Friday, January 3, 2014

Blogging Challenge, Sunshine Award, Homework Meme, Etc., Etc...

So my friend Tom Whitford tagged me for this PLN Blogging Challenge. I'd like to publicly thank Tom for this opportunity. He clearly knows how much I like to write or talk about myself…NOT!  However, I will endeavor to do my best to answer the questions he's posed and in so-doing, help those of you who carve out the time to read this some small measure of assistance in getting some sleep. I strongly recommend you save this for your night table reading. You'll be out in no time.

Here are the rules of the challenge:
1) Acknowledge the nominating blogger (check!)
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).

Here we go…

Eleven Random Facts About Me:
1) I am married and have two boys ages 17 and 13. We have two cats, Wrigley and Ivy. Like my nominator Tom, I used to have a dog--a cocker spaniel named Shiloh. He was great and I miss HIM. But honestly, I don't miss having a dog; they're more work than I have time for right now and that's not fair to the dog.

2) I was born in Moline, Illinois and with the exception of two years of college and three years of working in school districts in central Illinois, I have lived in the Illinois Quad Cities my entire life. Some would consider that depressing. My opinion on the matter is not a static one.

3) I was a social studies teacher at the high school level before becoming an administrator. I have been principal of both a high school and an elementary school. I moved to the elementary level to have more time with my family. I know…AWWWWWWWWWWW. Hush up! I approached the job with some trepidation but I have found that I love being an elementary school principal.

4) I wear a size 12 shoe.
5) I like to cook. My family knows when I've had a challenging day because I usually end up cooking something rather elaborate for dinner. Cooking forces me to focus on that one thing when I need to my attention away from other things for a bit.

6) I love baseball, in particular the Chicago Cubs which means I'm a sucker for hard-luck cases. My office has been decorated to look like Wrigley Field complete with a brick wall, a basket and ivy. There was even a write up about it in our local paper, The Dispatch.
7) I love to read and my taste in literature is rather eclectic. I just finished reading a great piece of fiction called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. I'm currently reading the newest book by Doris Kearns Goodwin called The Bully Pulpit about TR, William Howard Taft, and the Muckrakers.

8) I used to love to refinish and build furniture but I don't seem to have the time for it anymore between my job and my two boys and all of their activities. I'll get back to it someday. My dad was a carpenter and taught me some things before he passed away. Woodworking is one way that I can make it feel as though my dad is still with me. Whenever I'm able to solve a particularly challenging problem or finish a difficult piece, I always look over my shoulder and say, "Thanks, Dad."

9) I'm involved in the #500in2014 challenge on Twitter. I'm looking forward to getting back into some semblance of shape.

10) I had a music scholarship my first two years of college. I played classical clarinet and jazz saxophone. I was in the Illinois Music Educators Association All State Honors Band my senior year of high school. I considered becoming a music teacher for a time but my love of history and the social studies won out in the end.

11) Many of my friends believe that I would make a good game show host. I think they're right. Listen to this…"Thousand dollar space on the wheel and the category is Before and After." "Nuff said! 

Now to Answer the 11 Questions From the Challenge!
1) Chicago Style or New York Style Pizza? This is a trick question. Pizza should never be a this OR that proposition but a this AND that one. Both styles are delicious and represent well in their own right.  However, if you put a gun to my head and force me to name my favorite pizza I would have to say sausage from Harris Pizza, a local place here in Rock Island. Their sausage pizza is the best!  It's "Quad Cities Style Pizza" which is probably different from the pizza that most of you know. I strongly urge you to try it if you ever find yourself in the Quad Cities. Let me know you're coming and I'll be happy to serve as your host!

2) I know it should be pizza, but what is your favorite food? It is, in fact, pizza. Hands down. There are so many different varieties with so many different toppings, I could eat it every day for every meal.

3) What is the best leadership book you've ever read? There are so many. Everything written by Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) would have to be on the list but of all of his books, the one that has probably been the most influential on me is What Great Principals Do Differently. I also have described Shifting the Monkey as transformative in terms of how I handle my work.

4) What is your favorite fiction book that is a series (at least 3 books)? I love the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. The Hunt for Red October absolutely hooked me. I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for "The Shadow Recruit" to hit theaters in a couple of weeks. Chris Pine is now not only Captain Kirk but Jack Ryan, too! That dude has it made! It helps that he's a pretty good actor.

