It’s nice to be recognized as a blogger every so often.  A couple of weeks ago, Jon Harper ‏@Jonharper70bd, a new Twitter follower of mine recognized me and 10 other bloggers for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  Jon’s blog is Bailey & Derek’s Daddy, where he blogs about his thoughts on leadership and education.  The Sunshine Blogger Award is a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other and also get other bloggers to link to their website.  Here is how it works.

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers: they should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate
  • Let those 11 bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Here we go…
11 Random Facts about Me:
  1. I’ve been to Europe three times: once to France and twice to Italy.
  2. I’ve kissed the pope’s ring.
  3. I LOVE hard rock.  My favorite bands right now are Seether and Three Days Grace.
  4. I rarely read for enjoyment, but want to.
  5. I’m finally starting to learn to speak Armenian.  (I’m half Armenian.)
  6. I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was in fifth grade.
  7. When I was in college, I worked in a flower shop.
  8. I went to school majoring in Education and Music, but never wanted to be a music teacher.  However, I taught music for 7 years.
  9. I am currently working on my CAGS degree in Arts, Leadership and Learning from Plymouth State.
  10. I started playing the piano in 2nd grade and studied through college.
  11. I love the sound of my kids laughing with each other.

11 Questions Answered

1. What do you feel is your best piece?

What is True Arts Integration?What is True Arts Integration?

I chose this because it speaks to the heart of what started The Inspired Classroom – true arts integration.  In addition, it sparked a bit of conversation in the comments.

2. What is your favorite topic?

My favorite topic is arts integration in general and the link between music and literacy in particular.  I love to demystify the idea of what arts integration is and how to get teachers started on the road to integration.

3. How will you blog differently this year?

It’s interesting for me to get this question at this time in my blogging life.  I’ve been blogging for 6 years at a very steady pace.  This year, things have changed drastically.  No longer will I have a self-inflicted schedule to keep, I will post when I can.  There are still so many things to write about, but time is precious and I need to prioritize.  My hope is that I will get something out every week, but already that hasn’t been happening.  It’s not for lack of ideas, just a lack of time.  I’m spending more of it with my family.   🙂

4. What tips do you have for new bloggers?

Be Passionate.  Plan. Prioritize.

For a new blogger, you need to LOVE the niche in which you will write.

Having a plan in place is very helpful.  You may want to schedule posts per month and have a series of posts that relate to one another.  Then you need to write, write, write!  Your blog needs lots and lots of great content.  Help your reader as well as entertain them by giving great ideas and helpful tips.  Your readers want to get something out of each and every post!

Most of all, figure out what part your blog will play in your life.  Is it the start of a business?   A hobby?  Something to do in your spare time?  A way to brand yourself?  A journal?  This is where you need to prioritize and figure out how much time you have for and want to spend on your blog.  If your plan is to plant your feet in the world of blogging, be prepared to make a commitment.

5. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Must I be honest?  Sadly, I have not read much lately.  I remember a time when I read book after book, but in these recent years, not so much.  I will pick up a book, barely get into it and not be able to finish it.  This is something I want to change…

6. When do you blog?

I usually get the chance to blog late at night after the kids are in bed.  Lately, even that has been hard.  This post alone is taking me at least 6 sittings to get done.  In the past few months, my blogging has died down dramatically for good reason, but I still love to do it.

7. How do you find topics/inspiration for your blog pieces?

It’s often easy to find inspiration for a piece.  For some time, I have found myself thinking in post titles.  If I’m doing something with my students that I think would make a good post, I log the moment mentally or in a picture.  Other times, I think in post series.  If there is a topic that interests me, like Freedom in Structure or Technology in the Classroom, I will set up a series of posts to write and invite guest bloggers to add their perspective on the topic as well.

8. Why do you blog?

There are many reasons why I blog.  The biggest one has always been to reach out to other teachers who share in my love of teaching and inspiring students.  I love talking with other teachers about new curriculum, innovative strategies and the woes of teaching.  I blog because I feel I have something to offer the world of education outside my classroom.

9. How long does it take you to write a piece?

Man, it probably takes about an hour with no interruptions.  Then, I have to locate an image to go with it and check it all over.  Unfortunately, that hour is constantly interrupted, so it can span many more…

10. Who is a blogger that we may not follow, but should?

If you want some great ideas for arts integration, which is my niche, I would follow Susan Riley at  She has guest posted here a few times and is hosting a wonderful site full of ideas for teachers interested in arts education.

11. How will you improve your writing this year?

I hope to live by the motto Less is More.  I will be writing less, but hope the content will live up to my readers’ expectations.  In addition, I hope to promote other content on my site from my blog.  There is just so much good information here, if I do say so myself.  😉

11 (+1) Bloggers I Recommend (in no particular order)

Susan Riley of Education Closet

Jessica Balsley of The Art of Education

Maureen Devlin ‏ of Teach Well Now

Kelly Tenkely of ilearnTechnology

Melissa Edwards of Figuring Out How the Pieces Fit

Shelly Terrell of Teacher ReBoot Camp

Kristina Peterson at Teacher Girl Blog

Erin Klein at Kleinspiration

Lisa Dabbs at Teaching with Soul

Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids

Yoon Soo Lim at Sing Imagination

Craig Cortello of Business Musician’s Blog

11 Questions for These Bloggers

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What is your best piece?
  3. How did you start blogging?
  4. How has your blog changed over time?
  5. Why do you continue to blog?
  6. How often do you post to your blog?
  7. If you could guest post on any site, which would you choose?
  8. What person or group of people do you wish would read your blog?
  9. How might your writing change over the next year?
  10. What is the most rewarding part of being a blogger?
  11. Where do you see your blog in 10 years?
That’s it!  Thanks for reading today.   I hope you find a ray of sunshine in your day!