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Temporary Changes at DaveStuartJr.com

By Dave Stuart Jr.

I'm going to stop blogging* for the rest of 2017. Let me explain.

For the past two years, I've published articles regularly on this blog. There was one month where I published three posts per week (August, 2015), one month where I didn't publish at all (December, 2015), and one month where I published once per week (May, 2016). But mostly, I've just been sending things off into the Interspace every Tuesday and Saturday and hoping that colleagues near and far find something useful or encouraging.

Sometimes, a reader will write to me wondering, “How do you do it all?” And the answer I always give them is that I don't!

Here's an example. Yesterday, my colleague Erica Beaton (you might remember the Latin word chunks) and I were talking about the upcoming school year, trying to plan for a course we both teach. It's her first time teaching the course, and she asked me, “So… where's all your stuff?”

And the answer is that the stuff's all in my head: there's no master file system, no coherent Google Slideshow that I've polished over the years… there's just a spreadsheet with the test dates and unit questions, a pile of texts, and my penchant for having kids read, write, speak, listen, learn, and argue as much and as well as possible, all year long. To which we both responded by cry-laughing, and not the cry-laugh emoji kind of cry-laughing, the kind of cry-laughing where you're crying because the situation is funny and sad and exasperating and unbelievable, all at the same time. I've been teaching the course for five years now, and that's what I have.

This is just one example of how I don't do all the things. I make sure that I'm home by 5:30pm every night, and I don't bring work home (teaching or blogging), and so there are just a lot of things that would make me better at being a teacher and a writer that I don't do.

I'm not lamenting much here, either, because I would argue that blogging and teaching allow for this approach. Blogging is rough-draft thinking — I've always felt that way. When someone subscribes to my blog's newsletter, they're signing up for a bunch of rough drafts. These rough drafts are (usually) intelligible, but they're right on the edge of my thinking, and at the end of the day, that makes them rougher than I'd like them to be.

(Now is a good time to thank Rachael Farwell, who has been proofreading my articles for over a year now. If you ever see a post without a typo, thank her. If you ever see a post with a typo, then you can assume I finished it 14 seconds before hitting publish, therefore giving her no time to proofread. In those cases, I'm giving you, dear reader, a chance to practice not judging someone. 🙂 )

All right. I could launch into how teaching is also friendly to rough drafty-ness, how every one of the 180 days I get with my students involves the collaborative drafting together of a special mixture of knowledge and skills and relationships and memories and visions for the future, but I won't. (Except that I just did.)

Let's get to the point of this post.

I have to pause on blogging because I'm writing a book. The book is under contract for Corwin Literacy, and Corwin Literacy makes great books for teachers, and I need to make space to rise to the occasion. The rough draft is due in the middle of September, and the final draft is due in the middle of December. I've been working hard to make this this book something special for you, the reader of this blog. I hope people who have never heard of my blog will read and enjoy this book, but you — yes, you — are the one in my head as I write.

There's not really a physical thing you can hold in your hand that represents what this blog is. In an increasingly digital word, physical things are cool. Books aren't just sources of information and inspiration and encouragement — they are souvenirs of sorts, sitting on our shelves and making us conjur an image or a feeling or a season of our lives.

Seth Godin puts it best: “A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel. … Books change lives every day. A book takes more than a few minutes to read. A book envelopes us, it is relentless in its voice and in its linearity. You start at the beginning and you either ride with the author to the end or you bail. And unlike just about any form of electronic media, you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.” [1]

Right now, I don't have something like that to give you, something that represents what this blog and its readers are about, so that's what I'm working on. [2] I want this to be special for you, so all of the last 1000 words has been me explaining why I'm making a few changes for the rest of the year.

* The Asterisk: There are two ways that I'll still be blogging

There are two ways that we can still be together, if that's something you're interested in.

First, there's the Oldies Station. 

I've set up a custom email sequence of about 40 old blog posts (there are 372 total on this site, so lots to pick from), and these posts are scheduled to go out to the inbox of anyone who wants them every Tuesday and Saturday. It'll be like I'm still publishing! I've got some old blog series in there, some short-form stuff, some long-form stuff — it'll be like reading a “Best of the Blog” playlist. Some of the stuff on the Oldies Station might sound very familiar if you've been reading for a while, but if you're like me, then those previously read posts will mean something different to you now than they did back when you first read them. And frankly, unless you are the super nerd of this website (I kneel to you), I bet you'll get at least at few posts through the Oldies Station that you've never read.

To sign up for the Oldies Station, all you need to do is put your email in the box below. Just to be clear, this is going to send you a blog post every Tuesday and Saturday, just like normal. You can always unsubscribe if it's not useful.

Oldies but Goodies: The Best of the Blog Series

Let's do this. You'll get an email every Tuesday and Saturday, and that email will contain a gem from the archives of the Dave Stuart Jr. blog.

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Second, there's the Let's Talk about Writing a Book Station.

Once a week, I'm going to publish a new blog post where I reflect on the process of writing this book. I'm going to share what's hard, what I'm working on, what the process is like, and anything else. These posts will be reflections on the teacher-as-writer-of-a-book-for-teachers process, and that's why I don't want to automatically sign my regular blog subscribers up for it. It's opt-in — if you want these On Writing a Book blog posts in your inbox every Saturday until the end of the year, sign up below. If you don't, then I'll talk to you again in January 2018 when I resume blogging every Tuesday and Saturday.

