How I Write A Blog Article

Smart Classroom Management: How I Write A Blog ArticleRecently, a number of readers have shown an interest in how I go about creating a weekly article.

So I thought this would be a good week to take a look behind the scenes here at SCM.

And unpack the process of writing a blog post.

I wish I could say that I can knock out an article in a couple of hours.

But that just isn’t the case.

The truth is, it’s a lot of work that begins a week before hitting the publish button on Saturday morning.

Typically I sit down in the early afternoon on Saturday with a long list of reader requests.

As I peruse the list, I consider the time of year, the urgency of the request, and the number of weeks since I covered a similar topic.

I view SCM as a continuing education in effective classroom management, so I’m cognizant of the need to continually revisit previous themes.

I also want to make sure I circle back to our core principles and philosophies.

Further, we add over 100 new email subscribers a day, many of whom may be unfamiliar with our approach.

So, as I select a topic, I try to keep in mind both new readers as well as those who’ve been loyal followers since 2009.

There is also the question of motivation. As my eyes linger on a topic, if I’m not feeling inspired, then I skip down to something else.

Writing is hard enough.

If I don’t look forward to it, if I’m not mentally prepared to begin another week of deep thinking and concentration, then it becomes a painful slog to the finish line.

Once I settle on a topic, I’ll spend 15-20 minutes writing the article in my head. I’ll visualize myself standing in front of an unruly class or responding to a difficult student.

I’ll picture myself using the perfect strategy to match the situation. Sometimes, I’ll envision explaining the steps, and why they’re effective, to a colleague or struggling teacher.

I’ll let these thoughts and mental pictures percolate for the next 24 hours or so before doing any actual writing. This way, there is no hesitation when I finally open my laptop.

The words come in a torrent.

In the quiet of Sunday afternoon, I’ll slip out onto the deck behind my house and begin writing in earnest.

I like to choose a title first. Now, most blogging experts stress the importance of choosing a title that is as enticing and “clickable” as possible.

They also recommend including keywords, so the article is more visible in Google and other search engine rankings.

But I just want to make sure that the title reflects what the article is about—enticing or not. Not only does this make staying on message easier for me, but I think it’s more respectful to the reader.

I usually spend one to two hours working on Sunday. I’ll pour my visualizations out onto the page and try my darnedest not to do any editing.

Editing while writing slows the process and ultimately hurts the finished product. But it’s an alluring tempter I fight against every week.

On Monday, I’ll read through the article for the first time and make changes to content only. I’ll rearrange sections, rewrite passages, and begin cutting and simplifying.

This takes a couple of hours.

Tuesday looks much the same. I’m still crafting, clarifying, and rewriting the content in a way that is easy for the reader to understand, digest, and put into practice.

This is the goal, anyway, and I won’t stop for the day until I feel like I’m within striking distance.

Some days, if I’m lucky, this takes about an hour. Other days, I may be working on it for an additional two or three. (Yikes!)

On Wednesday, I’ll look at grammar and word usage.

I’ll cut out frivolous adverbs and adjectives. I’ll look up word meanings and search an online thesaurus for better, more descriptive choices. I’ll proofread again and again.

On Thursday, I read the article aloud and make rhythm and pace changes. I want the article to flow smoothly and logically from one sentence to the next.

Next, I come up with a concept for the image I include with every article. I have fun with this and don’t take it too seriously. My only goal is to capture the feeling of the article.

I work for about an hour each on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, I transfer the article to WordPress, which is the blogging platform I use for the website.

I add links to other articles readers may be interested in. I optimize, resize, and place the image within the text. I select the category for the article and add bold and italicized font where needed.

Then I do another round of proofreading. It’s funny, but the article always reads differently when previewed on the website.

Inevitably, I’ll make a few changes. I’ll also run the article through Grammarly to make sure I didn’t leave out any words or write ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re.’

This takes one to two hours.

Finally, the article is ready for the big cheese, my wife, to read. She is also a teacher and has read everything I’ve written for the past 12 years.

I’ll pace the living room as she reads the article with her uniquely critical eye and nervously blow into my hands. When she’s finished, she’ll deliver the verdict.

She likes most of what I write but does occasionally offer suggestions.

She’ll also protect me from embarrassing mistakes (I’ve had a few) and ensure that the strategy or solution I recommend is explained in a way that she could apply in her own classroom.

On Saturday morning, I’ll read it aloud a couple more times, take a deep breath, and then hit “publish.”

It’s a good feeling—and I’ll get away from even thinking about writing or classroom management for a couple of hours.

I’ll enjoy a long and leisurely lunch.

Then begin the process all over again.

PS – I’m hard at work on The Smart Classroom Management Plan for High School Teachers, a downloadable e-guide that will be available on July 18th.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving new-article updates in your email box every week.


23 Responses to How I Write A Blog Article

  1. Suragch July 9, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    I’m looking forward to reading The Smart Classroom Management Plan for High School Teachers guide! I’ve read a lot of your articles and am reading one of your books, but I sometimes have trouble applying the concepts to older students.

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2016 at 9:29 am #

      Hi Suragch,

      About 90% of what you read on this website should apply to older students—with small, mostly obvious modifications. The new e-guide will fill in the rest.


