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Using blogs and wikis to connect Beyond the Classroom.

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Started by Catriona Pene 25 Feb 2013 5:39pm () Replies (9)

When schools I am working in identify the Beyond the Classroom dimension, in the eLPF, as one they need to focus on, the question keeps coming up around how we can engage parents and the wider community in the children's learning.

One of my favourite and most successful ways is to use a blog (or wiki) to give parents and the wider community a window into the learning in the classroom and a voice to comment on learning and encourage the students.

However blogs (wikis) are no magic formula, you cannot set one up and just expect it to work, it's important you educate the parents around how they can become involved and keep the blog fresh and the children actively involved in order to keep the parents coming back for more.

Recently Allanh King bookmarked this great guide to involving parents in your blog (thanks Allanah) and it got me thinking about how much we presume parents know about blogging (wiki-ing) and how many teachers become disillusioned with their blogs because the parents and wider community fail to engage.

SO here are a few of my beginning of the year suggestions on how to get your parents engaged in your blog and I hope others of you bloggers (wiki-ists) out there will contribute your ideas and suggestions too.

1. Send a letter home at the beginning of the year introducing the blog and explaining the basics.

2. Provide opportunities before and after school for parents to access the blog via the classroom. The children can show their parents around and be the experts.

3. Teach your parents how to comment and subscribe to updates. Either by handout or in a mini after school workshop.

4. Put prompts to posts on the blog in your class newsletter, homework books, school newsletter...

5. Make a big fuss when parents do engage in the blog, comment or just visit. : )


  • Jill Hammonds (View all users posts) 26 Feb 2013 6:44am ()

    6. Put criteria for responding to the blog into the actual blog or wiki with exmples of the types of comments that are useful.  In that way parents and whanau can get beyond just "awesome" and start providing feedback that will add to the student learning.  I find this particularly with student writing where kids often don't consider their audience and thereby often leave out some of the information that is vital to full understanding.  If parents come in and ask them questions such as "What did you mean by . . . ?" or "Who was the person that  . . . ?" the kids get to see where they left some of the info in their own heads rather than woven into the story.  I also talk to the kids about using detail and word choice to "paint pictures in the minds of their reader to engage them in the story."  So comments such as "quote text" reminded me of when I was little and we . . . " so that the kids can see when they succeed in engaging their reader.
    See the example on this blog in the "What great bloggers do" at top right.

    7. To involve other than parents and whanau, make blogging a reading and writing activity.  In reading time have your students read other class blogs and leave feedback comments and then a link back to their own class blog.  In this way they will start to generate traffic and comment back into their own blog.  You can start by reading other class blogs from your school and then widen out beyond.  Kids get a real buzz when they find they really are writers and publishers.

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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.