11 Things

Thank you to Will Gourley (@WillGourley) and Todd Bloch (@blocht574) for nominating me in your posts.  What an honor to be mentioned in this way.  I enjoyed reading their posts and then double enjoyed responding.  Please check out their blogs called What and Why are Everything and Sweat To Inspire.

Here is 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. 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.)

11 Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I play many instruments: piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo and drums.  My philosophy on that is that I can have as much fun as anyone with my instruments and that exempts me from the worry about being ‘good’ and I’m happy to perform with or in front of just about anyone.  The only times that gets tough is with high speed old time music where I just can’t seem to follow the chord changes.

  2. Currently my recent favorites in music are classical and jazz.  I can’t get enough of Miles Davis or Frederic Chopin.  I also have an Elliott Smith phase that comes in and out, love his voice.

  3. Something about Counting Crows reminds me of being at MSU and in East Lansing in the mid-90s.  I’m surprised by this since I didn’t listen to them then.  Nostalgia?

  4. I’m happily married even though I once told my wife I would never get married.

  5. I’m addicted to coffee.  I’ve tried to quit it, and it’s the only thing I can’t quite let go of.

  6. I can play piano for up to 3 hours.  I’m teaching myself and also working on my ability to play by ear.  It’s a fun hobby.

  7. I love Smartwool socks.

  8. I get cold easily.

  9. I enjoy being alone.

  10. I can camp for over a month, but I like to go to restaurants during this time to visit civilization.

  11. I’d rather read a book than watch a movie.  I love great movies, and I have no time or patience for average (or less) movies.  I rely heavily on suggestions for this from friends and family

Now my questions to answer, first from Todd, then from Will…

1. Why do you teach?

So many reasons.  I enjoy purposeful work, fun, challenge, ups, downs, technology.  I wanted to be a teacher in third grade.  Also, It’s my second career, after being a wildlife biologist in training for years, and then working as an environmental consultant.  I moved back to the city and needed a job, so I went for subbing in Kentwood and then later Walled Lake.  I liked it, outside of my terrifying first day.  People said if I liked subbing I would really enjoy having my own class so I did.

2. What was your favorite book as a child?

Surprisingly, I didn’t read much as a child, so now I’m catching up on that, recently reading Wonder and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I still have my childhood copy of My Side of The Mountain, and I vaguely remember reading it.

3. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? and why?

Jackson Hole, WY for skiing and snowboarding, later heading to the Mangy Moose where I used to get chili cheese fries.

4. Favorite dessert?

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream, or Black Cherry Ice Cream in A Waffle Cone

5. Describe the inside of your car?

I have really been working on that.  It’s neat now, unlike my wallet which is now known for it’s excessive clutter.

6. Where were you on 9/11?

Driving with my former boss, Mark, on the way to a smokestack testing job somewhere at a auto plant in Indiana (or was it Ohio).  We were listening to it on the radio.  Mark stopped at an ATM and consequently tore the rooftop A/C unit off the trailer which made it even more memorable.

7. How many states have you traveled to?

That would be 32.  Highlights would be Alaska, Maine, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon.

8. What was your first blog post about?

My MACT portfolio at MSU.  I believe it was one of the first and it gets the most hits of any of my posts, by far.  I think that I still have some friends at MSU that direct students to it.

9. What was your Best Christmas gift ever received?

Making it special for someone else.  That may sound cheesy but I usually get a little down after Christmas.

10. Describe your standard work attire?

I love to wear a suit and tie, jeans on Friday.

11. Favorite store to shop in?

Elderly Instruments-I bought a Cajon there last year.  It’s amazing.

From Will:

1. If you could do anything knowing you would not fail what would you do? Why?

Live as an artist in the Upper Peninsula or Wyoming.

2. If you could have lunch with anyone living or deceased who would it be? Why?

Bela Fleck.  I met him very briefly and listened to him talk about the banjo and his experiences and he had really good energy, really nice and genuine guy for someone considered to be a virtuoso.

