findingEMU

Building Enduring Mathematical Understanding, one lesson at a time.

Reflections: Lurking to Learning

Today is my one month “blogversary!” I don’t have much to add to the conversation on Advisory for msSunFun, but I do have an item on my To Do page that I would like to tackle: My journey to becoming a blogger.

I first “lurked” onto the “mathedublogger” scene just over SEVEN years ago! At the time I was teaching at an Alternative High School, and we had just been “chosen” to participate in a 1-1 program beginning during the 2005-6 school year. We (the teachers) had some training at the end of the school year and then took our laptops home over the summer. Wow! The Internet in your lap! During the hours/days/weeks spent searching for online tools and resources I ran across some “bloggers” talking about what they do in the classroom – especially in regards to technology. It was still a fairly new idea from my perspective. Every once in awhile I would wander back and take a look at what was happening. Often one site would link me to another, and so on, and so on. . .

Meanwhile, I moved to one of the middle schools in the district and was no longer involved in the 1-1 program. However, our Computer Lab teacher shared GoogleReader with us, and my lurking seriously went up a notch or two. My tiny iPod touch became my window into the “mathedubloggosphere.” I don’t have the data to back it up, but I really do believe that the MathEd blog scene has grown exponentially – meaning that the growth was actually quite gradual to begin with, but then started to take off! I remember running across dy/dan (what a cool blog name, I thought) before he WAS dy/dan! I “lurked” as some of my favorites, Continuous Everywhere but Differentiable Nowhere, f(t), and MathMamaWrites built their followings. ThinkThankThunk next slammed onto the scene along with his SBG cohort Point of Inflection. Even though most of the bloggers were teaching at the high school level (or higher) and I was now working with sixth graders, I could relate to a lot of what they were saying – especially in regards to SBG. I thought, hmmmmm, maybe I should do this. However, I am the LAST one in a large group of people that I don’t really know to actually speak up. . .And I wonder why my own kids are so shy. . .

The next “jump” in my lurking occurred when I got my iPad and found Flipboard, that I shared in this post. It makes scrolling through blogposts pure pleasure! I would look at the blog rolls of the bloggers I was reading, check out new writers, subscribe to their posts, and so on, and so on. . .

After returning from our vacation this summer, I read some posts about Twitter Math Camp. Seriously? These people just planned their own “retreat/workshop/conference!?” Wow! More new bloggers were added to my feed. . .and then one afternoon I was weeding out in the yard, listening to my iPod when I heard the lyrics, “This is your life, are you who you want to be. . .” and something just clicked. Yeah, I can do this! You know, it makes so much sense to do it NOW, when I am just going back to teaching full time after being part time for 16 years. Sure, I have PLENTY of time n my hands! Oh well, I downloaded the WordPress app (recommended by Sam) and signed up for Twitter to boot! After all, I had already picked out a name and everything. The rest, as they say, is history. . .but not really what I expected.

It has been a roller coaster ride over the past month. I started out with ideas about what I wanted to “say,” but I find myself “saying” a lot of other things too. msSunFun came onto the scene shortly after I first started. “Ok, I’ll try that.” Then I noticed the Made4Math Monday. “Suuuure, that too.” Sam posted his New Blogger Initiative. “Hey, that’s me! I’ll sign up.” All of a sudden I have more ideas to share than there are hours in the day. How to keep up? Oh yeah, and school is starting up soon, too! My Start, Stop, Continue post includes blogging goals that I hope I can keep. I even made a To Do’s page to keep myself honest.

Posting comments on other blogs was one of my first “baby steps” after I started my blog. I really appreciated it when the blogger would then reply back. Especially now that I added all of the NBI bloggers to my feed, I find myself overwhelmed with how much there is to read. I want to make “meaningful comments,” as opposed to “I really love that idea.” Maybe that’s more of a “Twitter” response to a post.

Twitter has been hard to “jump into.” I once tweeted that I felt like the “new kid at school,” just listening in on other conversations – except they may have happened hours ago! It is very strange sometimes. I will “reply” and then realize that the person may have already moved waaaay beyond that part of the conversation. I don’t know how people can even BEGIN to follow as many people as they do!

