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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’s important to help parents and students connect with your class blog.
  2. Show common problems parents and students have locating class blogs.
  3. Suggest 21 ways you can help parents and students find and use your class blog.

Why help parents and students connect?

All teachers know that family involvement in schooling is a key predictor of a child’s success.

With many families juggling full time work and other commitments, we need to come up with new ways to keep up the levels of family involvement. Blogging is a great way to do this.

  • Class blogs are an excellent way for parents to find out what is happening in class and what their child is learning.
  • Students love seeing their work published online and adore getting comments from people. Comments motivate 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.

If you want to get the most out of your class blog, you need to help parent and students easily find your blog and engage with it.

For those of you who are teaching young adults, one of your main aims might be discovering ways to get your students actively engaged with your class blog.

Educating parents

Education is key when aiming to get families to join in your blogging community. We can’t assume that parents (or students) bring any blogging knowledge or skills with them when they join your classroom.

While it can be easy to educate students about blogging during your face-to-face time (or learn with them), it’s important to come up with different ways to educate parents. Family members won’t be willing or able to get involved in blogging if they don’t know anything about it.

You want your message to be clear, easily accessible, dynamic, and ongoing.

Like students, parents have different learning preferences and it can be a good idea to offer parents a range of different ways to learn about blogging. We offer lots of ideas further on.

Finding your blog on the internet

If you want families to connect with your blog, it’s important that they know how to find it and return to it. This is an important step that can’t be overlooked.

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. There is too much room for error with these approaches.

Searching for a teacher’s website using Google can be a very frustrating exercise. There can be millions of Google search results and many teachers across the globe with the same name as you.

Frustration of Googling a blog

It’s easy for students (or you) to write 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.

Mistake 1: First part of the blog URL incorrect

If the first part of your blog URL is typed incorrectly they are redirected to the 404 not found error page.

urlwrong

Mistake 2: Edublogs.org spelled wrong

Missed the s in edublogs

Spelt as edublog.org

Forgot the l in edubogs

Forgot the l

Mistake 2: The URL is written 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 online.
  3. Feel encouraged to get involved throughout the whole year. Having regular opportunities in place for education and involvement will ensure a steady pattern of engagement throughout the year.

21 Ideas To Help Educate And Involve Families And Students

The most important tip is to make sure 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 incorrectly — copying/pasting your blog URL ensures you get the URL correct every time!

Copy URL

1)  Include Your Name In The Blog URL

Your blog in the URL name allows you the flexibility to keep the blog if you change subject areas or year levels in the coming school years.

Simple is always best!

http://mrswaters.edublogs.org/ is easier to remember than http://mrswBPSRoom 124.edublogs.org/

Here are some examples of class blogs that have the teacher’s name in the URL.

2)  Business Card Magnet

Create and distribute “business cards” as the start of the year with your class blog URL and email address (plus any other important information such as school phone number, term dates, school website etc.).

You could create business cards with a free template from a site like Canva or Adobe Spark.

After printing and laminating, you could attach a strip of self adhesive magnetic tape on the back which you’ll find at many discount stores.

Example class blog business card

3) QR Codes

A QR code is an excellent shortcut to access a website. You simply create one online using a tool like QR Stuff or QR Code Generator.

People simply open the photo app on their phone or tablet and scan the QR code to be directed straight to the website.

You could:

  • Add a QR code to your business card above
  • Have students create their own QR code and print it for a note to go home about the blog
  • Add a QR code to the footer of all your classroom notes like in the example below.

Sample Note Edublogs with QR Code

4)  Newsletter Links

Include the link to your class blog in the school newsletter or send home your own newsletter (you could even have the class create a dedicated blogging newsletter).

At the start of 2018, parents were told about the class blogs at Beaconsfield Primary School in the school newsletter.

Regular reminders can help! You can mention specific blog posts that families could visit.

5)  Add Links To Your School Website

Many schools set up pages on their school website with a directory to class blogs. Take a look at the example from Berwick Lodge Primary School.

If you have your own teacher blog, you might like to add the link to your class blog there as well.

6) Explain Browser Bookmarks

It’s a good idea to teach students or families how to bookmark a favorite website. This might seem simple to you but could be a skill that’s new to others.

Computer Hope offers some really easy to follow instructions for bookmarking in different browsers. You could even email something like this to families or older students.

7)  Add A Link To Your Email Signature

This simple idea reminds colleagues and parents to check out your class blog whenever you’re in touch with them.

Below is an example from Linda Yollis.

Linda Yollis email signature example

8) Create Detailed Parent Handouts

There is a lot to know about effectively navigating the class blog so you might consider creating a handout for parents.

You could cover information such as:

  • Blog jargon
  • Subscribing to email updates
  • Leaving and replying to comments
  • Using the Google calendar
  • Searching the blog
  • How to become part of our wider blogging community

Here’s an example from Kathleen Morris.

A guide to navigating your class blog is even something students could create themselves. And of course, it doesn’t have to be a paper guide. A digital or email version might work for your families.

Sheri Edwards’ class in Washington State also created a handout for families which you can find on their blog. It’s 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

Want to learn more about consent forms and blogging? Check out our guide to obtaining permission to blog with students.

9) Add Information Pages To Your Blog

Pages are the ideal way to publish static information on your blog. You might choose to help educate your families about blogging through information on a page.

A “learn about blogging” set of pages on a class blog can explain to all readers (including parents) what a blog is, the benefits of blogging, and how to comment.

Kelly Jordan, used these pages on her 2017 class blog if you want to get ideas.

For readers who prefer a more visual description, a video tutorial can explain how to comment. This can be posted on a page of the class blog for easy reference.

Below is an example created for Miss Jordan’s class blog.

