It’s that time of the year when we all look to the future to try to make our selves better, and the past to reflect on our accomplishments. It’s also that annoying time when everyone writes about their top 10 something or another.
So, I figured “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. I looked through my Instapaper archive, my Evernote saves, and my Google Reader shared items to find the blog posts that inspired me this past this year. I settled on nine because… well, it takes less time than ten. Oh, and because it’s the end of 2009.
9. “Nine Myths about Public Schools” by Gerald Bracey at Huffington Post: Bracey seeks to debunk several common misconceptions about public education and largely succeeds. I don’t agree with everything that he writes (money is important, but not as much as things like teacher training and better evaluation) but this one made me think.
8. “Effective Teachers Found to Improve Peer’s Performance” by Debra Viadero at Education Week: Many bloggers (me included) wrote about the results of a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that showed how highly-capable teachers actually have a positive effect on their colleagues, but I found this one to be the best summary of the results. This may seem to be a no-brainer, but it holds tremendous potential for the way that we staff our schools.
7. “My Experiment in Grading: Update #1” by Paul Cancellieri at Scripted Spontaneity: Did you think that I could list nine of my favorite blog posts of the year and not include one of my own? Well, you were wrong. This one has stood the test of time: every time I reread it, I am more proud of what I wrote and how I wrote it.
6. “Data Visualization for the Classroom” by Science Goddess at What It’s Like on The Inside: This one came in right under the wire (December 26) but earned its way here by being both thought-provoking and practical for use in my classroom. That’s a rare mix.
5. “The Danger in False Transparency” by Bill Ferriter at The Tempered Radical: You’ll see more of the Radical in this list because I really value his opinions and feedback, even when I don’t agree with them. This post, however, really resonated with me (as it probably does with most teachers) because of the perception that “anyone can teach” and the lack of appreciation for the really complex work I do everyday.
4. “iPhooey” by Dina Strasser at The Line: Dina’s stuff often leaps right over my rapidly balding scalp, but this post seemed to be aimed squarely at my chest or, more correctly, the device in my pocket. She really got me thinking about the trade-off that comes with devices making our lives easier versus the loss of observation.
3. “How Fine is The Line Between Socialization and Social Learning?” by Jeff Utecht at The Thinking Stick: Jeff’s posts and tweets often remind me of the views of international teachers, but just as often they describe problems and situations that I have seen firsthand. This post really raises a great topic that can’t be overlooked in our zeal to incorporate social networking into instruction.
2. “You Can’t Plug All The Holes” by Tim Stahmer at Assorted Stuff: Sometimes a person hundreds (or thousands) of miles away describes a situation in their professional life and you suddenly realize that what they are describing is happening to you, too. ‘Nuff said.
1. “Reflections on Revisiting PLCs at Work” by Bill Ferriter at The Tempered Radical: I felt strongly that my #1 pick should be a post that affected me deeply and that I have kept coming back to since its publication. This post fits the bill. If you read nothing else from this list, read this one. This post follows a Voicethread conversation about the book “Revisiting PLCs at Work”, in which I had an active role. I was able to move my thinking about PLCs forward in a very meaningful way after the experience. In the months since, I re-read Bill’s assessment and re-invigorate myself to create a better Professional Learning Community.
I’ll finish with a reminder that learning is an interactive process. Don’t be afraid to comment on your favorite blog posts. The discussion that follows can often be even more meaningful than the original post!