26 April 2015

5 tips for new teacher bloggers

Hi y'all!

Are you new to blogging?
Are you waiting for the summer to "dig in" to the blogging world?

I've got a couple of tips to help you start your blogging journey.

-I am in no way a professional! These are just some tips to think about.  These are simply my opinions and thoughts-

That's right.  Who are you?  
Where are you from?  What do you like to do?
What grade/subject area do you teach?  What's important to you?
When I read blogs, I want to feel like I'm either stepping into that person's classroom, 
or stepping into their lives.
Like a great book, you want to laugh, cry, shout and smile with the author.
When I don't feel that connection, I gloss over the information to find what I need and move on.
I don't revisit. And I definitely don't comment.
I am guilty of not personalizing my posts, of not letting the reader make a connection to me and my classroom.
I'm working on it.
One way to maintain a reader's attention and to encourage them to come back is to know who you are
and express that in your posts.
I want to know why a lesson went really well.
I want to know about the amazing vacation you had.
I don't want see pictures of all the products you've ever created and why I should buy them.
Be who you are.

Have you figured out who you are yet?
Now, make a name for yourself.
I mean this in the most literal sense.
Make a name for YOURSELF!

Think about who you are and what your interested in and let that drive your name.
Your name will become your brand.
It will be the way people associate your blog with you.

Do some research.
Teachers have been making blogs and creating names for themselves for awhile now.
There are many established teacher blogs.
You don't want to risk taking someone's name by mistake.
Google search your ideas before you try to establish your brand.

Let's say you like cupcakes and teaching.
A Cupcake for the Teacher is already taken.
Don't take that name!

Let's say you write lessons plans and enjoy coffee.
Lessons with Coffee is already taken.
Don't take that name!

Maybe you're a teacher...and you really like wearing tutus.

But you see my point?
Teacher bloggers work really hard to establish their names.
It isn't fair to take their name or a name that is very similar to theirs, and claim it as your own.

Be creative, be original, be you.
But do your research first.

Now that you know who you are and have found a name, start writing.
Start writing and don't stop.
(Get it, get it)

Don't feel like you have to post everyday or even every other day, but you do need to keep at it.

There will be days when no one looks at your blog.
There will be days when no one leaves a comment.
But don't stop.
If you stop, then who will read your posts?
You can't stop posting, even when it seems like no one cares.

Promote yourself on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Let people know who you are and that you've got some great ideas.
Don't stop!

The reality is:
Some days no one will look at your blog.
Most days no one will comment.
A lot of days you will feel like a small fish swimming in a huge ocean of teacher bloggers.

And the truth is... you are.
You are a small fish in a big sea.
And that's ok.

One day, someone will read your post.
Then they'll pin it.
They'll email your link to a friend.
They'll like your Facebook page.
And suddenly you're not so small.

But there are days when you will definitely feel small.
You will think having a blog is pointless.
And you may want to give up.

Keep your head up.
Just keep swimming.

After some time, you'll be a natural blogger.
You'll find topics to blog about on a regular basis.
You'll make readers come back to read more because you are AWESOME!
Having a blog will start to feel like a breeze.

And then something magical happens.
(Please excuse the extreme cheesiness that is about to happen.)

Something magical happens in this teacher blogger world.
Teacher bloggers are some of the best people in the world.
They will support you in the best and worst of times.
They lift you up and make you feel special.
You will belong to a world that only you and your teacher blogger comrades will understand.

And the best thing is, you will almost NEVER meet them.
These "strangers" have your back without ever really seeing your real back!
It's amazing.
It's life changing and it is truly wonderful.

But it doesn't happen on it's own.
You have to make the magic happen.
Join teacher blogging groups on Facebook.
Comment on other bloggers posts. 
Join Instagram and go crazy with comments and likes.
Make an effort to befriend some of the best people in the world.

I hope these simple tips help.
I wish you the best as you make your journey into the world of blogging!

Do you have some additional tips to share? 
Leave your tip in the comments.

25 April 2015

Weekend Warriors: Open House

Once again, I've partnered up with my awesome Weekend Warriors to tell you all about how we do Open House.

I'm sure some of you don't do Open House at your school...or it is schedule for the beginning of the school year or maybe your school calls it something else.

That's cool..
Just pin these ideas and be sure to check your Pinterest boards when you need these awesome ideas.
Easy Peasy!

My school doesn't do an "Open House".
Instead we have something called Celebrations of Learning.
It's so much fun.
From 10:00-11:00 a.m. parents come to the classroom.
In my classroom, the students are in charge of showing off all they know about the classroom and their schools.
Days before our Celebration of Learning the kiddos and I talk about what we want to share with our family.
Each student finds their favorite book.
Each student finds their very best work they've done in Kindergarten so far.
Each student finds their most favorite center activity.
For this day, I don't allow students to choose the dramatic play area to show off to their parents unless there is time at the end of our day.
Once students have a firm understanding of expectations, I pass out their individual menus.

Here's what they look like:

I actually have the "favorite things" options changed for each student so that there aren't 10 kids all trying to do the same thing at the same time.
I've used this method for the past three years and it's worked really well for the students.
The expectations are clear and it's all student centered!
After they show off their favorite things, students sit with their families and draw a picture of what they like best about school.
When our time is up, students give their books to their families as a keepsake.

Because this activity is student centered, I was able to travel around the room and capture some sweet moments between my students and their families.  I wish I could share those with you...just know it was adorable!

Would you like a copy of my Celebrations of Learning menu?  

Check out how some of my Weekend Warrior gals handle Open House.

Do you have an idea of your own?  Want to share?  Join our link up below!

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