Best practices for a class Facebook page

For the past two years, I have maintained Facebook pages for both my Language Arts 1 and Language Arts 2 classes.  While I don't have 100% participation from my student and parents, the students and parents who do use the pages have found them to be very useful communication tools.  Like any tool, it took some experimenting for me to make the most of my page, but once I got familiar with the some of the features of Facebook Pages, my class pages have become very beneficial to me as a classroom teacher.

Here are my 5 best practices for maintaining a classroom Facebook.

1.  Fan Polls

One of my favorite features of Facebook Pages is the polling options.  I like using polls to get feedback on activities and to let students vote for future projects.  Not only does this let me get student opinions and feedback, but also it increases traffic to my Facebook page and gives students an opportunity to be engaged with the page.

To use the poll feature on Facebook, click EVENT, MILESTONE + and select QUESTION.  You can add as many options as you need and can allow your page's fans to include their own answer choices as well.

2.  Facebook Office Hours

When my classes are working on projects, I always advertise office hours for when students are working at home and have questions.  During office hours, students can post on the page wall to ask a question about the project they are working on and I will answer their question in the form of a comment on the student's post.   This is good because I have noticed that many students feel more comfortable asking questions on the Facebook page than in class.  Also, the questions and answers remain available on the wall for other students to reference.

3.  Scheduled posts

Facebook Pages allows users to create posts and schedule the time and date they will appear on their page. Since starting to schedule my posts, I have posted more regularly and intentionally, making my page more valuable for its fans.

To schedule your posts, click on the clock icon at the bottom left corner of the status update box.  Make sure you have established a date founded for your page, then you will be prompted to select a date and time for your post.  Users can schedule as many posts as they would like within the current year.

You can confirm your scheduled posts by viewing the activity log under the EDIT PAGE menu of the admin panel.

4. Student guest posts

The concept behind this is very simple:  teachers have students compose posts to be shared on the class Facebook page.  I have seen this technique used mostly in elementary classrooms, but it can be modified for middle and high school classes as well. Teachers can give students some ownership of the class Facebook page by allowing them to write posts to be published.  In an elementary classroom, students can take turns writing summaries of a particular lesson. In a secondary classroom, students could post a reflection on a recent project or explain how a lesson impacted the class.  Obviously teachers would want to preview any posts that guest posters compose before posting to the Facebook page.  In a secondary school, a teacher may want to  have guest posters email or hand write a post to be reviewed and posted by the teacher pending approval.

5. Resource Curation 

While I know that there are a number resources available for the curation of resources, having students post and annotate web-based resources on a class Facebook page is a great way for students to interact with the page and continue learning and class discussions outside of the school day.  One way I do this is by asking students to post on the page wall or to post a comment with a picture, video or link that relates to or provides an example of the concept we are working on that day/week.

Before setting up a class Facebook page, be sure to familiarize yourself with your school district's social media policy.  Some districts do not allow teachers to communicate with students via social media, while other districts like mine, do not allow any private communication to take place online between teachers and students.

Use the comments section to share your best practices for using Facebook in education.

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