Sunday, January 24, 2016

DigiLit Sunday - What Inspires You? A Thank You Note to Bloggers

I love that Margaret Simon has started a Sunday Link Up for posts about digital literacy at her blog to challenge us to share our technology journeys.
     What is my rocket fuel?  Margaret Simon tweeted, "What inspires you?" this week as the theme topic for today's DigiLit Sunday posts.  There are a lot of things that inspire me, but since this is a space to write about digital literacy, I thought I'd reflect on the blogging community and how it is one of my greatest inspirations personally and professionally.  This is going to be a love letter/thank you note of sorts.  A chance to thank some folks who have sparked my teaching career, helped me take risks as a writer and educator, and provided me with daily reminders to be extraordinary. 
     I began blogging in the summer of 2012.  There were several people who inspired me to start blogging.  I can pinpoint a revolution in my teaching several years before that after seeing Franki Sibberson at a local literacy conference.  She introduced me to Goodreads, Twitter, and Mr. Schu's amazing blog, Read.Watch.Connect.  So I'll start my thank yous there, with Franki and Mr. Schu. 
Thank you for inspiring me:
Franki Sibberson - I wrote a "If Not For Franki" post for her 50th birthday, a wonderful idea led by Mary Lee Hahn, telling her how much she has inspired me.  Franki and Mary Lee write a terrific blog about teaching, books, writing, and life called A Year of Reading.  Don't miss it!
Mr. Schu - At the literacy conference where I saw Franki, she told us about this librarian who reads thousands of books a year.  She encouraged us to "friend" him on Goodreads, and then I discovered his blog, Watch.Connect.Read.  He celebrates children's books like no other - a kidlit rock star!  I finally got to meet him at the Dublin Literacy Conference last year!
Colby Sharp, Donalyn Miller, Cindy Minnich - I'm going to thank this power team together.  Not only do each of these amazing literacy champions bring us inspiration in their own blogs (and Donalyn with her books), but they founded the best kidlit blog ever, Nerdy Book Club Katherine Sokolowski, another inspirational blogger, joined the team as well.  I visit her blog often for wonderful classroom ideas and philosophies about teaching.  They've also organized NerdcampMI, a place where I got to meet so many other kidlit enthusiasts.  I love that we are all part of the NBC merely by loving children's books.  We can also write for it.  I've written eight Nerdy Book Club posts, which brings me to my next inspirational blogger...
David Etkin - I think I first "met" David through his #WONDERchools initiative.  I also followed him on Twitter and read his blog posts.  Many of my classroom ideas have come from him.  Two and a half years ago, we collaborated on #ReadWalkWater and wrote a NBC post about it (after we were inspired by Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water).  This past fall, we helped organize our third annual walks for water.   He continues to inspire me with his fearless and innovative ideas in teaching and life.
Two Writing Teachers - Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres (who now inspires us to celebrate every week) founded the Two Writing Teachers blog, a place where I was inspired to start writing my own Slices of Life and encouraging my students to participate in the Slice of Life Classroom Challenge.  Starting my students with their own Kidblogs has been a wonderful teaching experience.  The writers/educators who write for Two Writing Teachers now (Ann Gratz Cockerille, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Dana Murphy, Tara Smith, Deb Frazier, and Kathleen Sokolowski) are a constant source of inspiration for so many of us!
Margaret Simon - I'm not sure when I exactly discovered Margaret's blog.  I think it was because of linking up to Tuesday's Slice of Life community.  She inspires me in so many ways.  She challenges me to step up my game in using digital tools, writing and creating, and trying out my poetry skills.  She helped support me with my blogging venture with Spiritual Journey Thursday, which was a huge step out of my comfort zone at the time.  I'm SO happy to have finally met her in person at NCTE, where I got to present with her.  That brings me to my next inspiration...
Carol Varsalona - Because of Carol, I was able to be a first-time presenter at NCTE this past November.  She is a mover and shaker and supports so many people in education.  She was also an early supporter of me in my Spiritual Journey Thursday endeavor (she helped create the meme), and I love her Galleries of Artistic Expressions.  She inspires us all to be more creative and passionate.
