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Student Blogging Activity 4 (Beginner) – Helping Parents Connect with your Class Blog

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This week’s student blogging activity is a guest post by Kathleen Morris.

This is the fourth activity in the “30 days to get your students blogging” series.

In this activity you will:

1. Learn why parent participation in blogs is important.

2. Learn about some initiatives that can encourage parents to be involved in your class blog.

3. Introduce some initiatives in your classroom to encourage parent participation in your blog.

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About parents and blogs

One of the many benefits of having a class blog is the strengthening of home-school relationships.

A class blog can provide a virtual window into the classroom.

After having a class blog for a number of years, I have got the message loud and clear that parents and families love being able to keep up with the classroom events and student learning.

You can’t leave parent participation to chance. Parents needs to be educated and regularly encouraged and invited to be part of your class blog.

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Educating parents

At the start of each year when I introduce my class to blogging, there are rarely any students or parents who know anything about blogs or blogging. It is nearly always a totally new concept for them.

I spend time each day helping my students learn about blogging, however I have also come up with ways to educate the parents. This is very important. Parents won’t be willing or able to get involved in blogging if they don’t know anything about it. As Linda Yollis says, everything is more powerful when parents are invovled in their child’s learning so I definitely like to encourage parent participation in blogging.

Like students, parents have different learning preferences and I like to offer my parents a range of different means in which they can learn about blogging.

Introduction to blogging handout

When I send home the initial permission form about blogging on Day One, I include this 2KM and 2KJ Blog Information Note (click this link to access a PDF version).

It lets parents know:

  • What a blog is
  • What our blog URL is
  • Why we blog
  • What our safety guidelines are

Blog information handout

Handout to help parents navigate the blog

There is a lot to know about effectively navigating the class blog so I created a handout for parents called  10 Steps to Navigating the 2KM and 2KJ Blog 2011 (click this link to access a PDF version)

It includes information such as:

  • blog jargon
  • how to subscribe to email updates
  • how to leave and reply to comments
  • how to navigate categories and pages
  • how to search the blog
  • how to become part of our wider blogging community

10 Steps to Navigating the 2KM and 2KJ Blog 2011

Information on the blog

I have created a “learn about blogging” set of pages on our class blog. This explains to readers (including parents) what a blog is, why we blog and how to comment. For parents who prefer a more visual description, I  have created a video explaining how to comment.

Learn about blogging pages

Other ideas for educating parents about blogging

  • Hold a parent information evening and go through the blogging basics.
  • Invite parents in to the classroom to help students compose and edit their blog comments.
  • Set up an email subscription so readers can be notified when you publish new posts. Click here to find Sue Water’s instructions on adding an email subscription to your blog.
  • Older students could create their own parents guide or letter to family members giving them some tips to navigating the blog.
  • Send out regular emails to parents with blogging news and tips. Encourage them to forward the email on to family and friends.
  • Create a post specifically designed for parents to comment on. Here is a post I published last year and a large number of parents enjoyed commenting.

Final advice

Always reply to comments (or have your students reply). It is good blogging etiquette and provides an example to students that comments are not just one-way; they are used to generate conversation and discussion. Parents may not be encouraged to keep commenting if they don’t feel their comments are being valued or acknowledged.

Your challenges

1. Come up with a few ways to begin educating your parents about blogging. You could choose to:

  • Create a parent handout (remember to create your own rather than copying others’ work).
  • Have your students create a parent handout.
  • Create a page on your blog with information about navigating the blog and commenting.
  • Have your students write a letter to parents that includes blogging tips and an invitation to comment.
  • Hold a parent information evening about blogging. Students could be presenters.
  • Invite parents in for regular or one-off blogging sessions and have them help students compose and edit their comments.
  • Set up an email subscription to your blog and let parents know how to sign up. Remember to click here to find instructions on this.
  • Set up an email newsletter for parents with blogging news and tips.
  • Publish a post specifically designed for parents to comment on (eg. “What was school like for you?” or “What are your hobbies?”)

2. Choose to either:

a) Write a blog post about your parent initiatives and submit a comment on this post with the URL. We’d love to hear about it!

b) Write a post proposing three things you are going to do to encourage parent participation this year. Don’t forget to submit a comment on this post with the URL.

Here is where you find the other activities from this series:

Thanks to everyone who is participating in the 30 Days to Get Started Blogging with your students!

And if you missed out, it is never too late to work through the challenges at your own pace!

You can always form your own team with other educators and work together!

  1. Student Blogging Activity 1 (Beginner): Setting Up Your Class Blog
  2. Student Blogging Activity 2 (Beginner): Setting Up Rules & Guidelines
  3. Student Blogging Activity 3 (Beginner) – Teaching Quality Commenting
  4. Student Blogging Activity 4 (Beginner) – Helping Parents Connect with your Class Blog
  5. Student Blogging Activity 5 (Beginner): Add Students To Your Class Blog So They Can Write Posts
  6. Student Blogging Activity 6 (Beginner): Add A Visitor Tracking Widget To Your Blog Sidebar
  7. Student Blogging Activity 7 (Beginner): Set up your student blogs
  8. Student Blogging Activity 8 (Beginners): Add your student blogs to your blogroll
  9. Student Blogging Activity 9 (Beginners): Add Your Student Blogs To A Folder In Google Reader

23 comments for “Student Blogging Activity 4 (Beginner) – Helping Parents Connect with your Class Blog

  1. mrsgeorganas
    January 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Alll of these suggestions are great. I am new to blogging and plan to have my first go at it when I return from Mat Leave in May. I am wondering about how to get parents involved who are reluctant because of confidentiality- beyond setting up safety guidelines and providing permission forms I know some parents are worried about having their children’s pictures and/or conversations on the web… All of the teachers in my school who have been blogging DO not include pictures of kids but after visiting blogs, like yours that do I see the value… Any advice? I am concerned that even with just using first names, that talking about kids and what they are doing in the classroom could raise some issues around confidentiality… how do you deal with this? Sorry for the long post!

    My Blog is under construction- if you want to visit and offer any suggestions or advice I’m interested!

    mrsgeorganas.edublogs.org

    -Noelle

  2. December 9, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I think it is a good idea to create such class blogs – unfortunately, many parents are too busy to be involved in their children’s lives, including their activity at school, and viewing such a blog and discussing it with their kids can be really helpful while it doesn’t take much time.

  3. March 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks so much for this post and Challenge! I am learning so much and am very thankful. You all are making a huge impact on so many. Thank you!

    http://wwwatanabe.blogspot.com/2011/03/class-blogging-and-family-participation.html

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    • May 10, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      Thank you so much for these fantastic ideas. We are hoping to incorporate some of these ideas to encourage our ‘lurkers’ to become ‘commenters’. As a first step, we have added ‘make a comment on the prep blog’ on an option to our homework grid.

      Thanks again!
      Amanda

  4. March 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I wrote a post to the parents as a follow-up to the email I sent inviting them to come to the lab while we’re commenting or participate by adding a post to our site. We’ll see how it goes in the next weeks. (:

    http://csrncomputers.blogspot.com/2011/03/parents-join-us.html

  5. March 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for all the wonderful information. I hope I have gleaned enough to guide my students and their families into successful participation.

    Family Friendly

  6. February 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I wrote a blog post about encouraging parents to write blog posts. I really like it when they can come in and share something with the class via the blog, but I often find that they do not know what to write about. I made a list of some suggestions. Thanks for all of the help with blogging.

    http://roreyrisdon.edublogs.org/2011/02/28/helping-parents-write-a-guest-post/

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