Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Received a Sunshine Award And Am Spreading the Warmth to Others - The Influence of Others Who Blog Goes Out To....

Yesterday began with a surprise Tweet from my technological, English-loving literacy friend, Collette Bennet, who surprised me with a Sunshine Award for maintaining this year's creativity blog. 

Collette Bennette:
Nominating or receiving a Sunshine Award is a way for bloggers to get to know each other. There are unlimited winners to this award because this operates much like the chain letters of old. Get an award from a fellow blogger, and then nominate 11 other bloggers to participate. I suspect that sooner or later, every blogger in the world will be nominated proving the blogging universe has no degrees of separation blogger to blogger.

I was honored, although I usually don't respond to such chain mail requests - in fact, I hate them. This, however, because it's new, intrigued me (and I'm not promising that participants will win the lottery or be executed by alien militants if they do). Instead, I thought it would be a perfect way to continue Kuumba in 2014 and to stop myself for a short while to write on my blogging influences. So, here it goes - my attempt to follow the five rules of the Sunshine Award, although I'm not the most rule-oriented fellow.

 RULE #1 Acknowledge the nominating blogger: Collette Bennett,

 RULE #2 Share 11 random facts about yourself.                                 

  1. I am the Director of the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University where I teach in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.
  2. I just got back from the gym where I work to fight genetics, age, and a lifelong dream of one day having a normal body.
  3. The older I get, the more important my family becomes: sisters, parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
  4. My interest in technology began in Louisville, Kentucky, where I have fond memories of my first emails, the first classroom computer, and the promotion of digital tools with my students.
  5. I currently live in Stratford, Connecticut where, at present, traffic is ubiquitous (that is the I-95 contribution to the world).
  6. I read a wide variety of materials, but have always loved the work of Douglas Coupland most.
  7. My passion in life is to promote best writing practices in K-12 schools and to help others to see that writing is abundant, multiple, clever, purposeful, and important - I write to think (hence seven years of blogging).
  8. I have no pets at the present time, although my memories of Baby and Juliette Catherine are extremely important - they brought much joy to my life.
  9. I belong to the Literacy Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project - this trio organizes the majority of my professional life.
  10. I use two last names: Ripley and Crandall, even though Crandall is my real last name. Ripley is my mom's maiden name and it represents everything I've ever known about creativity and spunk.
  11. I have a love/hate relationship with academic thinking, but understand that while in Rome.... 

RULE #3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

  1. What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?  an empty journal, so I could write about my experiences stranded on a deserted island.
  2.  What did you learn from your mother? How to make my grandmother's creamed potatoes. This is a phenomenal contribution I'm able to make at gatherings in my life.
 3. Where do you write? Mostly in my living room seated in my overstuffed, tropical chair  
      purchased during a Pee-Wee Herman phase.
 4. Where do you find joy in your classroom or work?  I love writing conferences and 
     conversations, including walk-in-talks that I learned from my mentor, Sue McV. Writing is 
      a culmination of conversation and there's nothing like a good, fast paced stroll to get 
     the brain thinking about what it is we truly want to say.
 5. What do you do to recharge? Believe it or not, I go for a long run, usually five miles, 
     where I sweat out my insecurities and contemplate new ones.
 6What was your favorite book as a child and why did you love it? Miss Twiggley's Tree.
     have always loved the eccentricity of Miss Twiggley and how no one valued her oddity '  
     until she saved everyone during a torrential rain. Sure she lived with dogs, cats, and 
     bears (and up in a tree) but she meant well and merely wanted to be who she was 
     without the need to justify it.
 7.  If you could have dinner (or coffee or drinks) with anyone living or dead, who would it 
      be and what would you want to ask him or her? Anyone who has ever known me will 
      understand I've always been partial to Oprah Winfrey. I'd invite her, Robin Williams, Carol 
      Burnett, and Jim Carey to play Charades with me.
 8.  Do you have a quote that you keep (in your mind, a notebook, a pocket, your desk, etc.) 
      that captures something that seems important to you? If so, what is it? For every 60 
      seconds you spend angry, you lose one minute of happiness - Emerson
 9.  What are you afraid of?  Closed spaces, suffocating, and not being able to move.
 10. How do you feel about being the age you currently are?  I like that I'm about to be 42 
       because it was the # Jackie Robinson wore. With that noted, 18-21 was an exceptional 
       time. Why? Priorities: studying, partying, learning, wondering, and life with few financial 
       responsibilities and little knowledge of the 'real world.'
11.  If you could go back to one moment in time, when & where would that be & why? 
      Seriously, I cherish every  second I had as a teacher at the J. Graham Brown School in 
      Louisville, Kentucky, especially under the leadership of Ron Freeman and the era of 
      portfolio assessments. His vision, coupled with a quirky school to celebrate the unique 
      potential of every individual in a culture of diversity, and the outstanding colleagues, especially 
      Alice Stevenson, made for educational/professional Utopia.                                                    

RULE #4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!

