Sunday, November 21, 2010

Belated Blogoversary

Today is my birthday. Thinking about it I realized I must have missed my first blog birthday. It was back in September but I didn't really take this thing seriously until the spring and it didn't even occur to me that I'd been blogging that long.

I went back and read some earlier posts. Your first few posts are like looking at what people wrote in your high school yearbook. It's embarrassing and you're a little ashamed but you can't help but smile when you read it.

Blogging itself has been valuable. I recommend it even if you just want to keep it private.

But more than anything, blogging has brought me into a wonderful community of teachers. Through blogging and Twitter I've interacted with more good teachers in that last year than I thought I would in my entire career. My computer is full of saved conversations and blog posts I reference when I'm struggling through planning a unit or helping a particular student. Not only has it accelerated my own development, but I've had to knock down and rebuild (multiple times) my image of what being a great teacher looks like.

Originally, I went online to get help. I was, and still am, frustrated with my pace of professional growth. This community has certainly helped in that way. But there was another unexpected outcome.

At some point, these people who are miles and miles away, become your actual friends. I've had dinners with Sam Shah, the pseudonymous Sophie Germain, Dan MeyerAvery Pickford, and Bree Murray. I've joyously celebrated a few recent births.

This community has filled a need that I didn't know existed. I run a Lego League team, a MATHCOUNTS club, and an after school boxing program (sequentially, not simultaneously). I've got kids in my room before school, at lunch, and after school so I never have time to socialize with other teachers. When we actually are together, I'd rather talk about vocab strategies than go through the typical teacher chitchat. At staff meetings, I can be harsh and impatient with my colleagues. Sometimes fairly. Sometimes not. 

I spent my Veteran's day evening at a math circle. For my birthday? My family members all chipped in for a ticket to the ASCD conference. (If you're going, let me know.) Basically what I'm saying is that I'm crazy, but you guys get me. I'm not a people person by any stretch of the imagination. But teaching is lonely, even for me. And I didn't realize how lonely I was until I met you. Thank you. You've helped me more than you can imagine.

Facts that only interest me:
  • Frank Noschese was the third commenter ever, followed by Matt Townsley. Sarah rounds out the top five. Stacy Sidle was six and Shawn Cornally was seven.
  • Mrs. L and Nancy were the first two but unfortunately I don't have any information about them. If that's you, leave a link to your blog or Twitter if you've got one.
  • According to the blogger stats thing, the most popular posts were SBG Gala #2 and SBG Implementation: Topic Scales with over 1000 pageviews each.
  • Most posts will get something like 300-600 pageviews. The number of views is only moderately correlated with how good I think the post is.
  • I get the third most hits, by country, from South Korea. I can only assume that's spam or some kind of bot. That is, unless teachers in South Korea are super interested in standards-based grading.


  1. Happy Birthday Jason!

  2. Jason - I don't even remember how I "found" your blog, but I think I remember encouraging you to join twitter. I also remember telling Shawn Cornally to check out your blog "this guy gets'll like him a lot." As it turns out, it looks like a lot of people thought along those same lines. Happy blogbirthday.

  3. I can't believe I was your 3rd comment. You started blogging in September, and I didn't leave that comment until January!

    I can't remember exactly how I found your blog either (maybe through a comment on Science Goddess's blog?). But your posts helped me stay on the SBG track. And long before I started tweeting and blogging, your blog was critical to helping me get the SBG message out to all the email lists. We have won many converts!

    Thanks and Happy Birthday/Belated Blogoversary!

  4. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    @Matt - Yeah, definitely twitter. You posted a twitter list of SBAR folks and I was like... guess that's my sign! You've inspired me in many ways beyond that though.

    @Frank - That's because my blog sucked up until earlier this year. Took me awhile to 1. put thought into posts 2. find my voice.

    And yeah, probably through Science Goddess. She's my blogging Eve. She was my first blog I read regularly. In her blogroll she had Dan Meyer (and Welcome to Organized Chaos) who then linked to Kate Nowak. Kate's rubber band ball lesson was the first "holy crap" lesson that got me addicted to these things.

    I found Matt from a comment as well. I think it was from one of the edtech blogs, maybe Scott McLeod's.

    And some 1000s of readers later, I'm still excited when I open up my gmail and see someone has left me a comment!

  5. Happy Birthday, Jason.

    I can say that you are the source of all the stress and success in my life this fall, as it was your post about conjunctive grading that turned me on to it. Now, I'm fighting the good fight thanks to you.

    Keep up the great work.

  6. @Brian..umm..Thanks? Keep me updated on your progress. Seriously. That's not just small talk niceness.

  7. Happy birthday! Your blog was one of the first I added to my Google Reader, and is a big part of the reason that I've switched to SBG. Thanks!