Here, we dig further into the content.
Use Your Voice
This is our class.
I'm the teacher.
Allow me to introduce myself.
These are my students.
It's OK to share the successes of your class. Tell the world when a student takes a big step forward. Tell when the class finally gets a difficult concept. Talk about behaviors, as well as academics. Share compliments your class has received.
At the same time, don't overshare. Some things are best kept closer to the vest. Sometimes names need to be left anonymous. While on this topic, I have standardized the manner in which I place names in a post.
- I only refer to students by their first names.
- For security reasons, I never identify the students in a photograph, even by first name or initials.
- I always capitalize the student's name when including it in a post (i.e., "KELSEY and TAYLOR recently won the class award for learning their multiplication facts."). In this way, a parent can more easily see the report about his/her child.
Use Your Camera
If you've use blog posts to show off your pictures, consider tagging them appropriately. When you do this, you can link that tag to an anchor page. On The Hoggatter Experience, we call it Show-and-Tell.
- Get more candid shots (and less posed pictures) of your students doing projects. With digital cameras, we can now take more pictures than we need, so snap away; you don't have to post them all.
- Take photos of students holding the tools they are using.
- Take pictures of students with their final products.
- If you're on a field trip, get a couple of class pictures (like the one above).
- Catch lots of smiles!
- Take pictures of ALL students, but post only the ones you have permission to publicly share. In our district, there is a box that guardians check if they do not permit their children's' pictures to be shared in the media. You need to know who those kids are, and make it a point to keep those off of your website. Only show them from the back. Take pictures of other students over these kids' shoulders. If necessary, use photo editing software to blur their faces, but keep in mind that this draws the attention of other students and they tend to ask questions of why you did it. I choose not to address those questions, so I try to stay away from blurring.
Naturally, these guidelines also stand for any videos you wish to share.
Keep It Active
While there is a time and place for showing off the layout of your classroom, or for sharing your new bulletin board, you will want to share galleries and slide shows of lessons and activities inside and outside of your classroom. Highlight your students. Make them look good. Show them on task. Show them working, holding a pencil, talking to their teammates, doing experiments. Pictures of kids in gritting their teeth as they sit in straight rows will no longer do. In short, get more shots of them not looking at the camera. (Note: I never post pictures with kids flashing peace, rock-and-roll, or other signs with their fingers.)
You are hereby assigned a new title: public relations coordinator for your classroom. If you accept this mission, please continue: your website will only be better for it.