Hello world!

Hi Blogosphere!

I have finally been persuaded to start a weblog regarding my thoughts and reactions to things I encounter as a teacher and working with other math teachers.  And other stuff too.

I teach statistics and math at a great school in  California which I love.  I have great kids and great colleagues.   I think a lot about what works best in teaching mathematics, and love to learn from others who are exploring the same questions.

I will probably have a lot of other things on this blog besides math / teaching math,  but who knows.   So Bloggers,  I need your help.   I think I have plenty to write about and react to, but I am a bit more worried about potential “land mines”  that I might not anticipate in starting a blog.  I don’t want a cast member  from Real Housewives of New York trashing me for something I accidentally said / did without intention… you know what I mean?  What’s the “web etiquette”  that keeps things classy?  for this reason, I ask a couple of a prompts to start:

1.   Please finish this sentence:    “When you start posting,  for goodness sakes,  make sure that you  ___________________.”  

Since this is a public document to the world,  I would imagine there are MANY things one should “watch out” for when posting.  What rookie mistakes,  and “common errors”  should I be mindful of?   What are the “norms”  for the bloggers who get a good audience

2.  Please finish this sentence:     “I most love to read  posts  that ____________________.” 

I imagine that one purpose of  blogging is to create and engage in exciting,  provocative and stimulating discussions.   What works for you?

3.  Please finish this sentence:   “After I created my blog,  I never expected  ___________________,  but it happened.” 

So what monsters have you all created in your blogs? What fantastic opportunities emerged?  I look at the work of some contemporaries and I’m blown away by their influence and their power. I don’t predict anything dramatic here:  just a place to share and learn from you all.

Cheers, BT

About roughlynormal

I have been a math/statistics teacher for 25 years. I currently teach at an independent school in southern California. I also coach teaching fellows for Math for America - Los Angeles chapter. I love my career, my colleagues, and my friends & family.
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12 Responses to Hello world!

  1. Mr WordPress says:

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  2. samjshah says:

    Hi Chloe,

    Kate, I, and some others wrote some things ages ago that might be helpful as you embark on this new adventure!

    1. http://function-of-time.blogspot.com/2010/05/love-your-fairy-blogmother.html
    2. http://samjshah.com/2010/05/31/yet-again-following-fts-lead/
    3. http://misscalculate.blogspot.com/2010/06/gr8-blogging-5-tips.html
    4. http://larkolicio.us/blog/?p=471

    Also, I do think that blogs are useful for stimulating discussion, but that comes with time.

    This is my personal opinion which I don’t think everyone agrees with: 1. blog for yourself, 2. share your activities, successes, failures, and musings, and 3. only write when you feel like it. The rest just naturally follows. If you blog because you feel you have to, then something’s wrong.

    Welcome friend!

    • roughlynormalteacher says:

      Ooh, Yay! Reading material as I am two hours early for my flight back to Los Angeles. Perfect! Thanks! BT

    • Bill Thill says:

      Thanks Sam: I will read these and more of your blogs. I really like the idea of using the blog as a public self- reflection. Let’s see what happens.

      PS I have changed the name of this blog to roughlynormal.wordpress.com. My new nickname is also roughlynormal.

  3. Lisa Henry says:

    I am so glad to see you have started a blog! From what I saw at the Institute for Reasoning and Sense Making, I think you have a lot of good things to offer. But since you asked…

    1. When you start posting, for goodness sakes, make sure that you stay true to who you are. I think most people spot phony-ness a mile away and that comes through when you blog as well. Don’t necessarily worry about who’s reading it and whether or not they’re getting something out it. This should be as much (if not more) for you than anyone else and if you are true to yourself in your posting, the people who would benefit from seeing your point of view will come. And if they don;t, oh well, it’s their loss.

