Web 2.0 for Parents

When you’re headed to a kindergarten or first grade classroom, you may hesitate to incorporate Web 2.0 into your activities. Plenty of teachers are using Twitter (for example, https://twitter.com/#!/KinderPals), blogs, storyboarding sites, and so on with great success with very young students working through a single, private account maintained by the instructor, but still, you may worry.

But what about the parents of your students? They probably have Twitter accounts and know what blogs are about. You can keep parents informed about homework assignments (“a math worksheet in coming home; all 10 problems need to be completed”), class activities (“please remember to send an empty egg carton for our art project tomorrow”) or great behavior during the class day (“shout-out to Carson for sharing his crayons!”). A Twitter account can be locked, set to private only for verified parent followers, and the parents can follow along on their work computers, smartphones, etc.

A blog could be used for longer updates: an explanation of how you will prepare students for their STAAR exams in each subject; a list of books for parents to read to their children; descriptions of how to volunteer at the child’s school, with links to needed paperwork and background checks; enrichment activities like art projects that parents can do with their kids over the weekend; class rules or behavioral expectations; or links to educational web sites. You also can set the blog to notify you by e-mail whenever a comment comes in, and then you can get back to a parent promptly.

Do you appreciate it when a professor send you a reminder about a deadline or additional study materials? Even parents of young students–perhaps these parents in particular, since they want their children to get a good start and to enjoy school–like communication from teachers. Rather than waiting for someone to approach you with a “what else can I do with my child?” question, you can be proactive and provide open communication about your classroom management, expectations, and educational opportunities.

If parents are up for it, you could include photos of students’ work and even the children busy at recess, like Mary Driebe’s blog at http://gleaningskindergarten.blogspot.com/.

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