Saturday, April 4, 2009

Class Blogs are Great!

I absolutely love my children's class blogs. They are more current than newsletters, and give me bitesized views into the world my kids occupy every day. I'd like to share with you all what the ambient awareness blogs provide facilitated this week on our spring break.

We went skiing in Fernie (southern BC) for 3 days and on the drive in I noticed a sign for Lost Lemon Campground on the way through Blairmore. Now because my son's teacher maintains a blog I knew that they had just had a Science Alberta Kit that centered around the legend of the Lost Lemon Mine. While we didn't find the mine (it's not called lost for no reason) -- we stopped and took a picture by the campground sign -- knowing we were near where that Lost Mine was thought to be. I was able to show my son what he does in school is important to me. Without the information from the Blog -- we may have drove right on by.

Our stop at Frank Slide was inevitable but because of the information my daughter's Grade 3 teacher provides us (via her blog) we understood how important it was for her to explore exactly what kind of rock was implicated in the slide (Rocks and minerals is a major unit in Grade 3 science.) As we passed over various bridges she provided an explanation of the type of bridge and the reasons it was constructed that way. Without an idea of what was happening in the classroom those moments would have passed without comment.

As parents we can have a huge impact on how our children view school simply by showing that what they do within those walls is important to us. Having access to class blogs allows us to find ways to show we are interested in things beyond the grades on their report cards. We can explore their thoughts, ideas, and interpretations of the material they are covering in a million little everyday ways. Web 2.0 tools such as blogs make this easier than ever. If your child's class has a blog I encourage you to read it regularly and if they don't have one yet -- advocate for it. They are worth their weight in gold!


Jeannine St. Amand said...

Wonderful post Penny. These are great examples of connecting what happens in the classroom to the real world and all topped off with a family connection. I agree that tools like class blogs can help parents go beyond homework and grades and allow us to reinforce learning. Keep spreading the word!

Mrs. McMahon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. McMahon said...

Well, wasn't that just such a nice post. The teachers who take the extra effort to blog about their classrooms appreciate feedback such as this. It helps keep us motivated. Classroom blogging has been a great experience for both myself and my class and it is great to see it catching on in other classrooms. Again, thank you for such encouragement.

Liz said...

Hey, sorry for the off-topic post, but I couldn't find an email for you! However, as Tech-Mom, I do think you may be interested in this:

The Kindle is out, but not available in Canada! Are Canadians going to lag behind in technology forever? The Tech Chicklets, two Alberta-based technology podcasters, have started a petition to show the level of Canadian interest in the Kindle.

Whether you believe that wireless e-book technology is valuable to the cause of literacy, or simply that Canadians are interested in new technology, will you please share this petition with your twitter followers? I have included a sample tweet with the petition URL for your convenience:

Canadians want the Kindle, for literacy and for fun! If you agree, won't you sign the petition?

Thanks so much!

MrsMontour said...

Thank you for posting a parent's view of class blogs. I have just started class blogs this year with my 8th grade English students and am slightly concerned that some may wonder what the benefits are. It is nice to see that you view the teacher's extra effort to use technology is worthwhile. Anything that opens communication between home and school is worth any extra time I dedicate.

I also want to say that for older students who have not been exposed to technology at school, when they do get it they are VERY excited. It is making the otherwise boring reading logs that they complete weekly, very exciting for them. Just having a technology based format is helping to engage what can be an apathetic group of young adults. I hope everyone can experience a class blog and see the benefits.

Ryan McCallum said...

This is a great post! Every teacher who has (or is considering starting) a class blog should read this twice and follow all of your links.

Not only is this a great post, but the teachers your kids have keep wonderful blogs - rich in multimedia and helpful information.

I'm going to be sharing this with teachers in my district, because nothing will motivate them more than a post like this.

Again, thank you for your post on my blog and the link back you your post.


MNicoleM said...

As a blogging teacher, I am so glad to see parents appreciate the effort put into class blogs :-) I think this is an awesome post!!

While I know that almost all kids, when asked "What did you do at school today", give noncommittal shrugs and vague answers ... I teach students with severe autism. They are mostly nonverbal and literally cannot answer that question - so my blog allows the parents to know what's going on in their child's day.

Anyway, it's always great to see parents appreciate teachers' extra efforts - and especially to know that there are parents who not only read their child's class blog - but take the information in it and extend their child's learning at home! Kudos to you :-)

David Truss said...

I love this point, "As parents we can have a huge impact on how our children view school simply by showing that what they do within those walls is important to us."

...and one of the key things about this post for me is that it demonstrates that the school is no longer about 'those walls' as the barrier of walls are removed by tools such as blogs.

It allows parents to become part of what the school does in a meaningful way!