The best way to start is to decide what you want to use the blog for. I started because I wanted a simple, clear way to present student work that they could access from home and where I could include my comments and levels etc. as well so that thy could be presented at work scrutiny and lesson observations as required. https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/bs-assessment-page/ The school VLE just didn’t look as professional and wasn’t easy for students to navigate through, plus I could be a bit creative very easily.
I then realised that I this could be a way for the students to complete tasks that they could undertake independently (listening to different music, feeding back on each others’ work, letting me know how they feel they are doing, feeding back on progress etc) outside the classroom leaving my lesson time for things they really do need my support with (instrumental skills, playing together, music ICT etc). In an hour a week it’s hard to fit it all in, so taking some of it online has made my lessons more musical and I hope more effective.
So this year some of the things I used included:
- Online voting for house music (look at the number of votes on each and the comments at the bottom!) https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/house-music-2013-voting-page/
- Listening to a relevant range of music and posting comments about their responses to it (I always find it hard to get them focussed to do this as a class, yet at home they were very happy to listen to all kinds of things and I learned loads about what they engage with and how I can broaden their tastes!!) https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/dw-prep-april-2013/
- Things to practice before the lesson: https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/year-8-beat-boxing-prep/
- Examples of amazing work as it was completed https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/z-day/
- Summaries of student voice to make me feel positive about what we are doing! https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/why-i-love-my-classes-4-2/
- Polls about how we should take the music we are creating as a class forward and to keep a learning journey https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/ek-house-music-our-learning-journey/
- Links to google forms where students can feed back and evaluate their work which copies straight to a spreadsheet https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/garage-band-prep-task/ Also useful for gathering info from primary schools https://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/primary-transfer-questionnaire/