An innocent comment on Twitter this week set quite a conversation flowing across the globe. To blog or not to blog with ones class? Or more precisely how to keep teachers blogging with their classes. It would appear I am not alone in finding other teachers love the concept of blogging, the idea of a class blog attractive but fail to understand the commitment required and so give up fairly quickly. I know that this has occurred in my own school and in many others. So my question today is why? Why do so many teachers start off enthused, with their class as eager as they are to connect and collaborate around the word and then give up a few months later? Or not bother to restart the following year?
Some of the comments I read this week included:
- I find getting ppl to start blogging is rarely the problem..getting them to maintain!
- First few posts are fun, then enthusiasm wanes
- Had some success spinning off the web 2 blog, and a lot of hand holding #unsustainable
Personally I think it all comes back to our overstuffed, over-busy lives as primary teachers. With curriculum demands, parent demands, testing demands and more. If one adds a new class blog into that mix without letting go of something else, then that becomes a recipe for chaos and exhaustion.
After all, it is easy to start a blog, easy to make it look good. Many blogging platforms will help you do this. My ten year students can add widgets and calendars and pretty decorations with ease. Yet as we point out to them when they start, it is a different matter to keep up to-date with posts, to write relevant and interesting ones regularly and to maintain this day after day, week after week.
My class blog has been up and running for the past fifteen months now and I cannot see myself ever teaching without one. So today these are my top tips to running and maintaining a class blog.
1. Share the load. I co-author a year5 blog with the other year 5 teacher @pruthomas. That way we can take it in turns to write posts.
2. Often we ask a student to write one for us. That way our students are completing authentic writing tasks and helping us.
3. We have found this year that we have been able to re-use some of the ideas we had last year, such as our popular “what was testing like for you post” we wrote during NAPLAN week.
4. Set aside time for blogging. Friday afternoons are often blogging afternoons for us. Fifty minutes of real reading and writing. Reading other student blogs, commentating on other class blogs. They read and comment, we whip up a quick post, a win-win situation.
5. Set aside time to check the flag counter and the globe widget. We had our first visitor form the Czech republic this week and the students were thrilled, especially since we are reading a novel set in that area of Europe.
6. Hold a parent afternoon, we will be having ours soon. Enthuse the parents and the students together.
7. Tweet your best posts and encourage comments from others around the globe. Then read those comments together in class.
8. Enjoy learning how to create slide shows of your students art works and then wait for the complements to role in from the parents who are too busy to view them on the wall at school.
9. Celebrate your special days or excursions, write about science experiments or the books you are reading.
10. Follow the teacher’s blogging challenges, with the wonderful help and advice from edublogs.
Make blogging a natural part of your daily routine, a habit and a priority for your class. it doesn’t have to take much time and it doesn’t have to be difficult.
For that I believe is the key. To work successfully, blogging has to replace something else. It has to become a habit and a natural part of your daily classroom life, an extension of your reading and writing program.
- I keep telling my student tchr atm that u can’t do everything! Unfortunate but true reality of teaching!
- Blogging is no longer a priority but instead a habit that just happens for me.
- Yes,it’s a habit/a classroom hub..not a novelty
What advice could you add to this list? As the more teachers who can keep up with a class blog the richer, more varied and more diverse the opportunities for authentic reading and writing my class and yours have.