Sunday, May 15, 2011

Educators ARE Writers

“Walking your talk is a great way to motivate yourself. No one likes to live a lie. Be honest with yourself, and you will find the motivation to do what you advise others to do.” ~Vince Poscente

I've mentioned many times in blog posts that I've been a reluctant writer throughout my life. As I look back on my 18 years of classroom teaching experience, I embraced a Writer's Workshop approach to guide students away from being reluctant writers. I had the process in place. Students knew the guidelines and expectations. They were avid writers. They produced some amazing work and were proud to share with others both locally and virtually. We studied a variety of authors and their style in order for students to add to their craft. As I look back one important step was missing at times. I modeled writing, but not enough. I modeled what was comfortable for me. I modeled pieces that I had pre-written and passed them off as writing them for the first time in front of my students. Was I living a lie? I loved learning along with my students and my "enthusiasm for writing" seemed to guide students in their writing, But, I was staying within my comfort zone.

I stepped out of that comfort zone this past year by becoming a blogger. I've experienced the joy and frustrations of a writer. My blogging experiences have motivated me to "walk the talk." I've stared at blank pages, frozen and unable to get my thoughts out. I've sat for hours pounding the keys as my thoughts flowed across the page. I've felt humbled by the positive feedback and challenged by comments that have pushed my thinking. I've learned to use what I know and construct new understandings!

This year, as an Instructional Coach, I've had the pleasure of assisting 4 teachers and 100 5th graders in their own blogging journey. This time as a writer myself. What a difference that has made! We are now working on the same playing field and truly learning from each other and each living our motto inspired by Seth Godin and Angela Maiers:

We are geniuses and the world demands our contribution!

As summer approaches for many of us, my challenge to educators (administrators, teachers, etc...) is to consider joining the world of blogging. The world is waiting for your contribution. Each of you have a special calling and voice in the world of education. By sharing your thoughts and ideas, dreams and challenges we all become stronger educators. The flowchart created by blogger David Wees which can be found at his blog post entitled "Why Teachers Should Blog: A Helpful Flowchart" solidifies my new passion for blogging. My hope is that it inspires you as well.

A few resources to help get you started include FREE blog platforms such as Word Press, Blogger, Posterous, Edublogs, and Kidblog.

There are many resources available to help you get started. Reading other educators' blogs has been an inspiration. You may be interested in checking out the following resources.

As this video suggests, blogging can be an authentic and engaging experience for students. Yet, in order to understand this new genre completely we need to Walk the Talk. I look forward to reading your contributions. Please share your blog URL and journey in the comment section below. Let's all inspire each other to join the Blogging Generation!

Educators ARE Writers, too!
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Kathy Perret is an Instructional Coach for Northwest AEA in Sioux City, Iowa and a Certified Instructional Coach Trainer (trained by Dr. Jim Knight). She is a passionate advocate for students and teachers. She enjoys technology integration, collaborating with others, reading, advocating for ELL and special needs students, and facilitating professional learning. She is a licensed administrator seeking her dream job as an elementary principal. (preferably in Iowa).

She is currently the President of the Learning Forward - Iowa (formerly the Iowa Staff Development Council), vice-chairman of the Sioux City Community Schools District Advisory Committee, board secretary for The Mary Elizabeth Child Care Center, and was Chairman of the Leadership Siouxland's host site for the 2010 and 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast Conference.

She can be found blogging at Learning is Growing and gathering a variety of technology integration tools at Learn Grow Lead.