PrincipalsPage… A Top 20 Blog? Is This a Joke?

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Scholastic... You Better Not Be Messing With Me.The PrincipalsPage.com Blog has been named a Top 20 Teacher Blog by Scholastic Instructor Magazine.

While this is quite an honor it does go against everything I believe in and hold sacred. The original plan was… write a blog… nobody reads it… and everyone is happy.

Now it’s Top 20? Are the suits at Scholastic.com messing with me?

Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe they mean Top 20,000.

Maybe they will email me in a couple of days and tell me they were joking. That would really help to alleviate the pressure of writing (?) a Top 20 Blog.

I’m so confused.

Ahh… who am I kidding. Pressure is working at school. Slopping down a blog is a vacation.

If you would like to visit the Scholastic website (because you don’t believe me) click HERE.

If you are lazy and willing to take my word for it… just read the article below (notice I copied and pasted because I’m lazy…)

You might as well enjoy the other blogs… seeing that you’ve already wasted 5 minutes reading my shameless self-promotion.

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September/October Issue of Scholastic's Intstructor Magazine.Scholastic’s Instructor Magazine (September/October issue… on a newstand near you).

Below are 20 blogs that have taught us a few things, made us laugh, made us cry, and reminded us that we are not alone in this sometimes stress-inducing, always awe-inspiring profession.

1. Best for Hands-on Activities
Mrs. Cassidy’s 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 Cassidy’s 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
TEACHFOR.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 blogger’s quest to get her student to love books by reading with her nightly over the phone), you’ll 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 we’re 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, it’s nice to feel like there’s 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
needleworkspictures.com

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
Integrating Tech

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.

7. Best Special-Ed Blog
Digital Anthology

The lowdown: Award-winning special-education teacher Maria Angala posts daily lessons and classroom videos.

Why We Love It:: There’s no hard-core pedagogy here—other than that determination can make all successful—but we get to see the kids’ creativity at work. And if you want something more theory-based, Angala keeps another blog at 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
science fix

The lowdown: Middle school science teacher Darren Fix entertains with science lessons and experiments.

Why We Love It:: Watch his Mr. Wizard––style experiments—like using a jellyfish to learn genetic engineering.

Why He Loves Blogging: Says Fix, “Posting stimulates my creativity and leads to new ideas. It’s a positive experience in a profession that unfortunately dwells on the negative too much.”

9. Best Superintendent Straight Talk
PrincipalsPage.com Blog

The lowdown: Illinois superintendent Michael Smith chronicles his days.

Why We Love It: Smith’s 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 children’s 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
Youth Voices

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
It’s 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, “It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in my frustrations.”

13. Best Laugh-Out-Loud Blog
regurgitated alpha bits

The lowdown: Anonymous elementary school teacher blogs about the students she loves and the job she hates.

Why We Love It: This blog gives you totally true antics of the elementary school kind and tips you can really use: Preview “educational” videos before showing and be alert for fourth-grade make-out sessions! Perfect with a good cup of coffee, when you need to block out irritating colleagues, and when you could use a good laugh to start your day.

14. Best for Media Specialists
Techno Tuesday

The lowdown: Media specialist Cathy Nelson provides tips on incorporating library technology into lessons.

Why We Love It:: Nelson shares creative research ideas as well as humorous daily tidbits.

Why She Loves Blogging: Says Nelson, “It enhances my ability to be reflective, to see how I have learned from others.”

15. Best for Problem Solving
classroom solutions

The lowdown: Hear straight from Scholastic’s team of teacher advisors on topics ranging from reader’s workshop to discipline and organization.

Why We Love It: All of the photos and videos! Almost every post features a photo showing exactly how the teacher advisor implemented an idea in his or her classroom. You can also subscribe to the posts for just your grade level.

16. Best Substitute Secrets
Just a Substitute Teacher

The lowdown: “Mr. Homework” tells harrowing tales of the substitute kind.

Why We Love It: Let’s be honest. Sometimes we’d rather come in sick than call in a sub. Mr. Homework, however, is one of the good guys. His outlook on the sub life (e.g., “Sometimes it’s not about actually teaching anything”) makes us wish he was in our district.

