We here at ExamTime love blogging! So much so, in fact, that a few days ago we all got to talking about different ideas we could write about to help prepare students for exams. This conversation eventually evolved into a discussion about what it must be like to be a teacher blogger when Exam season is upon them.
Whether you are developing a class blog, teacher blog, school blog or general education blog, it can be tough to keep up with the constant blog content creation required to host a popular blog and to consistently inform and entertain your blog audience, but remember, a blog helps generate traffic to your website which is always a positive.
Many blogs taper out when exams loom. Students become more focused on studying and teachers are either hesitant to upload fresh blog content on your school blog in case they give away what’s on the exam or have less to discuss as their in-class activities take a more exam oriented approach.
So in this blog we decided to share some ideas we had to help teachers blog through exam season! Even if you are blogging about the “Friends” reunion rumours or about how social media can be a powerful aid in writing assignments, your school blog can always do with more ideas to keep content original and useful for your readers.
Read below to discover our ideas to help you update class blog through the exam season, we hope they help!
1. Month-by-Month Learning Review
Let’s assume you started your school blog in September and your exams are in June, so you use the month of May to prepare your students for exams. This gives us eight months between September and April, as such you need to divide your class into 8 groups and assign each group to a month.
Each group is then tasked with providing a thorough but concise overview of what was created, shared, discussed in each month. Each team will then prepare a school or class blog for each month and present the key points to the class. When all class teams have finished, every student will have at least been given a concise overview of the year. Importantly, students will be sure to understand it as it’s delivered through the words of their fellow students. The eight overview education blogs then act as digital study resource that students can consult and build upon as they prepare for their exams. It will save them time in having it to read through the whole year and also arduously compiling their own study notes.
2. Capture Key ‘Change in Thinking’ Moments
The following idea came to us as a reaction to reading a influential education blog “Education Week” by Paul DeWitt.
We’ve dubbed this a ‘Change in Thinking’ moment. Such moments are very important in educational terms. It is a moment where a student’s thinking diverges from what it once was and broaches something new! A great activity for your students is to find a moment in the year where they had a ‘Change in Thinking’ moment. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a precise moment the students/pupils can pin-point to but they should be able to look back over the school year and find an opinion or argument that they can say has changed their thinking. Some students will be able to illustrate this by using a discussion thread, others could use a blog post they created or read. These examples can then be used to show a step forward in their thinking.
This project should obviously be an individual one. Something short, say 200 words, so it doesn’t distract or impose on students exam study. However, the act of finding and recognising a moment when ones opinions have changed is a revelatory one, even if it is a simple or a seemingly insignificant change.
The students should post their moments on the school blog so that other students could get a richer insight in to what has changed for other students. More often than not, the moments that students focus on will be of key significance and aid everyone’s study.
3. Discuss the Layout of the Exam
A major benefit for students before taking exams is to have a full knowledge of the exam paper itself. The number of sections, how many questions and how much time they should allocate to each exam question is knowledge that can be just as beneficial to their end grade or result as anything else. You should use your class blog at this time to outline in detail how the students should approach the exam. Give them study tips and encourage discussion so everyone is clear!
4. Embed/Share Examples of Sample Exam Questions Exam Papers
Practice makes perfect! Once your students are aware of how to approach the exam itself they need to know how to approach the actual questions! As a teacher you shouldn’t be afraid to give sample questions so that your students can prepare. You should use your blog to put up sample questions or example answers.
When it comes to the sample exam questions get your students to post their answers in the comment field and encourage them to discuss how they can improve their answers.
When it comes to posting example answers put up the grade the answer received (or would receive) and ask your students what changes they would make to improve the grade.
For examples of good learning content embedded in a page, have a look at these samples created using ExamTime.
5. Give Students a Way to let off Steam and say Goodbye!
At a certain point you need to draw a line under all the study and exam preparation… at least on your class blog. However, you shouldn’t just let your school blog die a slow death only to be revived in the next school year. You should have a big farewell for your school blog. Get every student to write a blog about something completely unrelated to school, study or exams. They could write about their favourite film or a book they are reading, they could write about what they want to be when they grow up or what they are going to do during their summer holidays—leave it up to them! Then create a farewell class video and embed that as the final crescendo of your school blog!
By incorporating these examples into your class blog during exam season you can get use out of it all year long!
If you have your own examples make sure and share them below!
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The ExamTime Team
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