Monday, June 8, 2015

Let's Blast into the Blogosphere!

Today marks day one for our online learning course, Blasting into the Blogosphere. During this three-week course, we will learn all about blogs and blogging, specifically for educational purposes. Every Monday (June 8, June 15, and June 22) I will post the tasks that need to be completed for the week. Then, throughout the week, I'll post tutorials and tips that will help you complete the tasks. While many of the tasks can be completed all in one day, it is not advised that you do so. I would like this course to be interactive through blog comments and other collaborative tools shared throughout, so please participate accordingly. At any point throughout the course if you run into issues or have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. If you are receiving summer professional learning credit for this course, you need to make sure that you are signed up and complete all assigned tasks by 11:59pm (CST) on Friday, June 26. (If you are outside of Aledo ISD, email me and I will help you get registered.)

WEEK 1:

  • Watch EduBlogs "What is a Blog?" video. 
    • Learn how to set up your blog through Blogger with this great tutorial created by Shannon Petty in Godley ISD. (NOTE: All educators who are part of a Google Apps for Education, or GAFE, district automatically have a Blogger account with your GAFE login. If you do not have a GAFE account, watch this "How to Set Up a Blog from Scratch." This video is a bit longer, but it has some great tips and how-to's.) 
  • Create your blog, if you don't already have one, and then share your blog link here
    • You may want to do the next task prior to creating your blog in order to have a better idea of how you want to use your blog in your role as an educator. 
  • Read EdTech Sandy K's post, "Blog Topic Ideas for Educators" as well as one or two of the articles she mentions in the "Want some more advice?" section of her post. 
    • Think about the suggestions and information shared on these blogs. What stands out to you the most? Please answer this question in the comments section here on my blog
  • Write your first blog post, or first post for this course, by answering the following questions. 
    • Why are you taking the "Blasting into the Blogosphere" course? 
    • What do you hope to learn from the course? 
  • Reflect on the following questions and post your answers on your blog as your second blog post
    • What is your role in education? (i.e. classroom teacher, specialist, administrator, etc.) 
    • How do you plan to use your blog in your role as an educator? 
      • Examples: Class newsletter to communicate with parents and students; school-wide newsletter to communicate to staff, parents, and/or students; lesson ideas and tutorials to share with other educators; personal reflections about your role as an educator; etc. 
  • Find or take a picture of your favorite office supply or classroom tool. Post this picture and write about why you can't live without it as your third blog post this week. 
  • Visit other course participants' blogs (see the list here) and leave a comment on at least two other blogs. 
Other Helpful Resources:
Remember, all of the above tasks should NOT be completed in one sitting or even on the same day. Spread it out over the course of the week, as I will post additional tutorials and helpful information along the way. 
Happy blogging! ~ April 

17 comments:

  1. Whoa. I'm feeling super overwhelmed by Sandy K's more advice! As useful as it is, I'm feeling extra nervous and afraid to start. lol I did like the little animated video talking about how everyone's personal ideas feel like nothing special to the owners of the thoughts, but someone else's boring idea can turn out to be exciting to me.

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  2. My takeaway is that I do have something to say. I have been hung up on what to say and how to say it, but perhaps the best thing to do is just start typing. Thanks for the guidance!! JC

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    1. Everyone has something to say! But, I agree, sometimes it is intimidating when staring at a blank screen; just take a leap and start typing. Everyone gets their inspiration from someone/somewhere, and you just never know who you'll inspire or touch.

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  3. I had not really thought about not posting any photos of student work. I thought I would be able to take pictures of student work to post as an example. Good to know!!

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    1. I interpreted Sandy K's statement, "if parents have given the district permission to post photos or other information about their students, that permission does not carry over to your PERSONAL blog." a little differently. IF you created your blog to share with students, parents, and/or other educators, I would not consider this a personal blog. Thus, I think it is okay (with parent permission and following school/district guidelines) to post pictures of student work. However, if you plan to use your blog to write personal reflections about life in general or for other personal purposes, then no, I would not post student work.
      We are going to look at several classroom blog examples this week and I think you'll see lots of examples of student work.

