Sunday, 27 May 2012

Oh, how I love to keep a class blog. Oh, how I frustrate myself by not keeping my class blogs up to date.

It shouldn't be difficult - I have apps on my phone, my tablet and laptop to make sure that I have no excuse. I also tell myself that I should be able to use the time that the kids are packing up to write my entry. So, why doesn't it happen?

The first answer that I shall provide is that it is my own laziness. With all the things that go on in a school, blogging about the lesson I've just taught goes to the bottom of my priority list. I take one look at my to do list and I just can't justify putting the class blog right at the top of the list. At the start of the year, I manage to do it. Every class has a blog that is bang up to date and it's a really useful resource. Then something happens - probably reports. One set of reports come along and I devote all my writing energy to them; the blogs fall by the wayside. No problem, I'll pick it up after report season. I don't. There was probably a concert to organise, music to arrange or work to mark that pushes them onto yet another backburner. This became even worse when I started to use Evernote to keep a track of my own thoughts about a lesson (including things that I probably wouldn't want the kids to see - "Keep an eye on Sally's behaviour next week, she's overly chatty with Cassie."), keeping the class blog no longer proved useful to me.

This then creates another problem and it's the one that brings about a nasty viscous circle that keeps me in the realm of 'no blogging'. The fact that I missed a few blog entries causes the majority of kids to stop checking it. I see that they're not checking it and the evil little devil sitting on my shoulder says "Why bother updating 8ABC's blog? They won't read it anyway. Your time is better spent planning that BTEC lesson.". So, I plan a lesson and, before long, the blog is a forgotten white elephant on the department website.

As I'm busily redesigning KS3, I think it's important that I carefully reconsider my use of class blogs. There are many options that present themselves to me and the one that I'm most tempted by is that used by Beaumont School's Music Department. They keep a single blog for the whole department and it seems to work well. We already keep a department website but this would allow us to combine the best of both worlds - resources on a website and information on a blog.

Who out there keeps a blog for the kids? What are your thoughts? Do you suffer from the same laziness as me or do you have a routine that keeps you going?





Different Themes

Written by John Kelleher

John Kelleher is the Director of Music at Wimbledon College and was previously Head of Music at Baylis Court Arts College. He is also a Musical Futures Champion Teacher, a member of TeachTalk: Music and a Fellow of the RSA.