The start of the new school year is when I get lots of requests for helping people set up new blogs for their classrooms. Beyond the normal elements of built into your chosen blog platform, there are three things that I almost always recommend that teachers add to make their blogs a true online hub for communication.
#1. Google Calendar. By creating a public calendar and embedding it into your blog you can share all kinds of helpful information that will stay in a visible location on your blog at all times. I will often include in my calendar an outline of upcoming lesson plans, assignment due dates, and school events.
#2. A DropItToMe link. DropItToMe is a service that integrates with Dropbox.com to allow students to upload files to my Dropbox account without seeing the contents of my account. It prevents an email inbox flood when students are submitting work they did outside of Google Docs. Click here to learn more about DropItToMe.
#3. A link to call or text me via Google Voice. I have my Google Voice account set up so that when someone calls it goes directly to voicemail. It's a great way to quickly have parents and students contact you.