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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tried It Tuesday {Starting a Blog!}

Welcome to Tried It Tuesday! Today is a new link up next week for August. Many of you are starting back to school soon or already started! In New York, we start officially after Labor Day, so save up some "Tried Its" to share starting weekly in September! I am enjoying my summer vacation (it's half over...wah!).

It's Time for Tried It Tuesday! 
What have you tried at school or home?
If you've never linked up with Tried It Tuesday, just link up any idea school or home related and what worked or didn't work. Simple! 
This Tried It Tuesday will be open for the whole month of August. Link up anytime!
My Tried It:
Starting a Blog!
If anyone would have told me back in July of 2012 how much my life would be changing by starting this little ol' blog, I would never have believed them!

I wanted to write about this because I know there are a lot of loyal readers who don't have a blog of their own but often email me asking questions about starting their own blog. The best way to immerse yourself in the blogging world is to start a blog yourself! In fact, I had only discovered the teaching blogging world for about a week (I lived a sheltered existence) before I decided to start my own! It was July and summer time was the perfect time to start blogging because it takes time to figure out how to do things on your own blog for the first time. It also takes time to read and comment on other's blogs. Hours can just tick away without me even realizing that much time has passed!

What Are the Advantages of Blogging?
1. Connecting with Other Teachers!
This is HUGE and LIFE CHANGING! Be prepared to make connections you never thought possible over the internet (at least I didn't have "virtual best friends" before!). Finding a group of friends that you communicate with regularly is such a blessing. I have a theory that bloggers tend to have similar personalities and we are all VERY passionate about our jobs (otherwise we wouldn't be spending time blogging about it!). Sometimes it is difficult to find time to connect with other teachers at your own district since bloggers often connect at night and other free time. Who has time to sit around and chat during the school day?! Bloggers will "talk" all hours of the day, night, and summer. My BBB's will discuss anything and everything. Sometimes it's nice to just have someone to vent to about teacher frustrations that only another teacher would understand! It is also nice to hear the perspectives of teachers from all over the country (and world!).
I was able to meet some of my BBB's in person in Vegas for the TPT conference this year! That was amazing! :)
In the picture front row left to right: Jessica from Joy in the Journey, Molly from Lucky to Be in First, Deirdre from A Burst of First, Rose from Rosie's Rambles
Back row left to right: Michele from Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans, Me, Christy fromTeaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road, Amanda from Collaboration Cuties, Diane fromFifth in the Middle, Erin from I'm Lovin Lit, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, Jessica from Ideas by Jivey

2. Professional Development
I feel like I have become a better teacher the more immersed in the blogging world I became. Reading and following blogs is a great form of professional development too, but starting your own blog allows you to network so much more. Remember my BBB's I referred to above? Without my own blog, I wouldn't be able to ask them the questions that I do and the dialogue wouldn't be the same. When you are the one writing posts and sharing YOUR thoughts, there is so much to be learned from the conversations you generated.
Other teachers will feel more connected with you and those lifelong connections will be made with your virtual teacher friends.

3. It is Therapeutic
Writing out my thoughts is therapeutic for me. I can share my teaching success stories and also share my failures and frustrations. Other teachers offer encouragement and words of advice. What a great feeling! Sure, I can talk about these things with my coworkers, husband, other friends, and family members but there is only so much I can say in conversation and only so much they will understand. Blogging allows me to get all my thoughts out there and reach other teachers who just "get it".

4. Creative Outlet
Allowing blogging to remain a hobby gives me an outlet to explore my creativity. Writing a post with a sense of voice to reach other teachers is fun! Blogging also helps me to be a more creative teacher. I am constantly thinking about the activities I do with my students and if they would be something I could share on my blog that other teachers would enjoy reading about. Arranging pictures and text on the blog allow me to be creative and I have always considered myself to be one of the least artistic people I know!

