The Curse of Eleven: Getting our Homework Done

Peek a boo
Tag. I’m it. Worst yet—I’ve succumbed to the dreaded virtual chain letter. I’m late to the party so I am hoping there will be no curse that lands on my family and me if I haven’t completed this on time. The rules: Tell 11 interesting facts about yourself and respond to 11 questions posted by your PLN friend (mine are from Sheila Morissette—are they still your friend if they tag you?) and tag 11 “friends” with new questions.

Eleven Interesting Facts about Me:

1. I grew up in Nelson, B.C.

2. We have a tradition for the letter “E”. My parent’s names were Ernie and Esme (Underhill). My brothers and sisters are: Elena, Eldon, Eve, Erik, Elyn, and me (Elisa). My husband goes by the name John but his first name is Erland. His dad’s name was Erland and his mom’s name was Emma. Our children all have “E” names: Elliott, Ethan, Elijah and Ellis.

3. I killed a bear. Really. Not quite with my own hands. Almost. The car killed the bear.

4. The best birthday present ever: My oldest son was born on my birthday.

5. I did grade 4 and 5 in one year.

6. When we were touring Rome we were robbed of all of our possessions, everything but what we were wearing.

7. I love Eggs Benedict. And, I am particularly fond of breakfast. Period.

8. I have a weakness for popcorn popped in a real pot on the stove. With butter. And salt. Several times a week. Really. I am going to take a break and make it right now.

9. I cut the hair of all the males in my house. Except for my husband. He has some standards.

10. I had to canoe across a moonlit lake to dig up a treasure chest hidden on the beach; it contained my engagement ring.

11. Sometimes I like to do fun and crazy things and try to get others to do them with me. Life is too short to be boring. We need to live a little outrageously every now and again.

The Eleven Questions Given to Me:

1.What are you reading now?

Like right now? This v•e•r•y moment? Like one thing? That thought makes me panic. I am never truly reading just one thing. I have just finished Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Henry Cloud. The book really gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own practice and things that I wasn’t doing well and needed to do differently. I have just cracked the cover to Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail by Larry Osborne and I am re-reading (because I didn’t learn enough the first time) 8 Things We Hate About I.T.: How to Move Beyond the Frustrations to Form a New Partnership with IT written by Chief Technology Officer Susan Cramm. Her book is written for people like me to help us understand IT in organizations. In between those books, I am reading Sunday Brunch: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Leisurely Mornings (see number 7 above). Oh, and I sometimes read books recommended by my children ages 7, 10 15, and 17.  Should I stop now?

2. How do you stay current in your field?

I read books (see above). I talk to people. I attend conferences. I visit schools. I hunt down important topics on the Internet. I follow the blogs of thought-leaders. Sometimes I make my way to Chapters, Trinity Western University, UBC or Regent College bookstores to check out the lastest books attached to course syllabi in areas of interest. I most recently stopped at the Seattle Pacific University bookstore and snapped up Nancy Duarte’s Resonate.

3. Are you a camper or a hotel person? (Sheila Morissette loves camping.)


If there is a rattlesnake, I will find it.

If there is a rattlesnake, I will find it.

Camping? Is that what you do in a tent with four boys for every year of your married life? Is that what I did with my parents for every year while I lived at home? I can’t actually say I love camping but I do love adventure travel. If it requires a tent, and the adventure is worth it, I will take it on. I’ve camped across Canada to Newfoundland and back via the U.S. I’ve camped thirty consecutive days to the tip of the Baja Peninsula pitching tents on the best beaches around. I have tented the Grand Circle Route and seen sunrise and sunset painted in the skies. I have camped B.C.’s best: canoeing the Bowron Lake Chain, hiking the West Coast Trail, kayaking the Broken Group Islands, and running the Juan de Fuca Marina Trail solo. In between, we have explored many State, Provincial and National Parks as well. Hotels? I will do that too. In fact, sometimes I put my foot down and insist on it. Too many times camping, practically stepping on a rattlesnake in the desert, and I am ready for a real bed, crisp sheets, and walls between the outside world and me.

