In the famous words of Les Brown, “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great!” This quote was the inspiration for this post, as was Alex Kajitani and his Teacher of the Year Leadership Summit. I am honored to have been asked to lead two “Spark Sessions” at the #TOYSummit about “How to Rock a Blog.”
Here are my five tips about how you can Rock YOUR blog:
1. Start with the why. Why should you, a teacher leader, start a blog? Reflection makes us stronger, wiser, and more precise. In our journey to understand ourselves as educators, we should continually reflect about what we believe in, what has worked well, and also what has failed miserably in our classrooms. Blogging is a great platform for reflection. The process of writing and sharing your work with others can guide you as you move forward in your journey as an educator. We need to not only reflect for own journey as an educator, but also to show the community what teaching and learning is all about. After all, if we don’t tell our stories, somebody else will.
2. Just get started! You don’t have to go out and purchase your own domain. There are plenty of free platforms for you to get started today! There might be a learning curve, but that is what is so amazing about Youtube. Youtube will have an instructional video to help you with most anything. Here are a few FREE blogging platforms for you to try:
3. Blog about what you love. Begin by blogging about what you love. My blog started out as a place to share what I was doing with iPod Touches in my classroom. At the time, I wasn’t finding very many teachers blogging about interesting ways to use apps in the classroom, so I started AppEducation.com. However, I must admit, I grew tired of just blogging about how I was using apps in the classroom. This year I began to widen my “blogosphere” and began to blog about my philosophies about education and broaching bigger topics. I find a lot of joy in writing about all aspects of education. So here is my advice, learn from my failures. Keep your blog open to write about any topic in education. Don’t limit your blog to only one topic. After all, we have SO many stories to tell about our journey as educators.
4. Blog often. I will admit, this is the toughest part about blogging. But it isn’t impossible. You just need to carve some time into your schedule for writing. It could be Sunday mornings while sipping a cup of coffee. It could be that little bit of time while you are waiting to pick up your child from soccer practice. You can blog anywhere, too! You don’t have to be on your computer. You can write notes on your phone or even record yourself while you are driving. The idea is that you just write. Don’t pressure yourself to make the perfect post, either. And don’t think your post has to be long. Sometimes a paragraph is all you need. My last piece of advice, is don’t let blogging become something else to worry about. If life gets busy, it’s okay to take a break.
5. Build a PLN or a community of “edu bloggers” to share and learn from. Blogging, reflecting, and sharing the story of your journey as an educator is only half of being a blogger. The other half comes from developing a network of bloggers from whom you love to learn. There are quite literally thousands of bloggers out there writing about their classrooms. However, how do you find these amazing people? I have dedicated the last several years connecting with educators on Twitter (if you are interested about doing this too read this blog post). If you haven’t yet spent time developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter then worry no longer. This year, I began a blogging community called Share #YourEdustory. This community of bloggers all come together each week to blog about the same topic. Then we post our blogs on Twitter using the hashtag #YourEdustory. I have met some amazing educators, both administrators and teachers, who began the journey of reflecting about their practice through blogs. If you want to learn more about the Share #YourEdustory bloggers group, follow this link.
Bloggers who make me think:
all the amazing bloggers of Share #YourEdustory. Find them all here.