5. Showcase How You Use TpT Products
Every Teachers Pay Teachers product I have listed in my store was first created to use with my own students. Blogging allows me to show readers why I created the product and provides links to the product in my store. Teachers Pay Teachers has been such a blessing and I never thought that I could earn extra cash just by selling my teacher creations. It's not just about the extra cash but the validation that other teachers are willing to spend their hard earned cash on my products is so fulfilling!
I have been on TpT since 2008 and began by just listing DBQ's that I created in 2005 when I couldn't find any for 6th grade. I didn't really do much with TpT back then and was thrilled to earn $60 in three months time. Not many teachers knew about TpT, but since then it has grown beyond belief! Here is my all-time sales graph. It is difficult to say how much my sales have been affected by blogging and how much have been affected by other factors such as adding new products and the increase in TpT's popularity and growth. However, I KNOW blogging has had something to do with this graph. 2014 is not even close to being over yet!

Are There Disadvantages of Blogging?
1. Time
This is something I struggle with all the time. Being a teacher (we all know how much time we put into our jobs even if the general society doesn't agree!), and being a mom to two young children sometimes doesn't leave much free time for blogging. I never want blogging to be a chore. It is so much more enjoyable to do it in my "downtime" as a hobby. When people first start blogging, the possibilities for posts are endless, but as the time passes, posts usually slow down (at least in my case!). I often think, "I already wrote about that" when thinking of posts to write about. However, it might have been 18 months since I wrote about it and there are many more readers now. So sometimes it is okay to revisit topics. Even if I reach one teacher that can benefit from my post, it was worth it!
2. Cost
I didn't even mess around with trying to make my own blog design for more than two days. I wanted it to look professional and realized quickly that I would be spending a tremendous amount of time to try and figure it out. So, the first cost was having my blog custom designed (I want to do a makeover soon too but have been procrastinating!). This cost about $100. Then, there are other costs like a inlinkz yearly subscription to host my Tried It Tuesday linky party, photobucket image hosting is a yearly fee because of the traffic coming into my blog, and hosting giveaways on your blog is an added expense because I always like to offer gift cards as part of a prize. I think these expenses are worthwhile in the end because they allow your blog to grow and bring more possibilities for connecting with other teachers and bloggers.

How Do I Get Started?
Megan from I Teach What's Your Superpower has a page dedicated to new bloggers with so much helpful information. I LOVE her!

This is a "Blogging Basics" page with a lot of helpful information.

Here are some custom blog designers that my BBB's have used.
My blog was designed by Diana at Custom Blog Designs
Megan from I Teach What's Your SuperPower (A Bird in Hand Designs)
Christi from Design by Christi
Honey Bunch Blog Designs
Sweetie Baby's Designs

Are you ready to start your own blog? Don't be discouraged if you are a new blogger. Getting followers takes time and sometimes you might feel like you are talking to yourself! Just keep reading and commenting and those connections will come. You will look back and wonder what you ever did without your Best Blogging Buddies! Of course if you ever have questions, other bloggers are very helpful! One of my BBB's, Diane at Fifth in the Middle, has a helpful bloggers network where other bloggers have linked to showcase their willingness to help out when they can! Check it out!
 Before you go, don't forget to check out the TpT Back to School Sale that ends tonight! My entire store is 28% off. I still need to do my shopping! Anything that I should add to my wishlist for teaching 4th grade MATH this year? Yep, I have changed to 4th grade Math (my favorite subject) due a retirement on my team. I'll blog more about that later but I have a lot of work to do to get ready for school! :)


  1. I loved your post today. I just got my blog going this summer, and definitely felt like I was talking to myself in the beginning. Now I have a few followers, which is nice, but I'm really enjoying learning from others and making connections with other teachers. I wish that the anti-education folks would spend some time reading around here...

    4th Works

  2. I really enjoyed this post ~ you mentioned many of the same things I have been thinking about looking back to a year ago when I first started my blog. I'm still learning, but it's very satisfying and fun!

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  3. I'm so glad I decided to start a blog. I talk to my friends about my "bloggy" friends all the time and they just don't get it! haha I hope your post inspires more teachers to start blogging!


  4. Another thing to mention with the costs is that you can deduct them at tax time to offset some TpT earnings ;)

  5. If I only knew then what I know now...lol! I've learned so much in the past year that I have been blogging. I'm about to take a little step back though because of school starting and wedding planning. I'm hoping after the new year I will have some more time to think and really spend all the time I want on blogging. I say that now, but I'm sure I won't be able to stay away completely. You know how I get if my Bloglovin feed gets too high. I'm so scared I will miss something! LOL XOOX
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  6. Awesome post! I agree with everything you said! Megan is awesome, and so are you!

    Fit to be Fourth