Follow Teaching Blogs to Grow Your PLN and Access Best-Practice Tips From Talented Educators
As we kick off the new school year and look to enhance our classroom practices and freshen up our repertoire of resources, lesson plans, and technologies, turning to the blogosphere can be a great way of gleaning new ideas from those who know best: fellow teachers.
There are hundreds of bloggers out there and it can be difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff. Below are 5 exceptional blogs that can help inform your teaching practice, from introducing new tools and resources and reviewing technologies to best-practice tips for improving student outcomes and growing professionally.
Check out the top 5 teaching blogs that you should read:
- About.com SpecialEd Blog: Special education teacher Jerry Webster’s blog is a treasure chest of resources for special education teachers in any kind of classroom. Having worked in early intervention through high school settings, and as an inclusion teacher, a self-contained autism teacher and even a general ed teacher, his posts come from years of experience working in diverse settings.
- Life In Special Education: This playful and personal blog run by a veteran special education teacher is a great mix of quality-of-life tips for teachers (ie. occasional posts about planning meals that include recipes) and practical ideas for the classroom. One recent post, for instance, reviews how she goes about teaching classroom routines and procedures at the beginning of the school year.
- Cool Cat Teacher: This award-winning blog is run by Vicky Davis, a full-time teacher as well as a writer and speaker. This ambitious blog covers best-practices for teachers, with special attention given to technology. The topics covered on the blog are applicable to a wide variety of educators and are not specific to special education. But great posts on how to better build relationships with parents to tips for saving money when preparing for back to school will resonate with all teachers everywhere.
- Edutech for Teachers: If you are interested in doing more to integrate technology into your instruction, this is the blog for you. Specifically focused on the practical application of technology in the classroom, this tech savvy blog won Edublog’s Best Teacher Blog of 2014. The blog does an amazing job highlighting specific applications of technology and how they can enhance best-practices in the classroom. A recent blog post reviewed a tool called ThingLink that can be used to create unique visuals for enhancing learning in the classroom.
- Reality 101: The CEC’s (Council for Exceptional Children) blog is a perfect go-to for new special education teachers looking to glean ideas from more experienced educators as well as from new teachers like themselves. The great thing about this blog is that, unlike the previously mentioned blogs, it features a variety of voices from across the special education field. The blog includes personal success stories and challenges, best-practice classroom tips, and opinion pieces on trends in special education. Check out this great back to school post by a teacher named Ann-Bailey about how important it is to teach with goals in mind.
His posts are typically focused on research-based methodologies and manage to be sophisticated, specific and firmly practical all at once. For a taste of his expertise, check out recent posts on IEP prep for the new school year and how mand and manding can be used to open the gateways of communication for students who have difficulty acquiring language.
Blogs are just one of the many ways to build your professional learning network and access knowledge from other professionals in your field. For information on how to use Twitter to build your PLN, check out this post on the Rethink blog from last spring. Happy back to school!