Thursday, October 31, 2019

30-Day #ThankfulTeacher Challenge

Tomorrow is the first day of November and I as I do every year, I will challenge myself to maintain an attitude of gratitude all month long - not just on Thanksgiving Day. Starting on November 1st, I will post on someone or something I am grateful for on my personal Instagram and Facebook accounts using the hashtag #30DaysofThanks. In past years, I have posted an occasional gratitude tweet related to education, but for the most part my gratitude posts are shared with family and friends, and are personal in nature.

This year, using the hashtag #ThankfulTeacher, I want to focus on all the ways I am blessed in my professional life and I challenge my fellow educators to do the same. I want to practice gratitude and post expressions of Thanksgiving all month long. Whether it's about major events or simple things, having an attitude of gratitude is about counting our blessings in spite of the challenges that come with being an educator and maintaining a love of teaching and learning.
Image credit: Etsy
Won't you join me? Let's spread gratefulness during the month of November in the hopes that it will stay with us all year long.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Key to Consistent Blogging

Image source: Pixabay
I love blogging. While I may not be a prolific writer, blogging (or any sort of writing) for me is therapeutic. Writing helps me process my thoughts and challenges to better develop ideas and solutions. As a teenager, I kept a diary. As a young adult, I kept a prayer journal. When I became an educator, I debriefed by writing notes on my lesson and unit plans. But when I discovered blogging, my reflective practice and my mindset were transformed.

However, once I left the classroom, I felt as if I lost my blogging voice. While time is certainly a factor, I mostly struggle with content. I’m like a newcomer English learner in her silent period. My blog has always been reflective in nature and I wrote about what worked and what didn’t work. When I entered the coaching role, I was taking in the newness of the role and didn’t feel as compelled to write and share as I did when I was a classroom teacher.
Image source: Pixabay
I recently read an ASCD post on content-area writing and it was like an epiphany moment. “The Keys to Content-Area Writing: Short, Frequent, and Shared" offers practical ways to help educators incorporate writing across the curriculum - the title says it all - but it gave me exactly what I needed  to help me get out of my writing funk. Just like with content-area writing, the key to consistent blogging is short, frequent and shared. Keeping posts as short as possible, writing frequently and sharing them with our professional learning networks.

So here’s my plan:
  • Short. I often overthink my posts and worry about reader-friendliness. In order for my blog to serve its therapeutic purpose, it must be more about reflection than about readership. When I first started blogging, I often wrote a paragraph or two and published a few times a week. As I honed my skills, my posts were lengthier but I published less frequently. This may be a good place to start to get me back on track.
  • Frequent. Making blogging part of my weekly routine will help me stay consistent. I made a calendar entry to remind me to publish every Friday to keep myself on track. However, my goal is to write a little something every day, even if just a few sentences.
  • Shared. Social media sharing is the quickest and easiest, but I will share my blog with anyone who’s interested. While my blog is intended to be read by educators, I have shared my work with students in an effort to model reflective writing. Moreover, although reflection is on my evaluation instrument, weekly blogging is not. Just like we want students to write for more than a grade, I write for more than checking off an item on the list.
If you’ve been in a blogging funk or struggle with consistent blogging, please share your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

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