The Sunshine Elevens

Happy New Year !

Eloquence. Contemplation. Whenever I read the work of Terry Elliot, those words describe how I feel, and I know I’m in for a time well spent on contemplating his ideas. And now he’s tagged me in the Sunshine Elevens Meme, so I feel like so many who follow, “His is a hard act to follow.”  I appreciate the tag and accept the challenge.  Here’s 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.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response.

Eleven Random Facts

  1. In my backyard is one of the tallest trees on our side of the river. It’s an American Plane tree, otherwise known as a sycamore. I know it is ancient, an ent from folklore, a giant guarding our community. Terry will appreciate that.
  2. And, to build imagination and wonder through folklore, our family creates our own myths from which to draw strength and imagine a better world, “What if…” We see dragons still swimming in their underworld, seen only in the rivers of our world.
  3. So my three Nanowrimo Novels are all based in both science and fantasy… imagine.
  4. I did not unschool my own kids, but I did ever-school them: I did give them the tools to be independent and critical thinkers. From the time they were small, I established wide boundaries filled with options and the freedom to create and imagine, while at the same time expecting them to learn from whoever or whatever is around them — in school or out.
  5. Two cats call our place home, and one even thinks our dog is her mom. Cats: because we are awed by tigers.
  6. Once, while attending a conference with my husband, I found myself eating breakfast next to Red Skelton [tribute, site] . Growing up with Gertrude and Heathcliff, I was honored when he offered to sit with me. He was charming, a gentle voice and kind eyes. Some of what I remember is that he wrote a love letter to his wife every day and practiced his show for four hours. Every day he wrote down something interesting, something humorous, something new, and four other things I’ve forgotten. Those were the fuel for his show. It was a blessing to have met him.
  7. I’m not an outdoors expert. I once got lost on an island in the middle of a lake. You know that rule, three points make a straight line — and follow three trees in a row? That’s what I did to find the shore again, and saw the cabins with huge bear claw marks on the outside just as the boat I had arrived in sputtered around the bend to find me.
  8. I collect rocks; there are stories in them. Grandfather Rock is the oldest storyteller. When we go on trips or visit grandkids, even the grandkids add to the collection.
  9. I can’t draw, but I like to draw.
  10. I can’t sing, but I like to sing.
  11. So even if you think you can’t, try.

Eleven Questions to Answer (your choice from the eighteen provided)

If you could remove one thing or idea from our world, what would it be and why?

I’ll stick to an education concept: standardization. While standards give us a goal, thinking that we could all be the same, or learn the same, within the same time frame is not something that is possible. We must accept the learner, the learner’s needs, and the learner’s interests for true learning to occur.

Where do you hope to be professionally in ten, twenty years and are you currently progressing toward that stage?

Professionally in ten years, I hope to be planting and tending a garden as well as creating an online forum for encouraging writers. Along with the garden, I hope to plant and tend a few books, of others and my own. I’ve already penned three drafts in the works for my own novels and a few blogs and fellow bloggers for the continuation of writing in my life.

What is one of the more significant trends in pedagogy right now and how do you foresee it progressing in the future?

Globally connected, interest driven education.

I envision a world of open communication, with pockets of community areas, resource centers, for face-to-face collaboration for local issues and learning with families and students choosing their learning paths.

Right now, platforms like Nings, blogging, Google Plus connect students for sharing and soon for collaboration. It’s a hope for a better world of understanding and acceptance, and a better education system whereby all students can be connected to learning areas that inspire them.

And in this learning resource center, Terry would be a learning concierge.

I envisioned it here.

What is a favorite quote of yours and can you please share your interpretation of it and why it is a favorite?

I’ve many favorite, but this one popped into my head now:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  ~ Henry Ford

I don’t give up. I don’t say I can’t. I keep hacking my way through until I’ve exhausted all possibilities. Because, if I think I can’t, then I won’t. But if I think I can, then I will. You’ld be right either way. I share this with my students — that what they put in their minds is exactly what their brain will do. And a sign says, “If I think I can’t, I’ll say, ‘I’ll try.'” I’m worth it. They are worth it, and they should never short-change the belief they have of themselves. And, we need to help each other succeed in our endeavors. We’re together in this world.

