So I thought it would be fun this week to act as a reporter and interview my blog. I got this idea from a blogging challenge that happened last year over at Edublogs. Maybe this is somewhat daggy :), but I thought it would be enjoyable nonetheless.
Today we’re talking with the writer behind the new blog Top Notch Teaching – Melinda Crean. Welcome Melinda and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
When did you start your blog?
Firstly, thanks so much for providing me with the opportunity to share my blog story.
I started my blog quite recently; I officially launched on the 20th March 2012. The first article I wrote was Who Else Wants a List of Great Children’s Books You Can Use in Your Class?
On the launch day of my blog I published two articles: Welcome: Why Top Notch Teaching is For You! and 21 Inspirational, Educational Quotes That Will Help You Remember Why it is You Chose to Take This Path.
If you haven’t had a chance to read these yet, then I would recommend them as they will give you a bit more of an idea as to what my blog is all about.
Why did you start the blog?
The blog has come at a point in my life when I was looking to do something different. I felt like I needed a new challenge in my life.
I have been out of the teaching network for a few years as I had an opportunity to work at a University. I have been managing a University bridging program that helps prospective students prepare for entry to University. But, I also had my baby girl in 2010 so I have been a Mum for the past couple of years too.
I really missed talking about primary education and networking with other educators and thus, why I decided to start Top Notch Teaching.
How did you come up with the name for your blog?
This was actually really difficult. I put my family through many brainstorming sessions in order to come up with a name. We brainstormed more than 60 possibilities that would have been good. However, when I searched to see if these were available on social media sites and as a domain name, they were already taken.
I also follow a blog called Passive Panda. As I was really starting to think that I would never find a name, James at Passive Panda posted an article titled ‘Business Name Ideas: The Secret Recipe for Cooking Up a Business Name That Brings In More Customers.’ I worked up the courage to leave a comment asking for some ideas. James left a few ideas and one I just loved. So it wasn’t me or my family that came up with the name, but James. So I suppose I owe James a big THANK-YOU!
What has been the most exciting moment with the blog so far?
Starting the blog was pretty exciting. I didn’t think that I would get there as it was a massive learning curve. I had to find out how to buy a domain name, work out which web hosting company to go with and work out how to use WordPress.
The other really exciting moment was when I got my first subscriber (that wasn’t a family member :)). It was great to know that someone other than my family was reading my stuff. This made me think that what I was writing about wasn’t all bad.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your articles?
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. My daughter, Little Miss Nearly Two has inspired a few of my articles. I was having a hard time with leaving her at day care and this experience inspired A Kiss In Your Hand.
Other sources of inspiration are articles I’ve read on the Internet as well as other people’s blog posts. Three of my favourite blogs at the moment include:
Learning 4 Kids – Janice is a Mum of 3 girls. Janice is also a primary school teacher who still loves to think about teaching ideas. Her blog is a great source of information and ideas for learning through play.
The Organized Classroom Blog – Charity Preston is the writer behind this blog. She is a teacher residing in America who shares some really great tips and ideas about being an organized teacher. I must admit that I do love to be organized, and everything in my house and classroom has a place.
Edudemic – This is a great place to learn all about what’s current and trending in education. I learnt so much about Twitter from some of the articles here. This is my go to place if I want to find some specific information about social media and technology in general.
Also, I write about my personal experiences as a teacher; the triumphs as well as the tribulations. I use many of my teaching resources and share these. Hopefully other teachers will find them as useful as I have over the years.
Where are you heading with your blog and this new challenge?
At the moment I’m really enjoying posting articles on my blog. Sometimes, I do find it difficult to settle on an idea, as I have so many different ideas floating around in my head. Maybe in the future it would be good to narrow my blog a bit more, maybe to a more specific theme.
I’ve also started interacting on social media. I have a Twitter and Facebook account. I’ve also started playing around with Pinterest. I’m still learning about these mediums but am really enjoying interacting with other educators in these forums.
I am also developing some teaching resources and materials to sell. I’m very particular about the quality of these resources, so it’s taking quite a long time to develop them. When they’re ready they will be for sale in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store. This is really exciting and also a little nerve wracking. So watch this space…
Other than that, I’m really enjoying being a Mum and working on my blog. I think I’ll concentrate on that and see where it takes me.
Do you like getting comments and do you read them all?
I love it when people take time to leave a comment or question on my blog articles. I love it so much that I’ve now added a special button at the end of each post to hopefully encourage comments.
I do respond to all comments and questions so please feel free to comment away 😀
Do you have any advice for new bloggers out there?
Well I’m still relatively new to all of this. But, I would definitely say that it’s easy to get bogged down with the start-up of a new blog. It’s great to plan and be organised, but don’t let that turn you off, just do it. Also, get involved in online forums, Facebook and Twitter pages. These are great sources of information and ideas that will inspire some of your own posts. You will also meet some other great educators this way. They are also a really good way to help you promote your own blog!
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, any last thoughts?
It’s been a pleasure chatting with you and thanks for thinking of my blog for your interview. As a last thought….this quote helps keep me motivated and keep going with my new challenge!
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
Thanks for reading to the end of my interview. Did you notice the word cloud at the top of this article? These are all the words in this interview. The word cloud was made using Wordle. This is a program that allows you to input text that you provide and then it turns it into a word cloud. This would be a great activity you could do in the classroom. Students could type a story, diary entry or even their spelling words into a word processor. They could then make a word cloud from the text. What a great way to display their writing around the room in a different way.
Now you know how I said I love getting comments….. 😉