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15 Non-librarian blog(ger)s too good to miss!

It occurs to me that so many of my best ideas come from the blogs of others. As often as not, those blogs live outside of the school library world.

In no particular order, here’s a very personal selection of blogs/bloggers I couldn’t live without.

by Jennifer Gonzales

1.Cult of Pedagogy is far more than a blog. Since 2013, Jennifer Gonzales has been regularly blowing my mind with her thoughtful blend of effective classroom strategies and what’s new on the horizon that you can use in your classroom or library tomorrow. Simply put, her blog, podcasts and videos will inspire you to be a better educator. Her posts fit into three categories:

The Craft, where we fine-tune the art of teaching, Go Deep, where we dig into the theory and thinking behind our practice, and Teacher Soul. This last category is my favorite, because it’s where we get into the guts, the raw emotions of teaching.

In addition to her solo posts, sharing thoughts and discoveries, Jennifer’s podcasts feature interviews with teachers, learning experts, parents, and other people who make things happen in education.

Check out Jennifer’s SXSWEdu keynote for inspiration (and for a model of a fabulous speech)
Monica Burns: Class Tech Tips

2. Dr. Monica Burns’ (@ClassTechTips) Class Tech Tips blog and podcast promotes Monica’s philosophy of tasks before apps. Monica is a Curriculum and EdTech Consultant and an Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com. She shares her purpose:

If you’re looking to make the most of digital tools this school year, you’ve come to the right place. As an EdTech consultant, I help educators leverage the power of technology in the classroom — strategically and with purpose. So explore the site, sign up for my weekly tips, or follow along on social media. You can energize and enhance teaching and learning — and I’m here to help you get started!

The Class Tech Tips blog and the Easy EdTech Podcast consistently share valuable tips, strategies, and outstanding best-resources lists. The EdTech Free Stuff tab offers a lovely array of downloadable ebook guides.

Kasey Bell’s Shake Up Learning

3. Kasey Bell’s (@ShakeUpLearning) Shake Up Learning Blog and her Shake Up Learning Show Podcast series offer a wealth of practical ideas, lists, interviews with experts and practitioners, and Kasey’s presentation resources. She also offers a Webinar series. If you are a Google Educator or if you work in a Google Classroom school, this is an essential resource for keeping up and moving forward.

Some of Catlin Tucker’s books on blended learning

4. Catlin Tucker (@Catlin_Tucker) blogs with a focus on student-centered blended learning. Recent examples of her thoughtful and useful posts are: Developing a Community of Inquiry in Your Blended Classroom, Scavenger Hunt: Get Kids Talking on the 1st Day of School. and 3 Ways to Build Student Agency into Your Lessons. Check out Catlin’s Favorite Web Tools.

5. Since 2008, Richard Byrne’s (@rmbyrne) FreeTech4Teachers has been one of my absolute go-to folks for keeping up with free resources. I rely on his Youtube tutorial playlists, his Google Tutorials and ebook guides in my professional development and for use with my students. He fills me in on the new stuff I’ve missed and he often inspires a blog post. Check out Richard’s digital handbook for technology integration.

6. Pernille Ripp (pernillerip) is an “expert in literacy and technology integration and dedicates her research and practice to developing engaged and empowered students and communities.

The teacher, speaker, author, blogger, Skype Master Teacher and recipient of the 2015 ISTE Award for Innovation in Global Collaboration, Pernille is also the creator of the Global Read Aloud. And, she has quite literally written the books on Passionate Learning, Passionate Readers and Global Collaboration. Her own contagious passion for literacy drives her sharing. Among Pernille’s recent posts are Why Writing Sucks and We Need to Talk About It and Getting to Know Our Students Survey.

by Terry Heick

7. TeachThought.com was founded and is directed by Terry Heick, an author and former classroom teacher interested in rethinking how we think about K-12 teaching and learning. Aimed at the K20 audience, content is immediately useful in supporting innovation in professional development and practice. Posts offer thoughtful and engaging lists and podcasts, and, very often, art created by my favorite sketchnoter, Sylvia Duckworth. Among the recent shares are Snapshots Of Understanding? 10 Smart Tools For Digital Exit Slips and 8 Ways To Grow As A Teacher.

