Skip to main content

Sunshine Blog

I've always enjoyed reading the Sunshine Blogs and have always associated them with "real bloggers" so I was quite excited to learn I was nominated! I began blogging this past summer after encouragement from my Twitter friend, Rafranz Davis; and while I am not always the most consistent, I do enjoy the process of blogging.... however, my favorite is to read others' blogs. I learn so much from so many talented educators through their blog, so hopefully I can give back the love and share a little about me! 
Here is how it works:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. 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.)
My Nominating Blogger
My nominating blogger is Dana Ariss. I came to know Dana through the collaborative Global Read Aloud project both of our classes were participating in. Since then, I have followed her on Twitter and followed her blog. To me, she is the definition of passionate educator. Her zest for life is evident in every post, every email, every Tweet. Another attribute I greatly admire about Dana is her patience. She is always quick to give an encouraging word, a reassuring comment, and just has an easiness about her you don't often find in many educators (self included). 
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I read magazines starting at the back and work my way forward. Not sure why I do this, but the thought of reading a magazine front to end seems kind of boring.
2. I’m an introvert. Large social crowds where I know many of the people make me anxious; large social crowds where I don't know a soul make me happy, I think because I don't feel that there is any expectations of me and can happily people watch. Small social gatherings are when I'm at my happiest- socially speaking.
3. I visited Russia during the coldest winter on record, even to this day.
4. I could eat chips and salsa and/or french fries all day and think they are the best foods available!
5. I hate talking on the phone, and prefer to text. I know there are many that frown upon this- but I've always hated talking on the phone (except for my teen years when "No, you hang up first..." was popular). Texting allows me to visit with people throughout the day.
6. I'm hands-down the best procrastinator I know. I get the most done in the hour before the deadline. 
7. My newest daily must-have drink is Diet Mountain Dew. (Switched from Diet Dr Pepper.)
8. I taught for five years, then quit to take a job as Director of Christmas Education and then moved into the position of Youth Director for four years before returning to the classroom. 
9. This is my 11th year to teach. Sometimes I feel just as green as the first day I taught; other days I feel like a seasoned teacher. 
10. My favorite thing to buy is new pajamas. My family tells me I have too many as it is. 
11. I love eating frozen grapes.
11 Questions For Me
1. Why teaching?
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. For me, there was no lightbulb moment. Being a teacher is just what I always knew I was to be. I find that I'm at my happiest visiting with students about their lives, hobbies, etc. and sharing new things with them. This year, I have the joy of seeing both of my children at school each day. It's awesome to see my own kids in my favorite place. 
2. Who or what is your greatest inspiration?
I'd have to say all of the excellent educators and agents of change I've met/follow on Twitter. I always value what Tom Whitby posts as a veteran educator who speaks his mind but is open to change. His ability to question practices we see in education, throw his own beliefs out there for discussion, and listening to others is huge in today's dichotomy of I'm right/You're wrong beliefs.
3. What is one new thing you have tried this year?
Combining Skype and Today's Meet= AWESOME collaboration and a highlight for kids (Thanks, Dana!!)
4. What would your ideal day look like?
This is a tough one, usually the day in my head and the actual events that transpire are wildly different. But, ideally speaking, everyone would show up in a good mood after a healthy breakfast with their family; no materials would be misplaced or hard to find during a rockstar lesson; everyone would work well together in collaborative groups; students would go home professing all of the new knowledge they learned during the day; I would happily go running or some other type of exercise; and go to bed early. 
Now... let's be honest. My day typically looks NOTHING like this... and actually I am quite thankful. If my days went as ideally as I'd like them to, I wouldn't appreciate the small victories in a student's progress, nor the effort and flexibility it takes to make the calling of teaching a fulfilling career. And I most likely wouldn't be the connected educator I strive to be because my students NEED all that I can possibly bring them during the school year. 
5. Who was the best teacher you ever had and why?
Miss Rebecca Cook, third grade. I remember her class the most with the fondest memories. I remember the fuzzy feeling of being loved and cared for as a student. She was young, and with no children we were her babies. She was always patient and optimistic. Even when we didn't do well- she would cheer us on and encourage us to do better. She recently won the REAUD Award for Excellence in Teaching- a very prestigious award in my area.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world other than where you currently live, where would it be?
Tennessee or South Tahoe- pretty landscapes, nice weather, and many visible fireflies at night.
7.  What is something you are looking forward to in 2014?
Warmer weather- spring is my favorite time of year both in school and out. 
8.  Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Depends on what I've left to do until the last minute. :) (Read Random Fact #6) Usually I like to be ready for bed by 9 and then read through blogs and flip through recommended websites till bedtime. With no alarm, I'm usually up for my first cup of coffee around 7AM. For me, that's early.
9.  What is your favourite band or music artist?
Tie between Van Morrison (I like old-school), Coldplay, and the David Crowder Band (although they are no longer touring together).
10. Why Twitter? 
This is an easy one!-- because it is the best at-your-fingertips PD and idea generator we have available. The cherish and value my Tweeps ideas and opinions on education, even when I don't 100% agree with them. I've learned through Twitter to connect more, to think big, and challenged to help my kids see beyond our four walls.
11. Mac or PC? Android or iPhone?
Currently have a PC but would love a Macbook. Just haven't made the leap. And hands-down iPhone. Couldn't do without it. I'm too accustomed to having the world at my fingertips.
11 Bloggers I’m Nominating
10. TJ Adams
11. Janamac
11 Questions For The Nominees
1. Biggest challenge you see facing today's educators?
2. If you could trade the grade level you teach for only a day, what grade would you choose (other than the one you currently teach or previously have taught) and why?
3. Best technology integration your students enjoy the most?
4. How many years have you been an educator?
5. What does your typical day look like as far as scheduling?
6. If you could take only one item on a trip for a week, what item would you take and why?
7.  Biggest love?
8.  What's your favorite food/ best place to eat?
9.  If you were/are an administrator, what is one thing you would want your teachers to know?
10. Why Twitter?
11. If you could live during any era, which era would you enjoy and why?


