Spreading Some Sunshine

my-only-sunshine-wallpaper-nature-picture-spring-images It is a rainy, dreary Monday here in Connecticut. What better day to spread a little sunshine? I felt incredibly honored to be nominated for the Sunshine Award by four bloggers: Amy Rudd of The “Rudd”er, Michelle Haseltine of One Grateful Teacher, Vicki Vinton of To Make A Prairie, and Julieanne Harmatz of To Read To Write To Be. The mission of the Sunshine Awards is to recognize bloggers who inspire.

The specifics are:

1.  Acknowledge the nominating blogger(s).

2.  Share 11 random facts about yourself.

3.  Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created for you.

4.  List 11 bloggers who inspire you.

5.  Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Eleven random facts about me:

  • I have rafted down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon twice. (You can read more about these adventures here and here.)
  • I won an award for cursive handwriting in 6th grade. photo-2
  • I have a stationary fetish. I love going into stationary stores (those that still exist) and buying beautiful notecards.
  • I love musicals; Funny Girl is my favorite.
  • I went to the prom with the inventor of LeapPad.
  • I live in the town where I grew up in a house built on land my great-grandfather bought in 1910.
  • I have a tendency to procrastinate. I also want things to be perfect. This is not a good combination.
  • I have never been a good speller. My spelling has improved significantly since I started teaching phonics.
  • I am a serial collector. Throughout my life, I have collected seashells, stamps, antique bottles, kitchen collectibles and McCoy pottery.
  • I am an excellent Trivial Pursuit/Jeopardy player. Collecting stamps helped me acquire a lot of facts about a wide variety of topics.
  • I love to knit.
A sweater I made for my great-nephew a few years ago.
A sweater I made for my great-nephew a few years ago.

Like other bloggers who were nominated by more than one person, I’ve chosen 3 questions from each person.

Vicki’s Questions:

1.What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island? In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust. I think it would me take a while, and it’s a book I’ve always wanted to read.

2. What did you learn from your mother? How to bake an apple pie, how to hem a skirt, and how to be a loving and generous person. She also taught me how to spell “mountain.” (see random fact #8 above)

3. Where do you find joy in your classroom or work? I work closely with struggling readers, so watching a child use a strategy to decode for the first time and realize that they’ve read the words and understood them is like watching a lock pop open. It’s an amazing sight.

Michelle’s Questions:

4. What’s your favorite quote? Why? “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein. I love this quote because it is the epitome of what Carol Dweck refers to as a “growth mindset;” that if you cultivate your passion and curiosity, anything is possible.

5. If you had a weekend (and money was no object), what would you do? Who would be with you? I would go to Florence, Italy and climb to the top of Brunilleschi’s dome at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and soak in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside. I should take my husband with me, but my friend Colette and I have talked about taking this trip for years.

By sailko via Wikimedia Commons
By sailko via Wikimedia Commons

6. What book are you reading right now? I typically have at least three books going at once. At the moment, my adult read is 11/22/63, by Stephen King, my mg/ya book is Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein, and my professional book is The Common Core Grammar Toolkit: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Language Standards in Grades 3-5, by Sean Ruday.

Amy’s Questions:

7. What’s your most favorite children’s book ever? Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White. This is the book that made me a reader. I wrote more about my experience with this book here.

8. What is your favorite young adult novel? At the moment, The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak is my favorite YA book. 

9. How do you prefer to read books, paper or electronic? I have a Nook and an iPad with a Kindle app that I use once in a while. I love the convenience of being able to get a book at odd hours and not having to lug a heavy book around when I’m travelling, but paper is still my preference.

Julieanne’s Questions:

10. Name one guilty pleasure. Chocolate, in any form at any time.

11. What motivated you to start blogging? I began blogging because I learn so much from the blogs I read, and I love the idea of being part of a community where I can share ideas and learn from others. This experience has been more rewarding that I ever imagined.

12. What is your next challenge? An ongoing challenge for me is working with teachers to update our writing curriculum. We’re making some headway, but sometimes the scope of this work overwhelms me.

Eleven bloggers who inspire me: (Just eleven!? There are so many amazing bloggers, creating this list was almost as much of a challenge as answering the questions!)

  1. Colette Bennett of Used Books in Class
  2. Melanie Meehan of Two Reflective Teachers
  3. Cathy Mere of Reflect & Refine
  4. Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup
  5. Tricia Stohr-Hunt of Miss Rumphius Effect
  6. Kate Roberts and Maggie Beattie Roberts of Indent
  7. Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader
  8. Kristi Mraz of Kinderconfidential
  9. Margaret Simon of Reflections on the Teche
  10. Kate Messner of Teachers Write! fame
  11. Gae Polisner of The Wee Bit Heap

My eleven questions:

1. Is there a “classic” book that you are embarrassed to admit you haven’t read?

2. What are your reading now?

3. What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learned from a student?

4. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite?

5. If you hadn’t become a teacher, what would you have been?

6. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

7. What’s the funniest thing a student ever said to you?

8. Tell something about the grandparent who meant a lot to you.

9. Where do you write?

10. Do you have a quote that inspires you?

11. What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

The sun is trying to poke through the clouds now. I guess sharing this sunshine chased the clouds away!

5 thoughts on “Spreading Some Sunshine

  1. Hi Catherine!

    Thanks so much for passing on the Sunshine Award to me. I’m so honored to be included in your list with so many bloggers I admire. 🙂

    Since I don’t usually do blog memes at Alphabet Soup, I’ve been answering one question in the comments for the bloggers who’ve nominated me. Let’s see, you’ve asked some intriguing things. Maybe I should answer more than one.

    A classic book that I’m embarrassed not to have read, and very well should have, since I majored in English is Milton’s Paradise Lost. I spent a lot of time with Shakespeare and Chaucer but never got around to Milton.

    The funniest thing a student ever said to me:

    “Mrs. Rattigan, what can I give you so you don’t flunk me? How about a case of champagne and twenty camels?”

    (This student was from a wealthy Middle Eastern family and I almost took him up on his offer. I figured I could let the thirsty camels drink the champagne.)

    Thanks again for the mention!


    • Not to worry, Jama! I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. I’m also an English major who hasn’t read Paradise Lost. The semester I took “Spenser and Milton” the focus was all on Spenser and we read The Faerie Queene, which I loved. I might have been tempted by the champagne, but wouldn’t know what to do with one camel, let alone twenty!
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing! “See” you Friday. 🙂


  2. Catherine,
    I thought I left a reply but it’s not here! Let’s see if this one sticks. You and I share many loves: chocolate, The Book Thief, Italy. And the Einstein quote speaks to my core beliefs. Suppose that’s why we teach!


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