    2. I most love to read posts are those that are somewhat reflective of what people have learned from their classroom experiences as well as posts that share different things that people are doing in their classes. Coming from a school where there are only 3 math teachers, pretty much all I know about math teaching has come from my schooling and experiences. Reading blogs have helped me to see some great things to try in my own classroom and have encouraged me to try things as well. Reading others’ reflections on what has happened during their teaching careers has been invaluable because not only can you learn from them, it helps you to see that others are going through what you are. It helps build community. Now, if I could only just teach in a school with all these awesome math teachers…

    3. After I created my blog, I never expected my teaching life/perspective to change so dramatically, but it happened. If not for blogging and tweeting, I would not have developed such wonderful friendships with some great math teachers. People have commented on my blog that they have been grateful for me sharing what I was going through because they were going through some of the exact same feelings. Knowing that you are not alone is huge. But I think most of all, how I teach and things I am willing to try have changed so much for the better because I blog, read others’ blogs, and tweet. I don’t think I would have pushed so hard to go to the Institute on Reasoning and Sense Making had it not been for what I had heard and read of Dan Meyer from his blog. I don’t think I would be this open to making the change to incorporating rich tasks into my classes if I hadn’t blogged. All in all, it has made me a better teacher and I am so thankful for that.

    I hope that helps you. I look forward to what you have to share!

  4. Kate Nowak says:

    Hi Bill!

    When you start posting, for goodness sakes, make sure you give credit where credit is due. If you mention something that exists on the internet, link to it. When in doubt, link. Four links good. Two links bad.

    I most love to read posts that 1. have something I can use to make my classes better 2. are stories about imperfect people winning at teacher.

    When I created my blog, I never excepted to make so many close friends all over the place, but it happened.

  5. Jason Buell says:

    1. I think Sam, Kate and Lisa have good advice. I’d also add “for goodness sake don’t think that you’re hiding because you don’t have your real name.” Act like your students and real life colleagues are reading. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say with your public face.

    2. I like authentic. Kate had a tweet somewhere about showing a little piece of yourself in each post. I had a convo about this with a couple of other bloggers a few weeks ago. I think the main thing is that you’ll find a home somewhere. While Sam and Kate and Lisa are super awesome and it’d be great if you were part of that specific blogging circle, don’t kill yourself trying to fit in. You be yourself and you’ll develop a circle that works for you. Kate and Sam obviously have much larger circles than the rest of us but I’m perfectly happy with the niche I’ve carved out for myself.

    3. What Kate said. I consider the bloggers/tweeters I’ve met online some of my closest friends.

    Good luck with blogging.

    PS – Don’t feel pressured to churn out X number of posts per week/month/year. Let it happen. If your blog dies, it’s ok. There are other ways to connect. And the glory of GReader is it’ll still show up in my queue.

  6. Pingback: Hopping Over the Pond « Pi Crust

  7. You have many choices to make in your blog: one is how focused you want the blog to be. Many of the teacher bloggers have a very narrow focus—just the teaching job and nothing else goes in the blog. Often this comes with a very specific message (Dan Meyer has been pushing 3 or 4 ideas pretty hard, for example). If you have a message that resonates with your readers, this can lead to a larger readership and a lot of influence (again, think of Dan Meyer).

    Other bloggers have chosen a wider, less focused style that covers many topics, only a few of which are immediately relevant to any particular reader. I like some of these and dislike others—it depends on whether the “other” material sparks my interest or not. For example, I like reading a number of physics teacher blogs, though I have no intention of ever teaching physics, because they point to cool tools, concepts, and lab demos, and sometimes have tidbits of physics news. I’ve unsubscribed to a number of blogs that had too many videos, music clips, and references to TV culture.

    Disclaimer: my own blog wanders all over the place, with education being a frequent topic, but far from the only one. While I like this style, you may not.

  8. talkingninja says:

    HI Bill!! Soooo, apparently I’m coworkers w/ Jenni now. =) And I’m finally lesson planning again to want to blog again. I’m so glad you started!

    1. I think I started blogging teacher stuff as a simple extension to my regular blogging.
    2. I love reading heartfelt teacher posts, from caring people who know how to keep it real. And of course, lesson planning stimulators!
    3. I never expected blogging to take up so much time. Not in creating my own but in finding so many other amazing teacher bloggers! Reading all of it drowned me out… hopefully I’m back. It really is an amazing reflection tool though.

    Anyways, I hear you’re a finalist for a President’s Award for teaching?!?! Congratulations!! You really are one amazing, smart man!

  9. misscalcul8 says:

    1. When you start posting, for goodness sakes, make sure that you use spell check. I love everything everyone else said above so I had to go with a personal pet peeve. =)

    2. I most love to read posts that talk about a practical strategy, lesson, or activity that I could do in my class tomorrow, if need be.

    3. After I created my blog, I never expected to grow exponentially in a short time, but it happened. I thought it would take years to get to the point where I might have cool lessons or ideas to share with other teachers.

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