You are presented the opportunity to spend a full day doing whatever you want with any three people in the world. Who are the three people and what is the itinerary?

My first choice would be to spend the day in the early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with Scott and my sons, Greg and Jake sharing stories, asking questions, and discussing the answers to life, the universe, and everything [42].

Educationally, I’d love a conversation on education reform in that same early spring sunshine on a deck near the lake with John Dewey, Haim Ginott, and Leo Buscaglia.

Is there evil in the human condition, in this world? Please explain.

I don’t think about it. I can’t put evil in my mind. I know that people can only act with the information they have, and if all they’ve been given is sadness and evil, what would we expect?

You can have any super power you want. What power and why?

I have a super power: I can learn.

Do you choose an iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, or old-school Nokia cellular phone and why?


It is not a phone; it is a communicator, and with that comes the very notion of a positive future, a positive humanity. It’s purpose was to create a user-friendly operating system, so the user chooses. And because we are all so different, its system is uniquely designed to fit differences. It allows me to choose from so many quality apps and layouts, that the tool is a communicator; it is my choice, just like I want for my students. Creativity and productivity within a connected and collaborative space based on personal passions.

What is the next item on your bucket list you aim to achieve?

There’s a hole in the bucket, Liza. I can just keep adding…

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? How?

The egg, and what cracked open surprised everyone.

Children are… (complete the sentence or paragraph).

Children are resilient, and they still need care, even past their teens.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Green salad with tangerines, nuts, and balsamic dressing

Dilled Pot Roast

What is your favorite game/sport to play? When did you discover it?

Fluxx: a card game the family plays, because, like life, your plans don’t always work, but it’s still enjoyable.

I discovered it years ago in Uncles, the toy store within Aunties Bookstore. I read the directions and bought decks for each family for Christmas. We’ve been playing ever since.


Desert island playlist or music (limit 10 pieces). Books (limit 10)?


Sounds from Tuesday Evening by Scott

Cosmos by Jordan

Imagine John Lennon

Mind Games John Lennon

In My Life John Lennon

Where My Heart Will Take Me Russell Watson

Blowin In the Wind Peter, Paul, and Mary

Oh He Oh Jim Boyd

Simple Gifts Raffi

To Live is to Fly Townes Van Zandt


Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

Survivor’s Guide to Your Island

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy

The Hobbit

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

5 Blank Books (I’m sure I could invent pen and ink)


What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done? The result?

What: Stood up for myself.

Result: Grief and Relief.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your life? How did it work out?

I’m a worry wart, so I don’t take risks. But my husband and I have been married for twenty-seven years. That risk seems to have worked out.

What teacher had the biggest impact on your life? How did they impact you? Does this teacher know the impact they had on you?

Teacher: Dr. Francis Kazemek, an English professor at Eastern Washington University in the 1980’s.

His seminar, student project approach is much the direction of reformers today and was his model. As an over-achiever, I dove into projects and surrounded myself with the topics, creating learning that fit what I needed to learn so I could become a better teacher. I believe he knew the affect he had on his students; we kept in touch off and on for years.

What is your proudest moment as an educator?

Whenever my students engage, and my job is truly one of facilitation, then I smile. Pride comes in daily doses for students and teachers, because teaching and learning is daily.

These amazing educators I have tagged:

Brendan Murphy

Tracy Watanabe and response

JoAnn Jacobs and response

Theresa Allen and response

 Jackie Gerstein

Laura Gilchrist

Paula Neidlinger

Scott Hazeu and response

Bart Miller

 Susan Angel

Tara Smith

To answer these questions:

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a career? How did you discover that?
  2. What are your top three favorite books of all time?
  3. If you could only read one blogger next year, who would it be?
  4. What advice do you have for educators today?
  5. What is on your bucket list?
  6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  7. What is your favorite quote?
  8. What song lyrics move you?
  9. If you could sit with any 5 people dead or alive around your dinner table who would you choose and why?
  10. What are your five favorite verbs?
  11. What six words sum up your philosophy [of life or of education]?

Thanks for joining the Meme Homework and whatever you can do — I’ll be delighted to learn from you!

  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.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
  6. Please share with me a link to your response [They are sharing here].



Happy New Year !