4.  What is the next conference you plan to attend?

I will be at the 4th Annual Summit on Education Technology for K-12 Schools, Universities and Colleges in Toronto.  I am presenting this session: Surrey School District: Create a Radical Social Movement to Shift Pedagogy and Deepen Learning with Technology.

5. What excites you about the New Year ahead?

Saying “No” to some things so that I can focus on the work that truly matters. “No” means “Yes” to other important priorities.

6.  Who introduced you to twitter and blogging?

I think it was Orwell Kowalyshyn (@kowalyshyn), our District’s Information Media Literacy Helping Teacher, who introduced me to the topic, Chris Kennedy (@chrkennedy), Superintendent of West Vancouver, helped me to see it in a leadership context and Dan Turner (@dj_turner), CIO for Surrey, who almost called me a hypocrite for having technology in my portfolio and no first hand experience with social media. Finally, my ah-ha moment came when Heidi Gable (@HGG), a consultant for our district, installed Tweetdeck on my laptop and explained the all-powerful use of #hashtags.

7.  Who would you most like to have dinner with?

My husband.

8. What inspires you?

Beauty, design, that which is unique, carefully crafted words, and crazy ideas.

Relax on a beach, anywhere.

Relax on a beach, anywhere.

9.  What do you do to relax?

A simple candle lit bath is good, a hard run on a trail, biking out River Road but, truly, a trip to a fantastic beach, some brilliant sun and a chance to do completely nothing is the absolute ticket.


10. Name a couple of bloggers who inspire you.

I find the stories from many, many of our own school district (#sd36learn) educators particularly inspiring because they are putting ideas into action (Think about the many new Learning Commons websites, genius hour applications, and inquiry-based learning).

11. What are you working on that excites you?

Transforming education. Creating a culture of innovation. Shifting teacher practice. Creating space for teachers to learn from each other. Providing opportunity for students to be engaged deeply in their learning.

Phew! I am done. And now I pass the virtual homework challenge on to my colleagues and possible “friends”. Tag—you are it!

Lisa Domeier de Suarez, T-L and IML Helping Teacher, @librarymall
Chris Hunter, Numeracy Helping Teacher, @chrishunter36
Kevin Amboe, IML Helping Teacher, @amboe_k
Chris Walton, LST Helping Teacher, @ipadtestkitchen
JB Mahli, SS Helping Teacher, @JB_Mahli
Hugh McDonald, elementary teacher, @hughtheteacher
Sheila Hammond, Principal, @sgmhammond
Karen Steffensen, Assistant Superintendent, @kstef2
Jordan Tinney, Superintendent, @jordantinney
Dan Turner, Chief Information Officer, @dj_turner
Brian Kuhn, Chief Information Officer, @bkuhn

No curses provided (although we may no longer be “friends”). See your super-challenging, thought-provoking and provocative questions below:

Your Homework–The Eleven New Questions:

1. What is your favorite piece of music and why?
2. What would your ideal gourmet dinner be?
3. Who are the three people that have mentored, coached or encouraged you the most throughout your career and how have they done so?
4. What do you prefer to do in your leisure time? (choose three)
5. Name your favorite fiction and non-fiction book. Why?
6. Who challenges (helps you to be better at what you do) you the most in your work? Elaborate.
7. If you could choose a colour that best described your personality, what would it be? Explain.
8. What drives you crazy?
9. If you could change one thing in the education system, what would it be?
10. What was the most important thing you will do today (work-related)? What is the most important thing you will do tomorrow (work-related)?
11. What part of your work are you most passionate about? Why?

6 responses to “The Curse of Eleven: Getting our Homework Done

  1. This is great Elisa. Thanks for playing along. Lots I did not know about you and I think you pass the camping test.

  2. I look forward to every one of your posts. I get excited when my email notifies me that there is a new one. You are smart, cool, interesting, and funny. thank you.

  3. I always enjoy reading your blog and reflections. I appreciate your authentic and honest voice. After reading this piece, I am reminded of the continual “dance” to balance work and life. It is through this balance that we promote goodness towards ourself and others. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • innovativelearningdesigns

      Thanks, Brad. Yes, the work-life balance is indeed a dance. Sometimes, we can be challenged by the moves!

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