Tuesday, December 31, 2013

PLN Blogging Challenge

Most of you have probably seen the blog challenges going around on Twitter.  Some have been called the Sunshine Award, the Homework Meme, etc.  I haven't really paid much attention to those little chirps until now. 

"Tag, you're it!" was the message that popped up on my iPad, alerting me that I had received a tweet.  Thank you, Jessica Johnson, for "tagging" me and motivating me to dust off the old keyboard.  It's been quite awhile since I've taken the time to sit down and write anything on my blog.  2013 brought many changes for me--as you will soon read below. Hopefully I will be able to get back into the rhythm of writing in 2014.  This challenge may have been just what I needed to kickstart the process!

 The rules of the challenge
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.  (Thanks again, Jessica!)
  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.)

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I am a newlywed.  My husband, JD, and I recently got married in Las Vegas.  We are very happy!

2.  I recently received the first stamp on my passport as I traveled outside of the U.S. for the first time in my life.  We visited Aruba for our honeymoon. If you have never been there, I would highly recommend it.  The weather is perfect--88 degrees and sunny every day. 

3.  I have four children--3 sons and 1 daughter, ages 26, 24, 22, and 19.  Three of whom I've called my own since birth and one recent addition via marriage. 

4.  In 2013, I moved from Indiana (where I had lived my entire life) to Georgia.  My husband is from Georgia, and we decided that we were going to make our home there.  In the process, I resigned from an elementary principal position in Indiana that I absolutely loved.  I was very anxious about finding a new position in Georgia, but as it turns out, I found another position that I love very much as well!  I am the proud principal of Bethlehem Elementary in Bethlehem, GA.  As my mother told me as I was preparing for the job interview-- "Good things happen in Bethlehem."  Mom--you were right!

5.  I was a late bloomer.  I began my college career as a 25-year-old mother of three.  I went to school full time and was blessed to have my amazing mom help care for my kids while I attended classes. It was very rewarding to have my family in attendance as I walked across the stage to receive my degree.  

6.  In keeping with the late bloomer theme, I got my first teaching position at the age of 30.  I taught fourth grade for two years before transferring to another elementary in which I taught second grade for six years.   Another fun fact:    The first year I taught fourth grade, my oldest son was in fourth grade, and the first year I taught second grade, my daughter was in second grade.  (They attended a different elementary school.)

7.  I never really planned on becoming a principal.  I absolutely loved teaching and thought that I would always be in the elementary classroom.  Through opportunities to serve as a teacher leader, I found that I had a real passion for instructional leadership.  With some encouragement from the people around me, I enrolled in a Master's Degree program and ended up landing an assistant principal position before I had even finished my degree.  After three years as an assistant, I landed my first principal position.   I can't imagine being anything but a principal now!  (Although, I will ALWAYS consider myself a teacher.)

8.  I would love to write a book.  I am not sure what type of book I want to write yet, but I know when the time is right I will know what I am supposed to write.  Right?  

9.  I love to read.  My parents instilled this in me right from the very beginning.  I can remember many read alouds, and my mom still has some of my favorite childhood picture books memorized from reading them so many times.  While I kind of lost the love of reading for most of my middle school and high school years, I know that it was their love for books and reading and the solid foundation they had set that brought me back to something I dearly love.  When my husband and I were recently with my parents for the holidays, we watched my dad soar through a new James Patterson novel in one sitting.  Needless to say, my husband knows where I get it from now!

10.  It is my goal to run the Peachtree Roadrace in Atlanta in July.  There.  I needed to see that in print.

11.  I recently saw my celebrity crush in concert, and I am not ashamed to admit that I screamed and carried on like a teenager.  It was three hours of pure bliss!

Now, to answer the questions that Jessica posed.

1.  What is your favorite tv show?  New Girl, SportsCenter

2. What is one app or resource you’ve learned about on Twitter that has been a game changer for you at work? I can't really narrow this down to one resource since I believe Twitter has made me a better principal overall.  The resource that I find most valuable?  The people in my PLN.  I have learned so much from them and carry that with me into school each day.
3. What is your typical bedtime? I'm usually in bed by 10 or 10:30, but I've been known to be in bed by 9:00 if I'm really tired.  
4. Best book you’ve read in 2013? Tough question!  Can't narrow it to just one, so here are a few of my favorites of the year:  Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy), Requiem (Delirium Trilogy), Navigating Early, Reading in the Wild
5. Favorite Twitter Chat: #satchat and #titletalk
6. Best place you’ve vacationed? Aruba 
7. How has your PLN impacted you? I have taken many of my PLN's  great ideas back to school with me as a springboard for improvement or inspiration.  When I'm in need of an "educational pick-me-up", all I have to do is click on the little blue and white birdie on my ipad or phone and my PLN is there to help with anything I might be searching for.
8. What motivates you each day to be an educator?  The students and teachers motivate me each day.  I go to work each day eager and ready to learn, and I want my students and teachers to feel the same way.  Feeling like I have the opportunity to make an impact on any one of the hundreds of lives in my building each day is very rewarding.
9. What was the most amazing lesson you ever facilitated or observed? I'm going to "ditto" Jessica on this answer.  She wrote, "I’m always amazed when I see my teachers leading mini-lessons in reading/writing during the Daily 5 block. I wish I could go back in time and teach that way, because it’s so much more engaging and student centered than how I taught."  I feel the same way.  I wish I would have been able to implement this in my classroom.  I am always in awe when I see it working the way it is meant to! (I would also have to add that observing Ron Clark teach a lesson at the Ron Clark Academy was a pretty amazing experience, too!)
10. If you had a whole day to do just what you wanted, what would it be?  Spend time with my family
11. Favorite tv show when you were growing up? American Bandstand, The Brady Bunch, The Bionic Woman, Little House on the Prairie  (Dating myself here....)

Join the Challenge:
The same questions are posed to the following 11 bloggers.  Who's up for the challenge?

3.  John Schu

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