Guest Post from Waggarakine Primary School, Western Australia
Establishing a blog for a classroom or cluster of classrooms can be a positive means of engaging the students by showcasing and celebrating their learning. There are several blog providers, and at Waggrakine Primary School we are currently using WordPress. All our staff use the same provider which facilitates collaboration and the school to maximise the content and uses of our blogs. Blogs can be a great resource for classrooms, a vital means of communication with parents and the wider school community, as well as a way to establish relationships with other schools.
A resource to showcase school events and resources
Our school blog, showcases our school events and our global connections. It is also a portal for all our other classroom blogs. Setting up and maintaining classroom blog provides students with a common access point for resources where you can embed videos, links and photos to facilitate their learning.
A way to help busy parents stay informed
A blog is an excellent resource for working parents as they can easily access updates about what’s going on in their child’s school and what concepts they are learning. Parents often mentioned that many afternoon conversations with their child about what they did at school that day are often met “not much” or “I can’t remember”. Those parents are now able to follow our classroom blog and receive emails every time an update is posted.
A great example of how beneficial our blogs are is evident in a conversation one of our parents had with their child after reading our blog. Instead of asking “What did you do today?” this parent was able to greet their child with, “That science experiment you did today looked great, tell me about it!” This provoked a great discussion because the child was happy to share about their experience and because the parent was informed and interested. This shows how parents can participate in their child’s learning simply by following the blog and the new-found support they can give their child as a result.
A way to make international connections
Blogs are also a fantastic way to connect and communicate with the international community. You can showcase what your class is learning about and open the window for joint projects.
The benefits of establishing a blog with a sister schools include:
- Blogs being an instant forum for communication
- Teachers being able to provide specific information about their class, school and culture
- Students being able to guide their own learning by posing questions
- Developing strong professional networks amongst teachers.
When working with other schools it is beneficial to create a mutual blog and make both teachers administrators so they can add pages, post and moderate comments. If this is not an option, creating a page on your blog focused on the relationship between the schools is the most effective way of keeping all communication in one location. This page on our blog, was created when establishing a relationship with a school in Sri Lanka. Communication between the two schools also ventured into email and postal mail, however, the blog page was always used as a reference point for the students when completing projects.
In 2013, one of our teachers travelled to Cambodia to complete an Asia Education Foundation study tour. This provided an excellent opportunity for students to ask questions about the culture, food, schooling and history of Asian countries. Students were recorded asking questions and the teacher then responded to with a comment on the blog post or by posting a video response herself. This enabled the students to see their answers and receive virtually instant information, as well enabling them to pose new questions related to what they found out. The ease of posting and using videos made the experience engaging for the students and extremely beneficial.
How To Start Your Blog is a great app that provides a great guide and things to think about when blogging, so why not download it and look at creating a blog for your school or classroom today.