Edublog Awards, #Nerdlutions, and NCTE13: It's About Community, Silly.

     Right before the start of 4th grade, we moved to a new town. One summer night, the neighborhood kids invited me out to play Kick the Can. This was great, except for two things:
          1. I was extremely shy and scared of people.
          2. I had no idea how to play Kick the Can.
     I went and hid. And, not knowing the rules, I stayed hidden. While others snuck out to kick the proverbial can, I stayed hidden. While my peers laughed and ran and shouted, I stayed hidden. When they became concerned because they hadn't seen me for a long time - hidden. Even as they yelled out my name I stayed crouched under the bush I was hiding under. I also cried.
     See, I didn't know the rules of this community, this game. And I was so, so scared of people.
     Now I am a grown woman with friends and a relationship and a career. I like to think that I have developed a whole host of social skills across the years. And yet when faced with a new community, a new game, I feel that familiar fear: What if I do the wrong thing? What if I embarrass myself? What if no one likes me?
     Luckily, the communities I have found in the past two years, both online and IRL, have been supportive and wonderful and warm. They have allowed me my hiding-under-the-bush-moments, and they have coaxed me out gently. This post is devoted to three such communities: The blogosphere, Twitter, and conferences.

1. Edublog Awards:

Awards make me feel like hiding under a bush. And there are so many blogs I love. But here are a few I would love to shout out:
  • Best individual blog: Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension.I love Pernille Ripp's ability to waltz between hope, critique, humor and warmth. I find at least two of these qualities at home in every post.
  • Best group blog: The Nerdy Book Club. What else can I say about this crew? Oh I know, they have rekindled my dormant reading life and warmed my heart more times than I can mention. Perhaps more than any other group of people online, N.B.C. has helped my teaching and my life.
  • Best new blog: KinderConfidential. Kristi Mraz has just begun her blogging career, but her posts are insightful, mind-bendingly brilliant and, well, funny.
  • Best class blog: Books Upon Books. Here is the thing about Kristen Robbin's class blog - it is not so much the classroom blog, though she uses it masterfully to model for kids what she hopes they will achieve. It is the work that her kids do off of this class blog that is transformational. Check out the student links on the side. Boom. Also, Kristen's personal blog- A Kind of Library- is a beautiful testament to books and the power of reading.
  • Best administrator blog: Practical Theory The other Chris Lehmann in my life is a former mentor but more than that he is a true visionary in education. His blog is a testament to his beliefs about education - namely that without engaging and listening to kids, we are lost.
  • Best individual tweeter: @iChrisLehman. Chris is admittedly my compatriot and my friend. But his influence on twitter is palpable and widespread. What I love about Chris as a tweeter is his range - he is able to in the course of 24 hours offer helpful advice to teachers, critique the state of high stakes testing, and comment on popular culture or current events. Chris is also an incredible Twitter friend - he supports and guides and converses.
  • Best twitter hashtag: #Nerdlution. Brand new. But helping countless teachers already to set goals for their life and their teaching.

2. #Nerdlution


Recently Colby Sharp and friends kicked off a new hashtag - one that encompasses the absolute best of twitter. #Nerdlution is a way for all of us to stay motivated. All you have to do is name something that you would like to do every day from the next 50 days - and then join the community online to help you stay motivated. Here are my Nerdlutions:

1. Break a sweat every day. If it's good enough for Matthew McConaughey it's good enough for me.

2. Write every day.

Twitter has helped e to stay connected no mater what - now it will help me stay connected to my goals, to what I truly want out of life. Thanks, Twitter.

3. NCTE13

I never used to go to conferences. My introverted self struggles to stay present, to stay engaged with all of the people and stimulus. As those who know me well know - there is a point in every large gathering where I kind of shut down, Tin Man style. But what I have found out this year is that despite my limitations, I LOVE conferences. I love the people that I meet, the rich conversations I have, the way my thinking is always pushed and my heart full when I leave. I may need some strategies for survival (like I blogged last year here) but going to conferences has fed my professional and personal life in ways I did not expect.

So - while there are times that I still may want to hide under the bushes and stay there until every one goes home, I am indebted to the new communities I have found in the past two years.