Today is Reading to the Core’s first birthday! Although my posts have been sporadic at best, I’ve learned a lot over the past year. Since birthdays and anniversaries are always a good time to look back and reflect, here, in no particular order, are my thoughts on becoming a blogger.
The blogosphere is filled with friendly, supportive and generous people. While this may not be true of all corners of cyberspace, this describes the kidlitosphere in spades. I’ve been inspired by you all! Kate Messner’s Teacher’s Write summer camp prodded me to write more. While not everything I wrote in response to her prompts ended up here (trust me, that’s a good thing!), she and all the writers who joined in encouraged me to stretch myself and take risks. Thanks, Kate!
It’s Monday, What Are Your Reading (Book Journey), Tuesday’s Slice of Life (Two Writing Teachers) and Poetry Friday (various hosts, but you can always find the line up at A Year of Reading) have also been especially motivating. Thank you to all you equally busy bloggers who’ve found your way here via one of these memes.
I’m also thankful for the kind words people have left in their comments. I especially appreciate my loyal commenters Colette, Betsy, and Elizabeth. Some people may despair that the internet is changing the world as we know it, but I am incredibly grateful that it allows me to connect with faraway friends so easily.
One of the most eye-opening realizations I’ve had from blogging is just how difficult it is to sit down and compose a half-way intelligible piece of writing. Not one of these posts has been completed in less than an hour, and they have usually been rolling around in my head for a day or two before I begin writing. Why we think our students should be able to sit down and hammer out a fluent story or essay in 45 minutes is beyond me. They should have at least an hour! Seriously, without regular, sustained writing practice, it simply isn’t fair to subject our students to the kind of writing assessments that dominate today’s instructional landscape. As a result of this insight, I have been more mindful of my own writing instruction and my support of teachers implementing writing workshop this year.
Over the next year I’m really going to make a concerted effort to post at least once a week. I have lots left to say about books, teaching, and life in general. Which brings me to the name of this blog. In one sense, the “Core” of the title refers to the Common Core. I think about the implications of the CCSS on instruction almost all the time. (Sad, I know.) And yet, much of what I wrote about over the past year had nothing to do with these standards. They were more about what’s at the core of me: curiosity about the world around us and a passion to help all kids find their own true self, to find their own true core.