Before You Start Blogging…
- Read other administrators’ posts. Go to badgeradmins.wikispaces.com for a comprehensive list of recommended blogs. Emulate their style and structure when developing your own voice.
- Determine your purpose for blogging. Do you want to communicate with families? Reflect on your own practices? Connect with colleagues? All of the above?
- Think about what you want to say and/or jot down your ideas on paper first. Doing this prior to writing a post helps organize your thinking.
- Connect with educators on Twitter to build your professional learning network. You will want feedback on your posts. This social media tool is a great way to share your writing with others.
- Write, type, then blog. At least initially, write your post on a word processor and copy/paste your writing into your blog.
- Choose your tool. Determine which blog service you want to use. I prefer WordPress. Google Blogger is also popular.
When You Start Blogging….
- Focus on being a writer first, the writing second. This is a great tip from Regie Routman. What it means to me is, without being engaging, thoughtful and to the point, it doesn’t matter what I am saying because no one will want read it. The messenger is just as important as the message.
- Get your ideas down. Worry about conventions later.
- Save it before you publish. I reread and revise my posts many times before publishing. Barry Lane’s five steps for the writing process are revision, revision, revision, revision and revision.
- Share your post with someone you trust before sharing it with the world.
- You can be critical, but always be kind.
- Add lots of tags. These are the breadcrumbs that allow others online to find your great ideas.
- When you have ideas, get them down. Save your thoughts as a draft and come back to it later when ready. I have a draft I have been sitting on since August. It won’t be ready to publish until May.
- Put yourself in your writing. People respond to humor, questions you have and anecdotes.
- Share your posts out on Twitter and other social media tools.
After You Have Started Blogging…
- Thank those who retweet and recommend your posts to others. Reciprocate by reading and sharing their posts.
- Check out your statistics and allow comments. This is precious feedback to help you get better at writing.
- Don’t change older posts. I have come around on this. I used to think that as my thoughts changed after unlearning and relearning, I should also change what I have written. However, unless there are glaring grammatical errors or a poor choice of words, it is important to leave your previous thinking as is. Add a comment to your post to clear up confusion or address questions. There is nothing wrong with saying, “This is what I thought then, and now I think…”.
- Share your posts with your staff, colleagues and boss. Can you think of a better way of modeling writing and sharing yourself as a learner?
- Write posts in front of students. It can be as simple as writing a review after sharing a favorite book with them. Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGtoGo) said it best: “You are the best writer in your classroom.”
- Have fun. I hope I have not made blogging sound like you are writing a term paper. As Alan Levine states in his terrific post The Question Should Be: Why Are You NOT Blogging: “Blogging should be conversational. It is your own personal thinking, shared out loud”. Thank you to Jessica Johnson (@PrincipalJ) for sharing this.
I would go into the rationale for why you should blog, except that Superintendent Christopher Smeaton already did this so well in his post Why Blog?. I know there are many more ideas and tips out there. Please share in the comments.