Education

Blogging while being a Classroom Teacher

Months since my last blog post: 9

Drafts waiting to be finished and posted: 7

Ideas for future blog posts: 21

Stress I bring on myself for not blogging: Immeasurable

Regrets for choosing other priorities over writing: 0

Over the past few months—and, honestly, for years before that—I have become more and more paralyzed by the friction between my desire to write this blog and my obligations to the rest of the world.

I love writing and I know that I will only become a better writer by practicing the craft. I value the feedback and conversation that come from my work on this blog. I want to share my ideas, and I want to hone them through the crucible of an authentic audience. But the big question is WHEN?

This time of year for year-round teachers is when we begin to make plans for the upcoming school year. My track finishes the year in early June and then starts again in early July, so we can’t wait until we are done with one school year to begin thinking about the next.

As I look toward next year, and what I want the focus of learning to be, I have decided that the theme for the year will be…

WRITING.

Sounds great, right? What will it really mean? Here’s what I’m thinking right now:

1. Everyone will write everyday. Sometimes it would mean a short paragraph to reflect on a lesson. Other times it would be larger pieces, such as lab reports. Every major unit would end with a significant piece of iterative writing. Everyone also includes ME. Blogging and other writing would become part of my daily routine, as well.

2. Lab Reports will become argumentative. Based on some learning that I’ve done lately, I discovered “Negotiating Science” by Hand, Norton-Meier, Staker, and Bintz. Hand and Co explain their Science Writing Heuristic, which is an awesome reflective way to write about science through the lens of argument.

3. Feedback on writing will get faster, easier, and more frequent. For writing to improve, the writer needs to receive A LOT of feedback. That is a struggle for several reasons. Reading and responding to student writing takes time. Lots of time. To do this frequently, I need to identify some tools and workflows that can make the process more efficient. I’ve played around with audio feedback in the past, and with using Chrome plugins more recently, but I want to find a better way.

That’s my plan for the 2018-2019 year. What’s yours?

2 thoughts on “Blogging while being a Classroom Teacher

  1. Hey Pal,

    A few thoughts:

    (1). Stop thinking about “writing for a bigger audience.” The only audience that matters — for you AND your students — is the individual. Writing as a form of thinking, processing, learning, reflection. Doing so eliminates one of the biggest breakdowns in the writing process — discouragement because there aren’t a helluva’ lot of readers out there.

    (2). Don’t forget that if you are the only provider of feedback in your classroom, the amount of feedback will always remain low. The limiting factor is you. So the key to your plan is developing kids who are REALLY good at giving each other feedback.

    I’m planning on tinkering with the Checkmark Extension for this in my room:

    http://blog.williamferriter.com/2018/04/15/using-the-checkmark-extension-for-chrome-to-reimagine-classroom-feedback-practices/

    My hope is that by giving kids predetermined feedback comments that they load into the extension, they will (1). get better at spotting the stuff that matters in writing on their own and (2). give better (and more specific) feedback to one another.

    Wanna give it a shot together?
    Bill

    Like

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