Why Blog?

Teachers who regularly blog are creating chronological and searchable records of their own growth and development. This is a good reason for teachers to blog.

Why Teachers Should Consider Blogging

A blog is a journal that is filled with ideas, your ideas. It is flexible, visual and user friendly. A blog can be a tool for self-reflection. One who blogs as part of the regular workflow must dig deeper in order to explain. 

One Example of Growth: My Journey with Wordle

Since March of 2009 this Cool Tools Blog has been my primary tool for teaching and learning, which means I have blogging for four years. One example of my own learning and growth can be found by taking a closer look at the tool I chose to introduce in my first post, Wordle.  Explore this interactive image to see how I adapted and fine tuned my use of this one tool to meet some teaching challenges and needs over the course of the past four years. Find all of these examples on this blog, of course.

Why Blog?

  • To keep a journal of your professional growth.
  • For something to strive for. The best blog posts are those that reflect on successful experiences.
  •  To document and share the great things you’re doing in the classroom through vivid samples and snippets of what’s going on.
  •  To teach students about digital citizenship and web etiquette as you engage them in discussion about what’s going on in the classroom.  

    Who Should You Blog For?

    Blog for yourself. Blog about the learning that occurs inside and outside of your classroom. Blog about ideas. Blog to document the great things you are doing.  If you decide an audience might benefit from reading your blog, promote your blog to that audience. Just start blogging.

    How to Get Started

    There are many free and user friendly platforms to suit a variety of blogging needs. 
    Check out Blogger, EduBlogs, WordPress and KidBlog to see which tool works best for you. If you are interested in joining an online community of bloggers, check out the EduBlogs Teacher Challenge, a self-paced learning adventure that’s sure to keep you engaged.

    Final Thoughts

         With the end of the school year in plain sight, this Spring just might be the perfect time to try blogging. If you don’t like it, you can end your blogging career with the end of the school year. If you do like it, you might appreciate having time to explore and fine tune your blogging skills during the summer.

    Wordle Flashback

    Two years ago I was excited enough about Web 2.0 tools to actually start this blog. I started with Wordle, a simple word cloud generator. After all this time, I must admit I am still passionate about using Wordle. I find myself using it regularly in my teaching, even though several new word tag generators have evolved, including Taxedo, Tag Cloud, and the ever-popular WordPress rotating tag cloud.

    Still, I love Wordle for it’s simplicity. Just go to the Wordle website, type some text into a box, click a button and your text becomes a Word Cloud. Anyone can do it, but the real trick is in how it’s used. After all, words that appear more frequently within the text appear larger in size within the word cloud.

    Here are my top 3 favorite ways to use Wordle:

    1. Copy and paste the text from a few good articles about a specific topic into Wordle to get the main ideas and vocabulary. Use it as a starting point for a lesson to help students construct knowledge.
    2. Copy and paste student generated text into Wordle for self-analysis of writing. Words and phrases that are overused will jump out.
    3. Wordle a current event topic, then use it to generate a classroom discussion.

    My goal this week is to see if we can build on the Wordle ideas we started a long time ago. Please view the list of ideas and contribute ideas of your own.

    This Blog, Wordled