I receive emails daily with questions about blogging and how to go about moving forward into next year. I have compiled a short list of the most popular questions and answers here:
I have used my Class blog all year and I want to get ready for next year. What do I do?
Please follow the instructions here to wrap things up with your students prior to the last day of school in June. Instructions about starting the new year with your student bloggers will be sent out in September.
With regards to your Class blog, when your students return in September all you need to do is continue where you left off . . . Here is an example of the first post I shared with my students last year: http://edublog.amdsb.ca/cassell/2014/08/
This post appears right after the last post my students and I wrote in June. Your blog simply continues on year after year as you document learning in your classroom.
How do you stick a post to top of your blog so it is the first post everyone sees every time they visit your blog?
Log in to your blog dashboard. Add (+) a new post. In the right hand sidebar section titled “Publish” click on “Edit” beside “Visibility”. A drop down menu will open (see screenshot). There is a checkbox that reads: “Stick this post to the front page”. If you check that box the post you are currently creating will be stuck on the front page above all of your other content. Every time you post on your blog your posts will appear under the “sticky post”.
Check out the Welcome message on my Class blog which is an example of a “sticky post”.
How do I build a larger audience who will comment on our blog next year?
Building an audience is a challenging task for all bloggers. There is no simple answer, however I have created list of ideas to help you get started:
1. Subscribe parents to your Class Blog and to their child’s blog. I have found that if I ask parents to subscribe, I will only have a few parents that actually do. Instead, I send a letter home informing parents that they will be subscribed to our Class blog and give them the option to opt out by contacting me. There is no guarantee that parents will comment, however if they are subscribed at least they will receive email notifications every time a new post is made. Be sure to invite all family members to get involved as well!
2. Invite other staff in your building to visit your blog and comment. EA’s, VP’s, Principals, and rotary teachers are often happy to get involved. It only takes a few comments a week from each additional staff member to keep your students motivated.
3. Consider connecting your class with “blog buddies’ at a different school in our board. You can now visit the AMDSB Class Blog List located in the top menu on the AMDSB Technology Learning Community blog. The AMDSB Class Blog List was created to help you find other teachers in our board who are currently blogging. Blog buddies are a great way to connect your students with other kids their own age to further develop commenting skills, foster collaborative opportunities for learning, and teach students how to begin building their own learning networks.
4. Consider connecting your class with another class in a different part of the world to collaborate on a lesson, activity, unit or project. Your collaborations can be documented on your class blog, and you can use your class blog as a space to collaborate. You can also partner students with blog buddies in different parts of the world. The possibilities are endless! Visit Global Connections for Teachers and Students on my Digital Human Library website to help you get started!
5. Reach out to individuals and organizations in your own community to contribute to your class blog during different cycles of inquiry. For example, if your students are inquiring about farming, have your students post their learning about farming on your class blog and include their questions. Next, find a farmer in your community and invite him/her to visit your class blog and reply to your students. Chances are there is a parent in your building who is that expert! If not, get Googley! Be sure to include the link to the blog post and requests for any follow-up comments in your email.
6. Reach out to individuals and organizations in your own community and in communities around the world to contribute to your class blog during different cycles of inquiry. The Digital Human Library is not limited to teachers who want to video conference (although I would encourage you to try that too!!!). Log in to the dHL to search for experts in all curriculum subject areas who are interested in connecting with you and your students. dHL meBook experts would be happy to comment on your Class Blog and answer your students’ questions.
Where can I find resources about how to use Edublogs?
Visit the AMDSB Technology Learning Community blog and in the top menu choose Help & Support Documents. Everything you need to know to get started can be found there, as well as extras like adding YouTube videos and your Twitter feed to your blog.
I welcome your comments below! If you have a question you would like answered please share it here so others may benefit from the discussion as well. Happy Blogging 🙂