I’m Joining the PLN Blogging Challenge

OK – I have no choice but to enter this PLN Blogging Challenge. My plan was to just pretend I missed the Tweet inviting me to take part but being invited by two superstars like Shira Leibowitz and Craig Badura has changed all of that. What’s good enough for them is good enough for me, so here I go.

Here are the guidelines that were laid out by whoever it is that started this in the first place:
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 a little recognition.
5.  Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Introductions of my nominators:
Shira Leibowitz is Head of School at The Solomon Schechter School of Queens in New York, an instructional coach for teachers and principals, and facilitator of on-line learning. Shira is one of the #educoach leaders and has joined my district’s Teacher Growth and Supervision Wiki. She is an amazing member of my PLN and I learn from her every day.
Craig Badura is the PK-12 Technology Integration Specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Nebraska. Craig and I set up a Mystery Skype with our grade 1 teachers last year. He is one of the most innovative members of my PLN.
11 Random Facts About Me:
  1. I have 4 children – 2 boys (20 & 22) and 2 girls (11 & 13) – same wife.🙂
  2. My 4 children are named (middle names) after mountains in the Canadian Rockies. (Robson, Forbes, Cavell, & Ranee)
  3. My favourite movie of all time is Dances With Wolves.
  4. 6 feet of snow has fallen in my city so far this year.
  5. I love loons. I have many paintings, carvings and artifacts that depict loons.
  6. I coached college woman’s soccer and mens volleyball in the same year – 1989.
  7. I have driven across Canada and back 3 times. (I live in the far west and most of my relatives live in the far east)
  8. My family camped at the KOA beside Circus Circus in Las Vegas. It was $125/night.
  9. I try a lot of new things.
  10. Every member of my family blogs.
  11. I purchased my first ever cell phone just 3 years ago.
I’m going to answer 6 of Craig’s questions and 6 of Shira’s questions.
Craig’s questions:
What motivates you?

I am motivated by teachers who are pushing their own thinking. I love it when a teacher takes a risk and tries something new. When I see this I’m willing to do anything I can to support them.

Is the iPad a distraction in the classroom?

I think the iPad is a distraction for some teachers. Many have not figured out how to use them to support learning and build important competencies in their students. Once they figure out how to use the iPads to create, present, communicate, and connect they will no longer be a distraction. BTW, they are not a distraction for students.

In your opinion, who has been the most influential person in the history of the world?

Jesus Christ. Even those who are not religious should be able to see how he is the ultimate role model for all of us. He forgave unconditionally, he gave himself for us, he helped the less fortunate, and he loved unconditionally.

What’s one thing you have not done that you really want to do.

Meet Craig Badura and Shira Leibowitz. Enough said.

What is your happiest childhood memory?

Spending time with my dad at his hunting camp in our woodlot in Nova Scotia. Funny thing is that I never saw him shoot a deer.

What is best part about about your current job?

I really like how I have expanded my circle of influence. My work influences an entire district of teachers.🙂 I was worried about moving to central office but now realize that I can stay as close to the classroom as I want to. It’s up to me to keep that as a priority. 

Shira’s questions:
What is one piece of advice you have to offer a first year teacher?
If they don’t know that you care, they won’t care what you know. Build and maintain trusting and caring relationships with students, parents and colleagues.
What is one piece of advice you have to offer principals?
Never forget that your most important work is about learning. Your learning and the learning of others.
How do you like to spend time off from work?
My free time is entwined in the lives of my wife and my daughters. Basketball, volleyball, badminton, dance, drama, friends, movies, and food. That’s about it.🙂 Some sleep.
What inspires you?
The same thing that motivates me as I shared above in Craig’s questions. I am inspired by teachers who are pushing their own thinking. I love it when a teacher takes a risk and tries something new. When I see this I’m willing to do anything I can to support them.
What makes you laugh?
Little kids, my executive assistant, my wife, and my youngest daughter Jessa. Oh, and Adam Sandler sometimes.
What is a goal you have for yourself in the coming year?
To never stop pushing the envelope. Most of my work will be involved with our Learning Commons pilot, Teacher Growth and Supervision, Teacher Recruitment, and Probationary Teacher Portfolios.
My 11 Influential Bloggers:
Susan Miller          @millers6
Chris Smeaton      @cdsmeaton
Karl Germann       @KarlGermann
Annette Rouleau  @annetterouleau
Greg Kostiuk         @GregKostiuk
Teri Hartman        @HartmanTeri
Lian Helm             @lianhelm
Roy Fernandez     @sthenryschool
David Culberhouse @dculberhouse
And finally… My 11 questions?
  1. What is one new thing you tried in the last year?
  2. What is the most recent educational book/resource you read, watched or listened to and why that resource?
  3. What do you do when you fail at something?
  4. What do you do when someone you are responsible for fails?
  5. How do you deal with stress?
  6. What is your favourite movie and why?
  7. How many Smartphones have you owned and which was your favourite?
  8. Other than Twitter, what/who makes up your PLN?
  9. What does collaboration mean to you?
  10. Who would you recommend I follow on Twitter?
  11. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Categories: Education Transformation | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “I’m Joining the PLN Blogging Challenge

  1. This was a fun way to learn a little more about you Greg! I was going to ask you on my challenge but I was sure that someone would have asked you already. I tried to avoid this task as well, but the pressure finally got too heavy.

    I am also a huge fan of Dances with Wolves!! That and Braveheart are the two movies that can bring me to tears every time I watch them. Still looking forward to the day we get to meet face to face and I hope it is up in your neck of the woods! 🙂


    • Greg Miller

      Thanks, Tom. Something tells me we’re going to connect up at some point. Isn’t it amazing how Twitter has created for us an opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about reforming education as we are. It gives me great hope. BTW, another factoid just for you as you appear to be an Old West lover. When in Lethbridge, about 5 years ago, I was presented with a Blackfoot Indian name, Naatoohkitopii. Translated, it means Holy Rider. It was presented in a traditional ceremony in front of my entire school community. It’s a story I hope to share with you sometime.


  2. Hi Greg,
    I’m glad you decided to join this challenge. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s responses on their blogs. Will be publishing my own, soon. I loved it when you mentioned the ages of your 4 kids and clarified that they share the same mom. LOL! I have to do the same with my son (9 years old), though he could easily be mistaken for my oldest daughter’s child. She is 26.


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