I’ve Got Some Questions…

I have been navigating this cyberspace for 7 years now.  I’ve had many great experiences, learned and shared many things, and met many great people.  I’ve changed my view along the way and rethought my audience, but have always tried to write things that were engaging to my readers.  Often I could gauge that engagement by how many people commented on my posts, and/or how often readers connected with me on Twitter or Facebook regarding my writing.

So…while I honestly write as a means of reflection, I also strive to make this blog a conversation around teaching and learning.  And I’ve found that recently I seem to be writing to myself…I figure there are many reasons that might be happening, but am hoping that maybe you’ll help me more specifically with figuring out some of them by answering some questions.  I’d LOVE to learn more about what you, my blog reader, is thinking!

  1. What kinds of blogs do you read and revisit often?
  2. What kinds of blogs do you comment on, and what makes you want to do that?
  3. Do you find yourself reading blogs/posts that are more word-focused, video-focused, photo-focused, or some combination of all of those?
  4. If you write a blog, what do you do to help invite conversations and interactions?
  5. What other suggestions do you have?

PLEASE, please, please take a few minutes to let me know what you’re thinking!  I’m a learner at heart, and this is an important place for that to happen!  Can’t wait to hear from you, friends! 🙂

 

So I Have This Thing…

So I have this thing where I can’t write about something on the blog until after it’s finished.  Like the whole thing.  Even if it’s a Writing unit, a Social Studies project that takes 6 weeks or a Math investigation that is 10 days long.  I guess part of the reason is I want to make sure I have all of the parts to tell the full story–the beginning, middle and end–as well as to make sure that I’ve figured out the angle, the focus or the Big Idea I want to make sure to highlight.  I want to have identified the problem and then share the solution.  I want to have taken all the right pictures (which I have now learned the hard way have to be compressed before I upload them!) and figured out just the right words to write so that the most people want to read–and then comment on!–the post.  You get it the idea.  I want it to be perfect.

But unfortunately what happens when I work like that is that often time gets away from me.  I wait too long and a whole list of things occur: a teachable moment goes uncelebrated and the story goes untold, I forget the best parts of the story because too much time passes, I lose momentum, or even worse I end up with SO MUCH to write that then I can’t do it.  And then my blog sits untouched since mid-December, with many amazing learning experiences not shared.  And the funny thing is it’s taken me what seems like FOREVER to figure out that maybe that’s not working.  Yeah, I guess I’m kind of a slow learner.

So I’m not sure where that leaves me then.  I could go back and (with the help of the pictures I’ve taken) catch up on the 1,000 things that have happened since a month ago (ouch!); I could just shared the “finished” things that have occurred this week and celebrate the amazing things my students are learning–as well as what they are teaching; or I could just start writing about things in a new way and not worry so much about making sure that every post, every “story” is complete before I tell it.  Often, it’s the middle, the messy parts, the while-it’s-happening stuff that is the most interesting anyway.  It’s the things I learn when I’m not expecting them that are the most enlightening.  It’s the lessons that don’t go the way their supposed to that often have the most impact, and it’s when I stretch myself out of my comfort zone and try things a new way that often I find I wonder why I didn’t do that a long time before.

I guess I just made the decision then.  I am resolving to try something new this year (but I still say I don’t make New Years’ Resolutions), and tell stories at whatever stage of completion that they are in.  I pledge to share the ugly parts of learning as well as the well-planned, perfectly-executed, went-just-the-way-I-wanted-them-to parts (yeah…there’s much more of the previous than the latter anyway, so it’ll give me lots more to write about!).  I guess I already try to share the whole story anyway, but I’ll try to make sure I am ok with just little bits at a time instead of just the final product.  It’s the process not the product anyway, right?

Thanks for listening to my rambling, especially if this is the first time you’ve been back to our blog in a while and were expecting something different (which makes me wonder–what do you expect when you come here?  I’d love to know! Leave me a comment. 🙂 ).  I hope to make this a time to turn over a little bit of a new leaf and start the year with a fresh commitment to share the amazingness that happens in Rm. 202 every day.  I hope you stay around to join us for the ride.  It will definitely be fun, and probably pretty messy.  Great combination, I’d say! 🙂

First Grade Blogs about Kindness

Did you know that sometimes at the end of the school year, kids FORGET that they’re supposed to be nice to each other and follow the rules at their school? That happened to us.  So, we sat down and made a chart of #nicethingstodoandsay to help us remember how to show that we care about each other.

Here’s a picture of what it looks like:

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We figured that if we could use this chart to help us, then you could, too!  So we decided to share it–with our Robinson friends, and even people outside of our school.  With kids AND with grown-ups!  Anyone can read it and use it to help them show someone they care about them.

We know we are going to use this list. What about you? How will YOU show that someone else matters? What #nicethingstodoandsay will you choose?  Leave us a comment, or tweet to us at @jbeardensclass to tell us how it’s working out for you!