Building a Classroom Blog

A few years ago, I bought an awesome blog from Alicia at Dreamlike Magic.  (She designed the blog you're currently reading.)  But then, last summer, I wanted to design a blog for my classroom... a blog dedicated just to my students and their families... a blog that would not only chronicle our year together, but provide the parents with important (and fun) information along the way.  If you have been thinking about becoming a teacher-blogger, but haven't started yet, I encourage you to try it out. I started a Blogger blog... all by myself!  It wasn't hard, but it did take some time to poke around, click buttons here and there, and experiment with what looks good.  Don't be afraid to give it a shot... plus it's free, so you can't lose.  :)

Start with a cute name.  My last name is Knight and I knew my blog would contain a lot of "news," so The Knight Times seemed perfect for what I was doing.  Then, I just designed my own banner with the moon and stars to fit the theme and play on the words.  

I started with only a "Home" page, but as the year went on, I knew I wanted to have different categories for the parents to click on, so I created a variety of tabs which are actually called "Pages" in the Blogger template.  Adding different "Pages" allows you to organize your blog into different topics.  You can add as many as you want and at different times.  You can even rearrange them and delete them if no longer needed. You can see mine above.  I chose these, but the possibilities are endless... it just depends on your needs and your creativity.

• Home
• Class List
• Class Scrapbook
• Our Daily Schedule
• Classroom Instruction
• Word Wall Words
• Homework
• Story Time
• Behavior Plan
• Requests

These are some of my favorite parts or ideas from the blog:

1.  Use cute clip art.  This was the first thing parents saw when they visited our classroom blog (until my "Home" page became too long).

2.  Of course, pictures of the children are a must!  Parents are more likely to follow your blog and check in if they know they'll see photos of their children.  (Don't forget to obtain permission first.)  I like to mix it up by posting photos of classroom work, special days, and fun events.

{Preparing for our readers' theater performance.}

{Celebrating the 100th day of school!}

{The tug-of-war contest during Field Day.}

3.  Include important information about schedules, homework, and school supplies. (This is a great way to be "paperless" and save your school money on dozens of handouts.)




4.  And I am not too proud for ask for extra goodies either.  Consider keeping a wish list on your blog.  Many parents who can't volunteer their time because of work schedules may rather contribute with gifts.  My favorite thing to ask for?  

5.  A blog can be a great place to explain your classroom discipline policy. Try to use pictures to make the process more concrete for the parents and be specific.  If they know your clear expectations up front, it could save you from unnecessary confusion later on.


6.  Be informative by sharing current instruction, anchor papers, games to play at home, learning resources, etc.  Many parents want to support their child's education at home and they need to know what their child is learning about in school.  I have a tab that explains our current instructional goals per quarter (but I only display one quarter at a time... I don't want to be overwhelming) and I also have a graphic that helps families keep track of all the word-wall words we've learned (I add the new words each week).  The more information I can provide, the better the connection between home and school.  Here are some examples:




7.  Mix fun fonts and lettering with your photos.  It makes them stand out (and it's just fun to do).  You can be so creative with your blog!  

Some of my favorite fonts and letters come from the Hello Literacy Blog and
Lettering Delights, but there are tons of options.  Pick your favorites and go crazy!

8.  Some of the homework assignments were connected to literature, but I knew some of my children didn't have access to quality literature at home.  I always made sure they were taking home books from the classroom each day, but then I had fun trying out another idea, too.  To make the reading a little more personal and inviting, I started taping myself reading some of my favorite books... anything that would be aligned to our current unit of study, whether it was fiction or nonfiction.  I had to get over the feeling I had every time I watched my videos because the kids loved them. Some parents told me their child would watch the videos over and over.  (Can you imagine?)  My point? You can add videos of yourself to the blog, too... so fun!  (These are just images.)



I learned most of the "tech stuff" by just playing around and experimenting... you can, too.  However, I also watched my fair share of You Tube videos whenever I had a question I just couldn't figure out and I was always able to find the answer. 

You can click HERE to see my first grade classroom blog, The Knight Times.  Let me know what you think... ask questions... share your own.  If you have a classroom blog you're willing to share with our followers, I invite you to leave your link in a comment below.  We'd love to check it out!

Happy Blogging!

(Careful.  It's addictive.)


3 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! I just went there and your classroom blog is unbelievable! Thank you for sharing tips. You are inspiring!

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  2. Thank you, Loralee. It's so much easier to do than I thought it would be. Do you have a blog?

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  3. What an awesome idea!!! When I return to the classroom-- I will definitely be doing this!

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