Sunshine Blog

Twitter is aflutter with Sunshine Blog posts. Thanks to @mlbertram (Mary) for the mention. Not one to break a chain, here goes my sunshine blog post….

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.)

Well, thanks Mary Bertram! I first “met” her on Twitter through #cdnedchat and #EdCampWPG and then met her in real life! Love hearing how she is encouraging her students to learn and create, and how she is connecting through Twitter and blogging!

Random facts about myself:
1. I’ve spent a few summers in Zambia, training teachers and administrators. I loved my time there, and miss those people greatly.

2. I’m a fraternal twin. I am five minutes older than my twin sister, thus I remind her that I am her elder. (Grin.) doesn’t help much, but it’s fun to say that!

3. I love music. I grew up listening to my parents sing, my dad play guitar, and my older sister play the piano. I sing in a Renaissance octet, play piano, and used to write background music with a synthesizer I no longer own. (Korg, my old friend, I miss you!)

4. I love to bake. One of my other blogs involves trying out a lot of recipes and posting pictures of the finished products. I usually end up donating the results so I don’t gain too much weight from trying all the recipes!


5. I hope to own a Bed and Breakfast business when I retire. We already have plans drawn up for the construction of the place, and I have some menus I’ve been working on.

6. I am in the middle of writing my thesis for a Masters in Educational Administration and Foundations. I love to write and research!

7. I’m passionate about supporting students – and families – who are “disadvantaged”, whatever that looks like. Our system isn’t perfect, but I want to continually strive to make it better – particularly for those socioeconomically disadvantaged.

8. I have three siblings: my fraternal twin sister (also in education), an older sister (retired but was in health care), and an older brother (who could fundraise anything for anyone, sell anything to anyone, and ran his own business).

9. I am most relaxed when near a lake – calm, blue water…the sound of waves on a shoreline, the smell in the air, ahhhh.


10. Growing up, I was the kid in class who just didn’t have the “one or two dollars” for a field trip. We didn’t have a lot, but I was always warm and fed – and for that I am extremely thankful. I felt like a queen if I found a dime on the ground…back then, that could buy two pieces of candy at the Mac’s Convenience Store near us!

11. I love my dog. Selah is a Shihtzu, and she is 11 years old. She snuggles up to me when I feel sick.


Mary’s Questions:

1) If you could teach any grade/age what would it be and why? I’d love to teach middle years again – grades 7-8, love how the curricula overlap and you can mesh science, mathematics, social studies and health!

2) What would your dream classroom look like?
Something outside. I love BC’s outdoor “learn while you camp” schools – connecting learning with nature and sustainability appeals to me.

3) What is the 1 thing you hope your students gain from your teaching?
I hope all of my students (young and old) learn how to learn, and become passionate about something they are interested in.

4) What book would you recommend to a teacher needing some inspiration?
That would depend on the individual. Passionate about research? Try John Hattie’s original Visible Learning. Want to think outside the traditional educational box? Try anything by Alfie Kohn. Want a good laugh and some hidden hints at how to help students? Read Calvin and Hobbes. (Yes, the cartoon. Good stuff in there!)

5) Whiteboard and projector or Smartboard?
Slinky, air hockey table, and chemical storage room. (I taught high school physics and chemistry…the more experiments we did, the better!)

6) How do you inspire creativity in your students and colleagues?
Tweeting, blogging (modelling). Emailing and face to face conversations for encouragement!

7) What is the first thing you’d purchase if you won the lottery?
We talking about a “big win”? I’d pay for my mother’s rent for a year.

8) What has Twitter and blogging done for your teaching?
I stay connected with former colleagues, I have connected with educators around the globe, and it hones my thinking and beliefs about what it means “to educate”.

9) What is 1 thing we can all do to be better teachers tomorrow?
Get a good night’s rest. (Take care of yourself first!)

10) Best teaching memory.
One of my former students, Anna, has gone on to earn a physics degree. I’m all about empowering females, particularly in the fields of mathematics and science!

11) Quiet classroom or noisy classroom? Why?
Yes. (Both.) It’s not about what I want, it’s about what my students need. They need to learn to think for themselves (quietly, sometimes) and communicate for themselves (noisy, sometimes).

Thanks, Mary – Great questions!

So on whom will I shine the blogging light?
1. Chris Gamble (@csgamble) – former colleague and current administrator
2. John Scammell (@thescamdog) – math blogger and deep Twitter thinker
3. Dan Scratch (@danscratch03) – social studies teacher, social advocate and blogger
4. Zoe Bettess (@ZBettess) – founder of #mbedchat and connected Northern teacher
5. Georgette Nairn (@GeorgetteNairn) – #mbedchat moderator and Winnipeg teacher
6. Julia Hengstler (@jhengstler) – favourite edtech and digital citizenship Tweep of mine
7. Andrew Volk (@anvolk) – teacher, outside of the box thinker, MOOCer
8. Rhonda Jessen (@rljessen) – first met via #etmooc, now following on Twitter
9. Brandi Nicholausen (@Mrs_BN) – teacher, learning commons creative thinker, blow you out of the water with ideas educator
10. April Waters (@April_Waters) – teacher, blogger, passionate advocate for Indigenous rights and education
11. Lori Emilson (@LoriEmilson) – teacher, blogger, fellow math educator

My Questions for my Sunshine Blog Nominees:
1. First memory of school?
2. One thing to keep about current education system?
3. One thing to change about current education system?
4. Favourite site or app?
5. Student who shifted your thinking?
6. Leader who shifted your thinking?
7. Coffee, tea, or water?
8. Retirement dream?
9. Next year dream?
10. Why blog?
11. New year resolution?

Thanks Mary! Thanks nominees!


About tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader
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