The 2014 New School Year

School begins here in Victoria on Tuesday. It is the first time in ten years that I have not spent the summer busily preparing for the new school year. That has been a strange feeling.

Stuart Miles /
Stuart Miles /

My daughter, Novalie, is 5.5 months old and I am absolutely loving motherhood. While I won’t be in the classroom this year, apart from some possible replacement teaching, I’m thankful that there are still ways to keep up with education.

There was a time, not so long ago, when maternity leave would mean you’re out of the ‘education loop’. Now, with blogs, Twitter and other online resources, the education community is at your finger tips.

While I am not producing as much in the community, I am enjoying being a consumer.

I recently wrote some tips for graduate teachers on the excellent ABC Splash site which may be of interest to educators beginning their careers next week. I enjoyed having the chance to reflect back on my own learning journey.

Long term readers would be familiar with Kelly Jordan who was my team teaching partner for a number of years. Kelly has moved to a new school in 2014 and is soon to launch her new class blog. I’m certain this will be an excellent example of how blogging can operate in the primary classroom.

If you are interested in getting started with blogging in 2014, the following posts may be useful for you:

I’d love to hear from readers. What does 2014 hold for you?

44 Replies to “The 2014 New School Year”

  1. Juliet Revell says: Reply

    Hi Kath
    Happy New Year! Thanks so much for posting and keeping us up to date with your thoughts and linking in some new resources. I have moved to a new school in the same region in Hawkes Bay, NZ this year. I am going to be teaching the same year group (Yr2) Our first school day with the kids is February 3. So looking forward to meeting my kids. Will be some sleepless nights this week – though probably not as many as you! 🙂

    This year, our eLearning team is focusing on helping our teachers enhance their blogging skills. I am really excited to be a part of this, as you can imagine! We are putting together some resources, and of course I am relying heaviliy on your body of work. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your very simple, yet thorough advice on all aspects of blogging. I have found it invaluable in furthering my knowledge and skills for creating a Global Classroom.

    Our new class blog this year is
    Thanks for all your great advice, and be sure to keep all those great thoughts coming!

    Kind regards

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Juliet,

      Great to hear from you.

      It sounds like you will have some exciting new challenges this year. How wonderful to find a school that obviously values blogging and eLearning etc. I’m sure you’ll do a fantastic job at driving these projects – your school is lucky to have you! You’re more than welcome to use any of my resources.

      Thanks for the link to the blog. I will have to check it out!

      Enjoy the last week of holidays. It does go quickly.


  2. Hi Mrs. Kathleen Morris, my name is Lauren Reid and I am an Elementary Education major at University of South Alabama. I only have 3 semesters left before I will graduate with my degree but I plan on going back to school to get my Doctrine. I am taking a course that requires us to get involved with other bloggers all around the world, and my teacher has chosen you for me to engage with.

    I absolutely love this blog post, I am just now starting to understand that technology is the teaching of the 21st century. I have been watching all kinds of videos that explain to me how to incorporate technology, but I just found your blogs so inspiring.

    I found your “Tips for Graduate Teachers,” post very helpful even though I am not a new teacher. I never would have thought of making a classroom blog for parents and others to be up to date on everything going on in the classroom. You have inspired me to definitely do this whenever I get my own classroom.

    If you have any tips or advice for me I would love it!

    Lauren Reid

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Lauren,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this blog post. Hopefully you get the chance to start blogging with your future students. I have written a number of posts on getting started which I hope are helpful to you in the future.

      Good luck!

      1. Yes ma’am I will definitely be looking at those posts!

        Thank you,
        Lauren Reid

  3. Hello Kathleen Morris,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. 2014 is going to be a tough year academically for me, but I am glad to hear you are enjoying yourself. Keep me updated on what is going on with you. It sounds like you took pleasure in teaching, and it is unfortunate that you are unable to continue. I hope you enjoy your time off with your daughter.


  4. Hello,

    I am Angel Wilson, Media Specialist at Meadowlane Elementary School in Phenix City, AL (NOT Phoenix, like in Arizona). Currently, I am finishing my certification in Educational Media and am taking a course which involves learning how to create blogs. I have been assigned to you by my professor. Your links to tips for starting blogging really are great tools, especially since I’m relatively new at the experience.

    I look forward to following your posts, and thank you for including some helpful tips I will be able to share with the teachers and students in my school.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Angel,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad my tips were helpful for you. Good luck with the rest of your course!


