Blog Evolution

When I originally set up this blog in July, it was without a whole lot of planning for the future. I was interested in finding a way to connect with my students, faculty, staff, and parents. I thought it would be a way to get my ideas out there about relatively mundane activities at G-Town.

Then, without any forethought, it went in this other direction where I was writing for a different audience, an audience of fellow educators. I remember asking Will Richardson what he thought about where G-Town talks was going and where I had intended it to go. That was in August and Will thought I was probably looking at two different blogs. I never thought for a second I could manage both and now I find some readers in G-Town. Some students have chimed in, a couple of regular readers in my teachers and staff, a parent or two. The two different audiences are beginning to converge.

Up until this point, I haven’t done much to put this out there in G-Town as a public relations tool, or even as a communications tool. I’m wondering if I should. In little ways, I’ve made it public. I’ve listed this blog address at the bottom of my email signature and our tech guy linked to it from our school website. Should I put an article in the newsletter? Should I talk to my teachers about it? Does that just become self- promotion? A reader recently commented on the creative writing nature of my blog and it made me wonder if readers will figure I should have better things to do with my time. And yes, Courtney and Mrs. Furman, I read your wonderful comments in response to him–thank you. But it does make me wonder if that will be echoed in our community.

Maybe I should just quietly continue on, writing as I am now. Sharing with those who I know are interested, those who are also blogging. Problem is, that doesn’t feel like I’m exactly leading then, does it?

  1. This was a very intresting blog posting for me. As a new principal blogger, my writing in my blog so far has been mostly in the “news about school activities” category. I have created a blog that is more like a newsletter than a source for me or others to cretively share thoughts and ideas about education. I have not had many parents or students respond back to me with comments for the blog, so my immediate goal is to educate people about the benefits of blogging versus simply reading a monthly school newsletter with weeks old news. Assuming I can convince our group of very busy parents to check my blog once in a while, I can then move to more philosophical and theoretical postings and discussions. Until then, any thoughts from bloggers out there as to ideas for future blog postings and ways to engage parents in blogging would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I feel extreme pride as I, a parent, read through such thought provoking statements. This is what education is all about! Give us all an opportunity to read more and continue to learn.

    The addition of the blog on the bottom of your correspondance really made a difference to me. What about at the bottom of the Principal’s Report in the Panther,the district newsletter?

  3. I guess I differ a bit from Amy on this.

    Let me approach it like this… Kim, would there be a purpose for blogging without your leadership role?

    I think ghsprincipal is so much more than creative expression… it’s directed at a specific purpose, and it compels thought *and action* among educators.

    The work of leadership is the work of thinking and communicating and acting to change other people’s actions, beliefs, and lives. This is a blog that gets at building leadership in vital and refreshing ways. Kim’s courage here inspires many of us in the field of leadership and presumably, it will inspire her own faculty.

    Will an expanded and more public audience affect your choices of topics? Will you pull punches? If so, I’d avoid broadcasting. Let things grow naturally. But if you’re itching to use this as a tool in your building… to communiciate and model your reflection about our work, then I think you should put it out there.

    And frankly, I think either option works. Blogging sems to be doing something important here… and your ideas are compelling us to keep us coming back. Even your critics will find themselves drawn here to post, which is a sign that you’re shaking the tree a little. Brava!

  4. G-Town Talks is very different from a blog used for a specific course. In a course blog there are directives… pages to read, summaries to type, teacher directed comments and responses. It is used to teach specific material to a specific group of people.

    You write thoughts, ideas, revelations, and questions for others to respond to and you do it in a creative and articulate way. So, welcome to the world of creative writing. You are simply giving food for thought to those who have a similar interests. Some comments will be supported and some won’t, and if you are really lucky you will have a couple people who ride the fence, willing to support some of your messages and challenge others’.

    Is it leading? Not any more than an author who writes a book that you read several times. Oh, there will be those that follow your thoughts, take your advice, and incorporate your methods, but unless you are actively motivating the reader’s performance you are simply challenging others to think.

  5. I’m not sure the two audiences you mentioned are that different. Some may be right in your school community – but those who read and follow your blog are part of a bigger community, ones who care about and work for kids. That is what keeps folks coming back and linking to you – your passion for education and for kids.
    Having several blogs myself (YIKES!), it isn’t about self-promotion but about seeking those who have that passion in common with you. The kind of professional dialogue that we don’t necessarily get within the physical community that we work in. A colleague mentioned to me that blogging was a bit like the excitement of a grad school class, without the grades!
    Word will get out eventually – and more will join in the reading of what you have to say. I know that a group of teachers in your district did that just the other day! It isn’t a question of leading – it’s a matter of those who are brave enough to follow!

  6. In life we always have our critics. This shouldn’t stop us from doing what we think is a step in the right direction for education. Blogging has giving my teaching a totally different direction. We hear colleagues talk about how they can’t teach writing, literacy, reading comprehension, as well as math. They don’t have the time to teach anything but their subject area. I’ve been there, wondering how I was going to teach the literacy my math students need to get through word problems, and still have time to cover the material. I have known the importance of students learning to read technical text, and haven’t had the “time” to teach them how to do it. I know it is important for students to be able to write to an audience that isn’t their best girlfriend. It has been the drastic change in my teaching through the blog that has given me the first step forward in accomplishing the teaching of more than just my subject area. Your blog, my blog, and Steve’s blog are addressing the issues of teaching more than just the surface of what our students need to know.

    Please, share this with our colleagues. In 9 years at Gowanda I haven’t seen students as eager to do work for us, as I do when they are blogging. They are motivated like never before. The “old folks” are finally tapping into their world, and they love it.

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