Just Push Publish!

I’m a teacher, and I love blogs. I love reading other teacher’s blogs, sharing blogs on social media, and writing my own teacher blog.

So, you’re interested in blogging? And, you’re somewhere in the education world? High five!

However, you may be saying to yourself, “but Mari, I don’t have anything special to say!” Past Mari, the one you may have met in 2015, said the same exact thing! She wanted to blog, and felt like she didn’t have much to contribute.

Fast forward to present-day Mari…or, well, me. I remix things I learn about from friends and at conferences and add my own unique twist. I’m sharing my experience in my classroom and eduworld, and that’s enough for me.

Your voice is valuable! Your voice needs to be heard!

So, where exactly do you start?
  1. Pick a blogging platform. I prefer Blogger. Some of my friends use WordPress, Weebly, or Edublogs.
  2. Create a blog! Pick a name that relates to who and what you teach.
  3. Write your first post! I prefer to draft my posts on Google Docs, then copy & paste into Blogger. (Need some sentence frames? That’s ok. Here’s a handy “my first post” template.)
  4. Push publish!

I know it’s scary to push publish! Terrifying, actually. But it’s so worth it. Remember, you’re not a professional writer, and mistakes are ok. The edu-community is very forgiving, and is excited to read what you post.

Your first post is published. Now what? Share you post on social media and with colleagues, read and comment on other education blogs, and keep up your learning spirit!

It’s ok if you don’t blog on a regular schedule. Blog when you’re inspired or when you have an idea. If you need to keep up a writing habit, try using Google Docs to write every day, and post when you have something you’d like to share.

If you want to join a community of bloggers to continue your blogging journey with friendly support, read more about the SunchatBloggers here, and check out our resources.

Happy blogging!


Did you write your very first blog post? Comment below with a link, I’d love to read it!  

#SunchatBloggers: Taking Risks & Supporting Each Other

On August 14th, I got up early for #HackLearning and #sunchat. Here on the west coast, that means setting my alarm for 5:15 on a Sunday morning to be ready for the 5:30am & 6:00am chats, respectively.

Earlier that week, I was talking with a few friends about how blogging has been a big challenge for me. I’m finally reaching a point where I almost feel comfortable with blogging, but not yet confident. As I thought about this after the conversation, I realized what I most wanted is a group of people to support my blogging journey.

After talking with a few people during #sunchat, I realized I wasn’t alone in my blogging struggles. I tossed out the idea to start a DM group to support our blogging journeys. Other people jumped on board that week and in the 2 weeks since.

Our DM group is on fire, and we have quite a few people who have just started their blogging journey by posting their first post! Some members are more experienced bloggers, have had the opportunity to share their wisdom. No matter the experience level, everyone’s contributions are valued and celebrated.

One of the best parts of this group is that we make it a point to not only read each other’s blogs (we all have some sort of feed set up to see new posts, I use feedly), but also to leave comments. So often, I publish a blog post, and I’m not sure if anyone is actually reading. When we make it a point to comment, we are reading the blog post with a purpose, and providing valuable feedback and encouragement.

I’ve loved watching our group grow over the last two weeks, and I can’t wait to see how this journey unfolds for us all.

Interested in joining our #SunchatBloggers DM group? DM me on Twitter, and I’ll add you in!


Exploring Blogs with Students

Note: This blog post is an assignment for TEC-950, an elective class as part of the CUE Innovative Educator Certificate. 

Blogs are an excellent tool for engaging students in critical thinking and sharing between peers and beyond the classroom. 
Blogging expectations created by my
AVID students
I have tried out blogging with students and been unsuccessful in maintaining the blogs due to technology and platform issues, as well as getting sidetracked with other assignments. I tried again in January of this year with my AVID classes, and had students successfully publish one post. However, we haven’t gotten around to publishing another post. I am thinking that next week we will write another post to reflect on what we have learned about kindness. I am hoping we can publish at least a few more posts, then share these posts with the digital word to get feedback on our work. 
Together with my students, we have explored multiple Common Sense Media lessons, including Trillion Dollar Footprint, Which Me Should I Be?, and Cyberbullying: Be Upstanding. My students also explored the Digital Compass games to extend their thinking about digital citizenship. It is essential to have these discussions because students will respond to each others’ blogs or even blogs of students outside our class, and they will need to represent themselves and our school in a respectable manner. Outside of my classroom, students are constantly on social media, both creating and commenting on posts, and need to understand the impact of creating a positive (or negative) digital footprint. We modeled and practiced appropriate behavior in structured class activities and discussions. 
According to the ISTE Standards for Students, students should be able to “use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others” (ISTE Standards for Students, Standard 2: Communication & Collaboration). I am excited because my AVID students have been collaborating on a collaborative essay with Rosy Burke‘s 5th grade students as part of a NASA competition. We are hoping to have our students blog about their Genius Hour projects, then use a Critical Friends-style format to share feedback and their projects with each other on their blogs. 
For me, blogging has been an excellent reflective practice, and reading others’ blogs and writing my own has made me a better teacher. I’m thankful for my blogging community, and I can’t wait to continue to empower my students through blogging.