  1. Collette Bennet's UsedBooksinClass has been a site I've appreciated since I met her in 2012. Her energy, commitment to 21st century literacies, and clever insight is amazing. She's also extremely SMART. That, coupled with the fact that she is the oldest child of multiple siblings and the mother of two Marines makes her a writer in command. She commands my attention!
  2. I've been following one of my academic sages, Marcelle Haddix, as she commits to online writing through her new blog, ZENG: Everyday Living Well, Zen Gangsta Style. Marcelle is an extraordinary thinker, activist, academic, and doer and the title of her blog describes her work beautifully. She's tough, but at the core is a spiritual serenity that I've always admired. With her, I've been able to make Writing Our Lives-Bridgeport a possibility - she gave birth to the community activism in Syracuse and I was proud to be with her along the way.
  3. I try not to be political, but the 3rd and 4th blogger-influences have taught me that I must be. Jonathan Pelto at Wait What? writes daily about educational issues in Connecticut that lead me to more understanding about the complicated nature of working the State.
  4. At a more national level (but also somewhat local) is Diane Ravitch, whose expertise on educational policy continues to educate me on her site to discuss better education for all.
  5. My next blogging influence encompasses multiple bloggers because it is a hub for National Writing Project-like minded folks like me and, when relevant, I repost my thinking onto their platform in Digital Is. It is a remarkable collection of others who promote writing in K-16 schools.
  6. Another academic all-star who has made a tremendous impact on my thinking as a researcher of writing in our schools is Troy Hicks and his blog, Digital Writing, Digital Teaching: Integrating New Literacies into the Teaching of Writing. He, to me, is the Papa Smurf of this genre.
  7. In the same vein, and more locally, are the dynamic team (friends from their doctoral program and Connecticut scholars, Ian O'Byrne (Digitally Literate) and Greg McVerry (INTERTEXTrEVOLUTION). Those who are members of LRA know they are the go-to guys for digital composition (although Greg's site isn't working today, even though it was a week ago....hmmm)
  8. While in the classroom (and continued today), Victor Davis Hanson has continued to impress me with his historical knowledge, willingness to challenge the status quo, and remarkable insight to politics, throwbacks to repetitive mistakes by governments, and prolific writing at VDH's Private Papers (are they as private as they should be....another hmmmm)
  9. Father, colleague, friend, and fellow CWP Director, Jason Courtmanche, also writes about educational issues in Conecticut on The Write Space: a blog for teachers and writers. In my three years in Connecticut, his mentorship has meant the world to me and I know few who have done more for writing in the state of Connecticut.
  10. Sherman Alexie is the intellectual genius of our time and what I appreciate about his writing, thinking, poignancy, and wit the most is he stays true to himself, his thinking, his beliefs, and his humor. He blogs on his website, Sherman Alexie, and like Douglas Coupland, I can't get enough of his writing.
  11. Wow. I made it to eleven! That was easier than I thought it would be. Following Alexie as a mind-to-know while I have life, is not necessarily a blogger, but a tweeter. Everything about @VeryShortStory by Sean Hill is remarkable.                                                                                  

    At this point, I'm supposed to acknowledge my personal Sunshine Award recipients that they've received the award (albeit from moi - the big names don't know who I am nor should they) and request for them (if they want) to pass on this chain blogging prompt (it was worthwhile once) and to answer any or all of the 11 questions listed below. I'm sticking with Collette's questions (because I'm exhausted from this much thinking and can't think of others:

  1. What book would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
  2. What did you learn from your mother?
  3. Where do you write?
  4. Where do you find joy in your classroom or work?
  5. What do you do to recharge?
  6. What was your favorite book as a child and why did you love it?
  7. If you could have dinner (or coffee or drinks) with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you want to ask him or her?
  8. Do you have a quote that you keep (in your mind, a notebook, a pocket, your desk, etc.) that captures something that seems important to you? If so, what is it?
  9. What are you afraid of?
  10. How do you feel about being the age you currently are?
  11. If you could go back to one moment in time, when & where would that be & why?             
Kreativitet & Kuumba! Ubuntu!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I had forgotten about "Digital Is" until you reminded me. I did post....once. I should go back, and I will.
    Also, I never did tell you about my personal encounter with Troy Hicks...who most graciously provided advice after watching the presentation my colleague and I did at CEL in Boston. You should not be surprised that "less is more.." was the take away; You know how I overwhelm??!
    Anyway, because of you, I am trying to tweet out a clip for Ian O'Byrne's #Walkmyworld project. One down...9 to go. I also follow Pelto. Good politics from him.
    I could never attend your Charades party...would need constant bathroom breaks for laughter. AND I have a Sherman Alexie story I want to put in a blog about crossword puzzles.....I need to sit and write it!
    Thanks for participating.
    Miss seeing you in person, but thank goodness for the blogs. Now, please do not use that Orwellian photo of me any more...I look kinda creepy!