Monday, 30 January 2012

Nearly there, refining my topic and developing a tagline

So I have been further working on defining my topic and thinking about my goals as I haven’t really been that impressed with what I have come up with so far.

My ultimate goal is to help make the life of a teacher easier, saving them time by providing quality resources, ideas and tips that will help them with their teaching.  I would like to help teachers build a richer learning environment, thus making a better classroom.  Personally, I would like the blog to challenge and inspire me.  I want to research and talk about educational issues, and connect with other educators from around the world.

My point of differentiation will be to provide practical, time saving tips and resources for teachers.  This could be related to lesson planning, classroom organisation, behaviour management and how to implement different teaching strategies.  I also have many connections with experienced/expert teachers who would also love to share their time saving tips and resources.

So with this in mind I have further thought about a name for my blog and a tagline.  What I have come up with so far is:
  • Teacher Saving - Saving teachers time (although Stephen seems to think this sounds too much like a bank!)
  • The Thinking Teacher – Thinking about a better classroom
  • The Thinking Teacher – Work smarter
  • The Thinking Teacher – Work smarter, not harder
  • The Thinking Teacher – Saving teachers time
(According to my little sis I shouldn't use 'the'.  So I have checked and Thinking Teacher is availalbe as a .net and  So that would also work).

What’s your preference?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Blog Names Continued.....

I’ve slowly been compiling a list of possible names for the new blog.  Thanks to the family the other night; they helped me brainstorm some other names.  It was rather fun coming up with suggestions, and my favourite so far (and it’s available) is ‘Give a shit teacher’.  But probably not quite right for what I’m after J.

Below is what I have so far….

Me and my lesson plans
The teachers tray
Innovative lesson plans
Click a lesson plan
Carry on teaching
Stress less teacher
Teacher attitude
Hot spot education
Teacher fountain
Perth teacher
Teachers bookmark
Swan teacher
Education project
Committed teacher
The aussie teacher
Teaches well
Teachers esky
Teaching hq (new)

Are there any there that really stand out?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Draw Happy

I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for an online drawing course.  It’s by an Australian artist named Jane Davenport.  If I’m brave enough I might even share some of my drawings here, but we’ll see.

One of the first things that Jane asks us to do is to keep an Art Journal.  I’ve never had an art journal before, but I am looking forward to doodling in it and filling the pages.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to show it to anyone else.  But it’s a place for me to explore my ideas, practice techniques and improve my drawing.  Does anyone else keep an art journal?  What types of things do you keep in there?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Topic Is Decided…Now To Find A Great Name For My New Blog?

I have pretty much narrowed down my possible blog topic choices to being organised and education.  After some thinking about both of these, I realised that I can’t really get very excited about writing about being organised.  I think for me, this could only go so far before I got bored of it.  Deep down I already knew before my last post that I wanted my new blog to be on education, but I thought it was definitely worthwhile thinking of other possibilities.

I’ve started reading through the various posts about setting up my blog and one I’ve come across early on is finding a great domain name.  There are a few things that I should keep in mind:

Length: I think generally the shorter the better (easier to remember), but longer names shouldn’t be ruled out if they’re good. 

Use of Keywords in name: I’m not overly familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and all the other jargon that goes with ranking in search engines.  But I think my name will probably be semi-branded.  This is when you embed a keyword in a brand name.

.com vs .net etc.: The post I’m reading recommends .com being best because of convention and online expectations.  But if I want to reach a local audience as well (and I’m not sure if I want to register a business down the track if it matters what suffix I use) then maybe would also be worthwhile having.  Maybe I should look at acquiring both?

Things to Avoid: Numbers, difficult to spell words, hyphens and letter jumbles (do the letters from one word jumble into the next)

Okay so I’ve got a few rules to consider when choosing a name.  Next I need to do some brainstorming to narrow down the possibilities.

Step 1: develop a list of words and phrases related to my topic.  List potential brand names:
  • Education, educational, instruction, instructional, knowledge, intelligence, curriculum, lesson plans
  • Teach, teaching, teachers, learn, learning, learners
Step 2: add helper words.  This is adding short non topic related words that might be a good add on to the brand words.
  • Expert, whiz, master, leader, authority
  • Hotspot, hive, store, village, community
I might need help with this Step, any suggestions?

Step 3: Search for domains with combinations of my words.  The suggestion is to use Bust a Name to find available domains, but it doesn’t search for any domains, only .com, .net, .org etc.  Some of the ones using my combinations above include:
The list is so extensive, it’s somewhat overwhelming…mmmmm this is difficult.  Do you have any suggestions on how to make this not seem so hard?  Maybe it’s best to just go with a bunch of names that I like and seem catchy and then see if they are available.

If you have any tips for me or any name ideas then I’m all ears J

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Help Me Define My Topic For My New Blog

The first thing I need to do is work out what I want my topic to be.  Let's have a look at what I have so far.

