When Mike Kaufman first approached me about starting a blog, I thought he was crazy. Many significant doubts sprang up in my mind:
What would be the point?
At the time, I was an ordinary classroom teacher. Who cared what I thought. There were better, smarter, and more-experienced voices out there. But, once Mike and I started talking about the idea of a blog in more detail, it made more sense. We both had many years of experience in the classroom. Even the basics would be valuable to someone just entering the profession. Beyond the basics, Mike and I were both curious, open to new ideas, anxious to share ideas and collaborate with our peers, passionate about excellence, and we were both committed to making education more relevant, authentic and engaging for our students. Teachers tend to spend too much time in our rooms, isolated from each other. We usually only get together at meetings or professional development sessions. Writing a blog is a great way to break out of our silos and share our ideas and experiences with the teacher next door, and even those on the other side of the planet. Everyone should start a blog.
Where would we find the time for a blog?
Yes, at first it was a challenge to find the time to write a blog post. Our goal was to produce one post a week. But, soon we were hammering out four times that many posts. In fact, we had to slow down the writing to avoid over-saturating our distribution/marketing channels! What began as a chore became a new mindset – our perspective changed and we began to see story ideas everywhere:
- Those basic best-practices we’ve been employing since coming out of grad school
- Casual conversations with peers
- New technology employed by peers and even students
- Tweets and other social media posts
- Experiences in our leadership meetings and professional development sessions
- Books we read
Even conversations with my spouse sparked ideas. Once we got started, we couldn’t stop.
Who would want to read our thoughts on education?
We started slow. I remember the feeling when the very first person read an article – we were so pumped. But, by May of 2015, we were averaging 1000 views a month. Currently, we are sitting at 13,000 visitors and almost 20,000 views. Turns out that teachers really want to hear from each other.
What would we write about?
Since posting our first article on October 29, 2015, High Five History has posted more than 80 stories. We’ve written about the first days of school, the last days of school, warm-up activities, and a multitude of tech ideas. In general, we wrote about the fundamentals of good teaching, along with a bunch of handy assessment and teaching strategies. We wrote so much that we were able to compile the first years’ articles into a 130-page book. The book’s publication was a perfect cap to an amazing year.
We look forward to many more!