make sure all comments are moderated and only published when you approve them. I’m not sure what the default comment setting for Weebly is so I would check to make sure it is set to moderate all comments.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  22. Mrs MacInnis
    August 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

    The proper use and consent form is a great idea! I will make sure my students have these on day one (this Friday!). I better get started on it.
    Having attempted a blog before that very few people read regularly (I think I had one comment), I am taking this step seriously. I’ve posted my blog information in a few spots:
    -on the school website
    -in my signature on all my emails
    -in my classroom
    I am sure that this blog will be accessed frequently since it will be the primary resource for my journalism class. All work will be managed through the blog.

    On Meet the Teacher night (Sept 24), I will give parents a handout. I also plan to give these handouts to my fellow teachers to inspire them to create blogs as well.

    • Sue Waters
      August 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Mrs MacInnis

      Many schools and school districts now have consent forms to cover all classes however it is more common in 1-to-1 schools. Worth checking to see if your school does have a standard consent form.

      I’m not sure how you feel about a class twitter account but it is another way we see Journalism and English teachers help connect their high school students with their blogs.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  23. Bernice
    August 28, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I love all the ideas:) In the past I have sent the link to parents via email and it was usually successful. This time I am going to send a blogging explanation newsletter, post a link on my class website, my name is in my blog URL, and I am going to try put a email subscription widget on my blog…not sure if Kidblog has that facility but I am going to look into it :) I am also going to send the link to my Skype collaborators to get them to visit our blog so we can collect many flags from around the world and connect with other countries and students!

    • Sue Waters
      August 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Hi Bernice

      I’m not sure if Kidblog has an email subscription option. The student blogs are part of the class blog on KidBlog which would make email subscription harder to set up (coding wise).

      Twitter is another great way to get flags from around the World. Most educators are happy to visit a blog if you send out a link and explain why you would like a visit.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  24. Fiona
    August 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    In the early days of our class blog, we emailed all our parents with a link to the blog – mainly so that they could see what a blog was, and to support getting permission for their daughter’s work/images/voice etc to be on it. This year we included it in our start of the year Curriculum Information Evening, and after a few follow up emails with basic blogging info most parents subscribed. I then found the option to invite subscribers and used that to get the last four families on board. Love the QR code idea, and adding the blog address to email signature. Will get onto that.

    • Sue Waters
      August 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Fiona

      The email subscription option makes it so much easier; and being able to upload a CSV file helped. Just make sure you select the skip email confirmation if you add their email address.

      The use of QR codes in schools is increasing and there are so many different ways you can use QR codes with students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  25. Mrs Essex
    August 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I have had some of those issues before! grrr…. One of the things I did last year (because writing a URL is tough sometimes) is create QR codes so that students can simply scan it and access the site. It made it easy especially for my beginner readers. I will be doing that again this year. Our blog will also be listed on the school blog and our Twitter page as well as being shown to parents more in depth at our open house. I think I might create those business cards with a QR on them for open house.

    • Sue Waters
      August 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Melanie

      QR codes are a good idea for younger students. One of the teachers I network with used QR codes for an activity for her back to school night. She had five different QR codes spread around the classroom with fun facts about her. Students enjoyed the fun of the scavenger hunt finding the QR codes and learning more about their new teacher.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

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


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