  1. Reading through this, it's easy for me to understand why we connect so well. I could've written all but 3, 7, 8, and 11 in the first section about myself (and I took Russian in high school, so 3 is relevant. LoL). I owe you an email response, but it's not so easy on my cell phone and you heard what happened to my Chromebook. Just wanted to let you know you're on my mind, I admire you, and I'm sending special holiday wishes your way. ~Katrina

  2. Ok well your comment made my day! Miss you and think of you often! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!! Talk to you soon!!

  3. LOL! Your 11 random facts make me believe we are the same person! I read magazines back to front while eating frozen grapes and chips and salsa. Seriously, that was eerie. Thanks for opening up, sharing your thoughts, and including me on your list. I did a post a couple of weeks ago but need to go back and do a part two now. Happy New Year!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Change and the Top 5 Things I Learned This Year

.... and there is was. I loved my classroom. I loved my kids. I loved those things and they were great... But I wanted something even more than that. I wanted to be able to focus on reading with small groups of students at a time in order to understand their individual needs; to try to get a glimpse into why they struggled year after year, to be a source of encouragement, and ultimately to help them be a little better at reading and comprehending than before they'd ever met me. So... to do this- to go after what I wanted but had never had, I had to do some things I had never done. I had to leave my intimately cozy school where I truly considered each person there a part of an extended family unit. I had to load up 8 years worth of materials and teacher junk and haul it to a new school; and not just any school... to a MIDDLE school! The horror! I had always sworn I would never... COULD never teach in a junior high/middle school setting, and here I was scrambling over boxes and giv…

Being Reminded by My Annoyance

Ahhh... the Christmas Winter Break. Staying up late followed by closing the shades so we can sleep in the next morning, relishing in the fact that 5 AM will come and go and we will never know. I'm not sure about you and your family, but my family and I love the laziness of the Christmas Holidays. It wasn't until I caught myself becoming increasingly annoyed (...and often) that I realized while we were basking in the unstructured, late-morning routines, my son was missing some very crucial parts of his- and sadly, none of us realized it.

K's two main areas of struggles, as far as sensory processing go, are Vestibular and Proprioception. Our Vestibular system allows us to accurately use our vision, prepare our posture, maintain balance, plan our actions, move, calm ourselves, and regulate our behavior. When his is out of whack and his body feels he isn't receiving enough input, we notice he is on the go more. Not really running around, just aimlessly wandering around (usu…

Making Appointments- a collaboration strategy

Autonomy and collaboration are two buzz words you hear often right now in the realms of education chatter. And for those days when collaboration means within our own classroom, it seems like this is the day autonomy needs to be focused on the most. I can take the same two students and match them up to work as partners, who would have normally joined up anyway- but there is something about the teacher doing the matching that often times sets things on a bad foot right away. I noticed this when school first started. I would watch the groups and partners gather in clusters when I simply said for them to partner up- versus watching their reactions when I actually called them out, putting them in very similar groupings. There is something to be said for students feeling like they have a say in who they work with. I guess we are no different as adults.

I saw a strategy at a workshop last year called "Making Appointments" that I envisioned as a complete train wreck, but one day last…