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Thursday, March 27, 2014

5th Anniversary Post

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfsoul
Last night I was participating in the #educoach chat and people started talking about starting to blog. I almost tweeted that I wrote my first post on St. Patty's Day, 2011. But I stopped and checked the date and I was off by 2 years!  So now I realized that I have been writing posts for 5 years - sounds like a celebration.

Five years and almost 200 posts later and I still only have a handful of regular readers. You know what? That's ok. I'm not in it for the money. I don't plan my post titles to maximize SEO. I don't spend time on the captions under my images to get google juice.  And, I don't link bait.  

Actually, that last paragraph should place some great bait, boosting my juice, and maximizing the SEO. This post could be worth BIG bucks!

I write for me. I reflect on things I have done. I think about things I would like to do. And I write about things that are happening in the real education world.  In the first year, for example, I wrote about Twitter safety, co-teaching a class, and assessment in a PBI environment.

Looking through my second year (2010) I can tell that I was going through a transition time in life. I went from teaching math to teaching engineering classes. It was also a transition time in our state and district with budget issues causing all kinds of job eliminations. The beauty of having a blog over a long period is that you notice how these life changes affect you.  I didn't write many posts in 2010 and none were that good. But one post did get some good traffic. It was a link-post to steer my summer reading.

When you write a lot of posts over a long period of time, not all posts end up being profound. That's something new bloggers need to realize. We can't be writing Pulitzer-Prize-winning posts every time we sit down at the computer. Some posts, however, end up getting legs. My most opened post (from April, 2013) - "What Should a PBL Classroom Look Like?" - has been opened nearly 1000 times! I say "opened" because the stats we get can't state whether the post was actually read. 

My next two "hot" posts were both in the three hundreds with numbers of time opened.  One was in 2011; my third year. These posts "PBL Should Not Be Done in a Vacuum" and " Four Posts to Get You Ready For the PBL New Year," are posts I am pretty proud of writing. 

My stats also show that the posts have been opened nearly 40,000 times! If you divide that amongst, roughly, 200 posts, then I can expect around 200 openings of each post.  But looking closer you'll see that about 3000 of the openings were in France and Russia. Blog post scraping is a real thing and can really pad your stats.  That's why, when you look at my last 9 posts, you'll see anywhere from 15 to over 200 times that each one has been opened.

Enough on the statistics from my blog - sorry, I'm a math guy and it's interesting to me.  

I am a reflective person. I am a reflective teacher. Writing blog posts can help you be more reflective. To perfect our craft we need to be able to critically analyze our work. I really believe that all teachers should take time to reflect. Whether this reflection is kept in written form (a blog or a "diary") or orally (a podcast or recorded memo) doesn't matter. I chose to record my thoughts in this manner - it works for me. 

Thinking about a blog? Check out Edublogs (I LOVE these guys. I have an account and would shift over but I haven't had time to figure out how to set up a landing page to connect the two.), Blogger (where I have this blog), or Wordpress (the gold-standard of blogging platforms). There are many, many more platforms out there but these are the ones I think of first. Ask your friends for recommendations. It seems everyone knows someone blogging. 

Finally. You are reading a post. I wrote this post. You did not just read a blog and I didn't write a blog. The blog is the platform where all of my posts are kept. When you write about this on Twitter, say "Read a great post today." Or, you could say, "@cfanch has a great blog. Read this post today." I just want you to sound like you know what you're talking about. And thank you for reading this post today. This is one of my first posts of my 6th year of blogging. It feels good - come join me.