What do you think of the blog?

Our dhsbookbabes blog has now been up and running for a term and we would like to hear your views on it.

We haven’t offered this kind of online resource before and so we are learning as we go about how best to use it and hope that your comments will inform its development and future.

It does take a fair bit of time to maintain the blog so we need to know if you feel the blog is usefulΒ and adds value to the English A-level experience and therefore justifies the investment. If not, Mrs Taylor will have to face the fact that she is overly enthusiastic about blogging and should get a grip!

Please post your comments on the following:

  • what you have found most useful
  • what you have enjoyed most
  • suggestions and ideas for development and improvement

Please be creative, honest and specific in your comment and help shape the future of the blog!

Thanks in advance for taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

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34 Responses to What do you think of the blog?

  1. Alex Snell says:

    Hello! πŸ™‚ I really love this blog, as I feel that it is a great way to communicate through the classes! The thing that I have enjoyed the most is reading the Recommended Reads section, as I have always taken an interest in other people’s taste in books, and I often ask people what their favourite book is and go looking to read it myself! I think the thing that I have found the most useful is reading everyone’s Coursework Ideas and books, despite freaking out about the deadline on Friday for a title (and through History Coursework I have learnt that I am rubbish at creating titles that aren’t too long winded, I could never be an author), I think that everyone’s ideas are very inspiring! I was going to say as an improvement that I would enjoy some more Gatsby information, but then I realised that this is already up! Henceforth, I can’t think of any improvements:) Apologies for rambling here, I have been a hermit for the entire of the half term, and am still excited that I interacted with beings other than my rabbits today! Happy Englishing πŸ™‚

  2. Jodie Thompson says:

    – That it is very easy and efficient to use and just post homework on, and it’s accessible for help if we need it.
    – Unique.
    – I don’t know about specific developments and whatnot, but I don’t feel like I’m learning anything in terms of reading/commenting on other peoples opinions/ideas because it’s easy to just be nice etc, instead of being a thorough/honest classmate marker. Maybe get a rating system for answers given, that’d be cool but complicated haha.

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Good response Jodie.
      I am amused by the common feeling of awkwardness amongst students about commenting on other students’ work! Maybe I am just ruthless and hard hearted but I genuinely don’t think that applying the assessment critiera in an objective, businesslike way should make anyone feel anxious.

      However, as I am not such a tyrant as to ignore you completely πŸ˜‰ I have looked into the possibility of using ratings for people’s comments. It is possible but seems that if I set them up they will apply to all comments published not just for those posts involving peer assessment. Personally if I was you, I would feel more vulnerable awaiting reductive ratings from anonymous judges! What do you think about this…?

  3. Vivien Goddard-Stephens says:

    I’m a fan of the blog. I think it helps share ideas with everyone who does english, not just your class, and really good for keeping everything all in one place that can’t get lost. For an improvement i think maybe have different sections for different parts of the course eg. gatsby and tess, but i don’t know how difficult that would be!? Otherwise, jolly good blog πŸ™‚

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Thanks for your comments Viv. All posts are categorised so you can access them directly by using the menu on the right of the screen. The categories are unit 1/2/3/4 which should help. But perhaps we could make the categories still more specific – I will look into this…

  4. Maisie says:

    I think the blog is personally a great success.I find that it is really helpfull and easy when posting homework online. It gives me the chance to read and take in other students ideas and interpretations allowing me to broaden my own personal views. I shouldnt really be saying this but I have found its made me more ‘interested’ ( dont kill me!) , I find myself posting a comment and then BANG an hour or so has passed by and im still reading through posts on ‘DHS Book Babes’. So its done the job in making me more applied! I agree with Thompson too a rating system would be beneficial as i wouldnt want to offend anyone by disagreeing or ‘improving’ their own work. KEEP IT GOING I SAY!

  5. Aimee Pascoe says:

    Have so much love for this blog!! I think that the idea of sharing our coursework title idea’s has definitely been useful as it has allowed me to consider books I may not have done initially:) The Recommended Reads section I think may have to be one of my favourites as, whilst you can easily go and read reviews of Waterstones ‘Most Popular’, I love how you can get the opinion of people who you and may have a similar interest in a novel that you do. Also, the Tess Ao4 bitty is sooo useful and often find myself browsing through peoples various explanations for an amount of time that never fails to surprise me. I also agree with Jodie and Maisie in that one part that freaks me out is peer marking!!
    Quite honestly, the blog is brilliant.

