I’ve had several conversations with teachers over the past few months about how and what to put on their blogs. On top of that, there are many who have expressed frustration about the fact that it seems not many people are using their blogs. I thought I’d share a few tips to help you get the most out of your blog.
1. Use pictures
Include pictures on your blog of student work, projects, and classroom activities. Students and parents love to see what’s going on in your classroom. Students feel empowered when you feature their work online. And seeing others’ work helps students to aspire to new and greater things.
2. Don’t write too much
Communication is the goal of iBlog. Unfortunately, as we all know, being presented with too much text can be a deterrent to students and parents who might potentially read it. (Most people that opened this post have not even made it this far.) Plus, it takes more time. Solution: write less. Use bullets or numbered lists and elaborate below each one. If anyone wants to read more, they have that option. And if you are still inclined to keep on writing, at least make sure students and parents are reading what you write before you try to put more text in your blog posts.
3. Use it to teach
Some of the best blogs in the district provide resources for kids to keep learning even when they’re not at school. Take a look at one of my previous posts about teachers who use their blogs to empower learning. The advantage to this is that parents can also use these resources to learn about the subject matter themselves–and to be able to converse with their students about the things they’re learning in school. We all know this has profound impact on student learning.
4. Refer to it in class
A good way to help students see how useful your blog is is to have it up on your screen during class and refer to items that are on your blog. Show students around the blog so they know where all of their resources for learning are. Use it as a vehicle of delivery. If you show a video clip, embed it in your blog first, then show it from your blog during class rather than through YouTube. If you give a quick Google Slides presentation, upload it first and run it from your blog. This will help students see how it can be a tool to help them learn. Plus, it will save you the time of uploading things after the fact.
5. Blog often
Many successful teacher blogs are operated by teachers who add posts to their blogs on a frequent, regular basis. This keeps all stakeholders up to date on what’s going on. The more often you post, the more often you’re giving people a glimpse into what’s happening in your classroom. Learning is amazing–and it happens before your very eyes every single day. Make sure people know it’s happening in your classroom.
6. Your blog is for you too
One of the many advantages of blogging is that it forces the blogger to think about how to articulate the subject material being encountered and events taking place in the classroom. (This is one of the reasons many teachers are also having students engage in the wonderful activity of blogging.) This, in turn, forces reflection on the part of the teacher. Even if your blog was never visited by another soul, your work would not be in vain if you use it to reflect on your teaching and on the subject matter.
Remember that having blogs to visit is new for many parents and students. We’re changing culture. The more students see the value of our blogs, the more they’ll want to partake of the opportunity as time goes on.