2018 New Year – New Adventure
January 20, 2018- a fresh New start to a New Year!
As I relaxed over the Holidays these past few weeks, I reflected on the current state of student engagement in my classes. The semester was coming to a close and I had seen a tremendous drop in student interest and engagement in many of my classes. And , of course, I wondered what I might do to change it. Then I stumbled across a notice for a 10-week course on Better Blogging with Students from Edublogs. On pure impulse, I signed myself up! I have dabbled a bit with blogging on both the personal and professional level. Even hosted a fairly successful class blog in my previous school district. This fall, when setting up the web pages for my co-curricular club (FBLA) and our Student Store ( The Spartan Market) , I discovered my prior experience to be very helpful. Dashboards and widgets and WordPress! EduBlogs! Been there, done that! Yes, I had done this before!!!! Student blogging just might be the solution that I was looking for. It would all come back to me, right????
Fast Forward to Week One: OMG , what the heck was I thinking!!????
Yeah, I’d kept my Edublogs accounts. Paid that small fee each month without even blinking an eye. After all that hard work, I just did not have the heart to shut it all down. Class blog, 30+ student blogs, this teacher blog ; all still here, frozen in cyberspace, as if it were still the end of semester 1, 2014. Yup, threw myself right into the deep end of the pool. So before I could make that fresh start, I had some blog clean-up to do.
- First I removed most of the student blogs from my class blog and selected a newer modern theme. In my stumblings, I discovered a great little edublogs article about how to best do that ( I think I deleted some of those guys which is not recommended- Oops- Learning curve). I did save a few good examples for my future bloggers to view. I then had to reconfigure the menus and widgets to fit the new theme. Progress was stalled as I contemplated what background picture I wanted to represent my class….decisions,decisions; size, pixels,is it mine or someone else’s work? Resurrect Creative commons and proper online publishing etiquette, learning curve, learning curve, learning curve.
- Once I was (somewhat) content with my class and student blog progress, I decided to take a look at week1 tasks in Better Blogging.
- What Is A blog?
- Why Edublogs /CampusPress/ WordPress?
- What Are The Benefits Of Blogging?
- Why Do You Want To Blog?
- 1) Who will your audience be?
- 2) Who will be writing on your blog?
- 3) How will blogging be integrated into your classroom program?
- 4) Will your blog be public or private?
- 5) What makes a high quality classroom blogging program?
- Your Task and (let’s not forget)
- Join the Facebook group
Seriously , I am a high school teacher at the end of a semester, with students failing and final exams and grade recovery work and blizzard bag assignments and prep for next semester’s all new classes . Holy cow, people I do not have time for this!!!!!
But I am determined to forge ahead, let’s go back to the task at hand.
- Our task for this week was to post an answer to a question or two (from above), connect with fellow classmates, comment to other posts here and there. This I can do, this I like most amongst all other online experiences. I find posting and commenting on other posts a very rewarding experience and where, for me, (during my online post-graduate work) the most learning occurred.
- It was there in the hundreds of posts and comments ( literally) that I discovered my inspiration. A classmate, teacher and fellow blogger had posted a comment and shared a link to her blog, where she was sharing the “Better Blogging” experience. Brilliant! That was it. Now I had something to write about. So Simple, why hadn’t I thought of it? After all, my goals, like many others’ in this course, were to:
- Revamp and introduce my class blog to a new set of students,
- Add consistency and purpose, and
- Be a better blogger.
Just a bit more work to do. Week one continues with a brief revamp of ” Innovative Learning with Mrs. C.
- Final task of the week, revamp my professional blog site by recategorizing old posts, which entailed reconfiguring menus and categories and some juggling of widgets. This is not complete. I am still considering a new theme but have not made any final decisions. I am content with a Work-In-Progress status for now.
- Of course to be a better blogger and good teacher, we must “walk the walk”. ( thank you classmate – identity lost in the vast comment stream). There is no better lesson to illustrate blogging than modeling the experience, presenting an example and setting expectations.
- SO Lastly, as the sun sets on this semi-warmer Saturday afternoon in January, I have finished writing my first blog post in almost 4 years.
Let the New Adventure begin!
🙂 Mrs. C.
Bravo! Well done for writing your first blog post in 4 years. And well done with all your spring cleaning too. I know how hard it is. My blog was dormant for a couple of years while I had children and I had a bit of tidying up to do when I got back into it. It’s nice to have a fresh start! Like you, I always find my own professional blog a work in progress.
I hope you don’t feel the course content is too overwhelming and I’m glad you like the aspect of connecting with others. I honestly feel like this is the best way to learn and grow. You never know who you’ll meet and what the result of the connection could be!
Looking forward to learning alongside you,
No Worries. This course is exactly what I needed to tackle the cleanup tasks that needed to be done before I could start blogging again. I am feeling more comfortable now and ready to move forward.
It’s kind of like cleaning out a closet; you have to throw out the old, to make room for the new!
So true, Kae. I think Konmari would approve of this approach! 😉
Refreshing the blog is so important especially with new classes. Most teachers in the campus press setup I run keep the same blog year after year, school after school. It becomes personal to that particular teacher. At the beginning of the new year, time to delete last year’s students, add in this year, write a welcome post.
Love one teacher’s welcome post for the year https://www.xpress360.net.au/jmoore/2018/01/18/a-new-look-for-2018/