As I was rereading my copy of Classroom Blogging by David Warlick today in preparation for work this week with my class, I came across a suggestion I could not resist trying: write about why you blog. I am have written many times (on this blog!) about why I write, as well as facts about me as a writer, and even what I write about in the summer, but I had never thought to share the reasons why I’ve spent so much time and energy (and I’d say a generous dash of love!) on keeping this blog for the last 3 1/2 years. I think it’s a great idea and I’m excited to share my thinking! Hope you enjoy reading it! 🙂
Reasons Why I Blog…
Writing in general is a way to slow down, step back and reflect on how things are going. For me, my blog allows me a venue to do that with what is going on in my classroom, just like I might do in my Writer’s Notebook about something in my personal life. I find that as I am planning posts, and am thinking about how best to share my story, I figure out the parts that went right and the parts that could use some improvement. And honestly, it’s the “not-so-right” parts that I value–it’s in these that I learn the most and grow for the next time. Plus, as I share them in a public forum, I am hopefully sharing them so that someone else can learn from them, too!
Originally I started my blog for myself, and maybe to share with a few others who could care (probably members of my family! LOL). Very quickly, though, I began to see it as a tool to highlight the things going on in the little slice of heaven called Robinson School. And since the families of my students don’t get to be there with us every day, the blog would (and did!) become a sneak peek into what we were learning–and also how we were learning it. See, more than just the what, I strive to include the thinking behind the why of what we do. I am hoping to share the methods to my madness and help parents (and other interested readers) understand why I make the educational choices I do. I have heard from MANY a parent that these tidbits I share with them are priceless and useful conversation starters with their students. Rather than just asking “What did you do at school today?”, the question can become, “Tell me about….” or “What did you learn when you were…?” For 5th graders who chose not to share, and for 1st graders who sometimes have already forgotten what to share by the time they get home, the benefits are clear.
3) COLLABORATION and CONVERSATION
Aside from desiring to share information with families, I use my blog as a platform to share information and reflection with other teachers. I strive to write in a way that is both interesting and inviting, and in a way that will spark a conversation. It doesn’t always happen, but my hope is that a thoughtful conversation can be started in response to something I write, and that knew knowledge or understanding can be gained by those involved. I am pretty active on Twitter, and have been throughout my blogging journey, as well. Honestly, some of the greatest lessons I have learned as a teacher in the last 3 1/2 years have come through collaboration and conversations that stemmed from a connection made either on Twitter or through comments on this blog. Reading others’ blogs inspires me to try new things or think about something in a new way, and I strive to be that same catalyst for change for others. I am energized by working with and learning from others, and I especially love when I can add something to a conversation that might result in a new or improved learning experience for both a teacher and their students.
Like I mentioned in the post about why I write (in general), writing is fun for me! When I started my writing journey as a teacher in 2005, it was to be able to have a resource with which to teach my student writers (i.e. using my Writer’s Notebook entries as mentor texts during mini-lessons and conferences), and to better understand exactly what the act of writing entails from a learner. What I found out along the way is that I really like it, and it is kind of my go-to stress reliever. Everyone has that one thing they do when they are worried, stressed or uneasy–for me it’s writing. And just like the words I put in my Writers’ Notebook, I enjoy writing the stories I tell here. For some, the idea of spending countless hours outside of school writing about what they did while they are at school seems crazy. I’ve had many teachers tell me they don’t even think they’d be able to find time to do it anyway. For me it’s a necessity, and actually makes the work I do while I’m in my classroom a little better. Well, and ok, I’ll admit that I’ve been called crazy before, so maybe there’s a little bit of that thrown in there, too. 🙂
Thanks to @dwarlick for the inspiration for this post, and for you for reading it! Now I ask you–why do you blog? And hey, if you don’t, why not? I’ve love to hear from you and start a conversation! 🙂