Saturday, June 30, 2012

What's the Best Things I've Done This Year

One of the other things that came out of my day with George Couros was that I was encouraged to write and share two blog posts.  This is the first of two. Since the day of learning took place over two weeks ago I've had a lot of time to think about this.  What's the Best Thing I've Done This Year?

Professionally the obvious best thing I've done this year  is join Twitter. It has impacted my teaching in more ways than I can ever list.  I truly am a very different (hopefully better) educator because of the connections I've made through Twitter.  But I think if I wrote about that you'd probably get board, since I've written about it over, and over again this year.  Heck I even wrote a post for the International Reading Association on Why Twitter which you can read here. So I'm going to have to say the second best thing I've done this year is blog.  I have blogged professionally.  I have maintained my class blog.  I have encourage and supported my grade one students with their blogging too.  All three have been the best thing I've done this year.

Professionally blogging has been a great way for me to get my story out.  I'm certainly no brilliant scholar but I do think a lot and I like getting my thinking down on paper.  Thinking it, writing it, then sharing it with the world has made me a better educator  and hopefully along the way I have helped make others become better educators too. My professional blog, like twitter has allowed me to connect with many incredible educators too.

My class blog has also been a very powerful tool and one of the best things I've done this year.  The 199 posts written through out the school year have had over 21,500 visits.  It was an easy way for my students to share their learning with their families both near and far.  It also allowed me to show case what we are doing in my grade one class which hopefully inspired others to try new things too.  It was a great way to stay connected with my students families,  particularly during this extremely difficult year of job action. With over 20,000 hits ( I figured we might get 1,000 ) it was one of the best things I did this year.

But of the three blogs I've maintained my students'  KidBlog has been the best blog ever. While many of my students still struggle with many of the mechanics of writing, KidBlog has given them a voice and they are  genuine writers.  They aren't writing because I am telling them they have to, they are writing because they want to.  Many of my students are writing from home on their own time.  They are reading each others writing too, and leaving comments.  The comments from one student to another are the most precious things ever.  Remember my students were only five and six when they started the school year and they are now only six and seven.  But it is very clear that they are NOT too young to  be blogging.  Blogging has given them a voice that can be heard by the world.  I can't stress how excited they are when they see that people they don't know have read and left comments on their blogs.  Blogging has given my selective mute a voice.  Blogging, and most particularly providing my grade one students with an easy to use platform to blog with, has been one of the best things I have done this year.

If you're curious to read more about my journey with blogging with my grade one students check out this blog post I wrote in December - Blogging With My Grade One Students.

What is the best thing you've done this year?

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