17. Most Entertaining Math Blog
Hooda Math Blog

The lowdown: Math teacher Michael Edlavitch uses games to teach math.

Why We Love It: The word games may conjure images of worksheets with cutesy pics and fill-ins, but Edlavitch goes way beyond that. His arcade games with Flash—complete with worksheets teachers can print out—are reminiscent of old favorites like Pac-Man. Kids will play video games anyway, why not sneak in some learning potential?

18. Best Classroom Use of Blogs
Learning Is Messy

The lowdown: Brian Crosby discusses how he uses blogging and other technology in the classroom.

Why We Love It: Crosby’s creativity can’t help but draw us in. He has used Skype to broadcast a class visit from Christa McAuliffe’s mother and to communicate with a student who is on home instruction due to leukemia.

Why He Loves Blogging: Says Crosby, “It is the strongest resource I have experienced in 28 years of teaching.”

19. Best View of the Inner City
The Jose Vilson

The lowdown: Artist, poet, and math educator Jose Vilson gives the inner city a human face by blogging about sometimes touchy topics.

Why We Love It: Vilson does not shy away from tackling the controversial, such as his entry about the shortage of black Latino male teachers like himself. He’s passionate about changing education and exposing inner-city reality, and his passion is contagious.

20. Best Blog From Outside the Classroom
Tales From the School Bus

The lowdown: A school bus driver fills us in on the insanity that goes on before students enter the classroom every morning and after they leave.

Why We Love It: We all have to multi-task, but try keeping order and driving at the same time! This blog gives us the dirt—from failing brakes to bus “heathens” like WhinyGirl. This is a side of school we often overlook!

Thank you suits at Scholastic.

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9 Responses to “PrincipalsPage… A Top 20 Blog? Is This a Joke?”


  1. timgee3
    on Sep 18th, 2009
    @ 6:10 pm

    Well, ok, I’m no Scholastic, but PP.com the blog has been in my top twenty for over a year. If you ask me Scholastic is really a johnny-come-lately to this party.


  2. Mark Dunk
    on Sep 18th, 2009
    @ 7:16 pm

    I’m happy to see you in this top 20 listing. Refreshing to see a superintendent take the time to share and learn on such a scale. Keep up the good work!


  3. Cathy Nelson
    on Sep 18th, 2009
    @ 8:08 pm

    I found it very refreshing that Instructor magazine named some of my favorite blogs here too! You and I may not be the most widely known, but you are a refreshing and a different voice to add to the mix.

    I very much enjoy your take on issues. Thanks for being a top voice in my reader for well over a year–i think I’ve been with you since before you joined twitter even. Congrats on getting a nod from a publication that MANY in the trenches educators read. Those are the ones that matter most, no?


  4. KauaiMark
    on Sep 18th, 2009
    @ 11:40 pm

    I wasn’t going to comment but I noticed that your caricature and mine are similar and we both made the list. Maybe the list maker has a thing for bald guys writing blogs?


  5. Diane
    on Sep 19th, 2009
    @ 7:01 am

    Congrats!! Well deserved. Try not to let it go to your (shaved) head. ;)


  6. Daisy
    on Sep 19th, 2009
    @ 5:09 pm

    congrats! What I want to know is – where’s mine? Oh, yeah, I only blog about teaching a little because I’m afraid of getting Dooced if I overdo. Instead, you’ll hear about my garden. Snicker.


  7. Beth
    on Sep 19th, 2009
    @ 6:42 pm

    Way to go! What a compliment to be recognized in a top 20. Sure beats a being in the top 20 on a hit list. :)


  8. SP
    on Sep 22nd, 2009
    @ 12:52 pm

    I just found your site and I’m already a fan. 8)

    Keep up the good work.


  9. Jose Vilson
    on Aug 16th, 2010
    @ 9:36 pm

    I know this is a little late, but I’m happy I actually got into the list. Scholastic seemed to go for the people who don’t always get the recognition, so I’m happy to see us on there.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.