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  4. In "11 Things you should know about blogging," I like the ideas of picking a niche. The comment about no one paying attention to your day-to-day musings unless you are a super hero, was a good one! This will help me focus and I can also look at other blogs in the same vein for motivation.

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  5. I'm having a hard time finding my "niche." I tend to like to explore many areas at once! I think I'm going to have my new blog focus on Reading & Math Stations. I'm working on a book study on the Daily 5 so I will incorporate that into my first teaching posts & lead into my Math Stations after that! I'd love to keep it going & show my progress with each throughout the year!

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    1. Jennifer, I too have a hard time with this! #thestruggleisreal :-) Just going back through old blog posts and you can see my blog varies from sharing tech tools and tips to more of a reflective outlet. I think the key is to get started and as you post each week, your niche will evolve naturally. I like your idea to share Reading and Math Stations.

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  6. I appreciated all of the advice about blogging about what your interests are, as this is encouraging and helps make it not as overwhelming to begin.

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  7. SandyK's #1 tip spoke loud and clear to me. I have struggled with sharing my voice and opinions just about my entire career as a learner (I still consider myself one now, even in the role of “teacher”). I know now my voice and opinions are important. They can help others learn and most of all they help me to reflect on my thinking. I force myself out of my comfort zone so I can emerge into the educator that I want to become. I hope I can carry it over into my blogging experience as well.

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  8. I like the idea that you should blog about things that you know or feel passionate about. I don't like to do things that I don't feel passionate about. I look forward to blogging because teaching and sharing is the best way to learn. A person also learns when they get out of their comfort zone. Blogging will allow/force me to learn a little more about computers and to continue to grow and learn as a teacher.

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    1. Doug, you are absolutely right! We learn more when we are passionate about something but often times we have to get out of our comfort zone to truly grow as learners. This is certainly applicable to our students too!

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  9. Sandy's advice is good. I see why using short paragraphs and headings make it easier for readers. I enjoyed the short video about new ideas and can really relate to feelings about my ideas not being particularly earth-shattering. Her words of caution about topics and rants were valuable as well. The link to the Austin news story wasn't valid any longer. I would have liked to have seen that report. It's sad that the Philadelphia area teacher felt it was okay to diminish her students and their parents online.

    I am taking this course to discover ways to use blogging with my students to further learning. I see time, or the lack of it, as being the biggest obstacle to me becoming really involved in blogging otherwise. I know there is such power in collaborating with a wide group of professionals. I'm concerned that effective blogging might take away from time I need to prepare lessons and provide feedback to students.

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  10. Oh, the pressure...find your voice, fill a niche, don't be cliche, avoid rants, etc. I think blogs have many purposes. I follow my niece Carrie's blog, Carrie Contemplates, to keep up with what is going on in her twenty something life. I follow Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) because I enjoy her recipes and photographs. I keep up with innovators in education through a variety of blogs and websites. Successful bloggers know their audiences, write about what they know, and consistently keep at it.

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  11. Sorry I am behind the game! :) I really enjoyed the video she posted. I often feel as if my ideas are unoriginal or wouldn't live up to certain expectations. I think with blogs and Pinterest we have the tendency to be very critical on ourselves as educators, mothers, wives etc. What stood out to me about this article was the importance of varying up your posts. When you are blogging try to think of many topics to discuss....think outside the box. AND don't assume everyone knows! I do that too often and realize that isn't the case. Dawn I think you are right that we have to be so careful on social media. We are the voices and faces of education especially for our particular districts. It is critical to set an example for everyone and use social media carefully.

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  12. So glad to part of the group as well as excited to start blogging!!

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  13. I've been reading and following education/teacher blogs for many years. Most of the blogs I follow are 4th/5th grade teachers. They post ideas and pictures covering topics from their classroom. I love seeing their ideas and then making them something that works or me. My blog is going to focus on the areas of education that I am the most passionate about...writing, special education and balancing the teacher/parent work load.

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