PLN (Personal Learning Network) Blogging Challenge

I received this Challenge from Tony Sinanis on his blog: Leading Motivated Learners. I have seen it going around the blog world and have enjoyed reading other people’s responses. It is a distinct privilege for me to have been challenged by Tony. When I became interested through his inspiration to become more involved in social media and blogging, Tony was the perfect mentor for me. He has been generous with his time as well as his gift for sharing his own personal journey and experiences. I think Tony’s greatest gift is his humility which is the heart of inspiration for a leader. After all, if you set the bar high, as Tony does, and you put yourself out there as a regular guy, as Tony does, then those around you feel like they can accomplish the great things you are asking of them. In our own particular district I take a certain pride in fulfilling the role of “First Follower” of Tony’s. Whenever I see him blazing a new trail, I am eager to learn about it and adopt what he’s doing in my own professional practice. So it is a privilege for me to have been asked by Tony Sinanis to join the Blogging Challenge.

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 a little recognition and a little blogging love!
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.)

11 Random Facts About Me…

1. I once went skydiving. It was terrifying but the jumpsuit is really cool!
2. I spent my junior year of college studying abroad in Ireland. It was such a transformative experience.
3. I’m learning how to cook. I started slow but it’s developed into a genuine passion that I share with my amazing wife Danielle (@dmgately)
4. I have five kids. Patrick 15, Joseph 13, Nicholas 10, Olivia 8, and Juliet 3.
5. I played on my high school basketball team. I played badly, but I’m proud of the fact that I made the team.
6. When I was a senior in high school I was voted “Most Friendly”
7. I grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. I’m still struggling to lose my Brooklyn accent but I am very proud of my “Brooklyn roots”!
8. I was an English major who never took a single education course in college. I worked on Wall Street for two years after graduating, and then decided to try teaching. I had not taken a single class or done any student teaching prior to getting in front of a class of students. It was frightening then and it’s frightening for me to contemplate now. I taught math for three years before moving into my subject area, English Language Arts.
9. I have a very active imagination. Sometimes when you see me deep in thought I am imagining what it would be like if my skin was made of clay or if it would be cool to have three arms.
10. I like small spaces. I would be quite comfortable if my office was in a closet.
11. When I was in middle school, I was the eighth grade school president.

Answers to Tony’s Questions…

1) My favorite TV show right now is Game of Thrones. My wife and I have been binge watching it since the vacation… Just two episodes left, don’t talk to me about it, PLEASE!
2) There are so many resources I have learned about on twitter. Lately I have been into Explain Everything. I enjoyed meeting its creator Reshan at EdCampNYC
3) My vision for Jericho Middle School is for every single adult and child at the school to support each other in doing their Personal Best in all things. This sounds broad because so much is contained within this vision.
4) Being a connected educator, to me, means having relationships with a broad range of other passionate educators and having access to information and ideas I could never have without being connected through social media and other means.
5) I see so many great lessons every day here at the middle school. To be an effective middle school teacher you have to understand that adolescents are DIFFERENT. They don’t learn the same way that high school kids or elementary kids do. You can’t just stand and deliver. You need to show students relevance, you need to attend to their social emotional needs, you need to give them an opportunity to have their voices heard. Good middle school teachers understand this.
6) What I am most proud of about our school is our commitment to students’ social and emotional development.
7) Through my Professional Learning Network I feel that I am undergoing a transformation from a being a “principal” to being a “learner”. Moreover, I feel this is the critical shift that has to take place for every educator if we are going to be successful.
8) What motivates me each day as an educator are the kids. They’re fun, unpredictable, curious, enthusiastic, encouraging, caring… I could just go on and on!
9) My favorite device is clearly my I-Pad Mini. (Although I have a lemon zester at home that is pretty nifty.)
10) Educators who are disconnected should become connected because when you are a connected educator you are always in the middle of learning! You aren’t running around looking for ideas, relationships, and information when the need arises, you are always in the “thick of it”!
11) What makes me most happy is my family, my smart and beautiful wife and my kids. Also, my school family, I love coming to work every day because of the support and love we share here.

My questions:

1. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in education in your career?
2. In what way(s) do you think school will be different in 10 years?
3. What’s your favorite book?
4. Who’s your role model?
5. What’s your favorite EdTech tool?
6. What do you do for exercise?
7. Who would play you in the movie about your life?
8. In your experience/opinion, what is the MOST important “ingredient” in learning? (one word only, you can explain)
9. What is your greatest professional challenge?
10. What excites you to come to work every day?
11. What personal / professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

The “Bloggers” I would like to challenge…

I have included blogs I enjoy following and some people who don’t have blogs yet but inspire me and I think SHOULD share their brilliance through blogging!

Danielle Gately
Andy Greene
Shannon Montague
Joseph Wiener
Susan Spellman Cann
Seth Berg
Sean Feeney
Justin Aion
Justin Tarte
Amy Illingworth
Tim Walker
Jennifer Hogan

Thank you all for taking this challenge and thank you Tony and to Tricia Shelton for inviting me to contribute!

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY
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