3. What is your favourite childhood memory?

At my family cabin, we would hike to ‘the meadow’ which was really someone’s private undeveloped property.  It has some trails, an old fallen down shack, and a studebaker.  There is a pine tree that has boughs that reach the ground and you can get into it like a fort.  Nearby there is a hemlock forest with a stream that is quite dark and beautiful, and easy to hike through due to that.  I’d say exploring those areas.

4. What is the nicest thing that a teacher ever did for you?

Dr. Besaw took me as a teaching assistant to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  He was an amazing teacher, inspiring storyteller, and a professor who was 100% about teaching.  He wanted us to succeed, and taught us to study, and learn.  Knowing his students, he spent the time helping us freshmen understand how to navigate college courses and accel.

For the trip, it was an amazing experience and I learned a ton about ecology and group dynamics.  All expense paid, the only catch was that I was supposed to police the ‘underage drinking’ and since there was no real drinking age there to speak of that was a considerable task, really more about keeping the ‘kids’ quiet and somewhat under control in the family campground, which consisted of open air screened in rooms, so that was also a challenge.  That was a great learning challenge.

5. What was the most unfair thing that a teacher ever did to you?

One teacher to be unnamed, who I also had for three years, seemed to be my rival.  At times he would send me in the hall at the start of class sometimes.  I probably wasn’t playing that nice either but I’ll leave out the details to protect both of us.

6. If you could teach anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I’d go somewhere warm all year by the ocean, it really wouldn’t matter, but as long as I could have year round sun and warmth, I’d be good with that.  I’d also be good with a snowy place if there was mountains or fun winter activities like cross country skiing.

7. Have you ever taught a lesson using a Simpsons episode?

Great idea.  I’m open to suggestions on that.  On engaging lessons, I did recently teach a cause and effect on this article which features a programmer teaching a person who is homeless how to code, and he releases an app.  I hope he finds employment in the field and look forward to hearing about it.

8. If you could, would you extend the school day or year? Why? Why not?

No.  I think that kids need out of school learning, and time with family and friends.  Time to reflect, build, create, and play.  We can do those things in school too, but I value my time in and out of school, lets have a balance.  I’m a bit torn on the year round school issue, I feel that kids would have a more consistent learning experience, but I would not increase the number of days.

9. What is your ultimate vacation destination?

I think I’d like a Pacific Island right now.

10. What are you reading right now?

The Te of Piglet and Love, Ruby Lavender.  (Update: I took longer working on this so now I’m reading Young Fredle)

11. What do you think is the greatest invention ever made?

The coffee cup is pretty awesome.

Bloggers that inspire me:

Note: This was the toughest part of the blog!  It felt like a snap to write all of the above, but I’ve spent more time on this part than I imagined.  So many great blogs!  If you are on this list below, you are invited to respond to this sunshine blog post, but most importantly know that you have impacted my teaching and my students.  Thank you for the inspiration.  

Ben Gilpin

Aaron Koleda/Jason Hart

Manan Shah

Kimberly A Hurd

Ryan Horne

Ben Rimes

Kit Hard

Todd Nesloney

Erin Klein

Brad Wilson

Drew Minock/Brad Waid

I’d love to write a little about why I chose the above, or how they have impacted my teaching, but as my students love to write: To be continued…


Please visit their blogs to find out!

My Questions for nominees:

1.  First city you lived in outside your hometown?

2.  Coffee or Tea?  Why?

3.  Where do you go to study, learn, create?  What’s your workflow?

4.  When did you decide to teach?  What inspired that or why?

5.  Do you have a ‘bad experience’ that turned out to be good at a later time?  What challenges propelled you or helped you learn something?

6.  Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

7.  In teaching, discussions, or jokes, what book/movie do you often reference?

8.  What is a book that we should all read, in your opinion?

9.  Something to avoid when teaching/presenting is…

10.  Something that helped a student who was struggling…

11.  What is the most recent compliment you received?


About wmartin4

I’m a husband, father of three, fifth grade teacher, writer, blogger, guitarist, drummer, staff camp director, rogue tech trainer, and a watcher of sunsets. I write about many subjects, but I’m currently posting articles related to education and technology.
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One Response to 11 Things

  1. Pingback: 11 Things | Math Misery?

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