I Love Your Blog: Juice Boxes and Crayolas

The second blog I'm going to feature as a 'Blog I Love' is Juice Boxes and Crayolas.  I first found Amy's super blog (which covers teaching, books, running, you name it!) when I pinned an idea of hers, and ever since I've been an avid reader.  She has such a great 'voice' and always writes interesting, fun posts.  Thank you so much for taking part, Amy!
  • How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging quite awhile ago, in Fall 2008, when I started student teaching.  My thought was that I wanted to have a record of the experience, but I only wrote a handful of posts.  When I got hired for my first teaching job, I decided I wanted to pick up blogging again and started blogging regularly during my first year teaching.  At that time, though, I was really only blogging for myself and a couple of friends--I didn't read any other blogs and didn't even really know about the whole blogging world!  
  • What do you blog about?  Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, using it as a ministry, promoting a business), or is it more a record of your life?
Well, my blog started as a teaching blog, except instead of sharing lessons and activities like many teacher bloggers, I wrote about stories from my classroom, crazy things that the kids did, happy moments, and more often than not, rough days.  There were A LOT of rough days that first year!  It was mostly my means of self-therapy and reflection during that year.  That summer, I started running regularly after letting exercise fall onto the back burner for awhile, and decided that I wanted to write about running too.  Since then, my blog has expanded a little more even--I now write about lessons and stories from my classroom, my journey as a runner and aspiring triathlete, books I'm reading, random stories from my life, even about being a vegetarian sometimes.  I love reviewing products too, mostly running-related ones.  I have wondered before if I should have a more narrow focus, but I figure that I just write about the things I love and readers can pick and choose the posts they are interested in reading!
 
 
  • What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I have a couple of favorite things--first, I absolutely LOVE "meeting" new people through blogging.  That being said, I have never actually met someone in person that I know from blogging, but I feel like blogging has given me many new "friends!"  The blogging community is also amazingly supportive in my experience. When I found myself looking for a new teaching job this past spring, I was completely overwhelmed by the support I received from readers.  It was just amazing!  I also really love having a record of my past experiences through my blog.  In terms of teaching, sometimes I'll blog about a lesson I loved and include pictures of the activities I did.  Then, when I'm thinking back about that lesson the following year, I can look back at the old post!  I also love going back reading old posts to remember how far I've come in both teaching and in running since I started blogging.
  • What is your least favourite thing about blogging?
Sometimes it is just hard to make the time for it in a busy life!  When I am bogged down by teaching, training, grad school, and attempting to have some shred of a social life, blogging can feel like just one more thing I have to do.  More often than not, though, I really love blogging, so if it starts feeling like a chore I will usually just give myself permission to take a short break and come back to it when I have both time and something to say. :)
  • Do you have any favourite posts on your blog – pieces you’re really proud of, which document something special, or which seemed to strike a chord with your readers?
My most popular posts by far are those that describe in detail the literacy instruction systems I have in place in my classroom: Introducing the Daily 5Daily 5: Word Work
I also have had a great response to a post I wrote midway through my second year teaching, 12 Tips for Surviving Your First Year Teaching.  This one is a collection of lessons I learned after my tumultuous first year, and that I continue to learn again and again!

Recently I wrote a post that I was really proud of, even though it did not have an overwhelming response from readers.  It was about all of the things that running takes from my life, but more importantly all of the things it gives back.  Running: A Give and Take Relationship
Last, all of my race recap posts hold a special place in my heart, and I think I will always like rereading my post recapping my first triathlon that I completed in June:  SheRox Sprint Tri Recap


  • Whose blogs do you love?  I’m always looking for recommendations
I read a TON of different blogs, but two that I can be counted on to read every post are the Clutter-Free Classroom (a fabulous teaching resource) and Healthy Tipping Point (an amazing healthy living blog).

  • As a teacher, have you found blogging to be a useful tool?
Yes, I definitely have!  Like I said, I like having a record of some of my favorite classroom activities, but I REALLY love the way reading other teaching blogs has given me so many new ideas!  I would never have known about my beloved Clip Chart management tool if not for blogging!  Reading other teaching blogs always inspires me to try new things and to strive for improvement in my teaching.
  • Do your colleagues/students know you blog?  If so, do they check it out?
My students definitely do NOT know I have a blog.  I share tons about myself with my class, but since we live in such a digital age, I have always been paranoid about students and parents finding out too much information about my personal life online.  When I started blogging I actually used an alias, "Miss Teacher," and never posted pictures of myself.  Now I just use my first name and figure that's just fine.  I have shared my blog with a few colleagues who I am also close friends with, but for the most part keep it separate from the people I work with.
 
 
  • How do you fit blogging into your busy lifestyle?
Oh, I'm not going to lie, it's hard sometimes!  I try to keep blogging a fun, happy thing in my life, so if I am particularly stressed or overwhelmed and just don't feel like blogging, I don't beat myself up over it and just take a break.  I try to make time on the weekends to write a couple of posts that I can publish throughout the week.  That way, if I don't have time to write on school days, I still have posts ready to go!
  • What tips do you have for bloggers growing and nurturing their blogs?
If you are looking to grow your blog and gain more readers, definitely find other blogs you love, read them regularly, and comment on them.  Before you know it, others with similar interests will be finding their way over to your blog to check it out.  Also, include pictures, the more the better!  If I am reading a blog that has no pictures and huge chunks of text, it can be overwhelming.  Pictures definitely help hold reader interest, and they make the blog more personal.  

Thank you so much for taking part in this series, Amy!

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3 comments:

  1. I love this series - finding out about how others got into blogging and what it means to them is ace - and I get to hear about cool new blogs - thanks Amy and Claire!

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  2. Thanks for the shout out Claire!! Love you and your blog too!!

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  3. Wow, when I'm back from vacay, I'm definitely going to check out Amy's blog. Teaching + running = two of my interests for sure! Thanks for this feature, Claire. I bet it will help us all make new connections1

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Thank you for your comment - I do read them all but it may take me a little while (a couple of days) to respond during busy times. I love reading what you have to say!

Have a wonderful day!

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