About Me

My photo
I taught for several years at a residential school for children with emotional disabilities before staying home after the birth of my second daughter. I returned to teaching, finished my Educational Leadership program in May of 2012, and now work as our district's Writing and Social Studies Coordinator. I have always loved writing and find constant inspiration from my family. Maybe someday, I will get to see my name on the cover of a book!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meeting Other Bloggers


Day 18 of the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.

Many of you have read my recent posts and you know that I spent the weekend in Ann Arbor visiting the University of Michigan with my oldest daughter, Larkin. Some of you also know that because of blogging and sharing, Jaana, another slicer, contacted me via twitter (you can read her account of the story here) and the three of us got to meet in person.

Sometimes I worry that I spend too much time in my virtual world. I try to assess what it is that I am learning from my PLN and whether the time that I spend reading and commenting on posts is worth the time that I give up from the people who I can see and touch. Having met two slicers in person now, Catherine Flynn and Jaana, here's what I know. Like people attract like people and the bloggers I follow are passionate about education, teaching, learning, raising and producing responsible citizens, and sharing every ounce of knowledge they can. Additionally, many of them are literacy coaches, teachers of the year, published writers, educational consultants, or other organic leaders in our field. They are people who reflect on their practice all the time, share openly, respect and gleam from others, look to connect, and are constantly searching for ways to learn. Education aside, my blogging friends are pet owners, gardeners, knitters, weavers, poets, dancers, yoga lovers, beach walkers, soup kitchen servers, photographers, foodies, movie aficionados, family members extraordinaire; they inspire me to embrace the aspects of life that make me my best self and I never, ever get up from a blog reading session without feeling humble, inspired, and wanting to do live more fully.

Meeting Jaana was wonderful. She provided us with an insider's view of Ann Arbor, as well as thoughts about how to approach and evaluate the whole college decision process. She was eager to share what she liked about UM as a parent and as an alumnus, as well as what she didn't like. She shared life stories and teaching tales. Her authenticity, positive outlook, and commitment to her work shone as brightly through in real life as it it does on her blog, made even more clear when a student recognized her at Starbuck's and initiated a conversation.

If you ever get a chance to connect in person with another blogger, especially a SOLCer (is there such a term? There should be...) take it. The connections that we feel are through the power of incredible digital media, but are meaningful. Thank you to all of you who enhance my learning life.

Happy slicing!



12 comments:

  1. Meeting slicers is one of the best parts of belonging to this group of people. It is an opportunity I try to take advantage of whenever possible. There are connections between the words written and read that is a connection like no other. The world gets a little smaller when you can meet up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wonder the same thing, if I'm spending too much time blogging. I realize now that I've learned so much from other slicers, in my short time here that it's very worth it to me and I look at it as my own personal professional development. You all keep me inspired and engaged and without blogging, I'd probably never be exposed to all these great minds!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I even ask the same question about "twitter time" and was so amazed to meet so many "twitter faces" in person last summer at #tcrwp. @azajacks, @ichrislehman and @teachkate were so warm and welcoming! The connections are critical: "Better Together."

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love how this all came about because of virtual connections. I am hoping to go to All Write! this summer and meet some these wonderful people I connect with each week. It does seem like no one is in southern Indiana! :( So glad you were able to meet Jaana!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So glad that you had the opportunity to meet. The in person part is so much better than the virtual.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've done it three times, with more than one, Melanie, & it was always a pleasure! I started to comment here with the list, but it was too long. Meeting everyone at the All-Write last June was every thing I hoped it would be, and rooming with Tara Smith at NCTE was marvelous. How can that be? We had never met except online. And that's the answer, the PLN online community! I know exactly what you mean about your weekend! So happy you connected with Jaana. It sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm thinking of Bonnie and Linda and Stacey, Melanie - and how these meetings felt more like joyous reunions than "first meets." Writing does this. And I think these virtual PLNs allow us to tailor groups of people who are as vested as we are in our profession, who have the same drive and yearning to grow. How marvelous to meet Jaana - Larkin must have benefitted from that first hand knowledge of Ann Arbor!
    PS. Will you be at the Saturday Reunion at TC?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My brother and his family are in town just on Saturday and they live in Florida. I will not make it in--I'm excited to see them, but was sad that it was on March 22!

      Delete
  8. Melanie, it was so wonderful to meet you in person! One big thing that this virtual PLN has given me is perspective! When you are with the same students and teachers day in and day out, you might focus too much on one small thing that is staring you in the eye. But then you read a blog post (like yours many times) or participate in a twitter chat, and your world opens up! You see the other side of the coin. Thank you for taking time to have coffee with me, and thank you for being part of my virtual PLN!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree. We all get so much out of our writing relationships! Hope AA is warming up for you, Jaana!

      Delete
  9. Melanie, I feel exactly the same way! Thank you for articulating these thoughts so clearly, and thank you for being such an inspiration. I'm sorry you won't be able to come to TC on Saturday. How about a trip to the mall soon? Maybe this time for lunch?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for capturing this in writing!

    My favorite part..."I never, ever get up from a blog reading session without feeling humble, inspired, and wanting to do life more fully."

    You are a blessing to me.

    ReplyDelete