Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunshine Award

I was just nominated by a wonderful colleague, Cathy Mere, for the Sunshine Award.  I was super excited since I am fairly new to the blogging world and my inspiration for blogging came from Cathy Mere and Julie Johnson.  Cathy is an amazing poet, writer and educator.  I was so lucky do my Literacy Collaborative training with her.  During our training she always had great ideas and her discussions made me think and reflect on what is best for kids.  Many years later, Cathy is still inspiring me to think and reflect on best practices, great books to read, and new apps to use in the classroom.  Thanks so much for the nomination.

Here is a description for the Sunshine Award shared by Matt Renwick:
The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger and then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know!
and the rules:
  • 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.)
Okay, here are 11 random facts about me:

1. It is an inspiring dream of mine to one day publish a book.  I am working on writing some poems about firefighting because my whole life has been influenced by firefighters or being at the firehouse.  My husband, Dan, is a firefighter at Norwich Fire Department.  I can totally visualize what the cover looks like and the title I have in mind is called Brotherhood.

2. My new obsessions right now would be Twitter and Lululemon Athletica clothes.  My husband and daughter got me hooked on wearing Lululemon clothes because they are so unbelievably  comfortable.  I kinda feel like I should start doing yoga because their clothes are really designed for yoga workouts.  

3. My favorite Christmas present of all time is my Shih Tzu named Daisy.  I always wanted to get a puppy for Christmas and 8 years ago my husband surprised me on Christmas morning with the most adorable black and white Shih Tzu.  She is a little diva dog!

4. I love to cook meals with my husband.  My favorite celeb chefs who I turn to for recipe ideas are Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), Rachel Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Paula Deen and Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa). I guess you could say I am a Food Network and Cooking Channel Junkie. 

5.  If I won the lottery I would do the following: travel with my family to Europe, buy a Louis Vutton purse and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.   

6.  My daughter plays softball so I love to watch college softball on ESPN or ESPNU.  

7.  I am a city girl so I love NYC, Chicago, and Vancouver.  I actually would love to live in Vancouver, British Columbia.  

8. I love writing workshop because it is so challenging and it can be overwhelming.  I like to work through the hard parts everyday.  It is frustrating to me when teachers think it is okay to NOT have their students write everyday.  Reading and writing are a reciprocal process so how can you justify that decision.  Donald Graves said, "All of us need writing as a survival tool in a very complex world."

9. My favorite books as a child were The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

10. I could spend hours in a bookstore.  I really enjoy going to Barnes and Noble. It is a special treat when I get to go to Cover to Cover in Clintonville, OH.  My kids do not like to go to Barnes and Noble with me because they know it is never a quick trip.  I always wanted to open a bookstore in Hilliard, Ohio because we don't have one and I love to be surrounded by books.  

11.  The first people who truly inspired me to implement a reading and writing workshop would be the following: Shelley Harwayne, Joanne Hindley, Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas.  I loved the books titled In The Company of Children by Joanne Hindley and The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy McCormick Calkins.

Now to answer the questions Cathy thought of...
  1. When you look out the window or door of your house, what do you see?  (What's your favorite view?) When I look out the patio door I see a creek and a few wild creatures, even though my house is in the suburbs.  Some of the critters I have observed are deer, great horned owls, hawks, bats and coyotes. I love that I can live in a subdivision but still enjoy a slice of nature as if I lived out in the country. 
  2. Ocean or mountains?  Most definitely ocean.
  3. What is the best vacation you've ever taken? A cruise to Alaska.  The scenery was breath taking and the glaciers were stunning.  Before we boarded the cruise ship we spent a day in Vancouver and it was so much fun!
  4. What is the best book you read in 2013? This is a really tough question.  I really enjoyed Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Mindset by Carol Dweck. It was too hard to pick just one, sorry.
  5. Who is your favorite book character?  Willow Chance from Counting by 7s. Why? She was a very unique and different character who was trying to fit in and get through a very difficult time in her life.  Her unique qualities touched and changed the lives of Dell, Mai, Quang-ha, Pattie and Jairo in such a heartwarming way.     
  6. What is the one thing you wish you could have someone else to do for you? Decorate my house.  
  7. What inspires you? My husband, other educators, my colleagues,  #nerdlution and getting writing advice from authors on twitter.
  8. What do you make time for? My family, reading, writing, and trying to make more time for walking my 2 dogs.  
  9. If you could spend a month on any continent with your expenses paid, where would you go?  Why? Europe because I would love to visit Paris and Barcelona.  
  10. What are your favorite games to play? I really don't play games but I would play Guess Who and Battleship with my son when he was younger.   
  11. If you could make one change in the world, what would you want to change?  For every child to have their basic needs met and to live in a safe environment.
11 questions (borrowing some questions from Jacki Prati and Cathy Mere)

1. Who would be the most motivating speaker you have listened to at a conference? Why?
2. Who are some authors you would like to meet some day?
3. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?
4. Would you recommend teaching to other people? Why/ Why not?
5. What is the best conference you have attended? 
6. What are some of your favorite professional books?
7. If you could try any job for a day, what job would you try?
8. If you won the lottery what charity would you donate money to?
9. What is you favorite dessert?
10.  What is the best vacation you have ever taken?
11. What book are you currently reading?

Invitation to Participate

Unfortunately, I don't have 11 bloggers to nominate because my blogging circle is so small.  So I have just 1 ...


  1. Tonya,
    I enjoyed reading your post. It made me miss our training days. I learned a lot of things I didn't know about your. I'm already looking forward to reading your book when it gets published. I think you have a great angle for your work....and a lot of insider information.

    I haven't been to Vancouver, but think it would be a good city to visit. I'm adding it to my list.

    I'm looking forward to your continued blogging.

  2. Thanks so much for the nomination and helping me get started blogging. I really enjoyed answering your questions and thinking of 11 random facts and new questions. Hopefully, one day my book of poems will get published.