My daughter’s 4th grade teacher has a class blog. It’s simple, straightforward, no frills. And it is a thing of beauty. I don’t think anyone would argue that among the most important success criteria for a child’s education is good communication between school and home, and a virtual window into a kid’s day in school is a boon for all involved!
When we learned over the summer that our daughter, Sophie, was going to be in Mrs. Morrison’s class, we did the typical asking around to find out what she was in for. It didn’t take long for us to be directed to The News from Room 32 blog.
What we found there was a wonderful account of life in Room 32 from the start of the school year to the end. We saw parent letters, student stories, reports, poems and interviews, and lots and lots of pictures. We had never met Mrs. Morrison (new school), but in short order we had a wonderful feel for the 4th grade year that Sophie had in front of her. I’m pretty sure that in the right light you could have seen the anxiety melting off of all of us!
When Sophie came home on the first day talking about the new kids she had met, we were able to check the blog to put faces to all of the new names thanks to first day pictures posted on the blog. Last week Sophie came home super excited about the “Insect Song” they sang in class. That night, we listened to the kids singing it from the front row. We have always appreciated the insight into our kids’ days that we get from weekly or monthly parent letters, but the immediacy and multi-media goodness of Mrs. Morrison’s regularly updated blog makes us feel like we are there for some of it. What more can a parent ask for?
Mrs. Morrison teaches at the Marshwood Great Works School, a wonderful public 4th and 5th grade school in southern Maine. To my knowledge, there isn’t a technology coordinator in the building, which for me reinforces the message that social media in schools doesn’t require a huge infrastructure or crazy expense (the education budget in Maine isn’t exactly growing). It takes a committed teacher who is willing to try something new; the barrier to entry for technically starting a blog is virtually nonexistent.
Mrs. Morrison told me that she started blogging after taking a class given by Bob Sprankle, technology integrator from the Wells, ME School District (worth checking out his blog, he has some great content for teachers). She got inspired, signed up for a free edublog.org account and just did it. And a year plus later she is still doing it. As a parent of a child in her class, I am really glad she does.
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Photo credit: LizMarie