Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Sunshine Award!

I feel so fortunate and honored to be nominated by Leah Mermelstein for the Sunshine Award.  Thank you Leah!

The Sunshine Award is an opportunity for bloggers to recognize each other.  It is an awesome way to share the “sunshine” with each other and the blogging we are committed to.

The Sunshine Award was started by Matt Renwick, an elementary principal in Wisconsin (@readbyexample). Here are the rules Matt lists in his post:

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.

6.  Let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

Here are my responses to Matt’s List:

1.  I am married to an amazing man, Sam, who is a woodworker.  We have 2 wonderful children, Lydia, who is teaching 6th grade this year and our son, Sam, who is with the Coast Guard Reserve.  We live in the Champlain Islands with our dog, Bea and our daughter’s cat, Theodore.  I am grateful for all the people in my live.

2.  I am passionate about learning and believe in making a difference for others.

3.  I manage 5 blogs, use kidblogs with my Kindergarten students and believe that using blogging as a platform is a wonderful way to capture, connect and enhance what you explore inside and outside of the classroom.

4.  I believe strongly in having a PLN. My PLN is always available to inspire, support and challenge my thinking.

5. I am up everyday by 5 AM and work out in the morning and then swim, do yoga and zumba in the evening.

6.  I am usually in bed early. I need a lot of sleep and rest to recharge.

7.  I have been published a lot this past year and am currently working on a book publication.  Inspiring and very exciting.  This became possible through my PLN!

8.  I get nervous about traveling.  I am fine when I am on my way, but anxious until the plane takes off. I am flying to Atlanta this summer to present at #ISTE 2014, then on to Wisconsin to visit my parents.

9.  I love to knit.  I created a knitting blog to share what I am knitting and hoping to connect with others that are passionate about this art as well.

10.  I believe that everyone can learn and has the right to learn.  I feel that using technology gives everyone a voice and an opportunity to experience what and how they are learning.

11. I look forward to teaching everyday.  My students are full of excitement and it is contagious.

Here are the questions that Leah asked me along with my answers:

1.What inspires you to blog? I am inspired to share my story and voice.  Blogging gives me a way to do this at my convenience, on my own timeline.  I want to connect with others as well so that I can grow and be inspired to share.

2. What is the hardest/most frustrating thing about blogging?  Learning new platforms can be a huge learning curve, but with the support of my PLN and other bloggers I persevere.

3. Can you share a defining moment you’ve had in the field of education? The most recent is my acceptance to present at #ISTE 2014.  For me this was unbelievable, an honor.  It reminded me that we all have amazing stories and experiences to share.  I am so thrilled that I will be able to share mine with such a large and inspiring group of educators.

4. Can you share your funniest moment in the field of education? When I first introduce the idea of using twitter and social media in Kindergarten one of my students asked;”Mrs. D. don’t forget we need to be twittering today!”

5. What do you hope for in the coming year? I look forward to my first book being published.  I hope to meet more people who are passionate about their work and interests because through these connections I get inspired and find courage to keeping sharing.

6. How does blogging help your teaching? Blogging gives me and my students opportunities to explore the idea of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.  Blogging also is a fun, easy way to capture what you are exploring and discovering.  It is a great platform to connect globally as well as share your voice with a larger audience.  Through sharing we gain a variety of perspectives.  Perspectives are important because they inspire and challenge our thinking.

7. How does teaching help your blogging? Through blogging I can be completely transparent about what and why I am doing. I think it strengthens my understanding of concepts and experiences.  It offers me endless opportunities to reflect on my practice and the discoveries I am making in regards to learning and my passions.

8. What advice would you give to someone about writing? Just do it!  I was an awful writer and did not do well in high school or college.  My teachers didn’t have any confidence in me at all.  Now I have published pieces with ISTE, SmartBlog on Education, Eduwin and currently have a book publication.  You have the power to make it happen!  Just do it!

9. What advice would you give to someone about teaching? Be well physically and emotionally, be sure to laugh and have fun.  Learning is messy and through your mistakes you will find inspiration and do some of your best learning!

10.  What is is your favorite thing to do to relax? I enjoy knitting, physical exercise, yoga, zumba and walking with my husband, Sam and our dog, Bea.  I also enjoy watching netflix’s on my iPad!