To subscribe to these On Writing a Book posts, input your email below.

Let's talk about writing a book.

Usually, I just write about teaching. From September to December 2017, I'm writing about writing a teacher book. Subscribing below sends my posts on writing a book straight to your inbox. Please note that subscribing below does NOT subscribe you to my regular blog articles on teaching. For that, go here.

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If you have questions, throw them out there in the comments section below. I appreciate and respect you as a colleague and a reader, and that's why I'm doing this.

Footnotes:

  1. Full article: sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/why-write-a-book.html.
  2. A few of you have purchased my Common Core book from 2014, but that's an artifact from almost an entirely different blog. When I started this in 2012, it was called TeachingtheCore.com, and I was focused on unpacking the CCSS. My first post talks about demons and standards — an auspicious start.

Special thanks to Barrett Brooks.

9 Responses to Temporary Changes at DaveStuartJr.com

  1. Kelly McEvoy August 26, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    Dave, I never leave comments because I rarely feel I have anything worthy to contribute. However, today I would just like to say -thank you. Your choice exhibites wisdom, a commitment to excellence, and an acknowledgement that anything worth doing, is worth doing well; all of these are attributes, that in my opinion, are worthy of praise. As educators, we often try to do it all, rarely stopping to ask ourselves…how well are we really doing it? I will be praying for you, and I look forward to reading your future publications.

    • davestuartjr August 26, 2017 at 9:57 am #

      Kelly, you just contributed something! Thank you, Kelly. And I do need each one of those prayers.

  2. Colby Swift August 26, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Dave,

    I, too, rarely leave comments on your blog. But I felt I should now, as I want to let you know how much of an influence you have been on me in the last year. I started my first year of teaching last August, and you acted as a mentor for me. Your ideas on classroom management and your videos of yourself teaching on YouTube helped me know what good teaching looks like, and still to this day I check every Tuesday and Saturday to see what you’ve written about. So I am sad to see the blogs go for a while but am excited for you and your upcoming book. I will for sure be reading it. Thanks again, Dave, for all you’ve done to help this new teacher.

    • davestuartjr August 26, 2017 at 11:06 am #

      Colby, thank you for taking the time to comment today because had you not, I would never have known there’s a teacher out there at the start of his career who’s gained something from the words here. (And the videos.) I’d encourage you to check out the Oldies option, as that will keep the emails coming on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and I think many of the emails you’ll receive might be new to you.

      At any rate, if you’re going to do what I hope you’ll do, which is to stick to this work for the long haul, then you’ll be hearing from me for a long time to come if I have my way 🙂

      Thank you, Colby.

  3. Sandi Jarvis August 26, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    Dave, good luck with writing your book. I have been on your blog on and off for the past 14 months! I have both of your books, and when I can’t read your inbox messages, I send then to a personal folder just for Dave Stuart! As the Director of Instruction for a small school district, I was truly inspired when I heard your message in June 2106 in Oshkosh, WI via Skype while you were in an airport!!! I was hooked with your work and dedication after hearing you speak to teachers your Non-Freaked Out Framwork. I wish I had time to read everyone’s ideas and share them with many staff, but I don’t. I try to plant seeds when the time is right or I have someone’s attention!

    Best to you, and I have plenty of your blog ideas to dig into as you take a writing a book break! Corwin Press has received quite a bit of our district dollars! I’ll spend some more when your book comes out.

  4. Erica Lee Beaton August 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    ???? – I’m so excited to finally teach the same course together this year and more than that for all these educators to be blessed by the hard work of your new book! It’s gonna be so good!

  5. Helga Collins August 29, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

    Dear Dave,
    I am brand new to your blog for the past month. Being a second year high school teacher, I have found your blogs to be an amazing tool to strengthen my core beliefs about teaching. I have signed up for both the oldies but goodies and the book blogs!

    I feel as though a fresh breath of air crosses my jumbled mind when you share your insight and experience. For me, your blogs, chock-full with doable ideas, evoke encouragement, passion, and ingenuity. You are an authentic teacher who puts to words the feelings we all have, but may not have the platform to express them.

    When reading your material, I find myself laughing out loud, shouting, “Yes!” or nodding profusely, which then leads to an inevitable posting of your material on my FB page for my teacher friends to indulge.

    I am using the AOW’s this year with my 7th, 9th and 10th graders. Both my parents and coworkers are thanking me for teaching this imperative skill of annotating and responding to non-fiction. I used your note card idea on day one and I’m having much success with connecting names to faces, thus establishing a positive relationship on which to build. Grammar Warm-ups have found a place in my weekly routine as well.

    Thank you, thank you, for sharing your gifts with us- a true blessing from above. You remind me of why I chose to do this career- teachers are special people with a special calling, of this I have no doubt! Keep doing what you’re doing well. I will be one of the first to get you book when it’s out. ????????????

  6. Twins Happen October 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    I hope your book is going well. I love getting the “writing a book” blog updates. I read everything you put out here for us, and it has helped me so much since I first found you a few years ago. Thanks for your work and for sharing with all of us teachers!

    • davestuartjr October 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

      Thank you TH for being with me from the beginning 🙂 The book is going well!

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