Linda is a third-grade teacher in Los Angeles, California.
She is known for setting high standards for her students, making learning fun and meaningful, and embracing global collaboration. Linda is also masterful at involving families in the students’ learning.
We invited Linda to share one of her most popular concepts with our community — Family Blogging Month.
Check out Linda’s class blog: http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.com
Connect with Linda on Twitter: @lindayollis
Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog
I started blogging in 2008 and quickly found it to be a fabulous way to meaningfully connect parents and other learning partners with our classroom.
I use the classroom blog to share what is happening in our room. Everyone enjoys seeing what we are learning, but it is the comment section that I really love.
The comment section is where the blog comes to life, where learning is extended, and relationships are built. Reading and writing in an authentic way with a real audience makes learning and connecting fun!
Why Host a Family Blogging Month?
In an effort to promote blog commenting and family interaction, I created Family Blogging Month back in 2010.
The idea of Family Blogging Month (FBM) is to encourage as many family members and friends to contribute to our learning via the comment section. FBM has proved to be a successful way to create an online learning community and build relationships.
I run FBM annually in November for a couple of reasons.
First, after being in my classroom for two months, most of my students and their families are following the blog and understand how to navigate it. Everyone seems to enjoy reading the blog, so I feel that it is time to step up the process and encourage commenting. By November, everyone is ready to level up!
Second, Thanksgiving in America is in November. Our school has a week off and many families travel to spend time with their relatives. FBM provides a great opportunity to introduce the blog and connect new friends to our learning community!
How Do I Kick It Off?
I update and publish the following blog post every year and “November is Family Blogging Month” begins!
Mrs. Yollis and her students ♥ to share what they are learning and experiencing. In an effort to include more family members in our online community, we are proclaiming:
November is Family Blogging Month!
Each student made a list of their family members.
After looking through the archive of our class blog and our Yollis 365 blog, students selected specific posts tailored to the interest of a particular relative. Selecting a good post for mom and dad, another for grandma.
A dog post is a great one for siblings!
We’re inviting everyone to comment: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
We welcome friends, too!
Students will be inviting their family and friends to participate in a conversation!
Maybe we’ll get some 2-point comments!
(We frequently evaluate the comments that our blog has received. In order to earn the 2-points, a comment must be error-free and add something to the post. Many of Mrs. Yollis’ third graders have already met the challenge!)
If you don’t know what to say, here is a video made by Mrs. Yollis’ third graders.
Learn FIVE tips for writing a quality comment!
If you don’t know How to leave a comment, here is a video tutorial about HOW to leave a comment on our blog.
Here is the key we will use for Family Blogging Month.
The top three bloggers with the most comments will win a free post on Mrs. Yollis Classroom Blog, a free meal at a local restaurant, and bragging rights!
What do you think of our idea?
Who are you inviting to be a part of our online community?
Please leave a comment and introduce yourself!
Too Many Comments?
Yes, that can happen! The enthusiasm is often very high, and we end up with too many comments in our kick-off post.
When the comment section gets too long, it makes it difficult to read and to follow. So, once the comment total gets too high, I start a new blog post. This directs our bloggers to a new topic.
Ideas for additional November is Family Blogging Posts
Having at least one new post per week during the month of November helps keep the comments fresh and interesting. I often come up with a new blog topic from the comment section!
Here are a few ideas I’ve used over the years.
Veterans Day is in November and that has become one of the annual FBM posts.
I email the parents at the beginning of November and ask them to share a photo and information about family members who are veterans. There is tremendous pride from military families. For many students, it is the first time they are hearing about their grandparents or aunts and uncles who have served our country!
Here is a sample post: Family Blogging Month :: Happy Veterans Day 2015
A blog comment about travel opened up a discussion about the 50 states. Soon families were counting and sharing how many states each family member had visited.
It was a great post integrating geography, data, and proper nouns! Here is the post Family Blogging Month :: The 50 States
Kelly’s grandmother and a great-aunt left a comment about growing up on a farm in Louisiana. That led to a blog post sharing early memories. Here is the post Family Blogging Month :: When I Was Young
A comment from a dad inspired a post about palindromes! Here is the post Family Blogging Month :: Palindromes
Beautiful Moments from Family Blogging Month!
Everyone benefits from the quality reading and writing opportunities that blogging affords.
But I must tell you, there have been some truly magical connections made over the years. Here are just a few.
Ben’s grandfather lived in Italy and was a guest writer on the blog for a year. Everyone loved learning about Italy from Nonno and then meeting him when he came back to America.
Troy, Nolan, and Faith’s grandmother has been a fantastic blog commenter over the years. When she comes to California from Wisconsin to visit, everyone wants to see her!
Family Blogging Month Tips
- When you publish a post, email all the parents so they know a new post is available.
- Feature people and ideas from the comment sections in your blog posts like I shared above. It’s a wonderful way for the class to get to know one another. (Reminder: limit personal information!)
- Provide blogging time during your ELA block. I have found that not every family participates, so a student can grow as a blogger and earn blog comments during class with their friends.
A Few Former Family Blogging Month Winners!
Here are some former winners and their guest posts!
Thank You, Linda!
Family Blogging Month is a concept that has been borrowed and adapted in classrooms the world over.
Feel free to use any of Linda’s ideas or the wording of her introductory post. Please just attribute Linda by linking back to her class blog.
What do you think of Family Blogging Month?
How would you tailor it for your students?
Do you have any more questions? Leave a comment and Linda will get back to you.
Scroll down to find the comment box.
You might also be interested in the following posts:
- Tips To Ensure Quality Blogging By Linda Yollis And Students
- Edublogger’s Guide To Involving Parents With Blogs
- 10 Examples Of Great Class Blogs