I had the opportunity to talk blogging with a small group of online educators from K ¹² Inc. managed virtual schools. In preparation for this workshop, I was thinking about why I enjoy blogging, and I had a lightbulb moment.
Truthfully, I am a math major whose most memorable writing experiences happened in the 9th grade. I still double space and use oxford commas, so the fact that I have come to love blogging surprises me every time I do it! As I thought about the connection to teaching and blogging, it came to me — the reason I love blogging is because it reminds of building a lesson plan. It takes me back to those Sunday morning brainstorming sessions at coffee shops: finding creative ways to start lessons with a bang, offering unique ways for student practice, figuring out questions that will spark students’ creative processing and encourage critical thinking, developing opportunities to make productive mistakes, and finding key connections throughout activities to ensure that the lesson comes full circle. And there it is, blogging is just like building an effective and interactive lesson plan — and I dig it.
So this leads to my hypothesis: teachers make great bloggers, and here are 10 reasons why:
- Lesson Plans. Teachers are not new to being creative. They understand the importance of entertaining and informing simultaneously, and they understand how to pull from a variety of resources in order to help get a point across. Good blogs share resources and convey messages in fun and unique ways.
- Hooks. Great teachers connect content to the world around them and find engaging ways to introduce material. They know the importance of hooking their students from the beginning, and they aren’t afraid to let a little fun into the classroom. These hooks and connections are just as vital to the readability of blogs.
- Connections. Teachers know the importance of making connections — connections among content, connections to the outside world, and connections within lessons. This ability to come full circle helps solidify information and makes the learning experience feel complete, for students in the classroom AND for readers on your blog.
- Shared Resources. Next-gen teachers take advantage of the online communities that connect teachers across the world. They take pride in the resources they create and value the opportunity to share those resources with a large network of people. Blogs are a great way to build and expand your online presence.
- Presentations. Teachers are rare in that they give presentations DAILY. They know what it takes to hold attention and they regularly ask provocative questions to engage students. This is key to blogging as well.
- Student Input. Kids say the darndest things and teachers hear it all. Their reach is powerful and mighty and they have classes full of inspirational stories waiting to be told.
- Summaries. Teachers know how to recap and break down large amounts of information in more digestible chunks. Blogs that are both informative and efficient to read create value.
- Reflections. Teachers understand the value in reflection on practice, and blogging is a great way to commit to reflection and improvement.
- Crowd Sourcing. Teachers know how to crowd-source; the teacher across the hall, the old college roommate, the football coach — whoever it is, teachers know how to find an expert opinion. Good blogs include the opinions and insights from a variety of people.
- Stories. There is an element of blogging that is storytelling, and teachers have great stories. Stories are memorable because they communicate values, and we can’t help but love finding connections to shared values.
Teachers are one of the greatest resources that we have. Historically, they have lived within the walls of their own classroom. Spending hours designing, developing and iterating lesson plans, they then get into their classrooms and spend an additional 40+ hours with their kids delivering and facilitating this material. And yet, far too often their lessons and their stories aren’t shared.
Teachers: if you haven’t already started a blog, DO IT THIS SUMMER. If you have one, blog regularly. Blog for your students, for your students’ parents, for your communities, for your fellow teachers; and for teachers across the world. Share your hard work, share your resources, and share your stories…then, tell us about it. Getting Smart is always looking for great Smart Teachers to blog (and we pay!). Contact Tyler for more information.
We look forward to following the K¹² teachers’ blogging journey, here are a couple to check out:
- Removing Removing Barriers: How Online Education Provides Families Options and Students a Unique Experience
- My Experience as a Full-Time Online Intervention Teacher
Do you have a teacher blog that we should check out? Tweet the link to @MegMarMe #SmartTeacher.
K12 is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.
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