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.
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!
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! http://turnerhighschools.edublogs.org/ 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: http://lauragilchrist4.com
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.
- #2016NSTL: 1st annual National Summit on Teacher Leadership in DC. Blogpost about it here from Mark Sass.
- #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!