Thursday, March 26, 2015

Using Facebook Groups: Good Idea or Sheer Lunacy?

One nice thing about being a teacher and having your own kids start school, is seeing what aspects of their education you want to add to your classroom. This should of course be even more applicable when my kids enter middle school, but even in preschool and first grade I'm getting ideas from my kids' schools. This idea might be a bad one though.

It's based on something from my preschool daughter's class and my first grade son's school. My daughter's teacher sends an e-mail each day about the class. It is only a couple paragraphs, but it is still wonderful. Not only do I get an insight into her class, but it gives me some conversation starters. My daughter loves to talk about school, but she can't remember what to talk about. Now I can get her going with some informed questions.

At my son's school, they have a school Facebook page and a class Facebook page. This was created by the parents and the teachers are not a part of it. Still, it's really convenient for me to have little reminders about activities that are coming up pop-up on my feed or appear as a notification. It definitely keeps me more in the loop.

My Idea
This has all led me to consider creating Facebook groups for my classes next year. My plan is to do a little paragraph about what we did that day, which I then would, more or less, copy and paste to the other class pages. (Although if I'm feeling inspired, I could say something specific about what happened in class.) If I did this, I would get rid of the blog I keep (which describes major assignments, includes a link to the rubric, and due dates) and instead post assignments on it. I could also use it to send out reminders about conferences, field trips, etc.

Why This Might Be a Bad Idea
This all sounds great, but would it end up being a terrible time suck? And worse, a time suck I start and then can't stop? As I'm looking at going back to teaching next year, one of my goals is to try to be less stressed and perpetually behind; why on earth would I take this on? And, if I did occasionally mention a student's name (which that parent would love), would I have to keep track or endanger never mentioning someone else's kid? Also, some parents don't have Facebook accounts. I wouldn't feel bad that they weren't getting updates, but perhaps that's a problem that they then wouldn't have access to a rubric.

Right now I still think I'll try it. I'm pretty good about writing fast paragraphs, so I think it might not be too time consuming. I really wonder how much people right now, other than helicopter parents, even check the blog I spend time putting together. But once subscribed to a Facebook group, people wouldn't have a choice but to find out. For parents who want to be involved, but either don't want to be too involved or life gets in the way of being too involved, it would be a nice passive way to see what's going on every day. Maybe to make up for the time in updating every day, I would stop posting assignments. I have already given their kids the rubric and if they lost it they can always e-mail me.

I should also add, I only have one real prep (I also have an "Academy" class, but I would feel no pressure to post about that). I am not sure I'd consider this with two or three preps. But still, is this sheer lunacy? Has anyone tried anything similar? Is their something I am forgetting?

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