A good friend and writing partner, Jessica Johnson (aka @principalj) recently wrote about the Summer 2o12 Blog Challenge initiated by Bill Carozza (aka @wcarozza) in his post Five Reasons Educators Should Blog. I love a good challenge – so I’ve decided to take the plunge. My blogging habit has been dormant for a while. This challenge is just what I need to rejuvenate my writing!
My blog, Learning is Growing, is nearing its 2nd birthday. This marks my 95th post. I am humbled that I will reach my 50,000th reader within the next day or so. All this for a self-proclaimed reluctant writer is not bad!
When I speak of blogging, many people tell me they do not have anything to blog about or are fearful of getting started. My advice includes:
- Find a few bloggers for support and take the plunge. Twitter is a marvelous place to find bloggers. Bloggers have a generous spirit. They are always there to support their fellow writers! Cybraryman has a great list of educational blogs here.
- If you aren’t on Twitter, I highly encourage you to create an account and become active. Twitter and blogging can go hand-in-hand. Once a post is written, share it on Twitter! Find fellow blogger to help you out by retweeting your post so that it reaches more readers. Do the same for them! If you are looking for people to follow on twitter, Cybraryman has another great list of educators on Twitter.
- Write about things you know. As Angela Maiers has reminded us: “You are a genius and the world demands your contribution.” Others can learn from your experiences and knowledge. As I look back, my most popular blog posts came from strategies or ideas I’ve used and wanted to share them with others. Big hits included Think-Pair-Share Variations (both non tech and tech ideas), Check for Understanding, and A Vocabulary Journey. These were strategies that were so much a part of me. I took them for granted. I was thrilled that the posts sparked new ideas for fellow educators.
- Be sure to hook readers with your blog post title. A catchy title is going to attract attention. Your post will have a great chance of showing up in internet searches if you include something popular among many surfers. My two Angry Birds posts have been hit numerous times. I am sure some landed on my post wanting to know more about the game itself and not my connections to formative assessment and instruction. Yet, feedback I received from both Angry Birds: A Lesson in Assessment for Learning and Angry Birds – Part 2 Instruction has been humbling. My post entitled You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important continues to hit daily due to people searching the popular phrase from the book and movie The Help.
- Another tip is to continue to read other blogs. You can gleam a lot about the craft of blogging from fellow bloggers. Add blogs to your RSS feeder or download applications such as FlipBoard. I love my FlipBoard app. I have it on my phone and iPad. I usually have either with me at all times. The app comes in handy when I have to wait for something: a meeting to start, a doctor appointment, when I’m stuck behind a train or in a long line at a store. Reading material is always just a click away. Blogs are quick reads for short waits! Another great app to connect to several blogs is TeacherCast. Jeff Bradbury had compiled a wonderful collection of resources for educators including the syndication of many blogs.
- Set a goal for yourself! Initially my goal was to blog every Saturday morning. During busy times of the school year I worked to get at least two posts written a month. I have gotten away from that – and now am setting a goal of blogging twice a week during the summer. This may come in the form of one post here and one post on my dog’s blog. Yes, my dog, Boji – a certified therapy dog, has his own blog. He would love readers. Visit him at Boji’s Blog.
- Have fun! Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. The transfer to students has been the most rewarding. Because of my understanding of blogging I have been privileged to work with many groups of students and their teachers! A first grade announced to her teacher this year that she just felt the need to blog on day. Hopefully you will catch the blogging fever and continue to find the need to share your thoughts, reflections and ideas with the world. We are waiting for you! BE UNSTOPPABLE!