Our Favorite Blogs of 2014

At Geddes, we pride ourselves on offering all the essential school supplies and resources necessary to teachers and parents alike. To stay abreast of the needs and culture of the modern classroom, we spend copious amounts of time combing education blogs, teaching blogs, and parenting blogs. Over time, some of these blogs really rise to the top in terms readability, resource-sharing, and humble introspection.

Here we have assembled our favorite blogs of 2014. It is our sincere hope that you draw not only inspiration from them, but tangible takeaways you can use to help better the lives of the children you interact with every day.

PreKinders. Children are like sponges, absorbing anything and everything within reach. This can pose a unique challenge to early childhood educators and parents alike: How do you keep them stimulated in a continually positive way? PreKinders offers many ideas to promote learning through crafting, dramatic play, and plenty of printables. If you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration, PreKinders will always have something new at hand.

Free Technology for Teachers. Technology advances at an exponential rate and that is certainly true when it comes to classroom technology applications. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and backburner new technology. When we ignore technological advances in the classroom, however, we do a great job of preparing our children for a world that no longer exists. Free Technology for Teachers is unique in that it offers a steady stream of new technology ideas and suggestions for how to use them so you can implement right away instead of being caught up in trying to discern the best way to use said technology in your classroom environment.

Go Fatherhood. Let's be clear, the role of educating our children belongs just as much to parents as it does to teachers. There are many good parenting blogs out there, but Go Fatherhood is certainly unique among them. Written by single father, Dave Taylor, it's an interesting take on parenting from an active father's perspective. Too often, dads are portrayed as the loveable buffoons in the parenting dynamic. Dave deftly dispels that stereotype and cuts to the issues that dads face every day in trying to raise confident, intelligent, and responsible kids.

TeachThought. Between lesson planning, grading, conferences, and keeping up with budget and policy, it can be all too easy to lose track of the philosophy of teaching. That means asking the questions and examining the models that can make one a better teacher. A teacher more in tune with the changes in educational advances, from innovative ways to employ technology to new discoveries in childhood development. TeachThought brings these issues to light in well-written, well-thought-out pieces that have actual real-world applications.

Bud the Teacher. Sometimes, as a teacher, the most helpful pieces to read are the shared experiences of other teachers. Knowing you are not alone in your challenges and concerns provides an affirmation that your path is by no means a solitary one. Of all the wonderful teacher blogs out there, we've grown particularly fond of Bud the Teacher. Bud Hunt shares his thoughts on struggles between policy and program development, the challenges of giving kids the freedom to falter so they can learn how to succeed free from fear, to what it's like to be a teacher raising his own children outside of the classroom. Plenty of food for thought here.

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities. It can be challenging enough to educate our children. Children with learning disabilities present a new set of challenges that are just as complex and distinct as each child who forges ahead with a learning disability. Within those challenges, however, present opportunities to implement new and innovative teaching strategies. Students with learning disabilities are often very smart kids who just learn in a different way. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities addresses a wide range of topics facing educators and parents alike. If your daily life involves working with children whose brains are wired a little differently, then this blog is essential reading.

The Parenting Magazine. To say that parenting isn't easy would be a tremendous understatement. Sometimes, being a parent is just, flat out difficult! It's not that our children are difficult; it's that raising them in an ever-changing world that involves not only education, but proper nutrition, the effects of technology, discussing tolerance and equality, and correcting behavioral hiccups. That is a lot of plates to keep spinning. The Parenting Magazine tackles all of these different topics with equal aplomb, providing interesting insight and pointers for nearly every facet of parenting.

The Line. Life is really about balance. The Line is the perfect balance of a teacher sharing what it is like to face the challenges of teaching (i.e., teaching sensitive subjects, such as The Holocaust; defending the Common Core; and struggle in acquiring affordable books) alongside the whimsy of being an individual with an affinity for Robert Plant and Wendell Barry. Few blogs will make you smile and think as much as The Line.

Play Activities. Often, childhood development struggles have nothing to do with a child's level of intelligence. Sometimes, struggles come from learning one's role in a family unit and growing to accept responsibilities while still maintaining a unique, confident, and respected sense of self. It sounds like a lot, but blogger, Melitsa, finds many solutions to these challenges in simple play! Play Activities offers many suggestions for turning learning opportunities into playful and enjoyable activities that not only give children plenty of room for expression, but involve the entire family in doing so.

My Mommy Manual. Dr. Phil is fond of saying, "We are not raising children; we are raising adults." It is easy to get caught up in what our children should be. It's tempting to compare our children to their childhood peers, picking the parts we like from their friends and trying to "Frankenstein" them into our own children in an effort to make them the best they can be. At My Mommy Manual, the approach is very different. Taking the position that our children are wonderful and special just the way they are and our job, as parents, is to inspire them and guide them into becoming the uniquely wonderful and special adults they were born to be. Covering a wide range of topics, we recommend this one as a blog staple.