  2. Susan July 9, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    Happy also to see your High School Guide coming out soon! As a high school language teacher, I also give a participation grade which is linked to behavior, i.e. If they are texting they are not participating. Also, what do you advise after warning, time out, letter and phone call home don’t work? Lunch detention? Hate to give referral for repeated talking. You don’t address talking or disrupting in classroom rules. Thanks!

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

      Hi Susan,

      The guide should explain everything.


  3. Maggie July 9, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    Thank you, Michael for your dedication and passion to a very difficult profession. Your experience and suggestions are inspirational.

    I’m a high school teacher of Science and Mathematics (I also teach Geography), who is considering leaving the teaching profession. I’ve been teaching only for eight years, but I feel my enthusiasm is waning as so much administration is taking away the glory of teaching. In addition, I feel like I’m detached from the rest of the world and being in the classroom has made me insular, lacking exposure to the outside community.

    However, I’ve been able to apply many small practical tips from your blog, which have made my life in the classroom that much easier. These include your suggestion of telling the class, “May I have your attention please,” when I want to settle them. Also, when I’m giving instructions I use your phrase, “In a moment..”

    These are very practical and effective, yet small, suggestions.

    Please continue to inspire and motivate fellow teachers in the digital realm. You’re doing a great job and service to the community.

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      Will do, Maggie. You may want to check out The Happy Teacher Habits. It was written with teachers like you in mind.


  4. Bethany July 9, 2016 at 11:50 am #


    I teach ELA, and this article is a revising and editing lesson in itself. With your permission, I’d love to share it with my eighth graders this coming school year.

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

      No problem, Bethany. Use it as you wish.


      • Jennifer Yocum July 12, 2016 at 11:18 am #

        I had a similar thought to Bethany’s. How wonderful when authors write about the process . . .

  5. Lavinia Pirlog July 9, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    I have bought all your (e-)books and although the main idea is Have a (Management) Plan and stick to it – so anyone could ask why so many books if the rule is that simple? – the time you spend making sure that what you write is 200% useful to the reader makes them worth every penny (and I happen to live in London, so twice the penny, LOL) and super useful, because they are incredibly tailored for each situation a teacher may face and contain the why and the how (both of them equally important).
    Cannot wait for this new guide and, as I have also said privately, a big THANK YOU for your amazing and invaluable gift: this website.
    Totally love your ethics, your rhetoric, your humour and dedication!

    • Michael Linsin July 9, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks Lavinia. Your kind words mean a lot to me. 🙂


  6. Rachel Herweynen July 9, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

    Not sure if I’ve ever commented here but you know I’m a big fan! I chat to my husband about your articles as if I had a face-to-face conversation with you. You are my digital mentor 🙂 Great to know that your wonderful articles are a product of a thoughtful process involving much hard work! I remember stumbling upon this site almost two years ago now. I connected with it so much because everything you wrote and described felt like you knew me, like you’ve been in my classroom and seen me teach. What a gift! Always grateful, Michael (and for your wife too!) I praise God for you and your work.

    • Michael Linsin July 10, 2016 at 7:40 am #

      Thanks Rachel! It’s my great pleasure. It’s good to hear from you.


  7. Marian July 10, 2016 at 4:05 am #

    I love your articles, Michael. 🙂 I’m a young teaching assistant who’s starting primary education at uni this September. I worry A LOT about behaviour management. Do you think you would ever do an article for student teachers who’re on placement? That would be SO helpful!

    • Michael Linsin July 10, 2016 at 7:41 am #

      Hi Marian,

      I’ll put it on the list and/or consider how I can squeeze the topic into a future article.


  8. Zuleica Peña July 10, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    I appreciate the hard work you put into your articles. I’ve been receiving your articles for about two years now and often wondered on how everything you write is right-on with our current events, in other words thank you for the insight on how you create such an inviting blog. I’m currently a school counselor for an elementary school and always direct my teacher staff to sign up for your articles at the initial faculty meeting and when consulting with teachers. I find your blog to be extremely resourceful for managing behavior and helping our teachers to better understand how to appropriately handle student concerns. I thank you for your dedication in putting this blog together to share information on important topics related on how to effectively manage your classrooms.

    • Michael Linsin July 10, 2016 at 11:50 am #

      You’re welcome, Zuleica. I’m glad you like the articles. Thanks for sharing the website with your staff.


  9. Jude July 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    I really appreciate your writing, and sharing the process of writing your blog makes me see why your remarks are always on the mark. Carefully thought out and thoroughly edited, every sentence is valid and a great source of encouragement to teachers. Your articles should be required reading for all teachers.
    Thank you.

    • Michael Linsin July 11, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

      You’re welcome, Jude. Thank you!


  10. Ann Steffensmeier July 18, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to write these blogs. I truly get so much benefit from reading them! And it encourages me to keep going, when there are definitely days that I want to throw in the towel. Your articles and the strategies you suggest are problem-solvers that allow me to hang in there. Thank you so much!

    • Michael Linsin July 18, 2016 at 7:30 am #

      You’re welcome, Ann! I’m so glad you find the articles a source of encouragement.


  11. Nancy Piercy July 20, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    We do workshops for new teachers. We always include a slide with your information. Thanks for all the great articles. As a former high school teacher, i’m looking forward to reading your new book.

    • Michael Linsin July 20, 2016 at 10:43 am #

      You’re welcome, Nancy. Thanks for sending new teachers to my website. I hope you like the new book.