  6. Georgina Beechey says:

    Hey up! ,
    I find this blog pretty useful, as when I’m stuck there are lots of amazing ideas about our english topics on here!! I quite enjoy looking through people’s posts and seeing their views on the books we are reading! I don’t really see how you can improve it!, In the words of Bruno Mars, “blog you’re amazing, just the way you are” … Bit of a cheesy ending πŸ˜€

  7. I’m agreeing with the others really in saying that i think the blog is extremely useful ! As well as being an awesome new way to share ideas between both other students and teachers, it is a helpful tool which allows you to get help off other people’s posts.
    I’m a keen fan of the good old blog, as it also allows teachers which dont necessarily teach you to input their ideas. Keep up the blog !
    Woooo πŸ™‚

  8. Shannon Jackson says:

    I think it’s a lot more useful that moodle ever was, it’s nice to actually be able to voice our opinions on things and discuss different topics. Personally, I find it a helpful tool for English, and think that the idea should be more widely used, particularly with Essay subjects.
    So, yeah, it’s all gravy.

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Why is it more useful than Moodle?

      • Mrs Taylor says:

        was it not all gravy?!

      • Shannon Jackson says:

        Moodle, is just not full of any life! It’s just teachers putting up documents of work, it wasn’t gravy at all! At least here we are able to discuss different ideas and are able to see your thoughts and opinions on them, which personally I find a great deal more useful.

  9. Criddle says:

    I think the blog has been very useful and I think i’ll find it invaluable when revising. It is good to share ideas and nick other people’s ideas too! I feel that the peer marking is a bit dodgy as people are scared to say what they really think. Jodie’s marking idea sounds good?
    I love the recommended reads bit and I feel the blog encourages involvement with the subject and, for those who have bigger groups, a chance for everyone to speak.
    I’d quite like a little more one on one interaction. Maybe head to head debates?
    Overall I think this is a great idea and I the other subjects should follow suit! πŸ™‚

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      I agree that it offers a good opportunity for everyone to contribute especially for those students in bigger groups. Although, I have to say that I’m not overly concerned about students in my groups not having a chance to speak – bloomin try and stop them!

  10. Becky Lam says:

    I agree with the consensus that the blog is a success! I have a lot of love for the blog πŸ˜€ It makes me feel very modern everytime I type in comments, as I’m generally not good at all this cyber stuff! πŸ™‚ I find it really useful to be able to read through other people’s ideas, for example when we were doing work on the context things; it was a really good way to get access to all the different information. I especially like the wallpaper; everytime I log on I always think what a nice pattern it is! To improve, maybe we could have a flashing background which changes – I realise this isn’t very english related, but I think it could improve the aesthetics of the blog πŸ™‚ I don’t know how easy it would be to do though… In terms of english related improvements, I don’t think I have anything constructive, but love the blog! English would just not be the same without it πŸ™‚

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Am glad you like the wallpaper – it was customised for this blog especially! Maybe I’m old fashioned but am not wholly sure about the flashing background idea Becky?! Will sleep on it.

  11. Dena Bahiraey says:

    I am in love with the blog!! (it’s on my favourtites bar) I think it’s a great success because it allows one to delve deeper into the unit content and it can be reassuring to see other people’s responses as well. It’s easy to use, incredibly accessible and the nature of the learning environment stimulates interest and background learning and reading. It’s also very useful with keeping up-to-date with homework and coursework tasks.
    It’s also a great haven for reading expert advice from teachers… I wouldn’t mind seeing more visual blog posts because sometimes I feel that blog responses to different types of sources can develop and expand on alternative ideas and interpretations, as the nature of the responses would alter. Please keep up with the blog idea and I think that it would be a great learning tool for other year groups also πŸ™‚

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      It’s on your favourites bar! See me in the lesson to claim your prize – I have a lolly for such commitment! πŸ˜‰

      I agree that we could use more visual posts – I will look into it.

  12. Sophie Payne says:

    I’m such a big fan of the blog!
    I love how it’s completely different to normal homework set by teachers – the fact that we can all share ideas and read each others interpretations has helped me become really involved in the texts we have been studying.
    I also like the fact it’s so easy to access and use, making it handy for a quick glance at the recommended read sections if I’ve got a bit of spare time handy!
    Overall I think it’s been a brilliant success over half term and look forward to submitting more homework and ideas πŸ™‚

  13. Alex Shaw says:

    I have found looking at how other people tackle the same questions as me the most useful activity; I have also found links to websites very helpful for developing my AO4 knowledge. I have enjoyed the blog so far… I have no improvements! So yay!

