Blue Cereal Celebration (3/13/16)
It’s my birthday.
Not my person birthday – I’m too old to care about that much anymore. It’s Blue Cereal’s birthday.
Two years ago this week, I started Blue Cereal Education, and – let’s be honest – from that moment, your worlds would never be the same.
For the first six months or so, most of what I wrote was pretty hit’n’miss. The learning curve was steep, as I’d never done anything like this before. Thankfully, Janet Barresi was our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and while that was horrible for Oklahoma teachers and students, it was GREAT for snarky blogging!
The State Department site alone was a gold mine of edu-horror. *sigh*
In November of 2014, the Russians killed my site. My wife and webgoddess called me with a very concerned voice and told me that while she’d managed to retrieve a zillion pages of text and code, anything I wanted back would have to be completely recreated.
I was SO relieved! What an amazing chance to start over – keeping the parts I liked, editing the stuff that I thought had potential, and tossing the rest.
Dr. Barresi had lost her primary by then and we knew Joy was on the way (in more ways than one), so I didn’t bother with that material. The rest I began wading through, deciding what I liked enough to write again.
It was less than you’d think.
I don’t let myself become too obsessed with analytics and numbers, but of course I check from time to time. (Anyone who says they don't is fibbing.)
Here are the Top 10 most visited pages on Blue Cereal since that rebuild in November 2014:
(1) End #OklaEd (2/15/16) - This was a blog post from quite recently, as you can see. I assume it's good news when what you're writing now is getting more traction than what you wrote back then - otherwise, you quickly become Foghat playing at the state fair.
I'm a bit surprised and pleased at the degree to which this one has surpassed all other posts (it has more than double the page views of the post in second place), since it's a call for state-wide edu-revolution. You people are a bunch of radicals and trouble-causers... no wonder we get along so well.
(2) Oklahoma Turns Against APUSH? (1/17/15) - This was the first of a series of posts about the attack on AP U.S. History in Oklahoma last year, spearheaded by Sen. Josh Brecheen of Ada, OK, and Rep. Dan Fisher of the largely fictional Black Robed Regiment.
The post is mostly a brief intro - since I knew very little at the time I posted it - followed by the rather extensive text of Brecheen's bill. So... that's humbling. I assume it kept the highest hit-count partly because it was first, and partly because it had the most obvious title in reference to the subject matter.
I tend to get a little, um... too 'creative' for my own good in naming these things sometimes. It's a wonder ANYBODY knows what I'm talking about.
(3) Special Election - Senate District 34, January 12th - #OKElections16 (1/4/16) - Another relatively recent post, and another very clear - if not particularly creative - title.
J.J. Dossett won, in case you didn't know, and while I'm certain there were many, many other factors in play - his campaign, his platform, his timing, his supporters, and the like - I prefer to believe I used my pithy wit and extensive social media influence to annoint the good State Senator as the first of many pro-education types winning office this Election Year.
Return those New Candidate Questionnaires, kids - you don't wish to offend the king-maker!
(And can we, um... can we NOT tell Dossett that I kinda just claimed credit for his election, even in jest? I, er... I think it's important he feel like he contributed. It's good for his self-esteem.)
(4) Roster Villification (11/19/14) - This one surprised me a bit. I was having a bad day, and unlike most of my posts, this was a one-and-done. (Well, I may have edited it once for about 10 minutes.) Then again, the angry and frustrated stuff generally does MUCH better overall than the thoughtful, reflective bits. In fact, you may have already noticed how few of the deep, thoughtful bits made the Top 10. Hmmm...
But I was right about the idiocy of the process. So there's that.
(5) #OKElections16 - This is the main page for all things related to Oklahoma Elections this year. It's only been up since the start of the calendar year, and I can't tell you how gratifying it is that people are accessing it as a resource.
I try to keep the Candidate Profiles interesting, get my Pending Legislation straight, and stay current with the Issues, but this part is not as fun and doesn't come as easily for me as the bloggery or the lessony stuff. Now that people actually read this site, however, I kinda wanted to make myself useful, and this seemed like something that needed to be done.
I'll be better at it next election cycle, I have to think. Maybe. If I'm still around...
(6) #11FF - I did NOT see this one coming, but of course it's SO appropriate that it ranks this high.
When I was writing during that first year, I was all too aware that my numbers were abysmal compared to the legit blogs. But I'm all about the sauce and the inside joke, so from the start I determined that here, and on Twitters, and the Facebooking, I'd always proceed as if the adoring masses were a given.
The thing is, although I didn't get tons of comments or emails or messages, the ones I DID get were SO good! I don't mean merely in terms of praising me (although that's essential and appropriate), but rather... the quality of what you write to me, and how well you write it, and the questions and comments and insights and suggestions... I was a bit taken aback, and deeply gratified. I still am.
This was much better than having adoring masses. These were witty, insightful peers. Booyah - internet gold.
At some point I began referring to regular readers as my Eleven Faithful Followers. When it was time for the first Blue Cereal long-sleeve shirts, the hashtag #11FF was contrived.
I'll be carrying on more about you guys soon, but for now let me just say - all tone and schmaltz aside - you are some quality peeps. I wouldn't trade you for ten times the numbers, or a hundred times the money.
(7) Who Killed Avery Chase? Document Activity (4/21/15) - Consistently in the Top 10 each month, I have yet to receive a single comment about whether it's being used, if it's working, or how it's being changed to make it better. I hope the numbers mean someone's finding it helpful - seriously. I'm pretty proud of these.
(8) State Testing: The Ultimate Solution (7/10/15) - This one is a personal favorite of mine. I thought it struck a nice balance of genuine frustration and teacher-y passion for *sniff*... THE CHILDREN. I'm still like this one quite a bit - go figure.
(9) My Response to Alfie Kohn's Attack on 'Growth Mindset' (8/18/15) - Like I said, conflict gets page views. That's not why I wrote this one, of course - I'm too pure to be swayed by such logistics. I really hated the piece Kohn wrote and to which I'm responding here.
I was somewhat surprised by how many messages and tweets and such I received which not only supported my post, but wanted to share mutual loathing of Alfie Kohn. I don't agree with the man on everything, but neither do I consider him a charlatan or a moron or any other bad words which were used in an effort to secure my solidarity. I just thought he was wrong on this one. Really, really wrong.
So, I'm glad all of those people love me, but I was unable to share their vitriol towards A.K. I hope that didn't ruin the moment for them.
(10) Welcome to Atheist School (2/26/16) - Another recent post, which suggests that my page views are benefitting from the kerfuffle over this session of the OK State Legislature. (In Oklahoma, the legislature meets from February - May each year. The bulk of the damage they do has to happen in this window, so they're intense months.)
It's unfortunate that so many posts have to be written about the state of our state, but we're a mess. At least shining some light on the assumptions of our elected leaders has some small chance of shaping the upcoming elections. In this post, Rep. Dunlap says what many of his peers wouldn't, but which they THINK anyway - that public schools are godless, decadent places, and the only way young people can possibly learn to be decent human beings is through taking the two mites remaining in public education and giving it to upper middle class white parents so they can rescue their precious darlings from yucky poor people.
I cringe, but I'm also glad it's out there. It's not quite as good as legislators this past week reading the Bible on the floor of the State Senate to prove Jesus is against regulating firearms, but it's part of that same mindset - that it's their job to put the Old Testament into state law, and that they alone are fit to arbitrate the true meaning of Christian faith on our behalf.
So This Week Is Blue Cereal Celebration Week.
Who better to focus on me than ME, after all?
Thanks for coming along for the ride. You are daring and wise to do so.