Hi everyone! My readers know that I typically don't do too many posts that are directed solely at other teacher bloggers. I prefer to have useful posts that have some sort of practical application for teachers to use or adapt in their own classroom. That post might include a video, a freebie, or even a complete review of a sponsored product that I might have for a giveaway. But today's post is mainly directed at my fellow bloggers. :)
Some blogging buddies and I were discussing last week how we feel that we are not really focusing on the blogging in maybe a way we should be. Or that we were when we first started. So, that got me to reflecting about best practices of teacher bloggers, and how many the newbies (or even veteran bloggers for that matter) might not even realize some of the etiquette. As teachers we are constantly asking students to self-reflect, so perhaps it is time to take a breather and do the same thing for ourselves to remember why we started at all.
For most of us, we probably started blogging to help other teachers by sharing our great ideas and strategies that worked in the classroom. Thanks to Dana, at 3rd Grade Gridiron, for sharing this pin with me, which should really ring true when we are thinking about what we should write:
pin links to the technology rocks. seriously. blog
So, in an effort to encourage some fantastic blog-stalking as the summer gains on us very quickly, I encourage you to take my Blogger Challenge! Let's celebrate those blogs that are really standing out from the crowd and give us inspiration!
Here's how the Challenge will work:
See if your blog qualifies to be a 5-Star Blog by reading the challenges below. If not, make it a mission to change your next few posts so that you do qualify. When you have met all 5 criteria, come on back and grab the badge above for your blog's sidebar to display proudly! I am so excited to see how many 5-Star Blogs we can pull together in one linky (and mainly that I can then add to my blog-stalking blogroll). :) Good Luck and I hope to see you on the other side!
- CHALLENGE ONE: I have contact information listed on my blog somewhere. While I understand many bloggers need to remain anonymous for various reasons, you can create a free new email address which can match your blog name in minutes. Hit up any gmail-type email provider and register your new email.
Why is this important? What if you have a company that wants you to do a review of a product that they will give you to try for free with your students? Maybe a shy reader of our blog doesn't want his or her question about your last blog posted out in the public for everyone to see? Perhaps some other bloggers want to team up with you to do a special event? I have found that most email I get is helpful, non-spammy, and true. Take the chance and you might find you connect even better with your readers.
- CHALLENGE TWO: No Pass the Award/Tag posts from you in the last 5 posts on your blog. You know the one when you receive it, then have to tell 50 things about your last dental visit, and pass it on to 125 other bloggers with red hair?
Why is this important? While receiving a nice little award from a fellow blogger is lovely, these tagging awards are getting a bit out of control. When a teacher opens up her RSS reader and every other post she reads is about an award someone received, the novelty wears off very quickly for the non-bloggers. While it is fun to read about the bloggers we admire on a personal level on occasion, we really would prefer to read about a great new teaching strategy or grab a freebie instead.
- CHALLENGE THREE: Not featuring anyone or anything but yourself and your own ideas on your own blog in the last 3 blog posts.
Why is this important? When I come to your blog, I want to see and hear some amazing teaching ideas, not just have it be a spotlight on someone else I should go to, or your favorite pins on Pinterest. If readers continually see posts about others and just links to websites or pins, most will just stop coming to your blog and start following the blogs that have actual content. (Guest spots are different if they actually contain content - see Challenge Four below).
- CHALLENGE FOUR: No self-promoting new products with no content in the last 4 blog posts.
Why is this important? Most teachers I know do not want to walk into a virtual store every time they go to read a blog. Occasional mentions of a new product or an upcoming sale are fine, but not regularly. And when you do post about those things, please write more than 3 sentences. Actually include some great information about your new item like how it could be combined with another subject and give an example or pictures of the students actually using the item. As a fellow teacher-seller, I encourage teachers who sell to a T. But give the readers a reason to want to know about it. Products and sales should be used sparingly.
- CHALLENGE FIVE: I will write a new blog post that gives a great teaching idea that I want to share with teachers everywhere. I will link up that blog post below making sure to include a backlink in my post to this blog post (a bonus etiquette point).
Why this is important? Much like reflecting on teaching best practices, taking a few moments to write a blog post that meets 5-star standards is great practice in action.
That's it! Do the five steps above, making sure to link up below for Challenge Five, and you can grab the badge above! Of course, if you don't complete the steps and grab the badge anyway, it is on you. But I am hoping that all those who link up can testify that they are the best of the best!
Good luck and if nothing else, hopefully this post will help out some of the newbie bloggers - and give me some options for new reading material too. :) If you aren't a blogger, we would love to hear which types of posts you love to see and would like to see more of from the blogging community in a comment below! Thanks to all for participating!