‘Tis the season.

CC licensed photo shared by Flickr user rust man

Awards mean a lot, but they don’t say it all. The people in baseball mean more to me than statistics. – Ernie Banks

The people responsible for the words on the page -er, the screen – are (hopefully) the reasons many of us take the time to nominate our favorite reads for Edublog awards. It is why I wish to share with you my nominations, with the sincere desire that you stumble upon a perspective you perhaps did not before consider.

Best Group Blog: Cooperative Catalyst 

The writers who contribute to Cooperative Catalyst push my thinking in every post. They passionately and intelligently challenge their readers to consider the questions and possible solutions that drive educational reform. Some of my favorite individual bloggers (John T. Spencer, for one) contribute to Cooperative Catalyst, and it’s a must-read for all educators, in my opinion.

(P.S. My heart belongs to Connected Principals and Voices from the Learning Revolution, however I am affiliated with both of those group blogs, so cannot nominate them.)

Best School Administrator Blog: Jeff Delp, Molehills out of Mountains
Jeff Delp’s blogging reflections always leave a lasting impression on me. He writes about topics of high interest to this administrator, including honest and self-critical reflections of his own practice. As someone who is new to the role of principal, I’d say Jeff’s wisdom and insight into the position rivals some of the more seasoned veteran administrators I know. Thanks, Jeff, for making me want to be a better principal.

Best Teacher Blog: Shelley Wright, Wright’s Room
But what does it look like? I think in theory we’d all agree that an inquiry learning environment is what we want most for our students. But it’s difficult to envision what the shifted classroom looks like – what is the teacher’s role? What are her students doing? Inquiry learning comes to life through the eloquent, honest, real-life-looks-and-feels-like-this posts of high school teacher Shelley Wright. She isn’t afraid to express her hopes, fears, failures, and successes through her writing, and I appreciate her transparent learning in this space. Thank you, Shelley!


Best Individual Blog: Bill Ferriter, The Tempered Radical
Bill blogs about PLCs. He blogs about leadership. He blogs about technology integration. He blogs about learning with and from his students and school community members. He shares what he’s reading. I appreciate the ways he challenges assumptions and has made me feel uncomfortable in my role as an educational administrator on more than one occasion. If I could hand pick my child’s teachers, he would be one of them. Thanks, pal!


Best Twitter Hashtag: #cpchat
I again nominate #cpchat, born out of the brains behind Connected Principals, although it’s blossomed into quite a comprehensive tag where anything related to educational leadership and learning can be found.


Best Ed tech/Resource Sharing blog: Jeff Utecht, The Thinking Stick
Jeff is quite knowledgeable about the ins and outs of everything ed tech from WordPress and blogging to Google Apps for educators (who wouldn’t want to learn how to be a Google Apps Ninja?!), and he’s also a fantastic person willing to take the time out of his busy day to respond to a principal’s email query. Thanks, Jeff!


Best Librarian/Library Blog: A Year of Reading 
One of the things I miss most about the classroom is that I feel out of touch with the latest and greatest children’s and YA book releases. Thankfully there are blogs like A Year of Reading, where contributors Franki and Mary Lee (a full-time school librarian and fourth grade teacher) share delightful reviews of newly released books and poetry. Well worth the visit. Thank you, A Year of Reading!


Best open PD/unconference/webinar series: Teacher Learning Community/Simple K-12 Webinars 
The free webinars offered by the Teacher Learning Community vary greatly in topics presented and intended audience, so there really is “something for everyone.” As an administrator always on the lookout for alternatives to costly, time-intensive PD for teachers, Simple K-12’s webinars offer quality learning experiences for individuals looking to enhance their professional practice. Thanks!

I dislike that I can’t nominate more than one blog per category, and I regret that I cannot personally recognize every member of my network whose ideas spark in me a desire to become a stronger educator, to do things differently- to fearlessly explore the unexplored, take risks and make mistakes, and approach conversations with courage. I have compiled some of my favorite blog reads in this bundle (also in the sidebar of this blog), and I hope you take some time to peruse and subscribe to it, if so moved.

While I know not everyone will take the time to submit Edublog award nominations, I hope you find the way to recognize someone who has positively influenced your learning.

‘Tis the season.