As the internet becomes an increasingly pervasive and persistent influence in people’s lives, blogging stands out as a way the web enables more efficient communication. Many teachers have picked up on the creative use of this technology and implemented blogs effectively in their classrooms. Though she is currently a stay-at-home mother, Denae Love says in retrospect that blogging increased her “class unity and ownership immensely.”
Love graduated from BYU’s McKay School of Education in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She moved to Rexburg, Idaho the day of graduation and started teaching fourth graders. A year after that she began to teach fifth graders.
To better communicate with her students and their parents, Love created a class blog. “The blog gave my class the opportunity to make a record of our adventures together and saved me the expense of sending home papers that I knew most parents would never see anyway,” Love said. For fast and friendly communication, each new blog post was automatically emailed to every student’s family. “Emailing new blog posts made it more natural for parents to communicate with me through email,” Love relates. “I was able to get back to them quickly, but [do so] when I had time instead of dropping what I was doing to take phone calls. It worked fabulously.”
Easier two-way communication with parents was only one of the benefits of using her class blog. Love also saw increased ownership among the students for their class. To foster this classroom ownership, Love assigned one of the students to be the archivist, with the job of taking at least three pictures every day. Also she had her class make a list of things they wanted her to blog about. “It was fun to have students’ input and a continuous stream of photos on things that the kids felt passionate about,” Love said.
Love’s class blog also helped increase parent participation. Since Love worked in a school district with families in which both parents worked out of the home, few parents were able to come in and participate regularly. The blog became a good way for parents to get a glimpse into Love's classroom. “I received many emails from parents thanking me for letting them see what their child was doing,” Love said. “They were excited to actually look at activities we did instead of just hearing about them from their child.”
Finally, the blog made it easier for Love to plan internet activities. Web quests and links were easier to distribute to the students by just telling them to jump on the blog instead of giving them a lengthy web address. “Students loved using the blog,” Love said. “When they finished tests early, it was the fast-finisher activity of choice to check out the blog or learning links I put on it.”
With all of its benefits, Love says she would “absolutely” recommend a class blog for all teachers.
Denae currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho with her husband, David, and their five-month-old son.