An eWindow into my classroom

With only one week left in Term Two my classroom blog, The Wocket Spot, is in full swing.  As I mentioned in an early post the goal of this class blog is to provide parents with link into the goings on in our classroom – an eWindow 😉 The hook I decided to use, to entice parents to comment, was a  “My Mum is Smarter than Your Dad” post.  While the kids were over the moon at being able to prove they were quicker than me, it has taken 6 weeks for a parent to post comment.  While I find this disappointing, I am more puzzled about the fact that the parent are on the blog, they have told me while picking up their kids, and they are quite chuffed about beating my score but they still will not add a comment!  Why????

It is really frustrating. Students are constantly telling me how much they and their families enjoy our blog.  One student even brought in their father’s printed out certificate from the Basic Facts Challenge, yet still no comment.  I know it is being used and valued by our class families, they tell me every day, but why won’t they comment!!!!  It’s sad but I chase comments like the paparazzi chase Brittany.

Anyway, it is time to get over myself and talk about the good bits!

Motivation to write and interact with an audience outside of the classroom has been at an all time high since we went live.  Comment boxes are just the right size for Year 3 and 4 (Grade 2 and 3) students. Five super juicy, interesting sentences are always better than two pages of waffle.  We have published two comments this term – one was about their favourite part of The Witches, By Roald Dahl and the second was a descriptive paragraph about a piece of art.

Time to show off a clever idea!  I was playing around with Flickr and embedding slideshows.  I had originally just intended to use the slideshow to display the students art. However, when I had embedded it realised that I had forgotten to label them, DOH.  Now wait for it … here comes the clever idea! I decided to turn it into a guessing game.  The students had to describe their art, a loopy lizard, in a juicy and interesting way so that their parents could guess which one was theirs.  Eureka!  The kids loved it, and their writing was fantastic (some of it was a bit over ripe, but who am I to fence in an artist!). Why not hot have a go yourself, some of them are quite funny in an other written kind of way “It’s eyes are like a crazy cat’s claws closing in the dark stormy night.”

Apart from the comment deprivation from the parents, comments from teachers and other classes are growing in momentum.  Early on in the life of The Wocket Spot, I decided to add a Visitor’s Book.  While perusing through other class blogs, I noticed that there was never a place where I could add a general “Hello” comment to the blog.  The Visitor’s Book was my solution to this little problem. Now our visitors have a place to say hello, and add a face to those anonymous spots on the Clustr Map.  This page is now the most popular page, with the students often checking who was the latest to visit our little blog.  It is here that I must say thank you to my Tweeps (friends) on Twitter! I have tweeted requests for other teachers to visit our site and now have several very interesting people in exotic places around the world visiting the kids.  Thank you all! They really do love it!

As well as adults we now have lots of other classes link to our Friends Blogroll.  I think that this is the most powerful part of blogging – making connections with other kids and their learning.  Here is a list of our friends in case you would like to visit them too (go on … you will make their day, especially if you live in an interesting place!)

While I am still pondering the parent conundrom, I believe that I have finally hit the nail on the head when it comes to a Class Blog that appeals to parents, students and teachers alike.  It provides parents with an eWindow into our classroom and allows the kids to continue interacting with their learning.  I will keep working on those parents (maybe I need to hire a PR guy) to add comments to our blog, however I won’t be too fussy.  Verbal comments are just as good (I can’t share them and show off that’s all) and after all I am doing it for the kids …

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A New Zealand Principal, living in Taneatua. Where's that you say? Just Google IT!

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