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How to engage parents, staff and the wider school community

Does your school or classroom have a blog?  How effective is it?  How do you publish your blog and get word out to your school or class community? 

It is essential that your blog has a purpose, that it keeps the school community informed of what is happening in classrooms or in the school in general. It may include website links, a calendar of important events, a link to the weekly newsletter, a school’s welfare policy, the canteen menu…….It is an authentic and relevant document for Parents, visiting staff and the wider community to visit. 

A quick visit to these websites will demonstrate the wealth of information that is available to the school community via a blog.  In most instances, the blog has a designated teacher or is maintained by a staff member in the admin office. These are school blog sites, however, there is nothing to stop a classroom teacher setting one up for their class, for each student or one for themselves (which can be invaluable for relief teachers).

Most Education Departments in all states and territories have a platform that schools can use.

You can use a few tools to create a blog the following are easy to use and will not be blocked by the server in your school. 

  • BlogEd 
  • Google Classrooms 
  • Seesaw

Using BlogED

  • Access blogED via the portal, under ‘My learning tools’.  
  • Select ‘Create a new blog’ in the ‘My Blog Roll’ section.  
  • Add students or colleagues using ‘Show Members’ – blogED can integrate with school class lists created in ERN or you can find students’ names.  
  • Select from ‘Users’ to find students at your school.  
  • Manage how comments go live on your blog using ‘Moderation’ when creating your blog. 

Find out more by clicking here.

Blog Ed can be accessed by teachers to create and write Blogs for their own classes.   

What are some of the benefits of creating a classroom blog? 

“It helps to make learning authentic by connecting learning from outside the classroom back into the classroom” 

“It’s a great tool to ease teachers into facilitating learning in the digital age” 

“The greatest benefit of the blog is the sense of an enhanced learning community through genuine collaboration” 

A blog can be created free of charge through the portal of the Department you work for and it is established in a secure and safe environment. 

Blog posts are a great way of journaling what is happening in the classroom, and it gives a voice to the students and class members.  The creator post page is easy to use, enabling you to add text, images, and customise your blog by choosing your theme to create your blog to be as individual as you like.   

Students can also be given access to create their own blogs with moderation being set by the classroom teacher. It is as easy as logging into the portal, click the learning tools tab, then the create a blog link as outlined in the video link above. 

Using Google Classroom to create your blog

This Google slides presentation will guide you step by step through the process of creating your blog using Google Classrooms. To find out more, click here.

Using Seesaw to create your classroom blog

The Seesaw application is slightly different in as much as it only showcases the work that is presented via the Google app.  Students ask to have their work included in the blog or it is approved by the classroom teacher. It is a great way to create a link between classroom learning and home.  This quick video and our latest course will guide you through the process. To find out more, click here.

What would you include in a class blog?

Here are some tips from Wabisabi Learning

There are plenty of reasons to begin classroom blogging with your learners. Aside from being a perfect way to exercise crucial writing and communication skills, it also promotes critical thinking. With classroom blogging conversation on your class content becomes broader since it provides your kids with an excellent peer-to-peer contact platform. It’s liberating to share ideas and opinions that awaken your learners’ passions. In addition to this, it also builds research and organisational skills. 

Here are a few other reasons why classroom blogging is good for learning in general: 

  • It’s a great learning tool when you get feedback 
  • There’s opportunity for teaching digital citizenship 
  • It’s good for building student-teacher community 

Classroom blogging can be hard work, but it’s fun work. It creates a gathering place to chat about the class outside of class. You can capture snapshots of the school year via various forms of media. It allows a free flow and sharing of information that’s relevant to students and their interests. 

Classroom blogging can be done anytime, but class time or after-school time should be set aside for those who are less connected. Another consideration is how often you or your students should be blogging.  

At the very least a teacher should blog every week. Students would blog as assigned, and as much as they wish in their free or after-school time. You might want to require a quality comment from each student on the teacher’s weekly thoughts. 

Obstacles you may face are the ability of some learners to type well. Some are also less connected than others, and still other students may lack good writing skills. You’ll have to iron these things out as you go. 

Getting started with classroom blogging 

Here’s an article from Teacher Challenges on this subject that is highly recommended. It’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide for how to set up your first classroom blog. This is part of a whole series on classroom blogging. You’ve got blog examples, advice, tools to try, and more.  

Further reading on classroom blogging

If you would like to find out more about Seesaw and Google Classrooms, please join us on the Relief Teacher Association Open Learning platform

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