Parent buy-in is essential when blogging. We as educators know the benefits of blogging with students, but parents may still be apprehensive. Your students love it and you love it, but how can you get parents to love blogging?
1) Host a Q&A Session
I have been met by nervous parents who have a million questions about why and how we are blogging. These fears often stem from lack of understanding. Host a Q&A session with parents before you get the students blogging. Here you can address theory, practice, and logistics. Why are we blogging? What are my expectations? How will students be protected online? What are the benefits of blogging? What can you do at home to support our class blog? These are some of the questions you can expect to hear. When it comes to parent buy in with your class blog, a little effort up front can save you from a larger crisis later.
2) Create Buzz
Another way to get parents on board with blogging is to create a buzz amongst your students. If the students are excited about something they are doing in school, they’ll go home and talk about it. You’ll know it’s working when parents start asking, “Why does my child keep talking about a blog?” Once parents see that the student interest is there, their own interest will spike as well.
3) Parent Blogging Nights
If you have a few classes blogging at your school you can schedule a Blogging Night to spark parent participation. This might not work in all school settings, but my parents are always looking for ways to get involved. Parent blogging nights can take many different forms. You can post a prompt that both parents and students can respond to and write about. You can also create a fun activity where parents work together with their child to write a collaborative post. However you decide to organize it, Parent Blogging Nights are a great opportunity for students and parents to sit down together, read each other’s work, comment on their child’s writing, and learn more about what blogging looks like in the classroom.
4) Ongoing Engagement
Once you get parents onto your class blog, it is your students’ job to keep them there. There are a few things you and your students can do to ensure that parents are continuing to participate. Always make sure you or your students respond to parent comments. This reinforces that blogging is interactive and ensures that everyone’s opinion and comments are valued. Create posts that are specifically designed for parents. For example, if you are doing a survey in class or collecting information, invite the parents to share what they know. Email parents when an exciting blogging assignment is published so they know to check the blog that day. Post pictures of classroom assignments on your blog so parents can see what their child is working on.
Having parents on-board and excited about blogging will increase student motivation and solidify the home-school connection. Your class blog can serve as a window into your classroom where parents can interact with and encourage student writing.
Photo Credit: School Stuff by Twentyfour Students; CC BY-SA license via flickr