Papers. Papers. And more papers. Sometimes it can feel like teachers are drowning in papers. With the addition of technology that allows us to communicate digitally, we can significantly decrease our use of paper and single-handedly save the trees. Using digital communication is also going straight to the source. Not to mention, less of a chance students aren’t handing parents that super important paper you spent time typing and then will spend more time fielding phone calls from the parents who didn’t know. A class blog can save you from all of this!
A class blog can give you back time. Have you heard of the “asked and answered” technique for answering questions? Basically, you respond with “asked and answered” any time a student or child continues to ask you the same question. With a class blog, you can now direct students and parents to the place that contains all the answers. Here are 5 specific ways that you can use a class blog to save you time and many headaches.
Share syllabus or unit details
Most of the time we write type these up for students to keep track of their learning and assignments, but how many times have you needed to make extra copies for students who miss place them? All too often. Place these documents on a class blog and students, as well as parents, will have a place to find the information anytime they need it.
By using a class blog for this you will also have the opportunity to include links. Send students to their Google Classroom, an assessment site, articles you need them to read or any other website and document needed. By including this on the class blog you also allow parents access. As a middle school teacher, I find that the more I can include parents in what we are learning the more invested students are in the learning.
Classroom Procedures & Expectations
At the start of each new quarter, I find it necessary to remind middle school students of our classroom expectations. Sometimes a particular class begins to struggle with a specific expectation, like checking books out through our system. Typing it out and making it available to students and parents will give you a place to send students who may need to be reminded of the boundaries you’ve set for the class. Having it available to parents will allow you to inform them of all your expectations so that if their child crosses the line you can be sure the lines were explained.
If you have specific procedures in your classroom for things like book check-in and out, or a weekly assignment that students may need reminding about or may need a step-by-step for a while. This can also be very helpful when a new student joins your class. You can send them to the blog and you will be less likely to forget telling them an important piece of information.
Replace the Newsletter
Does your building send out a newsletter each month? Ours does. Inevitably I end up losing track of time and miss the submission deadline. Even when I do remember there is only so much room in the building newsletter to include what our class is up to for the month. With a class blog, I can write as much as I need to so that parents have all the details about our upcoming projects. A class blog newsletter also allows me to include photographs or videos of student work.
Highlight Student Work
One of my favorite ways to create community in our classroom is with my weekly precept awards. Each Monday I present a new precept and by Thursday students vote for the student who has lived out that precept. Sharing this with parents can help give the students more confidence and give parents insight about their kids at school.
Sharing student work or allowing students to write a post on behalf of the class can also be a great confidence booster. Give students ownership if you need their buy-in. You could even tap into their competitive nature and make posting a contest.
Inevitably every year a parent asks me how they can help their child be a better reader. This usually leads to me writing down some information and trying to think of all the best answers. Now I just email them a link to my blog post. I’ve also had parents ask about our online grade book system and what are the best books for their child to read that will keep them reading. All of these questions can now be answered with a detailed blog post. The best part is that I’m no longer providing solutions for one parent at a time. Now I can give solutions for parents who may not even think to ask. Adding it to the class blog gives me a place to send them and helps me to give specific detailed information.
The best part about the class blog is that once I’ve spent the time to write out each post I don’t have to spend the time the following year doing the same. I can go into the class blog and unpublish posts then republish them during the right time of the school year. For the posts that help provide parents solutions I usually keep those in one category so parents can always find them.
If you want to start your own class blog I have the perfect step-by-step free email course that will have you ready to blog in 5 days. Add your email below then check your inbox. Each day I will walk you through the setup process and make sure you know how to navigate the WordPress platform.