The Shift Blog has been running now for 18 months, documenting Halton’s journey of making school different. The Shift Blog has grown to include guest bloggers who have helped give voice to other perspectives as we all work to shift our practice. We at the Shift hope to encourage more educators to share their learning through blogging and to that end, we thought we would dedicate a post to some tips for blogging for the the Shift, which we will call Shift Blogging 101.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone:
It was bit of a challenge for us to step outside of our comfort zone when we started blogging. Through a lot of trial and error we’ve discovered some things that work for us. We typically think about and talk about the topic of a blog for a few days before we sit down to write.
Find a blog buddy:
Writing a blog post with a blog buddy is not only more fun, but more effective as well. Once we commit to writing a piece, we get started on a collaborative Google Doc. This makes it way easier for us to work together as a team, track edits and make suggestions.
When choosing your topic to write about, try to keep the focus pretty narrow and personal to your experience. What specific project or class would you like to share with your readers? Broad topics that try to cover too much are not recommended.
Images and Multimedia:
It is a good idea to include photographs, original animated gifs and/or video, to make your post more interesting and to add visual context. Remember that any student visible in your multimedia content should have permission to be shared online in photo release at your school. If you are interested in adding an animated gif to your post (which is the Gold standard of multimedia awesomeness here at the Shift blog) but are unsure how to go about it, all you need is an interesting video and we can help you with how to go about creating a GIF.
The tone of the blog is definitely a conversational one over a rigorous, dense one. Readers usually appreciate an open, candid and warm tone. Describe your project, your idea, your topic including what is going well, what isn’t going as well and what you see next in your journey. The Shift blog really tries to embody that open spirit of “Try, Fail, Learn”. Don’t be afraid to talk about what went wrong, as being reflective is important. To get a better sense of matching the tone of the Shift Blog, have a read of some recent posts. Of course, if you are here reading this, chances are you already have been reading the Shift Blog!
Try to aim for quality over quantity. On the Shift Blog, there have been blogs as short as a few sentences, to longer more in-depth posts. If you are looking for a word count range, the average post would be about 600-800 words in length.
To sum up, the best way to start blogging is…..to just start! It doesn’t need to be perfect, start small with something you want to share and go from there!