1. What are my goals for my new blog?  The first step in defining my topic is thinking about my goals - why do I want to start this blog?  
  • I would like something fun and enjoyable to work on
  • I want to find other people with a similar interest to connect with
  • I want to be able to really immerse myself in a new challenge
  • It would be nice to be a leader in the field and produce something meaningful
  • It needs to have minimal establishment costs
  • Help me become a better writer
  • Reach a wide audience
  • Produce enough income to have as my primary job.
2. List possible topics that I have a) experience in, b) an interest in and c) think I could be good at writing about.  So here is the hard part, write down all possible topic ideas.
  • Homemade items: I definitely have an interest in this and I think I could be good at this, but I don't have too much experience.
  • Critiquing and discussing TV programs. I watch a lot of TV and really enjoy it and I could definitely write about this.  But maybe it would become a bit mundane after a while?
  • How to be organised.  I am very experienced in being organised, and I could definitely write about this.  I'm also always interested in finding out about tips and tricks to lead a more organised life.  Although not sure how to monetise this?
  • Education. I could share programs, lesson plans, other resources and write about the latest innovations.  I'm experienced in primary education, am definitely interested and I know I can write about this.
  • Children's books.  I could have a go at writing these and sharing the process and finished products on the blog.  I'm interested in this and I think I could do it, but I have no experience in actually writing a children's book.  Although I could link this in with an education blog and write books to accompany teaching lesson plans and programs??
  • Something to do with novels, maybe similar to the TV idea?
3. Review the list against my original goals and criteria.  Eliminate those that don't match. Make a short list and narrow it down to the top 3.

I don't think I could really immerse myself and be a leader in the field with a blog about TV programs or homemade items.  Even with novels, I'm not really sure how to fully define this topic and it's definitely been done a lot before.

So that leaves being organised and education.  What do you think?

I'm definitely leaning towards education as I feel I have a lot I could share with teachers, parents or anyone who has an interest in education.  I could then tie in the children's books idea at some stage as well.  I know that there is ample information out there on education so I wonder if I could really succeed at this.  However, I know when I searched for programs and lesson plan ideas as a teacher, there was a lot out there but they were not of a very high quality.

I'm not sure how many people would be interested in tips and tricks for leading a more organised life.  I may need to do a bit more research on this to see what's already out there.

I also really need to consider if I can make money from these topic choices as this is one of my goals.  The education blog I think would be much easier than the organised blog.  For the education blog I could sell lesson plans, programs, eBooks, digital resources for the smart boards and maybe some sort of consulting.  

For the organised blog I could do some affiliate advertising (this is earning a commission for selling other people's products) maybe an eBook on tips and tricks.

What do you think are the pros and cons of these topic choices?  

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Big Challenge Takes Shape

I've had a bit more of a think about my big challenge and how to go about tackling this.  Let me explain...

As I mentioned in my previous post I've really enjoyed writing this blog and reading others.  Before I started my own blog I had only really ever read a couple of blogs of friends.  Since I've started writing my own I'm really into researching and reading all sorts of blogs.  Currently I'm reading blogs about education, how to create your own blog and make money, how to find your passion, happiness blogs, digital graphics and the list goes on.

So I'm thinking my new challenge will need to involve a blog somehow.  And then I came across the blog Think Traffic.  I found a post about a new challenge that the owner Corbett Barr was setting for himself and inviting people to join him.  The project is The Million Dollar Blog Project.  If you want an in depth look at what's involved in this project check out the link.

But basically it works like this:
  • Think Traffic will build a profitable blog and we're invited to follow along;
  • They will show exactly how they do this, from picking a topic, developing content, building a site, building an audience and generating an income; and
  • There are a couple of rules for participants (by the way it's free :-)) including keeping an accountability journal, installing a couple of traffic measurement tools and reporting any income made.
This project has already started and they have over 330 blogs signed up.  I have a lot of work to do in catching up and making a start.  I really want to do this well so I will be asking for your feedback along the way.  I will keep my accountability journal as part of this blog so you can see how I'm progressing.

However there is much to do even before I think about launching such a site.  Some of my initial tasks include:
  • Registering for the challenge and reading through the various posts
  • Picking a topic
  • Coming up with a name for the blog
  • Setting up the accountability journal
  • Building the blog
  • Writing content
  • Launching the blog
So I hear you asking why this, why am I setting myself this challenge?  A couple of things have come to light since I started this journey and that have helped me see that this could be a really positive thing.  These things include:
  1. I really like the idea of being my own boss; this could be an avenue to make this happen.  However, I will need to be very careful in my blog topic choice.  Previous experience has shown me that if I'm not fully committed to the product then it will likely be a flop.
  2. Much to my amazement I like writing and sharing information with people.
  3. I find technology and the information that's available quite intriguing
So stay tuned as I have lots to do and I can't wait to share my challenge.

But first I'd like to know...what do you think?