  5. Lauren A. Hidle says: Reply

    Hi Kathleen,
    I just read your Tips for Graduate Teachers post. The tips under Classroom and Teaching are very useful. One that really stood out to me was the point about having a daily routine. I plan to create an “Our Day” timetable board in my future classroom. Thank you for the helpful tips and I look forward to more post to come.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Lauren,

      My Our Day board has always been popular with students. Many children would peer in through the windows before school just to see what was on it!

      Good luck with your studies,

  6. Jennifer Dennison says: Reply

    Hello Mrs. Morris. I would like to congratulate you on motherhood. I think it is wonderful that you are still able to blog and stay educationally connected while you are not in the classroom. I thought the tips for graduated teachers were very useful. You learn teaching techniques in college, but it is nerve racking starting in your own classroom. When I get my own classroom, I will definitely use some of your tips. The blog for the parents is a wonderful idea. Parents are very busy, but still want to be involved in their child’s education. It is a perfect way for a busy parent to stay informed and involved. It is very helpful to hear tips from a teacher who has taught for ten years.

    Jennifer Dennison

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Jennifer,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my tips and I wish you all the best as you embark on your teaching career in the future. It may seem nerve racking at first but you’ll quickly get the hang of having your own class.


  7. Hi Kathleen,

    I am trying to access the Tech Tools for Teachers but keep getting this message:

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘*’ in /hermes/waloraweb016/b2892/pow.bacollier/htdocs/vocle/teachGen/wp-config.php on line 90

    Can you help me get past this please?



    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Don’t worry, you’re not doing anything wrong, we have been having difficulties with the site and we’re hoping it’ll be back up soon.

      Sorry about that!

  8. Hi Kathleen,
    It’s brilliant to see that you are continuing to blog amongst the multitude of commitments you might have with motherhood.
    Last year I started blogging with my classes (teaching ICT as a specialist in grades 4-6). However, I’m not really very clear as to how to continue blogging now in the new school year ? Do I create a new page ? create a new blog ?

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Ehan,

      Thanks so much for getting in touch. I’m pleased to hear your started blogging with your ICT class last year.

      It may be easiest to just keep the same blog this year. The newest posts will be at the top and all the older posts will be archived, which you or your students may like to revisit from time to time. Sometimes I used to show my students old posts from previous years with previous grades if we were going to embark on a similar activity in class. It sometimes gave some inspiration or was just a good intro to a topic. Of course, you could start a new blog if you wish but sometimes it is time consuming to get the blog set up the way you want so there is no problem with keeping the old one going. The other advantage is your regular visitors won’t have to learn a new URL.

      I hope that helps a little!


  9. Hi Kathleen,
    After reading your post about motherhood and the strange feeling of not preparing for the school year, I can see we have a lot in common! My name is Chea Driver, and I am a student at the University of South Alabama, like Angel Wilson. I was assigned to your blog (only for this week), but I am sure I’ll visit it again!
    I taught for 4 years before deciding to be a stay at home mom. My son will be starting school next year, and I am working on a degree in Library Media before I return to my career. I wish I had thought of blogging as a way to stay connected. I do feel very “out of the loop” and am finding it difficult to catch up with all the changes, but I am so glad that I took the time off to focus my attention on my son. It was time well spent. I’m looking forward to returning to my career and incorporating all the technology that I am learning.
    I’m quickly becoming a fan of blogging! Do you use Pinterest? I would love to pin your ideas about blogging to a board on my Pinterest wall.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Chea,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad to hear you felt happy with your decision to be a stay at home mum. I am loving my new role too, although I know it’s not for everyone.

      How exciting to be embarking on a new career now your son is a little older!

      I do use Pinterest a little, not so much now I’m not teaching but it’s a fabulous resource. Feel free to pin my posts!

      Good luck with your studies,

  10. Johnetta Heningburg says: Reply

    Hi Mrs. Kathleen Morris. My name is Johnetta Heningburg and I am a student at The University of South Alabama. I was made aware of your Blog via my EDM 310 class. As a mother and grandmother I understand first hand the trials of maternity leave. Like yourself I am thankful for my personal learning network. Technology offers the flexibility to learn from home and connect globally.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Johnetta,

      Thanks for commenting. Good luck with your course!


