Using Google Reader to Keep Up With the Blogs You Want to Read

 

Using Google Reader to Keep Up with the Blogs You Want to Read

Books

Update: Google recently announced they they would be discontinuing Google Reader as of July 1, 2013. As a result, I no longer recommend it as a blog reader. Click here to read my newest post about alternatives to Google Reader.

I’ve been reading blogs on a regular basis for several years now.  Initially, I would visit each blogger’s page periodically to see if they’d written anything new. This was time consuming, and not necessarily helpful because many of the bloggers I read would go weeks between posts. At some point along the way, someone suggested that I use Google Reader and that changed everything.

I use Google Reader to subscribe to any blog that interests me. Then, when the blogger posts something new,  the new post shows up in my Reader right away, and then stays there until I can get to it. I don’t have to keep checking in every few days because I know that everything will be in my reader when I’m ready for it.  I now follow over one hundred blogs on a plethora of topics. I have all of my blogs organized by category: Deocrating, Teaching, Cooking, etc.  When I have a free minute, I can sit down and browse the most current posts in whatever topic I’m interested in at the moment. This is particularly useful with my teaching blogs.  There is simply no way that I could keep up with all of the blogs that I follow if I didn’t have their posts all in one place.

If you’re lucky, the blog you want to subscribe to will have an RSS reader icon that looks like this.

rss-orange-radar-bar-chicklet-icon

If you can find that icon, you click on it and then it will ask you which reader you want to subscribe with. You simply click “Subscribe with Google Reader” and you’re done! Unfortunately  not all the blogs I like to follow have an RSS button. So I’ve learned to put them directly into my reader.  Here’s how you do it:

Google Reader is pretty straight forward, particularly if you already have a Google account. The first thing you need to do is sign into your Google account. When you’re signed in, you should have a toolbar across the top of your screen that looks like this:

google tool bar

If you click on “more” there will be a drop down menu, and one of the choices will be “Reader.”

Once you’re on the reader screen, you need to look for the “Subscribe” button. It’s orange and on the upper left.

When you click on subscribe, you’ll see a box like the one below.

subscribe button

Next open another tab on your browser and find a blog that you want to follow. For this example, we’ll follow Technology in Early Childhood. Copy the URL of that blog.  For Technology in Early Childhood the URL is

technologyinearlychildhood.wordpress.com

The URL is the “address” for the blog that’s at the top of your browser.  In Google Chrome (the browser I use) the URL is circled in the picture below.

url location-001

Next, click back to the tab where you have Google Reader open, and paste the URL into that box under the subscribe button.

Click “add” and you have now subscribed to your first blog!

Once you’ve got a few blogs you’re reading, you may want to add some categories. Here’s how you do it.

*All of the blogs that you subscribe to will be listed on the left hand side of your page.

*Hover over the title of any blog that you want put in a category.

*Click on the inverted triangle that appears on the right hand side of the blog title

*Choose “New Folder” from the menu.

*Enter the title for your first category and the blog you highlighted will automatically be added to that folder.

*Repeat the process with any blogs you want to add to that  folder, except choose the folder you made, instead of “new folder.”

A full Reader is a good friend to any bibliophile; you can always have something  to read on hand. You just log into google, click on “reader” under the more button, and go to town.

Looking for some blogs to add to your reader? Here are a few of my favorites. Click on the name of the blog to visit it.

Teaching:

Boy Mama Teacher Mama  Full of great teaching ideas, and mommy ideas

Teach Preschool  Lots of hands on, engaging preschool lessons

Home:

The Pioneer Woman  Amazing recipes, humor and tales of life on a ranch

Young House Love  House Decorating ideas

Cooking:

Bakerella  The inventor of cake pops! Lots of yummy treats

VegGirl RD She makes vegetarian eating look so yummy

Of course there are countless other ways to follow blogs. Most blogs have a place where you can enter your email address to receive an email when the blog is updated.  That honestly isn’t my favorite method because my email box is pretty cluttered already, and I miss my favorite blog posts that way.  But it does work for someone who isn’t going to read a ton of blogs.  I suspect to that as a blogger, rather than a blog reader, I will soon discover other ways to keep up with my favorite blogs.  I’ve tried to follow a couple of you that are following me through WordPress with only mixed success. Let me know if you’ve got any tips for me on that! Otherwise, happy reading!

Advertisements

Why Blog?

pencils found.  ransom sought.

So yesterday was the first day that I really started  telling people about this new endeavor of mine, blogging.  For someone who is somewhat private and reserved, opening myself up like this made for a rather overwhelming day.  This is all a bit of a stretch for me, even if it is more of a professional endeavor more than a personal one.  As I shared my plans with different people, I got a lot of different responses and affirmations.  One of the best questions I got though, was “Why?”  “Why are you starting a blog?”  So as I sit here a day or so after telling all the world (or at least what feels like all the world!) about my blog and I am feeling just a bit apprehensive about the whole thing, it seems a good time to examine the question of “Why?”

*I want to dialogue with other educators. I know there are other people out there that are trying to use technology with young children, particularly ipads, but they are hard to come by with just a quick internet search.  There’s a lot of trial and error involved in this whole process and I think it is helpful to figure this out with others who are experimenting in the same realm.  I know that if I get involved with the educational blogging community,  it will be easier to find those people that are trying to accomplish the same goals as we are in our program.

*I want to grow as an educator and the kind of self reflection that happens with blogging encourages that. One of the first people I told about this blogging experiment was our technology coordinator.  When I asked for her advice she sent me several articles about blogging in education. They expressed something that I hadn’t really considered before: writing is a form of self reflection, and self reflection leads to growth. I was only a few posts into this blog when I realized that indeed, writing about which apps we’d used or what our management strategies had been, had caused me to consider them more carefully and then find ways to improve them.  Even if no one ends up reading what I write, I think the way that we use technology in our classroom will still be better because of the time I’ll have spent writing about what we’re doing.

*I want to help other people who find computers confusing and overwhelming to perhaps understand them a bit better.  I consider myself lucky to have grown up with computers. I can not remember a time when our family was without one. I started watching my dad build them when I was a toddler and still enjoy helping him when “we” (really he) replace a motherboard or get my wi-fi situated. Technology has always been such a big part of my life that I forget that it’s still very new and intimidating to some people. I like helping people make sense of technology. It is fun for me to find ways to simplify seemingly complicated programs so that technology novices can master them.  Of course there’s still plenty for me to learn too. I’d be hard put to replace a hard drive, and am quite the novice when it comes to blogging, but I do know more than some and I like to help.

So I think those are the main reasons I’ve started this blog. And I think they are good reasons. Reflecting on them has helped me feel a little less anxious about the fact that I am sharing so much with potentially so many. So hopefully now I’ll experience a little bit of that growth I mentioned above.