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Arts & Activities - Page 14

Stepping Stones stepping stones is a monthly column that breaks down seemingly daunting tasks in art education into simple, manageable “steps” that any art educator can take and apply directly to their classroom. stepping stones will explore a variety of hot topics and research in the field today. 10 Good Reasons to Start a Blog W hen I embarked on a journey to start a blog, I had no idea it would save my teaching career. After several years of teaching, I was already burned out. I was caving to the negativity that can often surround education and was just plain tired. I wasn’t excited about teaching like I should be. I needed something more. I needed something to help me remember why I got into this profession in the first place. Writing a blog, connecting with other art teachers and putting myself “out there” was just the ticket! Since I started my blog two years ago, I haven’t looked back. There are so many wonderful reasons to start a blog today! by Jessica Balsley 8 9 10 MAKES YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU ARE NOT ALONE. A blog is a place to share your triumphs and trials. FAMILIARIZES YOU with new technologies in a non- threatening and inexpensive way. PROVIDES PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTATION of your teaching to look back on, and can even be considered a digital teaching portfolio. 1 2 3 GETS YOU ExCITED about trying new projects with your students, because you will be sharing them. INSPIRES YOU to organize and clean your classroom (blogs have photos, right?). CONNECTES YOU to parents and the greater com- munity without the tedious uploading of something like Artsonia, which I do like the concept of, but haven’t chosen to make the time for something so detailed. I like the general over view that a blog can give me, while still allowing me to share. HOLDS YOU ACCOUNTABLE for the things you want to tr y. Proclaim it on your blog, and you are sure to follow up! Maybe you want to write about your classroom. Maybe you want to help other art educators. Maybe you simply want to share resources you find. Blogging has so many possibilities for you and your students. I also encourage teachers to think about not just starting a simple blog that has lessons from your classroom, but to think of a more specific theme that is a missing niche in the art-education world. How about a blog just on art-room management, or perhaps a blog only focused on art and interdisciplinary connections? 4 “I needed something to help me remember why I got into this profession in the first place.” Art and technology? The possibilities are endless. I am fortunate enough to now help other art teachers start their own blogs through my online classes, and it’s so much fun to see their ideas come to life. The Art of Education now hosts an award for “Art Ed Blog of the Year” and it’s so rewarding to give recognition to other bloggers who are putting a lot of their time and energy into the profession to help our community of teachers. I know the positive impact blogging has had on my teaching, and I hope it can do the same for you, too! n Jessica Balsley is a K–5 art educator and the founder of www.theartofed.com, which of fers a wide range of services designed just for art teachers. j u n e •s u m m e r 2012 other bloggers and commenters when you are struggling. Blogs don’t just help the readers, they can help the writer, too. It’s a community that is formed in the blogging world. 5 6 7 GIVES YOU SUGGESTIONS and helpful hints from MAKES YOU PROUD of what your art students have accomplished GETS YOU BACK INTO A DIALOGUE of professionalism you probably now only get once a year at a state or national conference. 14 x www.ar tsandactivities.com

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