  11. Caitlyn Barton says: Reply

    Hi Mrs. Morris,

    First of all, congratulations on your daughter. What a great blessing! I am a student in EDM 310 at The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. This semester we have been learning how to integrate technology into our classrooms. I have learned so much and look forward to learning more. I love that you are still able to stay connected to education through technology. There is so much out there that can help us to be a lifetime learner!

    This year I am hoping to continue striving for me degree in Elementary Education. In the summer I will be traveling to Nicaragua for a mission trip. I am looking forward to seeing what this year has in store for me!

    Here is the link to my blog :

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Caitlyn,

      Thank you for your congratulations. What a fabulous adventure you will have in Nicaragua. That’s definitely something to look forward to.

      Thanks for the link to your blog.

      All the best,

  12. Mrs. Morris,

    I can see that Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class is busy posting away! I am NOT in EDM310 – but EDM510 which is the graduate side of Education in Media.

    I recently graduated with my degree in Secondary Ed/Language Arts and jumped right into Graduate School! Silly me, I thought it would be easier — it is very difficult. The expectations are much higher.

    I applaud you for taking time to enjoy motherhood. I have a daughter (my only bundle of joy)! She is 17 and graduation from high school in May. The time has passed too quickly and I was privileged to be able to spend a lot of time as a stay at home mom when she was born. I can promise you that you will not regret it.

    I am also very appreciative of the links you have included with your post. It is always nice to see a teacher that is always “keeping up” even when they aren’t teaching.

    Good luck in your maternity leave.

    Here is my blog
    Should you wish to check it out!

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Gina!

  13. The Tips for Graduate Teachers link was very well received. I appreciate you posting the link as it has some very good points that will become useful for me in the near future.

  14. Johnetta Heningburg says: Reply

    Hi Mrs. Karhleen Morris. My name is Johnetta Heningburg. I am a student at the University of South Alabama and currently taking EDM 310. My major is Secondary English Language. Thank you so much for sharing helpful information and tips for graduate teachers. I will keep them on file in my classroom. I have been collecting useful resources from each course. Also, Congratulations on your new arrival to the family.

  15. Kelsey Sigler says: Reply

    Hello Mrs. Kathleen Morris, my name is Kelsey Sigler and I am an Elementary Education/Special Education major at University of South Alabama. I am now in an EDM310 class that requires us to blog and read other blog post from bloggers. In this class we are learning a lot about how to blog, as well as technology. I enjoyed reading this blog post. I am just now getting the hang of using and teaching technology. I have been learning all about technology and watching videos from other bloggers and teachers to help us learn. I found your “Tips for Graduate Teachers,” post very useful. I really liked the idea of having a classroom blog for parents. I think I will definitely have to use this idea in my future teaching. Thank you for allowing me to read your blog, I look forward to reading more post and other advice for teaching.
    Kelsey Sigler

  16. I just wanted to say thank you for your blogs. I am a student studying my Bachalor of Education in Queensland. I also work full time in a early years learning centre, however very soon I will be taking a break as we about about to have our first baby.
    It’s great to know even though I won.t be working with children for a little while a can still keep up to date with everything that is going on in the educational world.
    The links and ideas you have provide have been a real resource to me. I also enjoyed looking at your blog from last year as it has given me some ideas for my professional experience that I will be going on in may.
    Anyway I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your ideas.


    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Kirby,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know you have found my blog useful. If only I had more time to write some more current posts. It’s always on my to-do list!

      Congratulations on your impending arrival. I’m sure you’ll love being a mum! I hope you’ll find the time to keep up with what’s going on in education too.

      Good luck!

  17. Hi Kathleen,
    Just yesterday we had a staff meeting on blogging and your name was mentioned as a ‘go to’ person with a fabulous blog and ideas about blogging. I am a teacher of 27 years experience and at times am challenged keeping up with the fast pace of technological advances. However, I am keen to start a blog with my class so I shall be checking out other blogs as well as taking on board the good advice offered by yourself and other experienced educational bloggers. I was so pleased when I logged onto ABC Splash and there was an article by you! All the best whilst you enjoy your maternity leave.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Mary,

      How lovely that my name was mentioned at your meeting! Congratulations on deciding to start your own blog. It won’t take long to get the hang of it and I’m sure your students will get a lot out of the process. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Good luck!

  18. Kelsey Bramlett says: Reply

    I am a student in Edm 310 at the University of South Alabama. I aspire to be an elementary school teacher. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I bet it is a huge change for you not getting ready for school this year. Thank you for sharing your tips I hope to use these in the future.

