Blogger’s Block: A quick remedy

generator.x show flickr photo by jared shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

What can nine post-it notes do for your next post?

I think of this space as a sandbox for thinking. Blogs can be a place to curate questions, ruminate, ideate and more. Seth Godin’s blog is one of the best-known examples of blogging for clarity. But sometimes an analog pre-blogging protocol is needed.  Here’s one you may want to try:

Step one: Get nine post-it notes ready

Step two: Have a quick look at Sunni Brown’s ‘Curriculum for a Future Mind’

Step three: Answer each row of questions on this planner. Give yourself three post-it notes for each cycle of questioning:


Row one: Who are the stakeholders involved in this issue? Your potential audience for this might be? When unpacking this issue, which perspectives are of value?

Row two: Go back to the Sunni Brown work and consider potential links with your thinking. OR take a look at this list of future-ready skills and consider the commonalities.

Row three: Which tools need to make their way into your toolkit for you to continue considering this issue? Who might be potential consultants and what would you want to ask them?

Roads At Night: Left, Left, Right flickr photo by Cayusa shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

And then?

You can either:

  1. video/audio record yourself explaining and exploring your post it notes
  2.  try to boil your thinking down to five key bullet points
  3. find three key images which underscore the essence of your thinking.
  4. write an open letter to potential stakeholders asking them relevant questions
  5. curate a list of current resources you have which are pivotal in unpacking this topic

…an online learning community is a manifestation of connectivism as knowledge is distributed throughout the community of people and devices. A blog would serve as a connectivist tool as it facilitates interaction between peer and social communities of learners, continuity of conversations and allows for anytime, anyplace, anywhere learning (Garcia et al., 2015). Other tenets of connectivism addressed through a blog include the ability to involve external experts, control of the environment by the learner as they make and maintain their own connections, and the shift in the role of the teacher as students become accountable to one another (Garcia, Brown, & Elbeltagi, 2012).


Intentional Introversion

quiet flickr photo by hoodoo youdo shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

A little Quiet is quintessential for schools

Schools are remarkably social places. Conversations are the lifeblood of a healthy campus, and each of us has a role to play in shaping them. In order to mold healthy dialogue, we need to juggle the ever-shifting soundcape of an educator’s week.

There’s a lot of noise involved in a teacher’s day: the soundscape of learning, the hum of remembering what needs remembering, and the cacophony of ideas attempting to come to fruition.

George Couros writes extensively about school culture, and in a recent post he shared this:

I have seen amazing schools with terrible mission statements, but I have seen incredibly forward-thinking mission statements that don’t make a difference.  Valuing our people doesn’t mean we don’t push them; it actually means that we do.  We help them become the best version of themselves, but we start with their strengths, not their weaknesses.

How do we start to build on the collective strengths of our staff, whilst finding balance and harmony as we score the sound of our school community?

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

The operative term there is ‘intentional.’ We never want to send a colleauge off into a ‘silo mentality,’ but we also want to make sure that we respect the need for independent inquiry.  One of the very best ways I’ve found going about that is by doing what I’m doing right now: working on my learning portfolio (aka blogging).

The reason I’ve found this quiet space so useful is that I know I’ll come back to it again, and I’ll also (when ready) be able to share it with others (when needed) to continue to curate conversations I have with my PLN (more on that here).

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

If we value reflection for our students, we need to value it for ourselves.  To integrate that quiet reflection into our practice, we need time and we need one another.  What if we used 30 minutes of one meeting per month to reflect and share? What if PD days created space for teachers to independently make connections between the learning and their practice? What if your PLP goals were blogged about and shared with other practitioners?

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

Some of us may find quiet in the small rituals of our day.  I’m thinking specifically of the way John Rinker describes his morning coffee ritual in this talk:

What if a cycle of quiet reflection and the curation of critical thinking were a ritual of your school?

If that cycle already exists at your school, the better question is: how can you archive it? How can you maximize the benefits of reflection?

When I come across portfolios by educators like Kim Cofino or Edna Sackson, (here and here) I’m reminded that all educators are teachers of thinking.  Perhaps that sounds overly simplistic, let me put it another way: we are all responsible for teaching approaches to question construction, responsible for teaching argument-articulation, responsible for inspiring inquiry, and committed to mentoring problem-solvers.

My blog is my space to do the mental stretching required of those aforementioned aspirations.  This is the place I can go to make connections I’ll need to return to.  This has also been my Staffroom 2.0. I’ve received a considerable amount of help and support in this space from other educators.

Silvia Tolisano makes this visible in her post about ‘blogging for learning,’ here. I love a term she uses there: learnflow. It has me wondering, do we do enough to share best practice techniques for our teacher ‘learnflows’? What’s yours?

Damien is currently spinning BBS. flickr photo by : Damien shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


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