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Mo Years Mo Blogging




Two years ago, I published my first blog post. To celebrate 2 years and 144 posts, I thought I'd share 10 insights linked to my blogging.
Pirates Publish Great PD



Over the last two years, I have had the privilege to read some great books published by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. These include Teach Like a Pirate, Ditch that Textbook, The Innovator’s Mindset, Explore Like a Pirate, LAUNCH, and I just started Pure Genius.  These books are great because they are accessible and practical.  The collection of books are like the Marvel Movie Universe in that they are all connected and have a unified vision.  But, they each have their own focus.  Let’s hope there is no Civil War in the Pirate Universe anytime soon. I’ve loved using my blog to reflect on the books I’ve read as I read them.


PLN




I have a significant level of social anxiety with my peers.  So, I’m not one who seeks out conversations with fellow staff members.  My blog has allowed me to share what I do in a way that doesn’t feel like bragging or complaining.  What’s been surprising is that others have read my posts and reached out to me via a simple comment of affirmation or question about practice.  Through these connections I’ve made while blogging, I’ve created a powerful personal learning network.  These are the people I would love to teach with.  I can’t imagine how amazing a school like that would be.  But, I’m glad we’re spread out. We’ll do more good for more students like that. Also, I’d probably be a little nervous reaching out face to face. Of course, these are the type of people who would find a way to make me talk, though.

Don’t need to be an expert with tech


Some of my favorite posts I’ve crafted are the ones centered around new tech tools. I tend to write these posts before I’ve had a chance to really explore them much like a kid blathering about a new toy. Two years ago, I probably couldn’t tell you what a screencast was.  But, I’ve learned to make GIFs and screencasts as a part of my posts.  I’ve learned about so many great tools I’m still using in my classroom like Canvas LMS, YouTube Editor, Google Sites, Pear Deck, and WeVideo.  That I would have something to contribute to the conversation about tech tools is surprising.



Conferences


I’ve had the privilege to attend some great conferences over the last two years both in state and out of state.  Using my blog posts to reflect has been a great way to summarize and process my learning for myself.  I enjoy the privilege of sharing my experiences with my district as they are the ones who bear the financial burden my attendance. To not find an avenue to share my experience would make me feel extra guilty.  The point of going out is to bring that knowledge back to my tribe and stoke some new fires.


Collaborations


My classroom is a safe place for me.  The thought of taking my students out of my classroom made me nervous to the core 2 years ago.  I’ve come a long way.  Some of my favorite days of the school year now are when I collaborate with other teachers in our district.  These are days where I bring my students to their classrooms.  I still feel like I’m cheating the system in some way because they are so much fun.  But the learning that happens on those days is real and beyond what any textbook could teach. Also, I met my teaching buddies Angela Patterson and Kate Sommerville by taking these kinds of risks and I kind of idolize them.


Finding a voice


To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve found my voice yet. But can I really be the judge of that?  Only you constant reader can tell me if I have a voice.  In another sense, though, this blog is my voice. I hope it provides an accurate picture of who I am and my convictions to those who have never met me.


Worldwide Audience


Thanks to the stats on my blog I see some things that surprise me. People in France and Russia have read my blog. Not many but more that can be just by simple accident.  Crazy, huh? Puts a little more pressure on me to represent my school and district in a good light.
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Reflect Now


A practical reason I will continue to blog for the foreseeable future is the use I’ve found for my posts as evidence for our educator effectiveness protocol in Wisconsin.  My blog posts provide the perfect format for showcasing my teaching.  But, the key to this is having the discipline to document an experience within 24 hours of it happening. If I wait any longer, it’s not going to happen. Sometimes, this can be come a bit obsessive.  I think I’ve become a bit addicted to that feeling of completing a post and hitting publish.


Retweet


Twitter has become a great way for me to share my posts.  There is nothing like getting a like when someone views a post.  The ultimate, though, is when on rare occasions I’m retweeted by someone I admire like Dave Burgess, George Couros, Allison Zmuda, or Robert Marzano among others. They feel my thoughts are worthy of sharing with their PLN.  Another great way my PLN has grown has been through Twitter Chats.  Two years ago, I don’t think I understood hashtags.  Now, I get them.  #Pearnchat  #tlap   #Plrnchat   #EdChat



Bloggers are so good


When I read the blogs of other great educators, I can feel like a monkey on a keyboard. It makes me a very happy monkey. So, I’ll keep typing. My must read blogs:





and of course Edutopia 

Well here's to another year of blogging to cure what ails me. Thank you for reading what I'm putting out. Please continue to reach out.  You have no idea how much it means to hear that I'm not alone in this.

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