I’d been looking forward to the days between Christmas and New Years to catch up on blog posts I’ve missed. And in addition to reading several great posts, I was surprised to discover that I’d been nominated for the Sunshine Awards by four fantastic bloggers: Dana Murphy at Murphy’s Law: Musings from a Literacy Coach; Tammy Mulligan who, along with Clare Landrigan, writes Assessment in Perspective; Pat Johnston who, with Katie Keier, is behind Catching Readers Before They Fall; and Heather Rader at Coach to Coach.
To be honest, I knew nothing about the Sunshine Awards until now—and despite a fair amount of surfing, I’m still not sure how they got started. But I’ve learned that they were created to give bloggers a chance to recognize other bloggers, as well as to share a bit more about themselves. I’m incredibly honored to be acknowledged by such admired and respected colleagues, and I so like the idea of nominating other bloggers that I’ve decided to break my blogging break and follow the award rules, which are as follows:
Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love! Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
So first the random facts:
- I share a birthday (same day, different year) with Charles Manson & Grace Kelly.
- I’m a book abandoner (finishing only about a third of what I start).
- My daughter, who’s an illustration major at Pratt, and I have been working on a picture book together.
- In every personal narrative or memoir I’ve ever written, I’ve made something up.
- My grandfather was a stone carver and mason who helped create the lions in front of the New York Public Library.
- I love toe socks (i.e., gloves for your feet).
- When my daughter was younger, we had a pet pygmy hedgehog who we buried in our garden in a shoebox covered with hieroglyphics (she was studying Ancient Egypt when the poor hedgehog died).
- I met David, my partner of the last nine years, on an online dating site.
- My desire to do road trips by bike comes from reading a color-coded SRA reading passage on the American Youth Hostels in 6th grade.
- I know how to say the equivalent of ‘eenie, meenie, miney, moe’ in Swedish.
- And like Heather Rader, I, too, am a mindless hummer.
And now the answer to 12 of the questions the nominators posed (I added an extra just to keep things even):
Answers to Dana Murphy’s questions:
- What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? My current favorite is “What Messages Are We Sending Our Students about Reading Revisited” because I figured out a way of combining a tribute to one of my favorite authors, Alice Munro, with a critique of one of the packaged programs that are taking the heart and soul out of reading.
- What advice would you give future teachers? Hold on tightly to whatever made you want to be a teacher in the first place and try not to teach out of fear.
- PC or Mac? With the guy I live with, it’s Mac all the way.
Answers to Pat Johnson’s questions:
- Tell me something about the grandparent who meant a lot to you. I adored my grandfather who, at Sunday dinners, would always say “Chicken ain’t nothin’ but a bird” before sharpening the knives and carving up my grandmother’s beloved roast chicken.
- Name a teacher from your past who impressed you and why? My 5th grade teacher Mr. Holt comes to mind here because he made me aware of what I was unaware of. One day, for instance, after saying the pledge, he asked us to write out the words, which clearly proved that I had no idea what I was saying each morning. (I wrote something like, I plejalleegents to the flag.) And in what seems unimaginable these days, he arranged for another teacher to burst into the room one day holding a banana like a gun and then asked us to write about what we saw. Many were convinced he did have a gun and many swore that he was masked, which led us all to understand that sometimes our eyes are unreliable.
- If you could invent a holiday, what would it be for? I second the suggestion of Lena Dunham, the star of the HBO show Girls:
Answers to Tammy Mulligan’s questions:
- What are you reading right now? The Christmas present I gave to myself: Archangel by another of my favorite writers, Andrea Barrett. It’s a gorgeous collection of historical fiction short stories that all involve characters who are scientists.
- Why did you decide to settle in the town you are living in now? Having grown up in the suburbs of New York City, I moved to Colorado when I was twenty positive I’d never come back. Ten years later, graduate school and a sick parent brought me back to the city, and falling in love with Brooklyn made me stay.
- Why blogging? Because I don’t really know who I am if I’m not writing—and blog posts are much more forgiving than a book.
Answers to Heather Rader’s questions:
- What is a great read aloud book? I read The Doll Bones by Holly Black over the summer and think it would make a marvelous read aloud for a fifth or sixth grade class.
- What are titles of compelling documentaries or foreign films you’ve enjoyed? A few weeks ago I saw the Italian film “The Great Beauty,” which I thought was magnificent. It was the next best thing to being in Rome (which, in my book, is just about the best thing there is).
- What color is on your living room walls? Do you love it or hate it? Having lived with colored walls for some time, I went back to basic white a few years ago—but I did do an accent wall in the living room I love that’s like the Sherman Williams Goldfinch.
And now for the fun part: I’d like to share some blogging love with some of the wonderful education bloggers I’ve had the privilege to meet through this blog, who in post after post share their thinking, their questions, their minds and their hearts:
Jan Burkins & Kim Yaris at Burkins & Yaris
Tomasen Carey at ConversationEducation
Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading (which she writes with Franki Sibberson)
Steve Peterson at Inside the Dog
Julieanne Harmatz at To Read To Write To Be
Fran McVeigh at Resource-Full
Matt Karlson at the Opal School Blog
Colette Bennett at Used Books in Class
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
Carrie Gelson at There’s a Book for That
Tara Smith at A Teaching Life
And here are 11 questions, which, if you’re tempted to bend the rules, feel free to pick & choose from:
- What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
- What did you learn from your mother?
- Where do you write?
- Where do you find joy in your classroom or work?
- What do you do to recharge?
- What was your favorite book as a child and why did you love it?
- If you could have dinner (or coffee or drinks) with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you want to ask him or her?
- Do you have a quote that you keep (in your mind, a notebook, a pocket, your desk, etc.) that captures something that seems important to you? If so, what is it?
- What are you afraid of?
- How do you feel about being the age you currently are?
- If you could go back to one moment in time, when & where would that be & why?
And now, it’s back to my my blogging break . . .