Kindergarten Teacher

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Classroom Facebook Page- My Reasoning

Friendster-facebook

This week I went “live” with my Kindergarten classroom Facebook page. I have been toying with the idea of the page for several months. The main reason is Facebook has 500 million+ users. This is a tool that most parents know how to use and use on a consistent basis. Why struggle to make parents visit your website or blog when you can meet them in a place they already visit online? Currently my district has a parent portal that allows them access to our class page. It is only available to parents in the district and they must register and be approved before being allowed access.

The first step in my process was to send home a survey.  From this survey I found that …

– 18 of 19 had a Facebook page

– 12 of 19 thought our current parent portal was difficult to use

– 4 of 19 visit the portal weekly

– 12 of 19 visit the portal rarely

– 19 of 19 would be interested in being more engaged in their child’s class

 From this survey I decided I needed to be open to trying something new to reach my professional goal for the year – “better engage parents in their child’s class and learning”

So, my adventure into Facebook began. I decided early on I wanted to start a Group instead of creating a fake profile for my class. Mainly because a fake profile is against Facebook rules and I wanted to stay within those rules. I created the group and named it my class room number to avoid calling attention that it was a class or school page. Then I spent two months trying out certain things with the page to see what issues might be obvious. With the help of a few friends I gathered feedback and thoughts on how to best use the tool and keep everything secure. Here are a few things I have learned…

* There are 3 levels of security you can have “open, closed, secure” My first thought was secure because it is not searchable that way but I found that with this option only your friends can join the group. So my group is “closed” This means people must request to join the group and the content is hidden from non members

* Tagging pictures was a concern – so I asked the parents not to tag anything in our group and mentioned that any tags would be removed

*Group Members can invite their friends to join. So once a parent is part of the group they can invite their friends to join. I let the parents know they can invite 2 other people to join the group but they must let me know before asking them so I can expect to see the new member. Keeping track of this is simple. The main page tells you how many members you have.

* I set up the group to alert me if anyone makes a post or comment so I can monitor things

Results-

After one week I have 9 parents as friends from 8 different families. Several have requested grandparents/spouse be added so that will happen next week. I set a goal to update the page twice a day with content, pictures or video. I made a total of 15 posts this week and had a total of 15 comments and five likes on those posts. That is more engagement than I have had the entire year on the parent portal. I also had three parents thank me in person this week for starting the page and how much they are enjoying it. I am excited by the great start and know the possibilities are endless. This week I only had one child provide content for the page…she wrote a journal about a science experiment I shared. It is important to note that my goal is not to teach the kids Facebook or have them use it in any way. They will provide content often from their journal or verbally but I will always type that on the post.

My Thoughts

Facebook and the iPhone allowed to me updated the page as things happened in the class easily and efficiently instead of posting the weekly report on Friday. Based on the comments I know the  posts facilitated discussion at home and hopefully created a classroom/home connection. I believe this tool has a place in the classroom because of the social aspect it brings. I can picture a school with every teacher having an ipod touch to update their group page. Lastly, I still feel there is a place for a classroom blog and Facebook is a great way to promote visiting that blog as needed. I will post more as I investigate the new tool.  

13 Responses to Classroom Facebook Page- My Reasoning

  1. stevekatz says:

    Thanks for the post. I just started doing something similar with my son’s cub scout group. I’m just getting it off the ground, but am happy to have an easy and interactive way to communicate and share the the scouts’ parents.

  2. Drew says:

    Great job! It’s nice to see a teacher branching off into technology full steam! I know the parents love the updates!

  3. Michelle Howell-Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I have a Twitter account for my class and can only get 2 parents to follow us. I am now thinking that a Facebook group may be the way to go. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. catlett1 says:

    WOW!! Excellent! I am researching about this very subject and idea and this post was so great to read! Thank you!

  5. Janet says:

    wow this is super cool and “fresh”!!!

  6. Trisha says:

    I was thinking about doing the same. Can you send me the survey you sent to parents? Thanks again for posting about your concerns and positive outcomes!

  7. Trish says:

    Matt, Great Work!Can I have a copy of your parent survey? I have approval from my admin. I want to try facebook as my communication source:)

  8. Matthew Gomez says:

    @Trish, sure. Where would you like me to send it? It is very specific to the communication tool we use as a district but I am happy to share if it helps

  9. Kathy Rice says:

    Your post is both inspiring and infuriating. Thank you so much for sharing. Like Trish, I would love a copy of your survey. krice@sd57.bc.caI certainly hope the ‘higher-ups’ in your district will come around.

  10. Deanna Thurman Rodriguez says:

    I have been wanting to communicate with parents this way as well. Did you use any type of on-line agreement that parents needed to consent to?

  11. Angelyn Nichols says:

    Thanks for sharing your tips. It is helpful as I set up a Facebook group for the gifted program in my middle school. Keep up the great work!!

  12. Judi Caldwell says:

    I’m trying to create a group on my facebook for my class. Thanks for that info since I really prefer not to make a new facebook. But it asks me to add members in order to create the group. Does that mean that parents will have to be my fb friend in order to be in the group? When I post to my fb will it show up in the group? Sorry. I’m not real savvy with this. :)

  13. Judi Caldwell says:

    I think I figured it out on my own. Thanks!!

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