(As I write this post, I am going to practice CCR Anchor Writing Standard 1, “Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” )
As I reviewed the blogs listed here on my page as well as the ones on my google reader, I thought about the power of technology. I eagerly look forward to catching up on my “online blog reading” in order to see what is happening with many friends that I know in the virtual world. I have found that a “support system” exists that helps me increase my own understanding of literacy and the bigger educational world. This post takes a look inside some of those blogs that are a part of my own support system that range from a Twitter chat group and some of its specific members to a blog from work that greatly influences my literacy specialist work to a blog that makes me think about how students should be using blogs for real world writing. The topics and content may vary but blogs are powerful sources of learning as well as reflections of learning; just check these out!
1) #educoach The #educoach Twitter chat takes place at 9 pm CST each Wednesday night. The chats are co-moderated by @KathyPerret @PrincipalJ and @shiraleibowitz. Because all three are very talented leaders, I am including all of their blogs under number one #educoach . The reasons for reading them are uniquely different and important! (Yep, cheating already!)
A) Kathy Perret’s “Learning Is Growing “ blog is a place where she records her reflections and new learnings. In the “About” section, Kathy explains that the name was inspired by the book Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Kathy is an aspiring elementary principal who currently serves as a Reading Consultant for NWAEA in Sioux City, Iowa. As I reviewed Kathy’s blog for specific posts to recommend I noted that the archives extend to August 2010 with 70,829 hits recorded. This seems to be a blog with a great following! Favorite posts that extended my thinking included: “Discover Writing” posted on July 14, 2012, “Angry Birds” – A Lesson in Assessment FOR Learning posted on February 15, 2011 and “ Think-Pair-Share Variations” posted on March 21, 2012. These three posts represent thoughtfully written articles for teachers that include the background theory, actual implementation steps, and resources that would benefit a teacher implementing the strategies in a classroom.
B) @PrincipalJ’s blog is “Reflections from an Elementary Principal. Jessica Johnson reflects on her practice, her learning and connects with other school administrators as an elementary principal in Wisconsin. Favorites of mine include: “Ready for the First Day of Bucket Filling!”(Sept. 2012), October 3, 2012, “Do my teachers know how amazing they are?” that was about nominating a teacher for a state award who didn’t feel she was a viable candidate, and “The decision to go school-wide with Daily 5” posted on February 9, 2011 that details how Daily 5 began with one second grade teacher the previous year. With blogs dating back to 2009 a reader could find many topics that would build upon his/her own understanding of life as an administrator or lead teacher in any building.
C) “Sharing Our Blessings” is Shira Leibowitz’s blog shared in her own words “because for Educators and Parents, Counting Our Blessings Just Isn’t Enough.” Shira is a lower elementary principal in New Jersey. A special favorite of mine is the post “Who’s Afraid of Principals?” posted 10.09.12 that so aptly conveys a student vision of adults and reminds adults to stop and think about the perceptions of our students! Posted on 04.22.12 is “The Learning Walk Shuffle” which details an evolution of learning walks to the current foci of differentiation and student engagement. That is one post that I have reread multiple times! “A Team of Coaches” posted on 02.13.12 provides information about the specific roles of the math, Hebrew, science, educational tech, enrichment, media and literacy, and literacy and learning strategies coaches found in her building. All of these coaches work together as a coaching team to support meaningful professional learning. Shira talks frankly about professional learning required to design and support all students and teachers.
2) Quick Reviews and Ideas is a blog by @ksteingr (Kristin Steingreaber) who is the media director at Great Prairie AEA (Ottumwa and Burlington) where I work. The purpose of this blog is to connect students with new media resources. Teachers and/or students will be interested in the reviews. The October 24th post is a review of the book, The giant and how he humbugged America by Jim Murphy. Publisher information is included as well as why this may appeal to students in Iowa: “Hull claimed that he got the idea to create the giant while on a business trip to Ackley, Iowa” (page 47). Curriculum connections to books from the National Council of Social Studies are also included in the book reviews found in the October 21st post as way to increase reading within curricular areas. The blog archives list 53 posts for 2012, 56 for 2011, 67 for 2010 and 78 for 2009 as further evidence of the long standing tradition of book reviews. Busy teachers will appreciate that the reviews are succinct. Looking for a specific title? There is a “search” available on this blog that allows one to focus on specific titles and/or topics.
3) This last specific post “Ideas for Integrating a Student Blog into Your Curriculum” by @penilleripp is a “Must Read/Follow” because it includes education musings, technology and lessons as well as Pernille Ripp’s Life as a Teacher. Need ideas on how to incorporate student blogging in order to make writing as authentic and as meaningful as possible without it becoming another homework burden? If yes, then this is the post you need to read. Thinking about student blogging? Then this is the blog for you to follow. Mrs. Ripp has 150 posts archived for this year alone which could greatly inform any reader looking to add to their own knowledge of technology and writing. Any teacher who is considering student blogging will find additional resources and food for thought on this blog! And what are some common concerns with student blogs? Check out this post of Pernille’s. (Updated: Also source for Global Read Alouds)
So this was quite lengthy. Did I support my claims that these were great “must follow/read” blogs? Was the reasoning valid? Was there sufficient and valid evidence? Where could I have improved my argument?