Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Blog Post is Worth 1,000 Emails

This blog is one of my favorite learning spaces. It allows me to clarify my thoughts and amplify my voice, all for the chance that someone might take away something or comment and contribute to my (our) learning process. 


Why do I blog?

I found myself writing the same email to people in my department over and over. The messages ranged from how to use a digital tool to questions about grading practices or high-yield strategies. 

A few colleagues still wanted a face-to-face conversation, and I would get excited when they stopped by. These meetings were a mix of mentoring and coaching sessions, and my blog served as way to document some of the problems we worked out. 

It was often the first time I had to explain how I approached solving pedagogy problems and found the blog to be a great place to reflect and organize my thoughts. 

The potential blogging has for connecting with others eventually transferred to our classroom. I was already working on dissolving "the buffer," as Mike Schmoker puts it, and decided the walls had to come down.  

Opening Our Classroom to the World

Flattening a classroom has so many steps until the mind set and routines are in place, and this process is not without its issues. 

The idea of parents, administrators, and other teachers wielding the ability to see what my students are doing and communicate about it is a bit too much for some people. For my classroom, it's the goal.

Although we have a Twitter page and I share reflection videos on YouTube, blogging has been a good place to start sharing what we do. 

My students blog, I blog, and we showcase student work on a special blog.

Don't get the wrong idea. We're not masters at this, and we certainly could learn more about how to connect with others. But we try, we fail, and we learn from our successes as much as our failures. 

Bottom line: Blogging to learn and blogging to showcase work are a great way to dissolve the classroom walls. For more, check out George Couros's blog at http://georgecouros.ca/blog/

What's more, I encourage parents and principals to blog, as well. After all, if it's worth our time, is it not worth sharing with others? 

Tell us about it.

Why do I continue to blog?

Blogging, for me, has become more than working through a thought process. It has opened my ideas to a responsive audience. 

Sometimes a post allows my learning network to point me in a direction I haven't thought of. It could be a thought or a resource that I would have never learned about if people didn't read my posts and share their thoughts. 

Initially, it was about sending what seemed like a thousand emails all at once. Now, it's about learning. It's about my journey away from the "sage on the stage" approach to teaching toward inquiry- and project-based learning. And through this blog, I don't have to guess as much. The people who read (or don't read) my blog give excellent feedback.