As an educator, it is important to take time to reflect, collaborate, and examine our outlook on lesson planning, student achievement, and the tools that are available for us to use in the process. Check out the blogs listed below for great resources and reflection on those subjects. They have already encouraged and enabled me to take a different view on the role of an educator in the classroom.

Edutech for Teachers

The vast majority of Forshey’s posts highlight a tool, strategy, lesson, or idea related to technology that can be used in the classroom. Some seem to be specifically aligned to subject area, however, most are adaptable, not only by subject, but are useful tools across grade levels. This is a great resource to have that explains how each tool can be used, and many blog posts actually include student samples so that readers can get a feel for what an assignment would look like, in order to determine if it fits the types of students with whom they interact. Forshey’s blog features nineteen different categories of resources to sort through, giving adequate information on web 2.0 tools and how they can be incorporated into daily instruction in the classroom. The topics range from tech tips, to posters, to projects, and even includes themes, like holidays and humor. She updates her diigo weekly and supports ways to promote reader digital footprints.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Digital Footprint

This is the digital footprint page that includes helpful links and an area to provide comments to Forshey.

Digital Storytelling

This was a great post that used a student sample to demonstrate how fun and exciting digital storytelling can be for both creators and viewers of the product.

Tech Tip of the Week

I really like the “Tech Tip of the Week” category, as that could be a quick stop by for busy teachers that are just looking for interesting suggestions to improve their lessons. This tip in particular, was interesting to me, especially when looking at websites for the primary grades, as anything visual can be so beneficial.

How can teachers use this blog?

Forshey’s exuberance and intriguing posts that clearly and concisely highlight the latest and greatest in educational technology bring personal news to a very public level (Blogs in Plain English). I love that she gathers up so much information and organizes it in such a way that you can dive in feet first, or just take a nip every now and again in order to familiarize yourself with the latest and greatest. As Windham mentions, Foshey provides an “outlet for creative expression, and a way to reach beyond [her] normal network” (4). By including such great ideas and explanations for how they work, Forshey is utilizing the “potential to impact” other educators around her, and I, for one, want to be one of them (Crawford 11).

 

Read, Write, Reflect

Sokolowski is an encourager, a balm to a teacher’s soul. Her enthusiasm for teaching, love of her students, and passion for the curriculum that she teaches are enough to send someone who is on the fence about teaching to sign up for their first college course. As she mentions in her about me section, she uses this blog as a reflection on her teaching, both on methods and content matter.

Sokolowski includes a great deal of information, mainly pertaining to reading and writing in the classroom. Her posts include her own personal reactions to books she has read, as well as book suggestions for readers. By choosing to focus on reflections of specific teaching situations, she is able to engage the reader and help them to see what could work in their own classroom, as well as what books they may be interested in reading. With time cut so short for planning and purchasing books for my library, I see Sokolowski’s blog as a great resource to use for potential purchases in the future.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Connecting Through Characters

This concept would be a great way to ask some higher level thinking questions to the students when reading even short passages. Identifying with a character involves much more critical thinking than merely describing who the character is.

Summer Book Clubs

Her ideas for summer book clubs sound like more than just reading, which intrigued me. She encourages students in using reading strategies, ensures their understanding, and encourages their participation by using skype.

Teaching Boys

This post was especially inspiring, as it helps give readers perspectives on how your outlook on students can change the way you respond to them.

How can teachers use this blog?

Sokolowski’s blog follows Windham’s model of reflection in order to work out her feelings and processes (6). By sharing her reflections with her readers, others can find that encouragement that we need as educators to reach those kids that sometimes seem out of touch. Sokolowski consistently blogs about the critical elements of teaching that she faces, ensuring that her readers will continually check in to find out how an experienced educator handles specific situations (Windham 9).

 

Kleinspiration

Klein incorporates reflections on conferences she attends, classroom organization, and technology resources that teachers can use to enhance their lessons. She frequently shares examples of student work after they used specific technology resources within the classroom, and provides feedback as a user on why teachers should buy into each specific type of resource. Klein includes resources for student projects, collaboration, tech tips, social networking tips for teachers, and shared videos that she uses in class lessons. On her home page, she mainly reflects on experiences she is having as an educator, and highlights events and resources that she can’t wait to share with her readers.

Some of my favorite posts on this blog include:

Project Based Learning

This page includes Klein’s main recommendations for tools that can enhance lessons, as well as bog posts from other educators that can provide resources for teachers related to class projects.

Tiny Tech Tips

This is a great resource for teachers who want technology tool recommendations that are easy and simple to read and potentially try out in their classroom.

How can teachers use this blog?

As Klein’s reflections and posts show, she understands that “social media and associated technologies have the potential to impact any field whose primary product is information” (Crawford 11). Her willingness to collaborate with teachers from all areas and grade levels and her enthusiasm for incorporating technology smartly in the classroom demonstrates the value she has for consistently pushing herself to the next level in order to meet and exceed ISTE standards.

Ways to use these blogs to enhance your professional portfolio:

Classroom Use: Teachers can use blogs to assist them in lesson planning, and can find tips, tricks, and resources to take their lessons to the next level. Teachers can also use blogs with students to demonstrate the shift from commercial and professional news, and personal news in order to examine the role of blogs in digital citizenship. All three of the blogs listed above incorporate ideas and resources that teachers could utilize and enjoy in their classrooms.

Collaboration Tools: As teachers are so overloaded with things to do, my goal would be to highlight very specific things related to blogs that teachers may find helpful. I would either provide the link to a specific post and highlight in for the teachers in a short, concise way, or I could hold a demonstration that would do the same thing in order to get information out in the easiest way possible. My favorite resources from these blogs would be the tech tip links, as they break each type of technology down to its basics and encourage teachers to use them in easy ways.

Professional Development: I would encourage teachers to create blogs in order to share student work (in confidential ways) and document lessons, resources, and Professional Learning Network information that can assist them in not only communicating with other teachers, but parents and students as well.

Common Craft. “Blogs in Plain English.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 November 2007. Web. 18 August 2014.

Crawford, Justin. The Campus Press Blogs. Educause, 2007. PDF file.

Windham, Carie. Reflecting, Writing, and Responding: Reasons Why Students Blog. Educause, 2007. PDF file.

Advertisements