I started blogging about five years ago. Honestly, it was just a vague thought I’d had floating around in my brain. Well, the thoughts went something like this:
Maybe I’ll start a blog…
Well, I’ll start a blog when I have more time…
I guess if I had a clear plan for what I wanted to say, I could start a blog…
I might have time this summer to get some writing together.
I better not start yet. I don’t have enough experience writing…
Finally, I just sat down and did it. At the time, I really didn’t have a clear vision for what I was going to do, but I’ve managed to develop one over time. My vision is that I will spread the passion for arts and arts education to as many human beings as possible.
With that vision in mind, I have revisited my plan for accomplishing that repeatedly. One piece of that vision involves continued and frequent blogging as a way to advocate for the arts. I make sure not to simply blog about lesson plans or ways to integrate subject matter. I make sure to keep a broader focus on advocacy at all times. My personal blog is Party in the Art Room, but I also blog for organizations and write articles like this one for EducationCloset.
You CAN Be a Blogger
I recommend any art lover, especially arts education lovers, to also blog. You don’t have to maintain your own blog to do this. You can offer to write for established blogs. I have reached out to organizations about blogging ideas and have never been turned down. There are also a lot of art teachers who maintain blogs. Reach out to any of them and see how they can help you contribute.
Any piece of writing you share about the arts and arts education is advocacy at its finest. You are helping all of the other arts and arts education lovers to gain attention for what we are so passionate about. The more that’s written and put out there, the more people who are likely to see it and get on board.
This is not the only benefit of blogging, however.
Benefits of Blogging
Let’s establish some other benefits of blogging about the arts and arts education:
- It is a great way to reflect on educational practices.
- It changes the way you collaborate.
- It helps you establish an online network.
- It allows you to share your story in an authentic way.
- It helps you model being reflective for your students.
- It gives you a platform for transparency in your practice.
With all of the benefits, you should really get started with this!
Remember, you don’t have to have a vision or mission developed to get started blogging. You just need to start. This is the good thing about blogging. You can mold it over time. You can also interact with others as you blog, which will help you.
Tips to get you started
- Reach out. Contact other bloggers and organizations about blogging for their established blogs. You can usually find an email on the About page of any website.
- Start your own. Blogger is an easy platform for beginners. Word Press is also a great blog hosting site, but it is a little more advanced in my opinion.
- Turn your social media posts into short blog posts. I hear a lot of people say they’d love to start a blog but don’t know how to write. Then, I see them post a couple of great paragraphs on Facebook. Take that really great post and add opening and closing paragraphs. Voila! You have a blog post.
- Don’t be afraid. You might as well get over the fear of doing it for the first time. Just jump off the diving board and into the blogging pool. If you can just get that one first post written, you’ll be in it for the long haul. Remember, the first time is always the hardest.
- Accept the help of others. Many of us have been blogging for a long time. I’m not saying we are experts, but we have some experience under our belts. So, let us help you. Just ask!
- Photograph everything. If you are an art teacher, or even a regular education teacher, who has students working with arts materials, take photographs. You’ll want to be sure to just photograph their work or their hands working with the materials. When writing personal blogs, I feel it is best not to show the faces of students. Photographs will help you write something later. Think of the photographs you take as writing prompts for your posts.
- Follow other blogs. Find a couple that you really like and subscribe. Follow those blogs and bloggers on social media. You will get ideas. You will also probably end up interacting with those bloggers in those virtual spaces. That will probably build your confidence.
I hope that this article can help get you started blogging about the arts and arts education. We are our most powerful allies when it comes to advocacy. I look forward to reading your work in the future!
Amanda Koonlaba, Ed. S. is an educator and educational consultant with over 12 years of experience teaching both visual art and regular education. Her career has been driven by the power of the arts to reach all learners. She is a published author and frequent speaker/presenter at education conferences. Amanda was named the Elementary Art Teacher of the Year for the state of Mississippi in 2016 and received the Arts Integration Service Award from the Mississippi Whole Schools Initiative (Mississippi Arts Commission) in 2015. She holds an Elementary and Middle Childhood Art certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Amanda is on a mission to ensure every student in America has access to a high-quality arts-based education. She blogs at SimpleArtClass.com