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12 Blogs I Loved In 2012

by Jose Vilson on December 30, 2012

in Short Notes

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In my short notes series, I like to share things I’ve read from around the web, usually parsed out from the plethora of things I pick up on my social media networks. At times, I find gems that keep me coming back for more. The following list have been reliable sources for pieces to share all year. I’ve had some of these in my Google reader since I started blogging, and some of these are relatively new to me. Either way, check them out and tell them I sent you:

In no particular order:

BrainPickings.org

Maria Popova’s blog continues to be a source of inspiration for my writing. The curation of pieces is top notch.

NYC Educator

Not that people don’t already laud him for his blog, but recently, it feels like everyone’s talking about his blog. Y’all late, though. He’s always had good material.

PREA Prez

If I ever wanted to know the real deal with Chicago Public Schools, especially around the Chicago strike, I go to Fred Klonsky’s blog.

TeachMoore

Renee Moore pushes people to see past the left-right debate and look at what’s wrong with our education system. She’s like my blogging big sister.

Bastard Swordsman

Dart Adams’ blog reminds me of those conversations my boys used to have while listening to Gangstarr and A Tribe Called Quest. Worth every read.

Practical Theory

An administrator blog shows up on my list. Chris Lehmann’s blog has the soul of a man. His triumphs and tribulations pushed his writing into another stratosphere in 2012.

GOOD Education

At some point this year, GOOD decided to go in a whole different direction with their blog, controversially firing some of their most popular writers and inciting a few flames thrown through various blogs that I respect. Yet, Liz Dwyer’s writing seemed (pardon the pun) unchained in the aftermath. Before she got busy inviting some of us to write, her own postings sung to my pro-public leanings. She was worth every read this year.

Daniel Willingham

Dr. Willingham has always found a way to engage me in the research, most famously through his video on multiple intelligences. Nowadays, he runs a blog that has found its way into many an educator’s blog reader.

Hack Education

Audrey Watters loves kicking education technology in the pants. Necessary in a world where the ed-techers would rather raise their numbers than build solutions for education.

Education Rethink

Recently, John T. Spencer got an award for “Annoying Person who actually makes you question your teaching in a positive way Award.” I snickered. If anything, his blog demands you rethink your argument. Time and again.

Eva Haldane

This year, I saw too many of my closest colleagues drop their blogs for different reasons. Some did it for professional reasons, other personal. Few of us stuck around to keep sharing our thoughts. Eva was one of them. Her journey through the last year of her dissertation while fighting her own battles have shaken me to do better day after day.

The Smithian / Danamo

Writer / editor Danyel Smith’s Tumblr curates at a breakneck speed, her interests consolidated and parsed so finely, you wonder how she puts it all together.

These twelve always find their way into my consciousness and here’s hoping they find their way into yours. Thank you to these twelve plus the plethora of others I comment on regularly. You’ve made 2012 awesome. Do you have any favorites?

Jose, who wants to promote more quality Latino/a education-related blogs …

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Here’s my first big confession of 2012: I’ve been reading a lot. You’d think, Vilson, that’s not a big deal for you. I’d reply, “As a matter of fact, yes it is.” Huge. Not just my monthly GQ / Wired fix, either (with dabbles of Men’s Health). In the last few months, I’ve read about a book every two weeks on average. More importantly, a couple of them hadn’t even come out to the general public yet …

Until this month. I’m proud to recommend two of the books I’ve read in 2012 that got my mind clicking: Gregory Michie’s We Don’t Need Another Hero: Struggle, Hope, and Possibility in the Age of High-Stakes Schooling and Daniel Willingham’s When Can You Trust The Experts: How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education. Both of these books are two sides of the same coin I’ve been flipping for the last five months. They’re both sincere efforts at creating solutions their audiences haven’t heard yet, and both speak to the need for further dialogue about the teaching profession in the 21st century.

On Michie’s book, I said:

“Gregory Michie’s experiences in the classroom and his purview post-teaching make this a good peek into the thoughts of a man willing to challenge the current notions of education reform. Rather than sit in frustration over the current tenor surrounding these so-called reforms, Michie seeks meaningful progress and solutions.”

To expound, anyone who has ever read his first book Holler If You Hear Me knows he provides perspective on teaching in an urban community without the hokey-pokey uber-privilege of predecessors like Freedom Writers or Dangerous Minds. In this book, he expounds on his initial views on education through his new lenses as community activist and education professor.

On Willingham’s book, I said:

“Willingham’s When Can You Trust the Experts? provides teachers with an in-depth guide on how to parse the helpful from the abhorrent. With the plethora of education research today, teachers finally have a book that asks us to challenge the validity of current education products through a simplified scientific approach. Unlike other education research books, however, Willingham prefers to spark conversation and invite educators in.”

Many of you know how much I admire his work around psychology (specifically, learning styles), but he’s also revealed a fair amount of his views on education policy. WCYTTE is an attempt at giving educators a leg up on third-party vendors who have dominated the market with ridiculous claims that only sound reasonable to the gullible. Unfortunately, the gullible happen to occupy a huge space in the education field. Improving educators’ ability to research in the efficient manner Willingham suggests may be one of the best kept secrets for education reform of 2012 …

That is, until now. Here’s hoping both books appear on all your bookshelves. I rarely recommend books to read in this space. Go ahead and get these. Don’t thank me later, though. Thank them.

Jose, who feels so good about this …

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