Tag Archives: PLN

An Open Call to Discuss Blogs and Blogging

As a relative newbie to the blogging world, I wonder how to create conversation among colleagues. Although I have the opportunity to work with colleagues each day, as an instructional coach, much of my work is responsive to their needs. I look at blogging as an opportunity to engage others in my own professional interests and learn from them.

As a blogger, I am still finding my voice and my community. I understand that, like every new endeavor, time and practice make all the difference.

I want to begin a conversation in the comments. Here are a few questions I have:

1. What are your favorite blogs, and why do you return to them?

2. For what reasons do you search out blogs? Practical advice? Inspiration? Research?

3. What advice would you give to aspiring educational bloggers?

PLN Blogging Challenge

This fun blogging challenge encouraged me to reflect on my work. Mr. George Champlin, a principal in South Carolina, nominated me to participate.  George and I began following each on Twitter during an ASCD conference in Atlanta last year.  If you are interested in inspired, 21st century school leadership, you should follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GChamplinAP.  You also can read George’s thoughts at http://gchampli.blog.greenville.k12.sc.us/.


  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you).
  • This is a challenge but you do not have accept.

Random Facts about Me:

  1. I am the father of a toddler.  He is amazing and intelligent.  He loves books, blocks, and music.
  2. My wife has experience as a website developer, and she encouraged me to begin this website.
  3. I live in Asheville, NC, which is such an interesting town that one alternates between intensely loving and hating it minute-by-minute.
  4. I love to “read” films.  I’m a movie buff who listens to multiple podcasts in order to learn more about the art (and commercialism) behind film-making.
  5. I am making an effort to get back in shape, after dropping much of my workouts during my last three years in graduate school.
  6. I am an instructional coach for my school system.  It is rewarding and challenging.  I work with the best people in the world — teachers!
  7. I like to cook.
  8. I received a Kindle for Christmas from my parents, and I have to confess that it’s pretty amazing.
  9. I never feel like I’ve done enough.  I am a very hard worker.
  10. I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up.
  11. It snowed today, and we are out of school.  Thus, I wrote a detailed blog post for your enjoyment!

My responses to Mr. Champlin’s questions:

  1. What book or magazine are you reading? One professional book I am reading is Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Tonya R. Moon.  I have found the chapter on pre-assessment and the classroom vignettes to be especially helpful.  I am also reading The Fault in our Stars  by John Green.  This is the first of Green’s books I’ve read, and I’m enjoying it so far.
  2. What inspires you?  I am most inspired by fellow educators.  When I am working with other educators (teachers, media specialists, administrators, instructional coaches, professors, etc.), I find that I am most inspired by the synergy of discussing ideas about teaching and learning.
  3. Who was the educator that has most impacted your life?  Wow!  This is a very hard question.  There have been so many mentors along the way.  I know that the first educator who greatly impacted my life was my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Vernia Hall. She always made me believe I could excel at classroom work, and she was incredibly kind.
  4. What motivates you to do what you do?  Students.  Even though I primarily work with educators, my goal is to help students develop literacies to become successful.  I always ask for feedback from students about how my teaching helped (or hurt!) their learning when I teach.  In addition, I constantly want feedback on how my coaching work contributes to the success of students in my colleagues’ classrooms.
  5. What is the best advice you received concerning education technology?  Allow plenty of time when you try something new.  There are always a few unexpected issues when first implementing new technology, so we must allocate time for those issues.
  6. Where do you hope to be professionally in 6-10 years?  I would like to continue working in educational leadership, but I am not sure of what form that will take.
  7. What is your happiest childhood memory of school? Learning to read!  I remember being able to independently read sections of a book about a bear and a bunny when I was in first grade.  It was the first time I saw myself as a reader.
  8. What is your happiest memory as a professional educator?  This is tough, but I do believe that the day I received National Board Certification may have been the best!
  9. What advice do you have for peers who are overwhelmed with the current educational environment?  Ha! I need others’ advice!  As far as the environment here in North Carolina, I say, “Keep talking to people outside the field.  Talk to your families, neighbors, friends, politicians, and even people in the grocery store about the challenges we are facing.  These are the people who can influence and impact what our schools become.”
  10. What is the best book you read to help you professionally?  Again, there are so many.  Some of the most memorable are:  The First Days of School by Harry Wong, Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys by Michael W. Smith and Jeff Wilhelm, Making Content Comprehensible for Secondary English Language Learners by Jana J. Echevarria, MaryEllen J. Vogt,  and Deborah J. Short, and What Teachers Can Do When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers.
  11. What superlative would you give yourself and why?  Most Empathetic.  Schools are emotional places for everyone involved.  My goal is to follow Stephen Covey’s advice:  “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Here are my questions:

  1. What do you believe is your greatest asset as an educator?
  2. What do you believe is the greatest challenge you face as an educator?
  3. What professional book(s) are you reading right now?
  4. What do believe is fundamental for a positive school environment?
  5. What do you believe is fundamental for raising student achievement?
  6. What educational apps or websites would you recommend to colleagues?
  7. What is your next professional goal?
  8. What is one professional experience you had in the last month that really inspired you?
  9. What is one happy memory you have from your own experiences as a student?
  10. Who is one university instructor who positively impacted your work as an educator?
  11. How would you define literacy in your content area/work?

My PLN Invitations go to educators who I admire and read on Twitter — although I may not interact with all of them!