11.  Are there any responses to your blog that have really stood out?   Many have, but one that stood out for me was a comment left by Beth.  She said;”I just love reading your stuff, Sharon. I get so inspired by you and your ideas. They way you connect your students to the greater context with ease is phenomenal. Keep on keeping on!” What were they and why did they stand out? This stood out for me because she recognized the essence of my post while also supporting me and what I am doing inside and outside of my classroom.  Encouragement and recognition is important because it gives us feedback and perspective.

I would like to nominate:


Heidi Echternacht

Margaret Powers

Aviva Dunsiger

Hello Fellow Bloggers! Here are my eleven questions for you to answer.  I hope they give you an opportunity to reflect, be inspired and share with your readers.  You have all inspired and continue to inspire me.   And now, Heidi, Amy, Margaret and Aviva  I can’t wait to hear your random facts.  I hope you have fun playing around with your Sunshine Award! I look forward to reading your responses, reflections, ideas and thoughts.

My 11 Questions To You:

1. Who inspires you?

2. What are your passions? How do you know they are?

3. Where do you “go” for inspiration and support?

4. Why do you blog?

5. How do you decide what to blog about?

6. Share a book you have just read. Why are you sharing it?

7. Share a comment left on your blog that you liked, inspired you.

8. Do you have a PLN? Why?

9. What advice would you give to someone starting a blog?

10. What advice would you give to a new teacher? Why?

11. What are you thinking about in the year ahead in regards to your own learning?

I wish you all a wonderful new year filled with everything you enjoy!

Best, Sharon

Being Intentional: Being Passionate: Being Transparent

Hip, hip hooray!  Tomorrow I get to go to Kindergarten and celebrate the new year with my students!

I have been reflecting a lot about how fortunate I am to have so many passions and also the importance of sharing them as well as modeling how passions can lead to making a difference for others.  Tomorrow I begin a new year with my Kindergarten students and I look forward to reconnecting with them and their families as we move into a new year of learning together.

Passion for me is something that inspires me and captures the essence of what I enjoy and am learning from.  It supports my confidence and gives me opportunities to share my voice. As an educator it is really important for me to have passions that challenge my thinking both inside and outside of my classroom.  Through my challenges I have opportunities to model how I persevere and grow.

This past year I have connected with some amazing people thanks to twitter, Skype, facebook and my amazing and inspiring PLN.  I continue to feel fortunate in experiencing the value of how we can all touch others in ways we never thought possible and inspire change to happen.

Opportunities that appeared for my students, their families, others:

* my students care very much about “filling buckets”(inspired by a story;”Have You Filled A Bucket Today?”)

* students inspired and connected with other classrooms to begin to use twitter and Skype to connect

*my kindergarten students collected food and are finding ways to make a difference for others inside/outside of Kindergarten

*students experiencing and exploring how kidblog can inspire them and give them a platform to share

*students are blogging about what matters to them and then sharing with a larger audience

*students all have voices and are using a variety of tools to share what they are learning

*students are developing close relationships inside and outside of our classroom that support their ideas in regards to learning.

*students are modeling and experiencing “how to” be a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen

*kindergarten students being models for each other and problem solving

* students modeling how to collaborate and have conversations in a variety of ways that promote critical thinking

*kindergarten students discovering their voice and experiencing how to share it

*students are learning how to learn*


My students and I have had the pleasure of connecting with a grandparent of a couple of my students who has discovered how Skype can support and facilitate face to face conversations.  My students have also inspired and modeled for a Kindergarten classroom in Wisconsin about how twitter can give you opportunities to “talk” to others and share.  We are also experiencing together that the world is huge and amazing and how we can share our ideas.  We created a map that reminds us where and how we are connecting with others.  This has been amazing because it reflects who we have inspired and who has inspired us in regards to our learning.


I look forward to thinking of how I can capture, model and share not only what we are learning in Kindergarten, but how we are doing it!  I strive to be intentional and explicit and hope to continue to model the importance of how much fun learning is.  My wish is for all students to want to learn, to desire to know and to be passionate about what interests them.  A huge task I know, but a task I welcome because what I do each day is meaningful and it does make a difference. 

Transformation is important because it captures the essence of who we are and all that we have to offer.  This past year thanks to my PLN I have been challenged and inspired as well as supported.  My PLN is full of amazing people that I may never have the opportunity to meet face to face, but they are always available and willing to support, share, connect, inspire and challenge my thinking.  I will be forever grateful for this.