There hasn’t been much time to do projects here at Sweetwater these last couple of weeks.

That is because ALL my energy has been devoted to  “Back to School” projects!

Since there isn’t much new to from home…..

I thought maybe you would enjoy a peek into my school world!

This post is really aimed at showing you how learning the ins and outs of blogging the last few years has changed how I teach!

I actually have FOUR other blogs besides Sweetwater Style!
You are welcome to link up and see them….but really the goal here is to think about how using a blog for “work” communication could work for you too!

 PSI Media Medley!  

This is the blog that I use to keep all of my staff up to date with the going’s on in the Media Center.  The blog posts are a way for me to make sure that everyone has all the information about procedures, new books, new websites etc.!  It is fun to inject a little humor into some boring information.  The really nice part about a blog is that teachers are able to go back and read information that might get lost (deleted) if I just used email!  I can’t tell you how many times I can refer questions back to the blog instead of a long detailed conversation.  It is a real time saver!  I ask all staff to subscribe….so I know that the information is getting to everyone!

ATPPS Alphabet Soup

Our school participates in the state of Minnesota’s Alternative Pay Program for teachers. (ATPPS)  I am the lead teacher for this at our school.  It is a great program….but like ALL state run programs, there are LOTS AND LOTS of rules, deadlines and paperwork.  This can be confusing unless it is explained clearly and simply!  ALPHABET SOUP is a way for me to spread that information without holding a lot of boring meetings.  We will start needing to do this work in the next few weeks.  I will be able to post the information that my teachers need….when they need it….and because they are subscribed to the blog….they are able to read about it and get back to me with questions.  When I start hearing the same questions over and over….I know it is time to write a clarifying post!  I also love the ability to go back to the archives….and know that the excuse “I never got that email” won’t fly!

The next two blogs are my favorites….because they are the ones I use with KIDS!
When I started teaching all those many years ago, I dreaded every Friday because you couldn’t leave for the weekend until you turned in your written lesson plans for the upcoming week!  I HATED writing lesson plans!  Wouldn’t my first principal, Mr. Sandberg, be surprised to see my BLOG version of lesson plans!  I really LOVE writing these plans.  I also think that it is good for kids to see adults writing and publishing for a purpose!  The other hidden benefit of this blog is that it also becomes my SUBSTITUTE plan.  I can actually “speak” to the kids about what the sub will be doing with them!
Every Tuesday afternoon is BAND day for 5th grade! In order to minimize the disruption of small groups coming and going….we all get together in the Media Center and have a rotation of activities.  Kids use the Productive Tuesday Tidbit to navigate through a set of “assignments” during the time they are using the computer lab!  The links they need, the directions to follow are all right there!  It would take ALL of their time if I were to rely on oral directions!  They love being independent and I often here from them that they go back to earlier posts to do the activities at home!
I think one of the best testaments to the success of these blogs at our school is the fact that some of our teachers have started their own blogs to replace the WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS.  In fact I am partnering with another teacher next week to hold a workshop for several teachers who want to start blogs of their own!
They say that technology should transform your teaching….I guess I could say that BLOGGING has transformed mine!
Finally and maybe the most important point I want to make about Blogging at school…
I DON’T use the blogs to replace my face to face teaching!
I DO use the blogs to streamline communication so that I have MORE time for face to face interactions with kids!

I would love to here from some of you BLOGGERs who are also teachers about ways that you use your Bloggy Skills in the classroom!  And of course if you have any questions or comments as teachers OR parents…I would love to hear from you!

I promised a peek into my school world….

One of the roles I have at school is “unofficial photographer”… and taking pictures to use on our school website is one of the most enjoyable jobs!

If you have a couple of minutes….take a look at this animated slide show of the first day of School celebration at my school.

Those beautiful smiling faces really tell the story of what “Back to School” is all about!
Have A Great Day!

2 comments on “How Blogging Has Changed My Teaching!

  1. NanaDiana

    Wow, Mary. No wonder you haven’t had much going on on the home front. (can I say on twice in a row?;>) Anyway, your school facility is just gorgeous and I can tell that you love it. I have the utmost respect for teachers and people that work within the system. They can be life changing for a child- xo Diana ps. My Dad taught at Penn State years before I was born-

  2. Sarah Leonard

    These are an amazing collection of blogs, packed full of good work. I can see how you’ve used them to streamline and make your working life more efficient.

    I do work in education but I don’t use a blog for school. In the UK there are quite strict rules about what you can and can’t publish online independently and I would need to get permission to do so (which I don;t think would be forthcoming!)

    I’d love it if you’d link this (and any other inspiring posts you may write) to my Inspire linkup. It happens each and every Monday on my blog. Just click the link below to check it out.

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

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