Follow the Leaders

iStock_000001921470Small-croppedSome people are amazing. I mean, I’m not sure I know how they find the time to write, reflect, research, inspire and lead.  For me, a steady diet of their energy, through their blogs, is just the things I need to keep myself on the edge of something new, while still reminding myself of the reasons I do what I do. Here’s a few incredible educators who get me thinking (in no particular order):

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  1. Granted, and… Thoughts on Education by Grant Wiggins http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/ One of the most prolific names in education because of the UbD model, Wiggins writes often and deeply about different REAL ways teaching impacts students. I really find his posts always get me thinking.
  2. The History 2.0 Classroom by Greg Kulowiec http://kulowiectech.blogspot.com/ Greg is the first teacher I found on Twitter and I have been a big fan of his teaching and leading ever since. I really find Greg’s writing practical and authentic. He lives on the edge of teaching students (and now other teachers) and is always engaged in keeping theory ‘on the ground’ with the best interests of students in mind.
  3. Michael Milton’s blog http://michaelkmilton.com/ and Tumblr page http://michaelkmilton.tumblr.com/ Having followed Michael’s tweets on #sschat for a few years, I have to say that I really, really want to be in his class (one of the best compliments I think you can give a teacher). His ideas are so creative and fun that it might be easy for students to overlook all of the solid pedagogy until they realize, “Hey, this stuff has really helped me.”
  4. Angela Hamblen’s blog http://www.kyteacher.org/blog.html One of the most organized and thoughtful history teachers I have found online has to be Angela Hamblen. Whether its Pinterest, Livebinder, or Edmodo, whether its APUSH or APGOV, her resources, lesson ideas, and calendars are so useful that I just have to bow to the master. She’s really inspiring.

What do I learn from these blogs about me?

  • I get energized, like seeing someone running just a little bit ahead of me in a race, or seeing Rocky lifting weights and getting ready for the big fight (80’s childhood). I feel like I can be a better teacher from their modeling. It just might work!
  • I feel like I belong. My early career of teaching was a little lonely, and I don’t really mean that in the ‘feel sorry for me’ way. Reflecting on my practice just wasn’t something that I shared all that much. I could try new things, but without support or feedback, it wasn’t all that research-based. My practice didn’t have the push-pull of collaborative design either. Blogs help that, especially when I connect with my teacher heroes on Twitter.
  • I love ideas. I mean I really love brainstorming. When given a problem to solve, I am a happy camper. I like the idea of improving my practice, and given some shortcomings, there’s a lot to practice on. Maybe this is the confession of a constant tinkerer, but refining how I teach to learn (and learn to teach) is just something that I’m comfortable with. Being surrounded by the ideas of others, the patterns in pedagogy, and the purpose of practice, is good for me, and these blogs supply me with a full breakfast, lunch and dinner of ideas.

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