Stump the Teacher
The first blog that got my attention was Stump the Teacher. This blog is authored by Josh Stumpenhorst, who happens to be the reigning Illinois Teacher of the Year (2012). The blog provides an outlet for Mr. Stumpenhorst to share his opinions on issues that arise in regard to the profession of teaching. A wide variety of topics are covered based on the authors experiences with issues that he encounters in the classroom, at professional development conferences, and in the teacher’s lounge. Stump the Teacher also contains a great selection of Video Tutorials that demonstrate how to use a variety of innovative technologies in the classroom.
As I was perusing the postings at Stump the Teacher, a post entitled Teaching Mediocrity grabbed my attention. The post addresses Mr. Stumpenhorst’s perception that the profession of teaching is gravitating towards mediocrity. It seems that there are enough people to blame for the current state of affairs to spread the blame for this problem around. The blog post makes it appear that this is a societal issue, with the media, administrators, unions, parents, kids, policy makers, and teachers all having a hand in contributing to the presence of mediocrity in the profession of teaching. I appreciated how a serious, and quite distressing, issue facing the teaching profession was openly tackled by a passionate practitioner in the field.
The great thing about this blog is that it provides the honest, and often blunt, opinions of a successful teacher. The opinions are well articulated, and chances are you will find yourself actively agreeing, or emphatically disagreeing, with the author. Either way it provides an excellent springboard for open discourse involving issues facing many educators. This would be a great blog to share with other teachers because it is presented from the point of view of someone actively in the trenches, and it tackles issues that transcend district or school systems boundaries. Mr. Stumpenhorst addresses issues encountered by classroom teachers across the country.
So You Want To Teach
So You Want To Teach is a blog by a band teacher, but the information provided can be applied by teachers of all subjects. The blog’s title grabbed my attention because I do in fact want to teach. This blog is full of great tips about the journey from being a credentialed teacher to an actual professional educator. The blogs owner tackles issues that all teachers face, and often allows guest bloggers to share their experiences with common classroom problems that they have dealt with in their professional development. This blog has been “Providing Hope” to educators since 2007.
The post Questions That Will Save Your Career provides an interesting look at several issues that any teacher will need to address. The great thing about this post is that it provides the blogger’s opinions after his 5th year teaching (2007), and it has recently been revised to include his opinions about the same issues after the completion of his 10th year (2012). This allows the reader to see how a teacher’s view of things change and evolve over time, illustrating the fact that the quest to become an effective educator is an ongoing endeavor. Many of the issues addressed in the post revolve around classroom management, like How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?, How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?, How Do I Keep My Students Interested?, and How Do I Keep My Students Learning? , which is a great resource for teachers that do not have much classroom experience. Being that one of my biggest concerns about teaching is classroom management I found this post very informative.
I wrote about this blog because it is the attempt of one teacher to share his valuable knowledge with other teachers. I would find it hard to believe that any new, or aspiring, teacher would not find the information provided in this blog helpful. The blog has a very personal feeling, while at the same time providing information that can be practically applied in the classroom. From reading this blog you get the feeling that the blogger has a true desire to share the knowledge that he has attained through blood, sweat, and tears in the classroom with other teachers who may be looking for assistance.
Ask a Tech Teacher
From the title of the blog you should be able surmise that it is a source for information on technology in the classroom. This blog is written by an elementary technology teacher, and focuses on how to best use technology in the elementary classroom. The blog regularly recommends educational websites that are kid tested and approved, tech tips, Q & A’s, and reviews of the latest technology related classroom accessories. This blog is a bonanza of information regarding the use of technology with elementary aged students.
I was drawn to this blog because of the post entitled How to Teach Internet Safety in K-6. For my SLM 508 class we have been discussing internet safety, digital footprints, and how, and when, to introduce these things to school age children. This post gives grade by grade suggestions on how to introduce students to the internet. The progression covers areas like internet safety and security, digital footprints, copyright, and netiquette (internet etiquette). There are many links included to direct you to appropriate activities to teach these concepts. Even if your school system does not allow for the time suggested by the blog post the information provides a good guide as to what areas of online safety you should focus on with students in the elementary years.
Today’s students are so familiar with technology that any competent teacher must find ways to integrate technology into their instruction. The only problem is not everyone is as experienced with technology as they may like to be. This blog could be an invaluable resource for educators that are trying to keep up with the latest and greatest uses of technology in the classroom. It provides simple, no nonsense answers to questions that many educators, or parents, will have regarding technology and their youngsters, and if your questions are not answered you can ask them. This is definitely a blog worth subscribing to if you are wondering how to integrate technology into your instruction, or you need technology resources.
I was almost overwhelmed by the number, and varied content of educator blogs available on the internet. Educator blogs seem to have a wide variety of purposes, including sharing current research, addressing issues faced in the classroom, creative ways to vary instruction, or just as an outlet for frustrations. All these purposes have a place in the blogosphere because these blogs are providing a platform for teachers to express what they are feeling and to reach like-minded people. I am sure I only scratched the surface with regard to all the educator blogs that are available, but they seem to have many positive uses. From my perspective, as a teacher in training, blogs are a great source for ideas on how to present content. From the bloggers perspective it allows other to view your ideas critically, and perhaps improve them or build your self-esteem with a compliment. Through blogging you can reach a group of people that will help you reflect upon and refine your ideas in order to make you a more effective educator.
Blogs also provide a way to allow your students to post their ideas, share thoughts with classmates, and display their work. Students who are encouraged to use blogs will improve their communication skills, and a community will be formed that encourages collaboration and the open flow of ideas. Having a blog linked to class work will also give the students a chance to display proper digital citizenship and practice methods necessary to creating a positive digital footprint. Though blogging has been around for a while, I do not think that it has been widely encouraged for use in the classroom. Many teachers probably view their plates as full enough without incorporating a new tool like blogging to take up more of their valuable time. From my limited experience as a blogger, it seems like something that anyone could do. I guess the question is how to encourage teachers to use blogging as a tool in their classrooms. The first thing that a teacher can do is set a good example, not only for their students but their colleagues as well. It would take very little effort to share useful blogs with your fellow teachers, and introduce them to the possibilities available. I also think that reluctant, or oblivious, teachers would be more inclined to explore the benefits of blogging if they could see it being effectively modeled by someone in their school. By seeing the positive benefits blogging could provide for the students, teacher, parents, and community may inspire someone to start a blog of their own.