Building Community: A Blogiversary
By Janice Ewing
On a mid-summer evening in 2013, a small group of PAWLP Fellows sat down with plates of pasta to devour and an idea to develop—a blog that would invite and encourage all PAWLP fellows to write, share, and connect. The idea had been simmering for a while but was finally ready to come to a full boil.
Nourished with good food and fellowship, we set the goal of launching the blog in September of 2013. One of the first tasks we set for ourselves was to establish broad themes to guide the writing each month. We found ourselves looking across the span of the school year, and choosing topics that seemed to fit naturally with that rhythm. We also looked at the logistics of finding a platform and setting up procedures for reviewing and uploading posts. The various tasks seemed to match well with the interests and skill sets that each of us brought to the initiative. The process flowed, not without challenges, but with passion and enjoyment. Our small team had formed a community with shared goals, an understanding of our roles, and a sense of ongoing purpose.
The theme for that first September was “Building Community.” Posts ranged from designing physical spaces to creating trust, and from small group experiences to the challenges faced by the “special” teacher. As the school year went on, more and more PAWLP fellows shared their thoughts with us, through reflective and practical blog posts and responses. Our community grew steadily.
Now, in September of 2014, we’re celebrating our Blogiversary. A year of writing, sharing, and connecting has gone by. Recently, we met to reflect on the past year, and to set goals for the new one. Our original blog team was enriched by the addition of three new members, all of whom bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas, while still appreciating the foundational work that has been accomplished. Some things have changed. We have migrated from Tumblr to WordPress and we have a new address—pawlpblog.org. We have streamlined our procedures for coordinating with Twitter and other social media.
We are going to add professional, children’s and young adult book reviews to our menu. Some things will remain the same. Although we have revised some of our themes, we are still starting out with “Building Community.” Please consider joining our community as a reader, poster, and responder as we reflect on the rhythm of a new school year.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.