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1. Best for Hands-on Activities
Mrs. Cassidys Classroom Blog
The Lowdown: Canadian first-grade teacher Kathy Cassidy invites readers into the classroom to interact with students and her dynamic lessons.
Why We Love It: Besides sharing fun ideas like making fairy-tale characters out of clay, Cassidy lets us witness her students learning firsthand by posting lots of videos and photographs. And another bonus: We get to learn from Cassidys many guest speakers, too!
Why She Loves Blogging: My favorite thing about blogging, says Cassidy, is that the students literally have a worldwide audience. They see themselves as writers because people can and do read and comment on their work.
2. Best News From the Trenches
Teach for Us
The Lowdown: Teach for America teachers share the ins and outs of the sometimes controversial program.
Why We Love It: Whether you want TFA dirt (like how tough the boot-camp training really is) or warm fuzzies (like one bloggers quest to get her student to love books by reading with her nightly over the phone), youll find the goods in this collection of blogs from TFA corps members working all over the country.
3. Best Student Teacher Blog
Docere Est Discere
The Lowdown: Galen Mr. B. Broaddus discusses his journey toward becoming a teacher.
Why We Love It: From tips for up-and-coming student teachers to his own reflections on his process, Mr. B. reminds us how far we have come. Perfect for those days when were feeling just a bit jaded.
Why He Loves Blogging: Broaddus enjoys the feedback. Knowing that there are other teachers (or teacher candidates) out there who are working the front lines and having the same concerns that I have had is comforting, and we work through them together, he says.
4. Best for Art Teachers (or Other Happy Finger-Painters!)
The Teaching Palette
The Lowdown: Teachers Hillary Andrlik and Theresa McGee cover useful resources (like the best iPhone apps for art teachers), classroom-management techniques, and art-worthy news.
Why We Love It: With arts programs always under threat, its nice to feel like theres an online home for people who value the importance of watercolor and oil paints.
Why They Love Blogging: Both McGee and Andrlik enjoy the opportunity to connect with teachers nationally and internationally. Says McGee, Art education has a unique set of challenges, and blogging has created an online forum to share ideas. Adds Andrlik, Our readers often give us new insight on a topic or provide a fresh perspective based on their unique experience.
5. Best for Tech Wannabes Creating Lifelong Learners
The Lowdown: Tech wiz Mathew Needleman provides quick tips on integrating tech into the classroom.
Why We Love It:: Needleman skips the jargon and explains how to incorporate iPhones in the classroom, clarifies podcast copyright laws, and discusses making digital movies, putting even the technologically challenged at ease.
6. Best Forward-Thinking Tech Blog
The Lowdown: Pennsylvania teacher Scott Snyder is always ahead of the technological curve.
Why We Love It: Who would have thought texting, Tweeting, and chat rooms made for good lessons? Snyder uses all of these, plus Skype and Chatzy, to conduct discussions in the classroom. You can also follow him on Twitter: @Thespian70.
7. Best Special-Ed Blog
The Lowdown: Award-winning special-education teacher Maria Angala posts daily lessons and classroom videos.
Why We Love It: Theres no hard-core pedagogy hereother than that determination can make all successfulbut we get to see the kids creativity at work. And if you want something more theory-based, Angala keeps another blog at http://teachersol.blogspot.com.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Angala, Our social workers read the blog to understand my students inner feelings.
8. Best for Super Science Ideas
The Lowdown: Middle school science teacher Darren Fix entertains with science lessons and experiments.
Why We Love It: Watch his Mr. Wizardstyle experimentslike using a jellyfish to learn genetic engineering.
Why He Loves Blogging: Says Fix, Posting stimulates my creativity and leads to new ideas. Its a positive experience in a profession that unfortunately dwells on the negative too much.
9. Best Superintendent Straight Talk
The Principals Page
The Lowdown: Illinois superintendent Michael Smith chronicles his days.
Why We Love It: Smiths blog discusses everything from Ferris Bueller to teaching conferences to a surefire way for President Obama to fix education.
Why He Loves Blogging: Says Smith, It allows a small-town superintendent to be involved in national or worldwide discussions on education issues.
10. Best for Kid Book Reviews
A Year of Reading
The Lowdown: Teachers Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn review new childrens books.
Why We Love It: The reviews are always teacher-focused, pinpointing possible readers as well as how a book might be used in the classroom.
Why They Love Blogging: Says Sibberson, The writing helps
us stay current on books and with teaching.
11. Best Student-Written Blog
The Lowdown: Students and their teachers participate in a colossal ongoing discussion about everything via podcasts, videos, and blogs.
Why We Love It: This blog turns the typical student-teacher relationship on its head with both parties acting as equals and learning from each other.
12. Best Tell-It-Like-It-Is Blog
Its Not All Flowers and Sausages
The Lowdown: A second-grade teacher with the pseudonym Mrs. Mimi dishes about the crazy side of teaching.
Why We Love It: Fantasies of throwing down with that colleague who rummages through your desk? Horror field-trip moments that have carved a permanent groove in your mind? Faculty-room shenanigans that rule your day? Thanks to Mrs. Mimi, we never have to feel alone.
Why She Loves Blogging: Says Mrs. Mimi, Its comforting to know that I am not alone in my frustrations.