When I was lurking it was so much more of a passive experience. Now that I am “in it,” I have been learning sooooo much more from others. I am reading posts and tweets from Middle School Math teachers who are out there in force, (@jruelbach, @4mulafun, @fawnpnguyen, @mr_stadel, @Borschtwithanna, @mathbratt, the list goes on, and on, and on) and I didn’t really know about them before. I LOVE the posts and twitter conversations with/between those involved in Math Education (@delta_dc, @mathhombre, @ChrisHunter36, @trianglemancsd) that make me think more deeply about learning mathematics! I feel a kinship with other “newbies” like me (@danbowdoin – although he is on the fast track to blogger stardom, @G8rAli – who should really start a blog, @aekland – who has such thoughtful posts, @ray_emily – who has an abundance of enthusiasm, and Pai Intersect – who I haven’t seen on Twitter, but has great insights on his blog.)

I vacillate between thinking that “nothing I have to say has any value when compared to all of the ideas that others have shared” and “oh, I really want to chime in,” or “I think I should share that. . .”

I am surprised at how much I have learned about myself and my teaching from writing posts for the blog. @ray_emily tweeted earlier today: “I’m finding I have a new clarity / fresh eyes on a topic after blogging about it.” I entirely agree! I am especially looking forward to learning even more as I blog about my experiences in the classroom :)

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13 thoughts on “Reflections: Lurking to Learning

  1. WOW! I am just coming on the scene of reading blogs in the last 2 months or so and at times have felt overwhelmed. But, I had a huge sense of urgency to start my own blog to at a minimum, reflect on what I am doing in my own classroom so I can gain as a teacher. This year, I have felt battered more than I ever have in my short 12 year career. Louisiana has new measures for teacher evaluation that will be tied to tenure and pay. I am not opposed to some of the measures, but teaching many different courses (5 different “prep’s”) it is scary for someone like me. Blogging and becoming a part of this community has helped ground me and give me some of the things I need to be the best teacher I can and not drastically change what I am doing.

    It has also given me a bit of validation that what I am doing is ok, but could be much improved. I am hopeful that blogging and reading the blogs (I am up to 155 in reader) can help me do just that. I want to be a reflective teacher in everything I do. I will never have anything profound to say in my blog, that just isn’t me. But, I hope with that, Twitter, and reading blogs, I can be the best I can be while raising my son (and hopefully another sooner than later) and being a good wife. The balance gets difficult!

    I do hope some of us “newbies” form a kinship much like the “oldies” have. I have been trying to add all of the new blogs to my subscription so I can keep up with who is who, but it gets overwhelming. We started school a week ago and I am teaching an online Algebra I course that started 2 weeks ago, so I am getting in the groove!

    • Sooooo appreciate your comments. I was lucky to be part time when my kids were young, and it was still a balancing act :)

      When I taught at the Alternative HS I only had three periods, but actually four preps due to having “just a few” kids working on some upper level math. (Even within the regular classes the range was more than you would believe.)

      I agree with the “newbie kinship” idea. You can only really form “so many bonds” and many of them have been working on it for years :)

      Sent from my iPad

  2. And, kind of funny, I was going to change my blog layout to this :) But going to keep looking. I wish I could find something really colorful but not too over the top. All of the ones that do that, cost.

  3. Aw, shucks! I feel famous! And, I am totally feeling the kinship, too. (I was recently wondering, also, *where* is @Gr8Ali’s blog?!)

  4. Wow, what a post! Thanks for the mention as well. I love reading your “transformation” into social media over time. It’s something we all share and I can’t wait to see more from you!

    @4mulafun

  5. Wow 7 years! I have not been lurking around for that long, but I certainly wish I had been. I definitely feel a kinship with you as well :) Thanks for mentioning me!
    I haven’t really embraced twitter yet. I use it to check out other people’s conversation sometimes, but I am not very good at using twitter. The @name and #tags confused me a lot in the beginning, although I am a bit more used to it now. I probably won’t end up posting on twitter anytime soon, but I will sure be listening in to people! What is your name on there?

    • I’m @finding_EMU on Twitter. (I needed to include the _ because the name was already taken without it.) I’m starting to feel more comfortable there, but it can be overwhelming.

      Sent from my iPad

  6. Hi, new reader here! Enjoying yours posts, keep it up!

    • Thanks so much:) I am hoping that once school starts this week I will be able to still find time.

      I’ve had your blog on my Google Reader feed for awhile!

      Sent from my iPad

  7. Enjoyed reading through your reflection post. Sometimes when my Google Reader fills up to 200+ new posts, I skim through and cannot even get to reading some of them. I always save the findingEMU posts (even if I am a week late!). Thanks for the mention and can definitely relate to many of your comments, being a new blogger, too.

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