5) What is the ONE national conference you would like to attend?  ASCD. I've never been but would love to go.

6) What is the funniest thing you can recall seeing on Twitter?  The invitation to complete this challenge. That anyone would be remotely interested in any of this about me I find absolutely hilarious!
7) What or who makes you laugh the most often? My youngest son. He's hilarious and can make me laugh on the inside even when I have to be upset with him on the outside. I'm convinced that he's either going to host The Tonight Show one day or star in COPS--he'll be the one NOT wearing the badge.
8) Who, besides your spouse, children, or parents has made you a better person/teacher/leader?  This one's easy--Dr. Jeff Zoul, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in Deerfield, IL.  (@Jeff_Zoul). I only had the privilege of working with him for a year but I learned more from him in a year than I learned in a lifetime of doing this before he joined us in Rock Island-Milan. Jeff made me believe in myself and helped me to recognize my potential. I've still got a lot to learn and there are a lot of areas of my work that I can improve on, but Jeff helped light a fire in my belly to be better by the example he set every day. He's a great friend and mentor and I hope to have the opportunity to work with him again someday.

9) Share a challenge you overcame that has made you a better person/teacher/leader. They never taught me in principal's school how to react when someone I work with sits on the other side of my desk and tells me that they have only a few weeks to live. You learn a lot about the value of relationships and the importance of community when that happens. I've had that happen twice now. I pray to God that it never happens again. But through it I became a more compassionate leader. I better realize how fragile and fleeting things can be. Enjoy the moment because once it's gone, it's gone. Care about people more than you thought possible and take care in what you say; you never know when you will  see someone or talk to someone for the last time…

10) What are you going to do with the $250 million you win in the lottery? After donating a substantial sum to my church, my employer and my kids' school district (with the requirement that they never, ever bother me for money ever again), I would make sure my children's educations were taken care of, set up a trust fund for them FOR LATER IN LIFE WHEN THEY'RE HOPEFULLY RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO HANDLE A LARGE SUM OF MONEY, set up some sort of charitable trust, and then probably retire to a life of volunteer work. I would also like to see some of the world that I've only read about in books before I'm too old and broken down to get around.

11) What one change would you make in education? Equitable funding. I've always subscribed to the belief that money will not guarantee a good education, but the lack of it will guarantee a bad one. I actually won the lottery once, not $250M of course but I won a three point shooting contest at halftime of an old CBA game and won 500 instant lottery tickets. I think I won around $750. I spent it on me.

My Questions to My Bloggers (listed below): I borrowed some of these or adapted them from Tom's list.  He never said that was against the rules!
1) Coke or Pepsi?
2) List the items you would have on the menu for your "last meal".
3) If you were not an educator, what profession would you have liked to pursue and why?
4) What is the best leadership book you have ever read and why?
5) What is your favorite movie and what about it makes it meaningful to you in some way?
6) What is the one place you would like to visit in the world that you haven't been to?
7) Who has had the biggest influence on your professional life?
8) Share your favorite joke.
9) Who is a hero of yours and why? (Caveat--You cannot say your parents. spouse, partner, or kids.  That's just a cheap way to win brownie points!)
10) What is one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn?
11) Smooth or crunchy?

My Bloggers: I know some of you may have participated already. However, like Tom, I have a tendency to come into these things a bit late! And if you don't have a blog, I've included you on the list because you SHOULD have one! Hopefully this will give you a little push.

1. Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy)
2. Lolly Daskal (@LollyDaskal)
3. Tracee Orman (@MrsOrman)
4. Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher)
5. Michael Carton (@michaelcarton)
6. Michael McLendon (@mclendonm)
7. Seth Berg (@BergsEyeView)
8. Allison Jackson (@azajacks)--We're not letting up on you, Allison!
9. Becky Ince (@Ince22)
10. Jenna Shaw (@Teachbaltshaw)
11. Justin Baeder (@eduleadership)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Mike! I enjoyed reading/learning more about you. And I agree about Harris Pizza! It's the best! Do you know my husband, Jason? You two have a lot in common. He coaches baseball for Erie-Prophetstown and teaches social studies at EHS.

    I posted mine today (wow...took me a long time!). Thanks for tagging me & have a great finish to the year! Here's my post: