Facebook Groups in the Classroom
One of my big goals this year is to build strong communication with my parents.
Classroom websites are great, but how many parents remember, on a regular basis, to check for updated posts? To really disseminate information to parents, you need to put it in front of them immediately. Meet them where they’re at, and they’ll pay attention.
One of my experiments is to work the social networking scene, with Facebook being my main focus. Instead of friending all my parents (a very BAD idea), I created a ‘secret group’. I have complete control over who is added and what is posted. Yet all information I add is delivered straight to my parents’ ‘wall’ for them to see when they log in to check their Facebook page, and it’s completely separate from my own Facebook page!
To create your own ‘secret group’, look to the left of your Facebook page, where it says ‘Groups’.
Click ‘Groups’, and then choose ‘Create Group’ on the upper right hand side. Choose ‘Secret’ as the type.
I named my group ‘RHD Room 10’-our school name/room number. I used our website header as the cover picture.
Once you’ve created your group, you need to add your parents. The only way they can become members is if YOU enter their e-mail addresses into the group. This is a great privacy filter-no one can become a member, or even see your group exists, unless you enter their e-mail address directly. I included a form in my Back to School Night packet asking parents if they would like to join, what their e-mail addresses is, and to agree to the rules of the group (adults only, no sharing pictures from the group).
Once you enter the e-mail addresses of the parents that would like to join, Facebook will send them an e-mail telling them they’ve been invited to a Secret Group. They need to click the link in the e-mail, which notifies you, within the group, that they have accepted the invitation and would like to join.
You must then approve them within the group. Once you’ve done that, they become a member!
I have to say this is my easiest and favorite form of communication with parents! I snap a picture of our agenda each morning and post it so they know what their child is doing all day.
I post pictures and videos of them working throughout the day so parents can see they are engaged (photo permission slip forms have been signed in advance, pictures are posted on my prep). I take a picture of our agenda in the afternoon so they know what the homework for the night is.
Parents can post questions to other parents, and I have the ability to approve them before they show.
I know there is a lot of talk about educators staying off Facebook. But I think there are huge opportunities to communicate and engage with our parents using it-they are often on all day, and it gives you a large helping of goodwill when they know what’s going on in your room!
Be safe-make sure you know who you are adding to the group, be smart-only post classroom related pictures/information and get signed permission slips ahead of time, and enjoy engaging with parents in a positive manner! Celebrate classroom successes and highlight their children doing great things. 😉