Note: since writing this post, I have created a more detailed guide to helping parents connect with your class blog. Find it here on the Teacher Blogging Challenge site.
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 three 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.
Something that I have pondered a lot is
How do we get parents more actively involved in the class blog?
Most of my parents have email subscriptions to the class blog and read most posts but actual comments from parents haven’t been overly frequent.
This seems to be common in the world of blogging and social networking. Apparently 90% of readers never contribute, 9% contribute a little and 1% contribute a lot (click here to read more about that research). I would say this statistic is true in regards to my class blog.
The first step to get parents commenting is education. At the start of the year I send home a detailed tutorial on how to leave a comment which you can read more about in this post. I have also made a page with video and written instructions on the class blog here. Next year, I will also demonstrate how to leave a comment at our parent information evening.
Here are two initiatives I have trialled which successfully encouraged parents and families to leave more comments on our blog.
Family Blogging Month
This idea came from Linda Yollis who provides a wealth of information on educational blogging on her wiki here. I adapted Linda’s model for my classroom and I have now repeated the concept a few times.
This idea involves declaring a certain month “Family Blogging Month” and encouraging students to get as many of their friends and family to comment on the class blog as possible. I kept a star chart to keep track of comments.
At the end of the month the child/family with the most comments receives a prize. For our May is Family Blogging Month challenge which you can read about here, almost all families joined in and we received 275 comments. We asked the local pizza restaurant to donate a voucher as a prize and the winner also got to write a guest post on our class blog.
Next time, I think I will keep a star chart for the number of different people the students invite to comment on the blog rather than the number of comments in total.
Question for Parents
Last week, I trialled another idea, inspired by Henrietta Miller. I wrote a post specifically for parents (and anyone else) to comment on. The topic was “What was school like for you?” I sent an email to all parents asking them to comment. The response has been amazing! We have had more comments on this post than we have ever had on any post. The students have been fascinated by the information in the comments and some thoughtful conversations have been developing.
Next year, I plan to do regular “Question for Parents” posts to involve families in the blog more.