NYC teacher/blogger Jose Vilson offers Five Blogs You Need To Have In Your Feed Right Now. Good idea, so I’m stealing it.
I treat my Google Reader like the starting lineup for the Indianapolis 500, with feeds running three across. Joanne Jacobs, for example, has been at the upper left, or pole position, for a very long time. The closer to the top, the more often I read it. Once a blog slips toward the bottom, I read it only sporadically.
Picking up on Jose’s meme, here are five blogs I now read avidly that are either recent additions to my feed reader–or that have elbowed their way toward the top:
1. The Answer Sheet is the only “new blog” (it’s almost exactly a year old) to have cracked the top row of my feed reader. I started reading it when it became the online home for Dan Willingham’s peerless writing about education. Valerie Straus has become the sharpest, most opinionated voice on education in the mainstream media. Honestly, I’m not sure how she gets away with it.
2. Rick Hess Straight Up. Hess has forgotten more about education than most of us will ever know. The man ignores every blogging convention there is, cranking out long thoughtful, provocative posts day after day. The most appealing thing about Hess as a writer and thinker is that he’s aggressively independent. You think he’s on your side? Here’s a thumb in your eye.
3. I’m a sucker for great writing and sound opinions grounded in actual classroom experience. Jose Vilson included Nancy Flanagan’s Teacher in a Strange Land, which occupies a choice position in my feed reader. But since this is about new blogs, I’ll recommend Walt Gardner’s Reality Check. Gardner’s perspective is informed by nearly 30 years of teaching in Los Angeles, longer than most edubloggers have been alive. That’s hard-won authority.
4. In the process of writing this post, I realized that Get Schooled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Maureen Downey needs to be much higher on my must-read list. Downey is another smart, independent blogger who’s not shy about expressing her opinions and backs it up with good reporting. Bonus: she’s attracted a large cadre of thoughtful, engaged commenters.
5. In fairness, Better Living Through Beowulf is not an edublog, per se. By my own criteria, I should round out my list of five from among Education Next, Shanker Blog, RiShawn’s Biddle’s Dropout Nation, Linda Perlstein’s The Educated Reporter or Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, which have all found their way into my reader in the past year. But BLTB features thoughtful, personal and beautifully written ruminations of the human condition filtered through the lens of literature. A brilliant defense of the liberal arts without even trying.
Two broad trends I notice in my blog reading via this exercise: compared to a year ago, I’m paying more attention to teacher blogs and major news outlets; less to think tanks and ed tech blogs.
And what are you reading?