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Thursday, July 11, 2019

5 Ways to Enhance Your Classroom Blog

A classroom blog can be used for so many purposes that it is still one of the things that I think every class should have. A blog can be used for communicating important information to parents and students, it can be used by students as a journal to reflect on lessons, it can be used as a digital portfolio, and it can be a way to connect your class with other classes around the world. Now is a great time to tweak your existing blog before the time-crunch of the new school year arrives.

1. Add an Engaging Sidebar Widget or Two
One way to make your blog a destination in your students' and their parents' web browsing habits is to regularly update it with engaging and important information. You can do this in the form of blog posts and in the form engaging third-party widgets. Clustrmaps is a widget that displays how many people have viewed the blog and where in the world they're viewing it. Adding an Instagram or Flickr widget is a good way to keep parents interested in the blog by showing displaying pictures of school activities (of course, make sure that you have permission before showing pictures of students' faces in the blog). Edublogs has a great list of engaging widgets that are appropriate for classroom blogs.

2. Create a FAQ or "Need to Know" Page. 
If you have been teaching for more than a year or two in the same school, you probably have a good sense of the kinds of questions that parents and students frequently ask at the beginning of the school year. Create a FAQ page on your blog to help parents and students get answers to those questions.

3. Create a Featured Blog Post
A featured or "pinned" blog post is one that always appears at the top of the list of posts on your blog's homepage. At the beginning of the school year your featured post might be a welcome message. Later in the school year your featured post might be a reminder or a note of encouragement for students and their parents. Watch my video below to learn how to create featured blog posts.


4. Add a Custom Favicon to Your Blog
A favicon is the little icon that appears in your browser tab next to the title of your blog. The favicon can help people pick your blog out from all of the other tabs that they may have open in their web browsers. You can easily add a custom favicon to your classroom blog. Watch my videos below to learn how to customize the favicon in Blogger, Edublogs, and WordPress.



5. Add a Calendar Page to Your Blog
If you use Google Calendar to display upcoming events and assignment due dates, add that calendar to a page on your classroom blog. Here's how you can do that.