Class of 2011 KSYB Teacher Challenge Commencement

I like that we call graduation “commencement” because commencement literally means beginning. As we graduate from the “30 Days to Kick Start Your Blogging” teacher challenge, I realize it is really the beginning. It is the beginning for all of us new (or freshly spiffed up) bloggers. An interview with my blog started this challenge, so I thought I would end the challenge with a final interview. But before my blog comes out, I wanted to show a word cloud of my blog over the past month. I am delighted with the big ideas and topics included.

Teacher Challenge Blog Posts in a Wordle
Teacher Challenge Blog Posts in a Wordle

Well, Dare to Care Blog, why do you need readers?
Mrs. Krebs and all the fine educators who have been in this blogging challenge learned they have joined a conversation. They believe that they really do have something to offer in their listening to others and in their sharing of their own voices. According to my ClustrMap, in her first eleven months of blogging, she had about 450 visitors. In one month, as she participated in this awesome 30-day professional development program at Edublogs, she had 300+ visitors. From little over 1 visitor per day to 10 per day! Of course, we all know how that happened. Neither she nor I did anything new or exciting. There were no prizes, no gimmicks, her writing skills didn’t improve, nor did she have incredible new insights. It wasn’t the fancy widgets she put on my sidebar or the categories and tags she cleaned up. The only thing that really changed was she joined a community of educators willing to help each other by listening and sharing. It was transformational. Mrs. Krebs and I, her trusty blog, thank all of you!

How can we stay networked? How can the conversations continue?
I believe it will be more difficult without the regular prodding of Sue Waters, Ronnie Burt, Sue Wyatt, and Anne Mirtschin. However, it will be possible, if educators do a few things.

First, join Twitter, if you haven’t already. Follow the four educational leaders above and @mrsdkrebs. Send out tweets when you post a new blog entry. Follow educational leaders and read their blogs.

Second, dare to share. (Just a little play on my name there!) Write posts about incredible lesson plans, questions one has, cool new web 2.0 apps, genius student work, and any other professional and personal reflections. And write them regularly!

Finally, because there won’t be the handy “Posts of the Week” links to visit each others’ blogs, you’ll need to be proactive in going out to read others’ blogs. Have you found some favorite bloggers already? Add them to your reader or subscribe by email. Or add them to your blogroll and visit them regularly.

Why has this challenge been important to you and your blog?
My writer, Mrs. Krebs, asked me to yield to her on this question, so she’s taking over.

It’s an exciting time in education. According to Tony Wagner, American education is due for a major renovation. It’s happened just once before. Over 125 years ago, our school system was reinvented. It went from a one-room school house model to an assembly-line school system, the same factory model we still have today. American education doesn’t just need a reform, it needs a re-invention. I know it’s true. Students think education is irrelevant to their lives. They don’t believe the stale promise, if you work hard and get good grades, you’ll get a good job. I don’t want to waste any of my valuable time teaching in a way that is irrelevant. I want to be in on the conversation that is reinventing education. I don’t have grand ideas, but I do believe I can be part of the discourse. I am eager to listen and share and reflect. My blog has become a part of that!

Check out Iowa Future and Tony Wagner’s motivating talk:

14 thoughts on “Class of 2011 KSYB Teacher Challenge Commencement

  1. Thank you, Glenda! I really appreciate the kind words!
    Thanks, Denise

  2. HiDenise,

    A lovely well-written post. Well done on your increased readership as part of this challenge – mine went up too. But more importantly, like you I was able to engage in conversations with people I probably would never have met. I even created a Twitter list for the people I started following as part of this Teacher Challenge.

    Thanks again for dropping by my blog, engaging me in conversation by asking questions, connecting in Twitter and even promoting one of my posts. That is just pure awesomeness.

    This is not goodbye for the conversation has just commenced.


    1. Malyn, thank you so much for a lovely comment! Now, I have a new challenge to figure out how to make a list! I don’t think I even realized I could do that. That will be something I will definitely do!

  3. Hi Denise,
    Nicely done! I am sad that the challenge has ended. I hope to keep up my blog reading and check back with many (as I have added them to my Reader). I plan on saving the recaps of the different weeks so I can visit others that are not in my reader.
    I guess for me, the real challenge will be to continue blogging (& twittering). I love the idea of a PLN as I have learned so much already.
    Take care and thanks again for your great posts! I enjoy them.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. We ARE on a journey with a PLN that goes beyond our school walls, and I love it!

  4. I still have two challenges to complete. Thanks for embedding this video; I’ll be referring back to it later. I feel as you said, “I want to be in on the conversation that is reinventing education. I don’t have grand ideas, but I do believe I can be part of the discourse.” We are part of the transformation. Have a great rest of the year!

  5. Hi, I have to admit that one of my reasons to blog is also that I want to be a part of reinventing the educational system in Scandinavia. I think we have the same kind of issues that you describe in your post, with students not really realising the importance of an education. Because you still need to know how to read, write and do some math to do the things you want!

    1. It is an exciting time to be in education, isn’t it? Anna, I’ll look forward to following your journey in Scandinavia, and joining with you in conversation about these important issues. Thanks for visiting!

  6. Great post and very encouraging for others to continuing to blogging. Without the teacher challenge guiding our way it will take a little more effor to saty invo;ved but worth the extra effort.

  7. Denise,

    I loved your blogs comment when he/she/it 😉 said that we bloggers have “joined a conversation.” It seems like one big, endless, enjoyable, positive conversation, doesn’t it?

    Love the posts. I’m glad there are others out there who “dare to care.”


  8. Me, too, Karla! It is so positive now. We #ksybloggers were a very nice bunch! I suppose the conversation can also get heated at times depending on the topic. Those conversations will be rewarding too, won’t they?
    Thanks for stopping by. Denise

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