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Uncategorized   |   Feb 1, 2009

The Cornerstone Accolades: January 2009

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

The Cornerstone Accolades: January 2009

By Angela Watson


Welcome to a new monthly feature at The Cornerstone Blog!

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Google Reader and highly recommend it as the most efficient way to keep up with blogs. One of the best features is that you can ensure you’re viewing only new content by having gReader mark each post as read when you scroll past it.

This leads to a certain dilemma: there are many posts that I feel sad to mark as read and let disappear, but I’m not sure what else to do with them. So I thought, why not dedicate one post per month to the reads that really made an impact on me?

I’m not a fan of the whole blog awards concept because most of them function more like chain mail than any meaningful commentary on the quality of a blog. That’s why I chose the term accolades: a strong recognition of achievement, awarded to bloggers for individual posts that were thoughtfully presented and made a lasting impression. In teacher terms, I’m giving specific positive reinforcement (I loved this particular post because…), rather than general praise (great blog).

These are the ruminations which challenged me throughout the month in their unpretentiousness and transparency, or caused me to marvel at their ingenuity and wit. I typically skim through blogs looking for the meat, but I read every single word of these posts. Some were so out of my league that I didn’t even comment on them: all I can do is recommend them so you can come up with intelligent replies.

The bloggers featured here should feel free to post the above image or mention the accolade on their sites if they’re into awards, compliments, or just shameless self-promotion. I would be honored if they did so. The rest of you, please enjoy this list of what I consider fantastic reading.

Most Inspirational Thought for Teachers in the New Year:

Clean Slate from Classless and Lovin’ It. A perfectly chosen photo and verse are all it takes.

Best Reflection on the Inauguration Experience:

4 Years by Organized Chaos. She compares her experience at W’s inauguration with what happened at Obama’s. A DC resident (God bless her, I know from experience that life in Chocolate City is NOT what they show on TV), she reminisces on how the city–and her own life–have changed since 2005. Beautiful.

Best Advice to Parents:

Response to Frustrated Mom from The Bus Driver: An excellent guide for parents on how to reform their kids who constantly get kicked off the school bus. I wish every bus driver was this caring and knowledgeable.

Best Post on Teacher Accountability:

Teaching: Job? Profession? Career? from Miss Bennett in the Bay. Written by a Teach For America alum, this post is an eloquent yet down-to-earth reflection on the standards that are in place for educators, and those that need to be.

Satire of the Month:

Mr. Bloomberg Addresses Class Size by NYC Educator. Frighteningly believable, this piece of work had many fooled. Kudos.

Introspective Reflection of the Month:

Pride and Prejudice by Mildly Melancholy. The author was recently forced to resign from her position, and reflects on various people’s perceptions of and reactions to this news. She touches on the question of whether a teacher could be good in one school and bad in another (a subject worthy of further debate, I believe). Thanks for sharing so honestly.

Cartoon of the Month:

I saw this funny-because-it’s-true cartoon first on ChiTown Girl‘s site. What a perfect find!


Best Post on Reading Instruction:

Reading Wars: Content vs. Strategies by Joanne Jacobs. Concise and powerful. I’m embarrassed to admit how little thought I previously put into this topic.

Question of the Month:

How Would You Teach If You Could Teach Any Way You Wanted? by The Elementary Educator. The scenario posed is an engaging one, and the comments are insightful.

Classroom Activity of the Month:


Have a Vocabulary Parade! by Living the Life of an Educator. This is a wonderful idea for vocab development, and sounds like a lot of fun! Great pics, too.

Best Posts About Blogging:

Why Blogging is Hard…Still by Weblogg-Ed. A transparent reflection on the art and risk of publishing a blog from an amazing man who’s reached 3,000 (quality) posts. Another of his recent posts, Deechoing My Reading Practice…Help Wanted focuses on the almost-as-daunting challenge of reading blogs, with some pretty revolutionary techniques for managing online reading.

Most Politically Incorrect Post:

To Stop Kids From Whining, Treat Them Like Dogs by Principal’s Office. The Principal’s hit on an uncomfortable parallel between teaching children and teaching canines how to behave. I agree whole-heartedly, as you’ll discover in my comment on the post.

Most Insightful Reflection on Technology:

I Don’t Want to Integrate It, I Want to Embed It! by The Thinking Stick. This short and sweet post cuts right to the chase about how we’re approaching technology in the classroom, and what changes need to be made.

Most Practical Post on The Technology Gap:

Helping Teachers Embrace Technology by Betty’s Blog. In the wake of all the EduCon tweets and posts, Betty (who didn’t attend the conference) offers what I consider to be the most helpful suggestion for seeing REAL change in the way non-tech-savvy people teach. Betty puts out a call to tech-lovers: Come alongside the slow adapters as a patient friend. If each one of us tech-savvy teachers did this, our schools would be a different place, indeed.

The blog accolade categories will change each month and are based entirely on the beautiful thoughts and amazing ideas you all post in the edublogosphere. Thanks to each and every one of you on my blogroll (and the new folks I met who haven’t been added yet): please keep writing. Your words mean more than you know.

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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