Invite Teachers to Write for Your School or District Blog

Teacher Blogging When I woke up Saturday morning, I was not expecting to find a teacher blogpost written and published less than 24 hours after sending out a user/author invite. Jason McGee had never blogged and I did not help him in any way, except to give him the platform and an inspirational nudge.

Jason McGee's 1st BLOGPOST!!

Update: Blogpost #2 by Jason. He has a gift for writing and storytelling.

The Backstory

Last week I launched a leadership blog for teachers at the two high schools where I serve as an instructional coach -- Turner High School and Journey School of Choice in Turner USD 202. Check it out. It is nothing fancy and didn't take long to setup. It a thing of beauty in my eyes because it is a vehicle for teacher voice at the school level. Our blog is called the Turner High Schools Teacher Leadership Blog. I used Edublogs, which is Wordpress based. Sue Waters and the Edublogs team answered every question I had, and did so within a couple of hours. Excellence!

The Story 

I emailed all staff about the blog and its purpose on Wednesday. You'll find the email below. I received a few bites. "Yes, I'm interested" or "I think I might try this" or "I want to but I don't feel qualified."  I went to the USERS section on the Edublog dashboard and added 10 teachers as user AUTHORS before I left on Friday afternoon. Jason McGee was one of them. He is a History/Econ teacher at THS who is passionate about authenticity and project-based learning. I added him Friday and by Saturday, he had published a blogpost.

Email Chain about Blogging between Jason and Me.

Wednesday email 2/24/16 Laura to staff: Here is our blog! I will share step-by-step instructions on how to create a blogpost and publish yourself. Your voice matters!! (Today I am working with people on process of writing blogposts from the invite stage to the publishing stage so I can write good directions for everyone.) I am the only published blogger right now. Looking for some pioneers to start us off! On the right side of the blog you’ll find the Authors section. Everyone that publishes will be listed there. I’ll move it to the top after more people are listed. It will be featured prominently atop the blog. Each blogpost will be shared on social media channels. This is another positive venue for Turner High School, where we write the narrative instead of leaving our story to TV and newspaper outlets. 

Blogposts can be short or long or medium. :) Just start writing.  They can have one picture, no pictures, or lots of pictures, videos, & links. It’s about you expressing yourself as a writer, teacher, artist.  I recommend at least one picture per blogpost but this is certainly not necessary. It can be your own picture or it can be a picture that is licensed for use. (There is an easy way to find excellent images to use and photo credit is taken care of!) 

If you are interested in writing, and I want you to know every single person at THS has viewpoints, ideas, and lessons that need to be shared, please email me. We will work through it together.

My hope is you find your (worthy) voice and that it sets you free in a new world. You may decide to create your very own blog or write books or do other creative endeavors as a passionate lead learner.


Friday emails 2/26/16

Jason McGee:  I have a blog idea... Laura: What is the idea?!!!!   (and YAY!!) You are a natural blogger/writer….I know this. Jason: But I don't really even know what Blog is? Or if I even believe in Blog.... Laura:

Saturday, 2/27/16

Jason: His response came Saturday morning in the form of a published blogpost shining forth from my phone! "The Sweet Taste of Motivation." It was something to behold. Read it and comment on it. He blogged about student motivation and feedback after serving as a judge in foods class at THS!


Why I Started a Teacher Leadership blog at My Schools

We keep telling teachers to share their stories and lead. Let's give them a tool to do that--at school. A school blog empowers teachers to use their voice. It gives them experience storytelling in a blog that's already setup. Teachers will be more likely to start their own blog after writing for their school blog, thanks to the familiarity and confidence afforded through experience. A simple user invite can be all teachers need to jump from a reserved to an empowered leader.

I attended two events in early February that pushed me from thinking about teacher voice to acting on it with intentionality. Teacher leadership/voice is the key. I am writing blogposts about both events.

  1. #2016NSTL: 1st annual National Summit on Teacher Leadership in DC. Blogpost about it here from Mark Sass.
  2. #METC16: Midwest Education Technology Community Conference in St Louis. Blogpost about it here from David Geurin.

George Couros' METC16 keynote challenged us to share our voice and to blog. One question he presented was "Where are you sharing your story?" I shared that very question that sparked my actions on the THS blog. Thanks, George Couros for the inspiration.

My bet is we'll see student blogging organically flow out of this as teacher voice and storytelling take root.

Upcoming Teacher Leadership Chat! 

Join me along with hosts Sean Gaillard and Natalie Krayenvenger March 9, 8ET/5PT on the #Edbeat hashtag as I lead a chat on Teacher Leadership. Use that voice!

KCedu Meetup: Global Ed, STEM Project Pitch and The Lean Lab Edupreneur!

KCedu Meetup July 8

A Message from KCedu:We look forward to meeting you/talking/networking on Wednesday at KCedu! 34 edleaders are coming and I'd love to see YOU! Register here up to 5:30 tonight. :) Every relationship we make in our face to face 'collisions' matters for our kids. You never know where it may lead.KCedu: Education + Innovation take center stage for KC area educators from all walks, roles, and areas of education who serve learners of any age. This is K-12, Parochial, Higher Ed, Head Start, Charter, Startup,Edupreneur, Entrepreneur, Non-Profit, Service/Learning organization, and more.

  • 5:00 -- Doors Open for Networking/Conversation with KC area educators!
  • 5:30-6:30 -- 2 KC area educators present idea/project/product followed by Q&A. #innovation
  • 6:30-7:00 -- Networking/Conversation continue!
  • 7:00 -- Continue the conversations over food at the amazing Q39 Barbecue! Our KCBBQ circuit continues. :)  1000 W. 39th St. KC, MO  Q39 Yelp Reviews

#KCedu Featured Innovators!

Conner Hazelrigg











1. Conner Hazelrigg, William Jewell and now Missouri S&T engineering student, and founder of  Sollular Connections will share her journey creating and then bringing her portable solar charging  boxes to people in 3rd world countries! She wants to increase knowledge and passion for #STEM and  solar energy in kids. She has #servicelearning ideas for your kids to help get solar charging boxes to  people in need. She came to Laura Gilchrist's classroom last year and helped her 6th graders see the  need for these power stations in villages in Haiti. Kids will walk for hours each day to charge phones for their family and they must pay money.

EXCITING!! Cool idea to explore at KCEDU and an OPPORTUNITY for us all: The 30 Goals Challenge & Passion Pitches (virtual--5 minutes) are on July 16. We will talk about the opportunity for us to pitch Conner's idea to a connected global educator community. The Passion Pitches on July 17 may be something YOU want to consider for YOUR upcoming-year projects! Katie BoodyLean Lab Incubator Fellows

2. Learn about the Lean Lab Fellow edupreneurs and what they're working on. How can we help them? Learn about the intersection between education and entrepreneurial thinking/problem-solving. Katie Boody will lead the charge! Check out the Lean Lab and their newest Incubator Fellowship program. You can get involved in the next round.

POWERFUL TOOLS for all my KC area EdLeaders in all walks of education:

KC Edleaders TWITTER LISTS -- If you're not on it, please let me know! Subscribe; connect with these KC area educators from all levels/walks of education. Big KC Twitter List -- Large KC EduCommunity Players: Schools, Districts, Educators, Businesses, Non-profits, museums, etc. EdcampLeadership KC is Monday, July 13! Can you come? Please do.  

We meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month! Please join us. Face to face meetups can create capacity for big things...for our kids!

KCedu July 8 Meetup!
Hosted by KCedu
Wednesday, July 8, 2015 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM (CDT)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City, MIssouri 64110  |  Directions