2015 Resolution #3, Expand your learning network: New blogs to watch
My first two suggestions for resolutions for 2015 were intended to push for a more positive note in world language teaching in 2015: for us to stop beating ourselves up when things don’t go exactly according to plan, and for us to act like we’re on the same team with the same goals, instead of my-way-is-the-right-way. This third and final suggestion is something I like to do at the beginning of a year – let you know what blogs I watched appear (or become more established) in the previous year, to suggest reading material for your new year. Here are the four (edit –five!) new blogs I loved in 2014.
Allison’s Mis Clases Locas
On Mis Clases Locas, Allison Weinhold blogs about what she does as “department of one” in a small private school in Iowa. I know I speak for all of those who have been around this field for a little while when I say how very energizing it is to see young new teachers explode on the scene with bright ideas, lots of hope, determination to stick out the rough spots, and a commitment to collaborate and contribute at every turn. I especially appreciate Allison’s perspective on what it’s like to teach without a face-to-face PLN, her “quick tips,” and her beginning-of-class activities, especially Baile Viernes (we are so doing this when I go back to teaching) and Lista Lunes.
Bethanie’s Aventuras Nuevas
Bethanie Carlson-Drew is one of those people in my PLN that I suppose I really haven’t known that long, but I feel like I’ve known her forever. We were immediate kindred spirits and I’ve been blessed to meet her in person twice. She was also one of my guest bloggers – so I had her before she had a blog, ha ha. (She also contributed an activity adapting authentic restaurant reviews for a food unit activity here.) And she and the rest of the world realized how much she had to contribute to our profession’s conversations and she started blogging at Aventuras Nuevas. I love Bethanie, I loved presenting with her (and Laura Sexton) on choice in homework at ACTFL ’14, I love her blog, and you will, too.
Andrea’s Lugar para pensar
Andrea Brown started blogging at Lugar para pensar last year and I look forward to every post that lands in my inbox. She writes, “I was born in Illinois to Yankee parents, but I’m a Georgia girl at heart,” and as for me, I was born in Montana to Yankee parents, but I’m a Georgia girl at heart – and we’re Spanish teachers – how could we not be kindred spirits?! I think you’ll especially appreciate her perspective on incorporating Realidades into a communicative program, developing communicative activities from authentic resources, and improving assessment methods like quizzes and stamp sheets.
Wendy’s En français, SVP!
Wendy Farabaugh will remind you a whole lot of Allison – young, energetic, full of ideas, tenacious, determined to learn and have fun doing it. And she will remind you a lot of Andrea – exploring using authentic resources while teaching with comprehensible input. The one big difference here is that Wendy teaches French. I enjoyed learning with Wendy at the inaugural Camp Musicuentos last summer, and I’ve loved hearing on her blog about her successes and struggles on one of my favorite journeys in world language teaching – storytelling.
I KNEW there were actually five blogs I’d planned to list! I figured out which one I left out!
Melanie’s Las clases de Stilson
You’ll really enjoy Melanie’s honest perspective from the trenches of language teaching, and her creative innovations as well as her personalization and improvements on some of the great creative ideas bouncing around the internet. Best of all, you’ll benefit from her dedication to the big principles: communicative activities, comprehensible input, and proficiency-based everything.
Other blogs to keep an eye on
Here are a couple of other blogs you’ll want to watch this year. From Emily over at Mi clase es su clase, I save a lot of her suggestions for “Canción de la semana.” Also, I had the great privilege of finally meeting Shelli this year at ACTFL ’14 and we talked her into starting a blog – she just started blogging over at Risky Business. I’ve enjoyed being on the #langchat moderating team with Kris Climer (aka Nicholas Cage’s doppleganger) for a while, and I got to meet him at ACTFL ’14 as well. He is extraordinarily thoughtful and eloquent and started blogging his French teaching journey last year at Monsieur Le Prof 2.0. I have been blogging at Musicuentos for more than six years, and I will tell you that life often gets in the way of sharing our thoughts on our blogs, and with good reason. We want to keep up the conversation with you, but sometimes, frankly, we have a lot of other important things going on right now, too. It’s like your class- sometimes there’s a lot to say, but no time to say it (RING, that’s the bell). But if blogging continues to fit on these star teachers’ plates, you’ll see great things from them, I’d wager.
Did you spot a star blog I missed in 2014? Let me know about it! Also, consider starting your own blog to share your journey. Selfishly, I’d ask you to consider WordPress because they make it a lot easier for me to get your new posts in my email; otherwise I usually miss them.
Got another great resolution for 2015? Share it with us!