8. Edutopia, from the George Lucas Foundation, has been a critical resource for high-quality thinking and writing on evidence-based, progressive strategies to support K12 education. Over the course of 25 years, the archive of content in the Topics area has become a valuable reference source for what works. Don’t miss the professionally (of course) produced Videos.

This 2016 video explains the Edutopia mission, “how can we help make education better for kids?”

9. EdSurge was founded in 2011 to connect the emerging community of education technology entrepreneurs and educators with the goal of helping educators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and other stakeholders be part of the rich and complex conversations about the evolving learning environments for everyone and the technologies and tools that support them. I rely on EdSurge as a current awareness tool that bridges K12, higher education, and the related marketplace. Examples of recent posts include Alexa, Can you give girls a voice, and How Tablet Games can Teach Skills to Students with Visual Impairments. Beyond the news, you’ll find a tab covering research updates.

Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook

10. In Ditch That Textbook, author and educator Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) offers practical, “use it in class tomorrow” solutions to teachers’ classroom needs. I also help them focus on what’s most important to keep education relevant. The Indiana high school Spanish teacher ditched his own teach-by-the-text approach in favor of a textbook-less path where learning activities were often custom-produced for his students as well as infused with technology.

Recent posts include 3 Powerful Lesson Plan Templates – and How to Make your Own and 4 Frameworks to Level Up Your Lesson Planning. Among the other practical and creative resources Matt and his #DitchBook community shares are the free ebooks–a Beginner’s Guide to Twitter for Educators, 101 Practical Ways to Ditch That Textbook and The Digital Pirate.

11. New York City is lucky to have the brilliant, forward-thinking Lisa Nielsen (a former librarian) as their Director of Digital Engagement and Professional Learning. As a student, Lisa found school boring irrelevant. She writes the Innovative Educator Blog to share ideas about the future of education, the value of social media, learning with a team, accessibility, inclusion and so much more, that will help create far more engaging learning experiences for others.

Teacher Reboot Camp by Shelly Terrell

12. Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell), has supported teachers and learners in 100 countries as a teacher trainer, professor, and instructional designer. Shelly’s Teacher Reboot Camp captures her energetic and enthusiastic approach for engaging all learners through innovative instructional methods and thoughtful integration of technology.

Shelly so generously shares more than 450 of her excellent presentations here on her LinkedIn page. Among Shelly’s recent posts are 10 Back to School Tips for An Awesome Year! and Build Relationships Throughout the Year With These Awesome Icebreakers! Free Template!. Here are the presentations that “go with.”

13. Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher), a true global educator, has been blogging as The Cool Cat Teacher for as long as I can remember.

Her mixed-media combination of practitioner insights are shared in posts, her 10 Minute Teacher Podcasts (with more than 500 episodes!) and her rich Youtube channel. Taking Vicki along on your commute is a perfect PD strategy for the upcoming school year. She shares her hopes for her readers/listeners:

  • May find this blog helpful (use the search box at the top right and on the podcast page to find just what you want)
  • May be a remarkable teacher for your students
  • May find encouragement to be more patient with your students, more resilient in the face of criticism, and more helpful to everyone you meet.
  • May know that many educators are out here sharing and caring. May you find many of their stories here on the pages of this blog and add them to your personal learning network (PLN

14. While Faculty Focus is clearly aimed at higher education. The Teaching Professor blog provides strategies and insights which apply just as well to K12 learning and teaching. Check out the wealth of categorized reports and such recent posts as Designing Small Group Activities: A Resource Guide. Note: Registration may be required for some resources.

By Dr. Scott McLeod

15. Aimed at school leaders, Dr. Scott McLeod’s Dangerously!Irrelevant is devoted to deeper learning and the necessity for school transformation and instructional redesign. Get a sense of the type of critical questions Scott suggests we ask to provoke investigating our current culture practice by examining his:

Are we failing our students? In a recent post, Scott presents the following simple and provocative measures of learning:

  • If our students get a good grade in government class but leave class as apathetic, uninvolved future citizens . . . we have failed.
  • If our students pass the state reading test but never voluntarily read a book . . .we have failed.
  • If our students survive math class but end up hating math . . . we have failed.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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