  19. Jonita Watkins says: Reply

    Hi again Mrs. Morris, once again I have enjoyed your blog and your continuation of blog starters. I will be a future elementary educator and it will beneficial to know how to keep your self int he education loop along with technology and its advancements.

  20. Hello there! I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I love your blog! My fear too is that once I get married and have my own family I will somehow slip out of the “education loop.” It is comforting to know that I won’t miss a beat with all of these online tools and blogging networks. I also read your tips! You’ve got great advice I will have to save some of your tips!
    Barrett Baker

  21. Nancee Dehoff says: Reply

    Wow, there is a lot of good information packed in this short blog post! This is my favorite kind, to the point! 🙂 My name is Nancee and I am in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I appreciate that you share what you have learned in your experience in the classroom with those of us that are just starting out in the education field. I am definitely adding your blog to my list of favorites!

  22. I love your post. It actually hadn’t really registered with me how important social media is in the classroom. I am currently in the middle of my graduate program and one of the requirements is to visit a teacher’s blog and comment on it. I find it a relief that there is so many resources out there that will be available to all those teachers who want to have a family in the middle of the school year. With the job market being the way that it is, I find that many teachers plan too much or wait until they are established in the school before taking that next step. Social media offers us a way to have both worlds and not feel like we’ve been out of the loop.

  23. Cornesha Flowers says: Reply

    Thank you for sharing tips for graduate teachers. Once I graduate, I will definitely keep your blog in mind to establishing great relationships with my students to mange a classroom better. Being prepared, prioritizing and developing a classroom community is very important aspect to teaching.

  24. Hello Mrs. Morris!

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. It did get me thinking about the family life and balancing a career as well. I am a Secondary Education/English Lang Arts Composite Major with a minor in Military Sciences at the University of South Alabama. I am currently taking EDM 310 and it has given me opportunities to visit real people’s blogs and take a peek into their lives to help myself reflect on my own. Thank you for your time.

    Kelia Fagan

  25. Hi Mrs. Kathleen! My name is Brooke Allen, and I am an Elementary Education major at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I’m currently taking a class called EDM310, and we are assigned different blogs each week to comment on. Looking through your comments, I saw that you’ve gotten some from this class before. We’ve learned all about blogging and how it can be helpful in the classroom, so I found this post to be very interesting!
    First of all, congratulations on the baby! I can only imagine how exciting that must be. Since you’re not teaching this year, do you feel like staying connected to the education loop online has kept you up to speed on things?
    I loved the links you shared! I pinned a couple of them to my education board on Pinterest so I could come back to them later. Thank you for sharing your resources and ideas! I really enjoyed reading your blog.

  26. Hi Mrs. Morris,
    My name is Kayla Cooper and I attend the University of South Alabama. I am in EDM310 and just recently became familiar with blogging. I absolutely love it and when I become a teacher I plan on using it in my class. So all of your links about how to start a class blog and how to get the parents involved are very helpful to me. Also, congrats on the new baby!

    You can check out my blog: Kayla Cooper’s Blog

  27. Hi Kathleen, I enjoyed reading your blog and the many tips you gave for how to create a blog in your classroom. I was a little skeptical as to how a blog would work with a class but your tips seemed to help me gain perspective on that.
    Thank you!

  28. Mercedi Thomley EDM310 Guest says: Reply

    Hello Mrs. Morris I loved your post! I find it very interesting that even when we are not teaching technology has supplied us with a way to still be involved in educations. Technology has helped me throughout my college career with being involved. I am in a EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama where I have been able to connect with students all over the world just through blogging. I really enjoyed your resources you shared with us on how to get blogging started in our classrooms. This recourse really helps us soon to be first year educators. Again, thank you for sharing. Please feel free to check out my blog with the University of South Alabama EDM310 class at

  29. Kathleen,

    I have never really thought about how when you take maternity leave, how you aren’t really in the loop. I am so thankful for technology for many reasons. Not only is it making it easier for me to learn how to be a good educator, but it is also giving me new insight on ways to learn tips and tricks. Great blog!

  30. Jakarta Howard says: Reply

    Hi Mrs. Morris,

    I am a student at the University of South Alabama.I am currently taking a course that requires students to create blogs. Thank you for posting the five steps to creating a blog. Before this class I had no idea how to create a blog. Thank you for taking the time out to post resources. I definitely will use the tips on how to introduce blogging in the classroom because I know some students are not going to be familiar with blogging.

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