Michelle Haseltine - I love visiting Michelle's blog and getting a lift.  She is one of the most positive and inspiring bloggers ever!  Her love of teaching and students, writing and creating, and putting her heart out on her sleeve is contagious. 
Greg Armamentos - Greg is an encourager.  He reached out during my first Slice of Life March Challenge a couple years ago and inspired me to keep writing and blogging.  He is an inspired writer himself, and the encouragement he gave me increased my writing confidence.
Jen Vincent, Kellee Moye, Ricki Ginsberg - The link up, It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? started by Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, has inspired me to keep track of and share my reading every week.  They've created a reading community who keeps our reading piles high!
Alyson Beecher - I love Alyson's passion for nonfiction.  She has inspired me to link up every Wednesday to share the nonfiction picture books I read and to read other bloggers' nonfiction recommendations.  She is a tireless champion of children's literature!
Cathy Mere, Mandy Robek, Carrie Gelson - I love these bloggers because they inspire us to make book lists!  Cathy and Mandy created picture book events where we make our top 10 fiction and nonfiction lists each year, and Carrie helps us think about our must-reads.  I need to write my #MustReadin2016 post!
Linda Baie - Linda is a dedicated and inspired blogger, and I love reading her posts, but what inspires me even more is her amazing dedication to commenting on everyone else's blogs!  She is always there to give an encouraging word.
Pernille Ripp - I am a new reader of Pernille's blog after she slam-dunked a keynote speech at NerdcampMI.  She is an incredibly inspired and inspiring educator.  She created the Global Read Aloud initiative and is a proponent of choice in the ELA classroom.  She is a force in the literacy world now, and I think we're going to hear more and more about/from her!
Kate Messner - Kate is one of my favorite author bloggers.  The reason I love her blog so much is that she is a champion of teachers.  She started a free TeachersWrite! program in the summer, which has inspired many of us to be teacher writers.  She also gathers names each year for authors/illustrators who will Skype with classrooms on World Read Aloud Day.  Thank you, Kate!
 Choice Literacy - a compilation of amazing literacy articles, videos, and posts by some of the best literacy educators we have!
Spiritual Journey Thursday Community - I cannot thank the bloggers who have linked up to my SJT post in the past and present (Violet, Bobbie, Leigh Anne, Mary, Margaret, Greg, Justin, Amy, Teresa, Carol, Michelle, and now Linda, Julianne, Doraine, and Irene) enough.  So sorry if I've forgotten someone!  I am constantly inspired by their own spiritual journeys and the way they support each other and me. 
The risk of writing a thank you post like this is that I've forgotten someone really important!  I probably have, and I am so sorry!  However, the reward outweighs the risk.  It is important to thank the people who inspire us.  Thank you, inspirational bloggers, for making a huge difference in my personal and professional life, and thank you, Margaret, for encouraging us to share our inspirations. You are definitely one of mine!


  1. Holly, I was really getting into your inspiration post-a unique idea to thank people who have contributed to your growth as a writer and educator and then you mentioned me. I am so humbled by your inclusion of my name in this post. I also was going to write a post celebrating community but have not even got to the first line of that one. When I finished your post, I thought that it would have been one of those Emmy award thank you speeches. Great job. Being inspired by those around us is one of those special friendship "things". I am so glad to count you as one of my friends.

  2. I don't remember either when we first connected, but I feel our relationship has grown to be a very special friendship. When I met you and Ed this fall, it was like being with old friends. Talk was so easy. I am honored to be here among these amazing inspirers and writers. What a great list!

  3. I adore you, Holly Mueller. Thanks for including Kellee and me!

  4. Amazing list. Thanks for starting Spiritual Journey Thursday and including this non-teacher (or I should say, former-teacher). You have quite the gallery of onlookers... a great blessing!

  5. Honored to be on your list! SO glad our paths cross in this amazing work we all do and share.

  6. Holly, Thank you for your kind words!!! Thank you for including me in this amazing list of educators, I'm honored. Thank you for inspiring me with your creativity and positivity. You are an important part of my PLN!!!