10 July 2012

Reflecting On My First Six Months Blogging

 Reflection has always been an integral part of my practice as an educator, and it was certainly one of the most important skills I taught my students because it was a skill they could use throughout their lives.  At the end of every class day, my students reflected on their learning for the day.   I called this a reflection slip for most of my career, and then the language of “exit slip” started appearing, and straightaway, every teacher was required to have an exit slip.  The problem with the implementation of the exit slip school-wide was that many teachers were just complying with a mandate from the administrators and were not thinking about the purpose of an exit slip (to know if students mastered the learning objective for the day).  Some teachers were even known to throw the exit slips in the trash as the students exited the room.

Not only did we reflect at the end of each day, we also wrote reflections at the end of each unit and at the end of each year.  The students wrote reflections on what they learned, and I wrote reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of each unit as well as the skills I saw students mastering and those that would need re-teaching, depending upon the individual class and/or student(s). 

To get my students started for an end of the year reflection, I utilized the following quote often attributed to Albert Camus:  Life is a journey not a destination—as long as you continue on that journey you will always be a success.  Students then wrote about each of the units we studied, applying the quote to each unit as well as applying the quote to their growth in class.  We thought about where we were going with our learning, where we were at the moment and how we would meet our goals.

However this post isn’t intended to be about exit or reflection slips.  This post is my six month reflection on blogging at Learning to Muse.  I started this blog on 2 January 2012 as a way to encapsulate my musings, readings, and conversations about teaching and learning. 

What I’ve learned
·          As an over analyzer, it’s important for me not to overanalyze everything I blog because otherwise I would never post.  Just as I mentioned in that first post—learning is a journey.
·         As an educator, it’s essential for me to follow other educators to be connected and to continue learning. 
·         As a reader, it’s vital for me to keep reading anything I’m in the mood for—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, videos, images, anything that catches my interest each week.
·         As a mom and wife, it’s fun to reflect on family life and how it helps me maintain balance in my life but also how it connects to my education musings.
·         As a writer, it’s necessary for me to journal, to blog, to create, to read, to explore, and to listen.  Listening and exploring inform many of my musings here.
·         As a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), it’s crucial for me to reflect, to learn, to analyze results and outcomes—this informs decisions I make.
·         As a blogger, I need to link to other people, blogs, websites, resources, organizations, anything that connects to the content and livens up the text.

My favorite parts of blogging so far
·          Noticing that people from all around the world have read my blog (See image above)
·         Sharing my musings with as many or as few people who read
·         Establishing my digital footprint
·         Reading comments from readers (There haven’t been many so far, but the ones I’ve read have been meaningful to me)
·         Sharing two posts with guest blogger, Gwyn Ridenhour, who is fabulous and passionate about education
·         Watching one of my former students who is now a friend, Amanda Riley, soar as a blogger
·         Keeping my personal commitment to blog weekly
·         Seeing a link to my blog in an Edweek blog

My blogging goals for July-December
·          Continue posting at least once per week
·         Redesign the background template to something more interesting
·         Learn how to add video clips
·         Invite guest bloggers
·         Explore ways to connect more with other bloggers 
·         Peruse websites and blogs of others to learn from them about design & content in the online world

~~Thanks for reading~~