My blog is a patchwork of everything I love to write about, everything that interests me. Here are some of the best posts I’ve written here, in some of the major areas that often draw my attention.
Reflection is an essential part of my teaching process, and blogging has been an incredible tool for me as I strive to sharpen my skills and strategies. In some of my best entries, I have posted about the pace of teaching, grading, using Rubistar, student evaluations and quizzing. I’ve posted about my students, what they show me, what I learn from helping them, and what they bring to my life, just by being themselves.
I’ve also blogged about how and what I teach, from what makes a great teacher to my thoughts on teaching literature like the Bible, “The Killers” and The Secret Life of Bees . I’ve blogged about teaching the iceberg theory, how I asked my students to blog about Hamlet and blog about Catcher in the Rye and use dialectical notebooks, our Gatsby Facebook project and our Poetry March Madness tournament. Clearly, I practice digital social teaching.
Of course, I’ve also pulled together my favorite teaching resources, if that’s what you’re into. When I look back on these entries, I’m surprised to see how many happen in the summer, which just goes to show that teaching takes way more than 180 days a year.
I’ve organized all my clips by genre, so if you’re interested in my published writing, you’d be well served by clicking your way through my poems, essays and articles. However, in my years of blogging, I’ve also blogged about writing and poetry. Some of my best entries are when I blogged about the stage fright I sometimes feel when sharing my poems, a bout with writing drought, a brief history of what I write and have written, and all the notebooks I’ve crammed with drafts and dribbles. I’ve written about how blogging has made me a better writer and how to tell if you’re in the right season for writing.
Some of my best posts have been inspired by others, either posts from bloggers I admire or articles and essays I’ve read online. These conversations on what the PTA spends, abandoned places, talking to children about money, the overscheduled child, working moms and leisure time, the limits and possibilities of modern marriage, envy, perspective and the work-life balance, and a Valentine’s Day rant have often generated the most comments. I also got a little huffy at the idea that we teachers “only” work 180 days a year. Engaging in these debates is one of the reasons blogging remains fresh for me after all these years.
As a lifelong reader, in many ways, I’ve been reviewing books all my life. From time to time, I post a round-up of recent reads, but if a book really strikes me, I write a dedicated review post. One of my favorite genres to read is American history, so I’ve written reviews of the great Andrew Jackson biography, American Lion as well as Team of Rivals, about the men who surrounded and supported Lincoln’s presidency. Sometimes I post about the parenting and family books I’ve read, like E Is For Ethics, and sometimes I post about the steady stream of novels I read. The ones that have inspired reviews include The Kite Runner, Julie and Julia, The Historian, Ann Patchett’s Run, and the wonderful Gilead by the amazing Marilynne Robinson.
Is this all I write about? No, but these are the types of posts I return to again and again, and therefore, they have become the kinds of posts I write the best.