Monday, November 3, 2008

30 day blogging challenge days 1-3

Kate Ahern of TLWMSN brought this challenge to my attention on her blog and it piqued my interest. Patrick Black from Teaching All Learners decided to accept the challenge and I became even more intrigued. Then, today, on day 3 of the challenge, Kate chose to write a thank you message to me (!!) and I decided to bite the bullet and participate. I'm not sure if I'll end up doing all 30 days. We'll just have to see. Here are entries for days 1-3.

Day one: The About page--Who are you and what is your blog about?
I think I have a decent About Me page--enough info so that you know who I am and my experiences but not so much that I'm just hanging out there in the breeze (it's good for a girl to keep a little mystery, right?). I doubt I make too many changes to it right now. Most of that "getting to know me" stuff can happen through reading my blog entries. As far as the purpose of my blog, when I first started it I had no idea where it would go. I was originally inspired by Kate's blog and had toyed with the idea of doing a resources-type blog, but I feel like Kate's blog is SOOO good and SOOO thorough, that I really didn't "need" to do that. I could just reference her blog. Then I got to thinking that there just isn't much out there on the practical aspects of teaching kids with severe and multiple disabilities. I always have people asking me for ideas and I'm a really strong "ideas" person, so why not make the blog about what I do with my students, the day-to-day nitty gritty? So far, the parent feedback I've received has been really positive because the blog has allowed them to connect with me and their kids and their kids' school experiences in a new and meaningful way. They also like to see what their kids have been doing and don't mind one bit sharing with the "rest of the world." Since I do my best to protect their identities by not revealing their true names (mine is the only "true name" I will ever use on my blog, at least for the characters in my life) and keeping our exact location as "secret" as I can, everyone seems pretty happy and feels fairly safe. It's also been fun to hear from other people "out there" who do similar things to me and who are also looking for inspiration and collaboration.

Day 2: Stats
I just recently added Stat Counter to my blog. It's intriguing. I have to admit, it's a bit of an ego booster to see that people actually do come and read my blog and I find myself checking my count every day just to see how many visited, where they're from, how they found my blog, and what they seemed interested in (obsessive, who me?). As I gain more information from my stats I hope to use them to make my blogging better. I'm not certain I'll stick with Stat Counter and honestly can't remember why I chose that one (probably because it was used by one of the other bloggers I follow, which is where I get most of my widgits). A couple of other people use Feedburner. Might be worth checking out at some point.

Day 3: Write a thank you note
I want to say thank you to Kate Ahern for both being such a wonderful resource for those of us in the area of special education and especially intensive needs as well as being the primary inspiration for me starting my blog. Thank you Kate! You truly have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to me. I am completely "wowed" by the amount of work you have put into your blog, wonder how you have the time to locate all those awesome resources, and deeply respect your dedication to your students.

I would also like to say "thank you" to Patrick Black for being the very first blogger to link to me on his blog. That is just "way cool," Patrick. Thanks for networking with me.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to Lon Thornburg for not only writing a great blog with resources and personal experiences in the field of AT, but for also reaching out and creating the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival and encouraging me to become a contributor. I've received more "hits" from his references to my blog than from anywhere else (so far). Thanks for helping me step past my shyness and reticence to really put myself out there.

And, I want to say thank you to my students. They are the true inspiration behind my blogging. If you can't tell, I adore what I do and who I do it with. I am truly and deeply honored to be given the gift of the opportunity to work with these wonderful young people. This is not a "job" for me, it is my life. It is what I have wanted to do ever since middle school when I met my first person with a severe disability. Watching their growth and development, seeing them master new skills, and celebrating all the small, really important things, are the great joys of my life. I love every minute of it and wouldn't trade it for the world. Thanks guys!

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