A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's Slice of Life.
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This past summer was the first time that I breathed actual life into my blog. The Buzz from Becker was a blog that I created when I was the principal at Yaquina View Elementary but never launched-life got in the way. When I committed to participating in Teachers Write 2013, I used the blog as a way to share some of my Quick Write responses. Other than my own personal writing, one of my Teachers Write goals was to publish weekly on my blog. Inspired by educators that I respect and only know via Twitter, I began to participate in weekly posts such as It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Slice of Life 2013, and Poetry Friday.
Initially, I told myself that I was blogging for myself; however, I did drum up the courage to begin posting my link on my Twitter. Sharing on Twitter was easy for me because it was safe. Despite the fact that my Twitter network is made up of people that I have never met face to face, this was the group the seemed to understand me best. The people in my Twitter learning network were the ones that spoke my language (#kidlit for starters) and they were supportive and nurturing. The very people that I look up to were the first ones to retweet or favorite my Tweets with my link. Some were even leaving replies on my blog. It was a time of extreme confidence building.
The leap of faith with my blog was when I began posting the link on my Facebook. My Facebook is where I remain connected to family, colleagues, people I grew up with or went to college with. Even though, my blog was supposed to be for me, I found myself looking to see if people were commenting and I looked to see how many people followed my blog (by the way, the number is 3). Some people would "like" the Facebook post, but it was/is a small number. I made the assumption that people were not interested what I was writing.
At the start of August, one friend and colleague made a comment to me about how much she enjoyed reading my blog. She went on to share that she had selected Wonder by RJ Palacio as her all grade level read. Over coffee, another friend shared how she had read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. A friend of mine talked to me about her sons' summer reading and happily accepted my copy of Dan Santat's Sidekicks. Each day brought on more and more comments and conversations about the kidlit that was going on in everyone's lives. Now, I'm not taking credit for the fact that people are reading the same books that I am. Maybe I have had an influence. Maybe not. What I am recognizing is that my blog that was supposed to be "for me" has actually been a conversation starter with others. This week alone, I've been honored to recommend books to veteran and beginning teachers. And, veteran and beginning teachers alike have invited me into their classrooms so I can see their classroom libraries and reading displays. I am thrilled beyond belief that people that I see regularly or work closely with are as excited about kidlit as I am. People around me speak my kidlit language. It is rejuvenating.
I have said it before and I will continue to repeat it...my Twitter PLN saved me. These are virtual relationships that are important to me. My PLN is the group that has inspired me to read more, write more, and communicate more about what I'm reading and writing. My PLN is the reason I have a blog.
My blog is important writing and reflection time for me. I'm honored and appreciative when people initiate a conversation with me about something I've blogged about or a book that's popped up on my Goodreads (another Twitter inspired network for me). I'll never again question whether my blog is important or whether it has an impact. It does...it's just that there isn't always a "foot print" as evidence that someone has been there.