The Edublog Awards and the Legacy of Beth Holmes

This year's Edublog Award finalists have been announced. To be named a finalist is an accomplishment in itself. Voting is through Wednesday, and I admit that I like the transparency in voting using Listly.

Here's how I use the edublog awards:

  • Go through the blogs and add many to my RSS Reader.
  • Vote when I have a strong opinion. (Just remember that this year people can see your vote – with transparency comes accountability. Personally, I like this.)
  • Follow every finalist on Twitter. Yes, every one. Now, later, I may unfollow if I see that they don't fit, but if they're on one of these lists, to me, they've been nominated and vetted and are worth the follow to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I also want to thank those of you who kindly nominated me this year – I made it in on the shortlist under “Best Individual Blog” and “Best Teacher Blog.” It is an honor – thanks. Meanwhile, I did record a show on Every Classroom Matters with Sue Waters about how the process words and I'll let you know when the show goes live.

But I didn't get nominated? Maybe I should just stop sharing.

Also remember this… don't marginalize or minimize your own work if it is nominated or didn't make the short list. While my podcast “Every Classroom Matters” was nominated, it didn't make the short list. That is OK.

Like this blog, I'm in that for the long haul and will keep interviewing regular classroom teachers, exceptional students, and people who have important things to say that classroom teachers need to hear. I don't need a nomination to validate how passionate I am about that. It is important and each download or message I get about the show tells me that.

See this for what it is — one of many awards out there for blogs, websites, etc. That said, I do like how it grows and improves each year and I use it to grow my PLN and find new, great people to follow. Newcomers should always be welcome — and many of them aren't newcomers, they are people who have been teaching and educating a long time who may have just started blogging.

Add newcomers to your PLN: Don't Stagnate

The day that your RSS Reader or Twitter stream has no room for new people is the first day you begin to stagnate. Stagnant water is water that doesn't circulate — circulate and add NEW PEOPLE to your PLN that you've NEVER HEARD OF. This is important. Just because you've never heard of them doesn't mean they don't have something valuable for you to learn. This is the only way to avoid the echo chamber danger that happens when only certain voices are listened to.

Tribute to my friend Beth Holmes: Be Someone's Beth

I write this post with a heavy heart having just learned that Beth Holmes, former director of the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning in Columbus, Georgia has passed away. I'll never forget Beth because she mentored and encouraged me very early on when I was writing this blog and facing the discouragement that often happens when you undertake something new.


Beth brought me over to Columbus, GA in 2008 to speak and gave me a teaching award from CQTL. It was one of my very first presentations after I started blogging and wiki-ing with my kids. She sat me down at a lunch I'll never forget and told me:

“Vicki, you have something valuable to share and I think you should share it and keep sharing it.”

I say this because Beth is no longer with us but she is through the encouragement she gave me (and many others as evidenced by her Facebook page.)

Each person in the Edublog Awards is important because they are changing lives. Each of you are important because you are educators, parents, grandparents, and education advocates. You're encouraging the legacy of learning for generations to come.

I'm in Virginia at VSTE and am dedicating Monday's keynote to Beth. Without her encouragement, I'm not really sure if I'd be here to give the keynote because I might have quit because I felt so unimportant and small in the grand scheme of education. In everything I write to help people, there's a little bit of Beth – she kept me going when I wondered if it was worth it.

I want to be your Beth. But realize this… you're someone else's Beth Holmes.

You win when you share and encourage

So, if you're sharing anywhere– you're a winner. Yes, you are. Thank you for sharing and good luck building your PLN through #eddies13. Voting is open through Wednesday. If' you're not happy with the finalists and someone you appreciate was left off remember that you can nominate in November of each year and no one can nominate their own work.

If your favorite wasn't nominated, will you take the time to tell him/her?

You can leave them a message and let them know – if they're not on the list, they might just need to hear from you that their work is important to someone. Be their Beth.

We share because we care: that is our biggest reward

If you share — you're a winner. Thank you for blogging, tweeting, liking, and sharing best practices to your circle of influence. All of us have a circle of influence and to them — you may just leave the legacy of a lifetime like Beth left on me.

For when you share — the reward is the legacy and no award can top that.


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Nikki D Robertson December 8, 2013 - 11:21 am

Thank you for writing such a great post and for sharing Beth and her inspiration with the rest of us. Hope to see you at EdCamp Atlanta in 2014 : )

coolcatteacher December 8, 2013 - 3:24 pm

Hope so, Nikki, hard to travel that distance but we’ll see!

Vicki Davis

Nikki D Robertson December 8, 2013 - 8:01 pm

There will be an EdCamp Savannah February 1, 2014 if that is closer. I love EdCamp events! They are so fun and informative plus I get to see all my wonderful PLN friends face to face : )

alfredthompson December 8, 2013 - 4:51 pm

I’ve never made the short list and frankly I don’t ever expect to make it. Not that I think my blog is bad – I actually think it is pretty good – but because nominations tend to go to blogs with large natural audiences. There are millions of teachers and even in the niches that get awards (librarians) there are 10s if not 100s of thousands of teachers. I write for CS teachers of which there are far fewer than 10,000 in the whole US. I hear from many of them that my blog is valuable to them and that is reward and recognition enough for me.

I agree that these award programs are great for finding new and valuable blogs. Like you I scan the lists for blogs to add to my RSS feed. It’s still too hard to find the niche blogs though. That is why I try to link to as many CS education blogs as I can. In fact I would argue that the smaller ones target audience is the more important it is to share links within that community. Sharing is carring.

coolcatteacher December 8, 2013 - 4:54 pm

So true Alfred. You are valuable to me – I read and share almost every single post you write. I just hope that everyone looking at any award system sees the rewards of helping instead of looking for one award to validate their worth in the grand scheme of education. Beth may not have been on the list but in my list, she earns a lifetime achievement. You and people like Kathy Schrock, David Warlick, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and many others I read aren’t on the list but are still valuable to so many. That is the flaw of such awards and yet, I do think that for finding newcomers, these awards really excel at that. Sometimes those who have been around a while are taken for granted and not given their just recognition in such awards. Thanks for responding — great perspective.

Sent from Mailbox for iPad

gwynethannejones December 9, 2013 - 7:26 am

Vicki, thank you so much for this. Great advice & I also value adding other new refreshing and inspiring voices to my Twitter stream & RSS! I LOVE the Eddies for that!

Yours has always been both those things for me, too! I (refreshing & inspiring) I’ve been a longtime fangirl of yours!
~Gwyneth Jones
The Daring Librarian

Lisa Durff December 9, 2013 - 8:42 am

I read as far as the tribute, and now I have tears streaming down my face. I didn’t know she had died. Elizabeth shared my names – I was born Lisa Claire Holmes. I remember when I found her on Twitter, I told her of our shared names, and she immediately declared I was good people and followed me and conversed with me. I miss her. Thank you for telling me…………..

Holly Sims March 27, 2014 - 1:47 am

Very helpful information on iPhone 5 applications. I am new to technology and i didn’t realize everything the iPhone was capable of doing for taking photos.
This grid lenses lets you shoot on a single picture. I have now customized my grid lines by adding and placing lines in. Thank you for making me aware of this customization option. My photos have a more personal touch to them. I also have applied the filters to make my photos look more stylish. Holly Sims

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere