What a Year!

If you’ll indulge me, it’s time to reflect on the rollercoaster thrill ride known as 2015. My site host WordPress just sent its annual report showing that I published 82 posts this year (not bad, not bad…) and that readers from 183 different countries stopped by for a visit (Yowzah! I’ve gone global!)

The summary report was filled with lots of sweet stats (a special shout-out to my eight Madagascar readers and you 12 awesome folks in Greenland – I see you up there), including a ranking of my most-viewed posts of the year. Here are the top three, in case you missed them the first time around:

1. Modern Tech. + Classic Lit. – In this post, I showed how a single-page worksheet (by far, the most popular thing I’ve ever built) can be used with any book or play. This short and sweet post, which showed the characterization tool in action with my classes’ study of The Odyssey, grabbed the most views of the year by a landslide.

2. The Question I Hate the Most – This post was all about the aggravating moment that led me to discover 20Time, a self-guided passion project, and find a way to make it work for my classes. The 20Time experiment (yes, I’ll be doing it again this spring) has become one of my favorite professional tools and inspired a full series of blog posts. The final series wrap-up post (ranked #8 of the year) with insights and printable forms is located here.

3. Classroom Decor with a Little Bit More – Featuring photos of my own classroom display of students’ two-sentence stories called Micro Fiction, this post also shared ideas about how to build an interactive classroom bulletin board.

On a more personal note, this was also a big year for the Randazzo family. Hubs and I agree that these are among our favorite memories of the year, in no particular order:

• Our daughter smoothly transitioned into middle school, even claiming a spot of the 6th grade volleyball team. (It doesn’t hurt that at age 12 she’s already 5’8”.) I remember hating middle school, but she’s having a great time. Go figure.

• Because of this little ol’ blog and my TpT shop, I was one of several educators featured in a business story in The New York (Freakin’) Times. Within a day of the story being uploaded on NYTimes.com, students, co-workers, and friends from the past 20 years blew up my emailbox and the blog received 3X its usual traffic. Exciting. Nerve-racking. Humbling. Yeah, it was all of that.

• Our son graduated from the Univ. of California, Davis. After finishing his degree in philosophy (I know, I know…but we really had to walk the walk with all of our “follow your dreams” talk with that one), he’s spent the past few months in the Philippines (Wondering if he crossed paths with any of the blog’s 708 Filipino friends) and he’s now hostel-hopping near Panang, Malaysia, and will return…well, he hasn’t told us yet. (Hey, 853 Malay-readers, could you keep an eye out for a tall, skinny 22-year-old?) As a parent, I’m certain 2016 will be another…um…interesting experience.

Finally, if you don’t want to miss any fresh posts in the new year, be sure to follow the blog. It’s super easy and I promise I’ll never share your info. with anyone – spam is just rude.


Vacation on, everyone! (The teaching will resume soon enough…)

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