  14. Amy Hudspeth says:

    I absolutely love the blog as I feel sharing ideas and opinions on texts have helped me to improve my essay skills, as I am able to offer alternate views. It is a fantastic way to communicate questions and get replies, not only from teachers but also from fellow pupils. I have found it particularly useful with homework purposes as the website is so accessible and easy to work around. Admittedly, I could contribute to the blog a lot more than I do, but that does not take away the fact that it is still a fantastic and useful source that I feel will be vital when exam period hits to refresh some of my earlier ideas. The blog forces you to answer questions and delve deeper into our exam texts, therefore an essential revision tool available to everyone.
    Am really loving the blog!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  15. Emily McEleny says:

    I am also a blog fan- I find it really useful in seeing everyone’s ideas on different topics, which I found especially helpful in the historical and literary context stuff, as it would have been a lot of research for everyone to do individually. The Recommended Reads section is really good and I always seem to find myself reading the posts there! I’m not sure of any big improvements that are needed…maybe discussions on the specific sections of Tess in looking at language so that we know the text and quotes really well would be helpful? Anyway, yay for the blog!

  16. Natalie says:

    I think the blog is a really good idea because its good to see what everyone else thinks, and I really like the Recommended Reads because its so hard to find a good book and it narrows it down so well. I like Viv’s idea of having different sections for the different books etc because it’ll be easier to find what other people think about the books to help with exam prep and coursework help πŸ™‚ otherwise, me gusta πŸ™‚

  17. Beth Smith says:

    I am really enjoying using the blog and I feel that it has made us English babes bond!
    I enjoy reading the Recommended Reads section and I hope that people enjoy reading what I write!
    And I enjoy reading about other people’s coursework and it’s helped me narrow down my own ideas.
    I can’t think of anything that would improve the blog (as it’s amazing already!)
    However, I do like Jodie’s idea of being able to rate the comment as I feel it would boost other people’s confidence.
    Ooh and maybe the BookBabe of the Week could post a post with a trivia question to do with one of the books!
    Enjoy! πŸ™‚

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Good idea for the Book Babe of the week – I will put that into action soon.

      I like that you do feel it has helped you ‘bond’. The blog is intended for the whole cohort and aims to create a literary community. Am hoping that maybe you can all try and encourage our friends in the other class taught by Mrs Salkeld and Ms Gregory to become more involved…? Where are they hiding? Don’t they like it? A confectionary reward is available for coercing anyone from that class to come join us!

  18. Georgina Welsh says:

    For the teachers, I think that the blog is an effective way of keeping an eye on the students i.e ensuring that we’re constantly developing our ideas about Tess and Gatsby, and about literature in general. This is equally useful for the students- we rarely get the opportunity to talk about other areas of literature which interest us in class, so I’m grateful for the chance to do this online, and as a group. It also offers everyone the opportunity to have their say, and be heard, which doesn’t always happen in a classroom environment, due to time restrictions etc. Reading is a large part of all our lives (I presume…) and the subject transgresses beyond the bounds of A-level English Literature (unlike most other subjects), so it’s lovely for us to have somewhere where we can talk about literature in more depth (Literature is a way of life… etc etc)! It certainly provokes me to think more when I read other peoples’ posts and think about everyone’s ideas, and not just my own (Ha, plagerism… joke). Usually I object to using ICT as a means of learning (because Powerpoint is the most annoying, and overrated thing ever, and I really hate it) but the blog is awesome! There are NO cons!!! x

    • Mrs Taylor says:

      Ha! Big Brother is watching you! Yes we teachers enjoy stalking your intellectual activity through the blog πŸ˜‰

  19. Sarah Hawkins says:

    Living in the continuing socal decay with the increase of technoloy. I’d say that this would be very successful with the future years. I am a slave to Facebook/Twitter and I guess that one more social networking site couldn’t hurt, especially with its educational advantage. Sorry for the bleak and negative perception of it, I just hate technology! You should watch the clip of Microsofts dream for the future. It’s scary!
    But I do love this blog and i find it exceptionally useful when you don’t have time to leave the comfort of the social room in the sixth form centre in order to find a teacher who is probably busy anyways!

    All thumbs up for this blog!

  20. Ellie Mills says:

    Hi Ellie Mills here πŸ˜€

    I really like this blog because when we are struggling to find a book that is a really good read we can go on the blog and have a look through and find a good book whether it’s from a 7E book review or the reccomended reads page!

    I also like this blog because it is accesable from either school or home

    Thumbs up for the blog!

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