Tip: This video was created with a Chrome extension tool called Screencastify but there are many screencasting tools available. 

10)  Hold Parent Information Nights

Many classes hold these events at the beginning of a school year. Why not put blogging on the agenda?

When Kathleen Morris’s old blogging buddy in California, Linda Yollis, held a back to school information night, she skyped in to discuss the benefits of blogging with her families.

Maybe you could get a former student, parent, or colleague to help you with your presentation?

11)  Parent Email Newsletter

Sending a regular e-newsletter to parents can be a great way to offer blogging news or tips (along with other classroom news and reminders).

A newsletter can also be a platform to thank the parents who have been commenting, and invite parents to comment on particular posts. Being specific on what you want parents to comment on can increase participation.

12) Posts For Parents

This idea was originally inspired by Henrietta Miller. You can achieve a big increase in parent participation when publishing a post specifically based around a question for parents.

Miss Jordan’s class have an example post on their blog where parents were asked about old technologies.

13) Host A Family Blogging Afternoon

This is a concept Kathleen Morris created where family members were personally invited into the classroom by the students. Students would teach their special guest about blogging through a scavenger hunt type activity.

Example quiz Family Blogging Afternoon

You can find a post about this event on her class blog.

14) Host A Family Blogging Month

Encouraging parents and families to comment 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. This is a concept Linda Yollis came up with.

During Family Blogging Month, students try to get as many family members as possible to comment on their class blog. 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 (e.g. a donated voucher and/or a guest post on the class blog).

As Linda noted on her blog,

Mrs. Yollis created the idea of Family Blogging Month back on April 1, 2010. The participation, the quality of the commenting, the interaction and learning that transpired via this classroom blog makes Mrs. Yollis beam with pride.

Not only are her students and their family members becoming superior writers, but they are also honing important digital skills like how to communicate and contribute online, how to limit personal information on the Internet, and how to develop a dynamic digital footprint.

Students look through the archive of the blog to find posts that might interest specific family members.

Mrs Yollis' students select posts for Family Blogging Month

Visit Mrs. Yollis’ class blog and her teacher resource wiki to find out more about Family Blogging Month. The wiki also includes a sample note to send home to parents.

15) Students Letters To Parents

Organize for your students to write a letter to their parents to introduce the class blog and explain 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

16)  Virtual Volunteers

Linda Yollis has shared the idea of having parents act as virtual volunteers on a roster basis. Rather than helping students in the classroom, they can assist online by replying to students and engaging in conversations.

17)  Parent Blogging Rep

Some classrooms have a parent representative to assist with various tasks and events. Would a blogging rep work in your class?

The rep could organize your virtual volunteer roster, invite families to read and comment on posts, respond to comments, or, depending on skills, assist with tasks like photography and the creation of multimedia.

18)  Blogging Homework

Depending on your homework policies and procedures, you could incorporate blogging into homework tasks that involve family members.

Example task prompts could include:

  • Show a family member a blogging buddies’ site and leave a comment together.
  • Write an invitation to a friend or family member to comment on a specific post.

19) Parent Guest Posts

Parents bring a wealth of information to your classroom community.

Traditionally, some parents might present to the class on their career or hobby from time to time. Why not adapt this format by having parents write guest posts for your class blog?

Alternatively, you could have students interview parents or community members for posts.

20) Don’t Forget Grandparents And Other Family Members

Your ready-made audience doesn’t only consist of parents, of course. There may be other family members, including grandparents, who would love to become part of your blogging community but just need guidance or encouragement.

Linda Yollis has had great success with some grandparents becoming particularly interested in her class blog. Bubbe, a 92 year old great-grandmother guest posted on her blog and Nonno, an Italian grandfather was once a regular contributor.

Bubbe commented on Mrs Yollis' class blog

The role these community members played in the students’ development was priceless.

21) Set Up An Email Subscription

Add an email subscription widget so parents can subscribe for notification of new posts.

Our tutorial walks you through the simple set up process.

Note: This feature is only available on Pro blogs and CampusPress blogs.

Get Parents Involved Infographic

This infographic might be handy to help you come up with ideas throughout the school year. Perhaps you have a colleague you could share it with too?

Infographic with ideas for getting families involved in a class blog -- Edublogs

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 21 ideas above and choose one or more of these 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.

215 Comments

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  1. I like a number of the ideas to help educate families of students: I would use my name in the url and publish it in our school newsletter; I also love the idea of asking a question for parents to answer, inviting a parent as a guest blogger, and having students interview their parents and post about it.

    • Becky Fleming
    • I hope some of those ideas work for your class. It can take a little experimentation to see what works best for your community!

      • Kathleen Morris
  2. I sent out a parent email containing a newsletter and link to the blog site. I also plan to post the blog link in my classes’ google classrooms.

    • I hope your parents jump on board. It can be fantastic for students to have that authentic audience!

      • Kathleen Morris
  3. Thanks for sharing this blog.As this blog is really helpful blog. The idea of connecting the parents to the students is really good.Keep sharing……………..

    • I agree with your comment. The suggestions for connecting the parents and students were helpful too.

  4. This provide enjoyable learning opportunities and can offer support at home through their parents engagement.It is outstanding idea!

  5. I love the idea of a family blog challenge month. Will put my URL in beginning of year newsletter, email it to all parents and discuss blogging with parents at beginning of the year open day.

  6. 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!

    • Mr. Cox,

      I agree that adding the link to one’s class blog in the email signature would not only be relatively easy, but it would also be extremely helpful to both parents and students.

      • Becky Fleming
  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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
  10. 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

  11. 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
  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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
    • 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!

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

  24. 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.

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

  26. 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

  27. 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)

  28. 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

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

  30. 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.