Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PLN Blogging Challenge

My man Derek McCoy recently included me in the PLN Blogging Challenge, which has been spreading throughout Social Media on the blogosphere.  Derek is, without a doubt, one of the biggest influences in my Professional Learning Network.  His collaboration and leadership helped co-create the #ncadmin community, which has challenged to stretch my own learning.  While we have never actually met face-to-face, Derek was greatly impacted my leadership as a school administrator through his continuous impact on education, technology, and 21st Century learning.

Therefore, I gladly accepted his challenge.

The first requirement is to share 11 random facts about me:

1.  While I am a die-hard University of Michigan fan and have been as long as I can remember (the "GoBlue" in my Twitter handle), I was born in South Bend, Indiana.  My family lived there for only a short time...not long enough to develop ANY alliance to Notre Dame.

2.  I attended the last Detroit Lions playoff win, a 38-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys, in 1991.  I was eight years-old.

3.  I served as Best Man in a wedding when I was 10 years-old, including the Toast at the reception!

4.  Through my K-12 schooling, I attended a Private School (K-3), Catholic School (4-6), and Public School (7-12).

5.  I was Baptized, received my First Communion, and Confirmation all on the same night.

6.  I was the Prom King.

7.  My proudest moment in high school was being awarded the inaugural Michael Rohen Memorial Scholarship, named after our late-Varsity Basketball Coach, who had passed away suddenly only a few months before, during our senior season.  I still have the "COACH" wristband in my office we all wore to finish the season in his honor.  He was also a math teacher and attended Western Michigan University, as did I.

8.  After graduating from college, I moved to North Carolina after interviewing over the phone for a teaching position.  I packed a U-Haul, found a place to live, and didn't know a single person.  (Spoiler to next fact: my future-wife did pretty much the exact same thing one year later.) 

9.  While we are both from Michigan, my wife and I met at Hopewell HS in Huntersville, NC.  She is an English teacher and we had many common students in 2005-2006.  They would joke about "how we should date" and "we were perfect for each other" BEFORE we even considered seeing each other.  I finally asked her out on Valentines Day in February that year; I was coming back into the school after practice and she was staying late, grading essays.  We celebrated our five-year anniversary this past October.

10.  My daughter's middle name is Lana, which means "little rock".  Craig means "rock".

11.  I eat two Peanut Butter-and-Jelly sandwiches every day during school for lunch.  I started my first-year teaching and still continue this tradition today.  It's not that I even love them, it's simply part of my routine.

My Answers to Derek's Questions

  1. What is one of your guilty pleasures? Seinfeld reruns.  I can basically quite every syndicated episode, yet it's still on in the background of the Smith household at 7 PM during the week.
  2. What is an awesome thing you do to get yourself motivated, really pysched up!  "Da Rockwilda" by Method Man and Redman will get the job done every time.
  3. What education movie really inspired you?  Remember The Titans; I saw it in the theatre as a freshman in college.  Still today, I have a difficult time changing away from it when it's on television.
  4. What is the one thing you do that your close friends would say is unique to you?  They would say I'm very high-energy, occasionally to a fault.
  5. What would you different in the classroom today than when you first started? I've always said I learned so many Best Practices my first year OUT of the classroom because I was able to visit so many classrooms as an administrator.  Therefore, I would have spent more time observing other teachers, especially in other content areas.
  6. Favorite dessert? Frozen yogurt with my wife and daughter.  I reap the benefits of frozen yogurt being another pregnancy-craving by my wife.
  7. If we could get you a ticket to anywhere in the world to taste true, authentic cuisine, where would you go and what would you eat? I've always wanted to go to Australia, so I would trust the locals to provide some authentic food.
  8. What do you miss most about high school or college? College: I miss intramural basketball and football; I miss having free access to "The Rec" and playing a high-level of pick-up basketball for hours, the camaraderie that resulted, seeing the guys on campus.  I also miss wearing sweats to class from November-March.
  9. Droid or iPhone? Neither!  As embarrassing as it is to admit, I'm still using a Blackberry...
  10. Why education?  I remember wanting to be an educator when I was in 8th Grade and actually played the role of "Teqcher" in the 6th Grade Christmas Play.  I was truly inspired by incredible teachers and coaches in high school, which only confirmed my desire to be am educator.  No other profession can compare to the opportunities to make a difference and the influence we have on young people.
  11. Best vacation with the family? Western Caribbean cruise for our Honeymoon.  We got married in October, but went on our honeymoon after Christmas and celebrated the New Year over international waters, which was incredible.  

The 11 Members of My PLN I Am Challenging:

1.  Bianca Yavelak
2.  Chris Goodson
3.  Andrew Tomasson
4.  Jill Thompson
5.  Steven Anderson
6.  Jayme Linton
7.  Dale Cole
8.  Jeff Carpenter
9.  Heather Mullins
10.  Someone who has been wanting to blog and this can be your first post
11.  Anyone who participates in #ncadmin chats

Your 11 Questions:

1.  What actor/actress would play you in your life story?
2.  Who is your biggest inspiration?
3.  What are three adjectives which best describe you?
4.  You have only one CD to listen to for 2014.  What is it?
5.  What is the best book you read in 2013?
6.  Where is your dream destination for a vacation?
7.  What is your favorite movie of all-time?
8.  What App can you not live without?
9.  What was your initial college major?
10.  If you could have dinner with any living person, who would it be?
11.  Why do you do, what you do?

The Guidelines of Your Challenge:
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, excluding the blogger who nominated you.
5.  Post 11 questions for the bloggers you have listed to answer.
6.  Let the bloggers know you have nominated them.
7.  Post back here in the comment section a link to your post.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading!


  1. Thanks Craig, for giving us this glimpse into your life and world. I really appreciate it.

  2. I'm going to add the answers to these to the long post I posted yesterday. Thanks again.