What messages do teacher websites convey to parents?
Is the website up to date?
Consider this scenario: It's the beginning of the school year. Parents have just learned the name of their child's teacher. It's YOU! What's their first course of action? They Google you.
What will they find? What does your website say about you as an educator? What is it like to be a learner in your classroom?
With a little attention each week, you can design a website parents rely on for school communication and visit again and again.
A few tips:
Include a Professional Teacher Profile
This is a must. Your audience wants to be informed about the person with whom their child spends the entire day! Be professional, friendly, and concise. If you choose to share any personal information regarding family or pets, keep it brief. Remember, your audience is more concerned with your education and experience than your personal life.
If you choose to include a "Welcome to my class" statement, consider revising it as the school year continues. Reading "Welcome to the new school year" in March, gives the audience the impression that your site is not up to date. Parents will visit your site as soon as they learn their child has been assigned to your classroom. How will a summer visit to your site benefit parents?
Update the Academic Focus and Student Showcase
A student showcase is a great opportunity to provide a glimpse of life in the classroom. Including photos of student work can be an easy way to bring your curriculum and student experience to life.
Give parents a window into your classroom. Students constantly return home and face the questions, "What did you learn today?" "How was school?" "How did you do on your test?" with less than accurate information. Parents are greeted with answers like "Not much." "OK, I guess." "I don't know."
Each week, update the academic focus of your classroom on your website. Share with parents and students the kinds of learning activities with which students will be involved.
Help parents support the learning process by providing them with an overview of concepts their children are focused on at this time. Keep the edu-speak and standards jargon to a minimum. Be informative, but not too lengthy. You need to update this regularly. If you make this into a grueling chore, it won't get updated, and your website will be rapidly uninformative to your audience.
Consider a Classroom Calendar
Include any special events which are date sensitive:
Unless your webpage is password protected, be cautious about posting every detail of the field trip on a public site. Intentionally leave out information that advertise the specific destination and time you'll be taking your students off campus. Refer parents to the paper handout sent regarding field trip details
Include convenient Documents and Downloads
If All classrooms have:
Parent and Student Resources
Involved parents want their children to be successful in school. They visit teacher websites and seek out resources to support learning. You are in the perfect position to make recommendations. Publishing those recommendations on your teacher webpage is a good practice.
Recommendations could take on many forms:
How will you keep it going? A website is a living document. It needs regular updates with relevant information or it will die. Schedule time each week to update your website. Twenty minutes each week is all it takes. You've already written your lesson plans, so drink a cup of coffee.... add a few bullet points.
Bonus Feature.....If you are a social media user, consider embedding a widget to your website from your class Twitter or Instagram feeds. By including these social elements, your webpage will be up to date each time you post.
The goals of quarter one were to develop a supportive personal learning network and begin to build a polished professional online presence.
To earn the shiny social media badge for quarter one, you need to provide the following information as evidence in your comment of this blog post:
Be sure to submit your post in the comments section below! Use your post as evidence for TKES, if you wish.
I hope this post finds you and your families safe and sound. I've never experienced a Category 2 Hurricane before, and hope to never experience it again! Many of us are still in the midst of cleanup, and dreaming of restored electricity and hot water. I'm offering a diversion for you. It's a great time to take some time for yourself, and further develop your Personal Learning Network. Let's see what we can do to get our cohort back on track! In honor of the end of the quarter as well as Hurricane Matthew - I'm repeating the most recent Social Media Activity. Read on and join the experiment.
Connecting with other educators through Twitter changed my life;
it will change yours, too!
Twitter has had such a positive impact that I want everyone to benefit from the amazing resources, encouragement, and connections that are only available if you give it a try. The thing is, you have to try for at least 20 days so that it becomes as natural as making lists and writing plans.......
As soon as you're ready, stick your toes into the Twitterverse. My last post encouraged you to get started with Twitter by accepting a challenge. This time, I'm asking you to experiment with it for a minimum of 20 days. I've got the 20 days mapped out for you and will be right there in your Twitter stream to help.
In honor of the second quarter saying "Good-bye" to Hurricane Matthew, get started with Twitter! If you are an existing user, join the experiment to reignite the networking you began some time ago and support new teachers to Twitter. Click the image below to begin.
Social Media Challenge 3 (ahem Experiment) (3 hours PL)
1. Read this blog post from someone who writes better than me!
2. Comment below - what excites you or concerns you about getting started with Twitter? Please make a return visit and connect with others. Contribute and engage in the conversations posted below as well as previous posts in this cohort. When you comment, be sure to include your email address and place a check mark in the box so that you are informed when other people engage with your posts.
Repeat/Follow up Tasks: