Muddling through the blogosphere

Three Days Left to Narrow Down Edublogs Awards Nominations


Tuesday, December 8,  is the cutoff for the 2009 Edublogs Awards nominations. If you’re not familiar with the Edublogs Awards, I recommend checking out last year’s winners.  Besides being an opportunity to recognize the efforts of educators who have become valuable contributors to my personal learning network, the end result of this contest is an excellent list of great resources to show teachers who are new to the edublogosphere and are wondering how blogging and Web 2.0 tools can benefit them and their students.

With the nomination deadline only 3 days away, I’m spending the morning visiting the blogs currently in my Blogines and Google Reader accounts and also revisiting my nominations from last year. So here are my 2009 nominations:

  • Best individual blog: Educating Alice -It’s hard to pin down Monica Edinger’s blog category-wise. Although she is a classroom teacher (4th grade, Dalton School NYC) and shares amazing student work (such as blog posts of 4th grade reviews of Wild Things movie), she also provides her readers with insightful windows into authors and new books for young readers – and has led me to a host of other great blogs and bloggers.
  • Best individual Tweeter: Jackie Gerstein – Without even looking, I’m pretty sure about 90% of my retweets spring from Jackie. Luckily, her tweets seem to come through early in the morning. Love starting my day with her shared resources, such as PBS Digital Natives Map.
  • Best Group Blog: YouthVoices – I’m repeating last year’s nomination for this category. The credit for this dynamic project that engages a growing student community goes to Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim.
  • Best new blog: Ms. Robertson’s Class – 5th grade teacher Heather Robertson, new to blogging as of November 5 (when she attended one of my EETT workshops), is committed to taking her students beyond the confinements of the high-poverty, high-crime that surrounds her school site. I’m looking forward to following her first year’s journey into the edublogosphere.
  • Best class blog: The Electric Pencil – Tough to decide whether to nominate Kevin Hodgson for his personal blog ( a constant source of ideas and inspiriation, such as today’s post on teaching Three Cups of Tea) or the class blog.  I went with the class  blog since it’s such a motivating site to show other teachers and their students.
  • Best student blog: Little Miss Room 18 – My favorite student blogger from the 2009 Bloggers Challenge.
  • Best resource sharing blog: Reading Rumpus –  I’ve just discovered Cheryl Vanetti’s (AKA Tasses) blog, but oh my, if you’re looking for succinct insights into books for young readers, I think you’ll share my enthusiasm for Cheryl’s posts (ranging from why you might actually want to pick a particular hi-lo book to a fantastic must-share glimpse into how a graphic novelist creates his craft).
  • Most influential blog post: The Art of Reading – I applaud and appreciate the steps Doug Noon is taking to promote this students’ love of reading – as well as his on-going efforts to confront hard topics.
  • Best teacher blog: Creating Lifelong Learners – Mathew Needleman’s blog is the first one I recommend to elementary school teachers (who often feel restrained by a scripted curriculum for a mandated language arts program) who are looking for resources and common sense approaches to technology integration. And I’m really looking forward to joining his K12 Online Conference session Steal This Preso – Copyright, Fair Use, and Pirates.
  • Best Librarian blog: Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearch – Every middle school should a librarian like Joyce, who continues to introduce new tools and topics and makes me rethink how to better use some of the ‘old tools’ (such as PowerPoint).
  • Best educational tech support: The EdubloggerSue Waters – Sue continues to teach me new Web 2.0 tools, explain a bit about their power, and provide me with easy-to-use tutorials.
  • Best educational use of audio – YA! CastsRobert Rozema’s innovative Web 2.0 projects are grounded in research and a great resource for making visible the power of the human voice. Second year to nominate YA Casts, but podcasts such as Walter Dean Myers’ Monster, for example, are pretty tough to compete with!
  • Best educational use of audio and images:  Letters from the Internment Camps – OK, I’ve just added a category, but I find Halerin Ferrier’s 4th grade VoiceThread to be a model for taking students’ voices – and their understanding of complex social issues – beyond the walls of the classroom.
  • Best educational wiki:  End to Copyright Confusion – Such an important topic – and Renee Hobbs and her team have done an awesome job of providing the background and resources that truly make this whole messy area of fair use understandable – and discussable.
  • Best educational use of a social networking site: The Digital Writing Workshop – I resisted joining this ning because, to be honest, I’m pretty ‘ninged out.’ But after buying Troy Hick’s accompanying book, a must-read for anyone teaching writing from K-adult, I find my self heading in to checkout the conversations on a pretty regular basis. Take, for example, the current thread on Framing an Approach to the Digital Writing Workshop, which directly addresses issues such as access to and ethical use of the Internet – and much more. If you like to hang out with brilliant educators from the National Writing Project or the National Council for Teachers of English, or if you are just want to join conversations on the possibilities for teaching writing in a digital age, I recommend joining this ning.
  • Lifetime achievement:  Steve Hargadon – Hmmm, where to start listing reasons why Steve Hargadon deserves this recognition?!….Maybe with his creation of Classroom 2.0, which provided so many educators (myself included) with their first experience with a ning.  And how about the amazing and free Edubloggers’ conferences that he organizes across the nation and always before NECC (and our state CUE conference)? Plus he is an awesome keynote speaker. And the way he stands quietly in the background while encouraging others to step into the limelight…now that’s a gift!

How luck to be teaching in a time with  so many great bloggers to learn from!


  1. Gail,

    Thank you SO much for nominating me! (By the way, I’m sorry our paths did not cross this year at NCTE. We both were busy, busy, busy! I wish I could have at least made your session, but it conflicted with something of mine, I believe. Next year I hope!)

    • You are very welcome, Monica. Thank you for sharing the many outstanding resources you continue to create or discover – inclucing primary sources – that help our young students become more literate. And I hope to soon be doing a post or two on your new book (searching through my Tweets right now to find the title;-), which will beautifully complement Calif’s 5th grade standards for SS and E/LA.

      I too was hoping we would connect in Philly – even met a friend of yours in one of my sessions, Janice Walker – so your ears must have been ringing;-). Next year for sure!

  2. Pingback: Edublog Awards – Thanks For Nominating My Sites | Sue Waters Blog

  3. Pingback: Edublog Awards – Thanks For Nominating My Sites | Sue Waters Blog

  4. Hi, Gail. What nice words. I’m kind of glad to see them after everything is over, just before breaking for the holidays. A little warm cheer for me. I love feeling that I’ve made a difference in our community. It’s always fun for me to have our paths cross!

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