Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Blog on Blogging

Hi everyone! It has been so long since I've posted. A little baby in the household will change up your schedule a bit. Thanks to my wonderful wife and mother-in-law, I've been able to get school work done and get a bit more sleep.

Yesterday was my first #edchat in (what seems like) ages. The topic was blogging in the classroom and as teachers. This is an area I am very passionate about so I was able to jump in for a about 30 minutes before a diaper needed changing.

I'm still shocked that teachers do not see the value in blogging. There is so much value in giving a student a space to share their ideas. It seems very simple. I know teachers that have students write in journals, but scoff at the idea of using a blog. What's the difference? At least some trees can be saved if the students went digital and the teacher wouldn't have to carry home 100 journals to read and review. Sadly, some teachers just do not want to change and try something new.

That's where teacher blogs come in. As teachers, we have to share our stories with others. We have to show everyone what works and what doesn't. We have to be an advocate for our profession. Blogging allows me to see what other teachers are doing and incorporate it into my class. I hope that other teachers have read my blog and use some version of my ideas in their classroom. By sharing our ideas, we can encourage others to sign up and start their students blogging. I regularly share the blogs of many of my PLN members in my district tech blog. Teachers, like students, can tune out one voice. However, if you present them with a chorus singing the same tune, they might just sign up.

There were some posts a couple of months back about edubloggers being self-promoters. I wrote a post i never published that was in favor of self-promoting. I'm a self-promoter because I think I do some pretty cool things in class and I want to share that with others. Self-promoting can be obnoxious, but as teachers, who else is promoting the good things that are going on in our classrooms? If I didn't write about my Freshmen Romeo and Juliet project, who would? Teachers should never be ashamed to share what they do in the classroom and pat themselves on the back.

Blogging is also a great way for me to reflect on my teaching. I can look back at some of my older posts and see what my thoughts were on a particular lesson. That type of reflection is priceless as I strive to become a better person and perfect my craft. Using blogs with students could allow them to reflect on their work. Writing this right now, I just realized I could have had my students use blogs to reflect on their essays after they got them back. Right there, is a "real time" example of blogging as a reflection tool.

Blogs are awesome because they are versatile. I can use a blog for many different reasons. Another teacher can use the same blog space for their work. (Just had another idea. What if I set up joint blogs with another teacher in a different subject and had students use one blog for English and Science or English and Math? Hmmmmm. Real time typing examples!) See, blogs make you think!

I suggest teachers share the blogs they read with non-blogging teachers and suggest they starting writing over the summer. Maybe a couple of reflective pieces on the school year could get them started. If you co-teach or team teach, suggest using blogs as a way to share ideas for the next year. There are ways to get more teachers blogging. Once those teachers are comfortable sharing their writing with others, they will feel better about asking their students to do the same.

I hope everyone is doing well out there. I have some things in the cooker that I hope to drop sometime after ISTE11. Stay on the look out for "Everything I learned about education I learned from watching "Can't Hardly Wait". It should be pretty awesome. :-)

- @TheNerdyTeacher