I tell them the list can contain random facts, trivial stuff, vital stuff, and all the good stuff they want. This is just a tool for me to learn about them and then find things that I can connect readings and lessons to.
If I find out a student once lived in the south but moved up here because her dad got a job with Digi Key, then I know I can rely on her to give us some background knowledge on the south when we read "A Rose for Emily" or To Kill a Mockingbird. If a student lists their favorite film as Star Wars, then I know I can connect with them when we study archetypal theory.
I always write a list too and share it with them. It's a way for me to invite them in while, at the same time, letting my freak flag fly.
Here is the version of this year.
1 I’m married to the most amazing person in the world.
2 I fell in love with my wife the very first time I saw her
3 We have four children (Casey, KoKo, Kenzie, and Cash)
4 My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
5 My daughter’s middle name is Scout, after the main character in To Kill a Mockingbird.
6 I have never read the “follow up” to To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman.
7 My favorite nonfiction book is Linchpin by Seth Godin.
8 My favorite audio book is Tribes by Seth Godin.
9 My favorite graphic novel is The Crow by James O’Barr.
10 My favorite comic book/graphic novel series is Hellboy by Mike Mignolia.
11 I have too many favorite movies to narrow down to just one, so here are several
12 The Incredibles
13 Pulp Fiction
17 Star Wars (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens).
18 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
19 The Shawshank Redemption
20 Toy Story III
21 Training Day
22 American Beauty
23 Little Miss Sunshine
24 Sleepy Hollow
25 My favorite cartoon series is Star Wars Rebels
26 It took me 40 hours to put my Lego Death Star together
27 I just ordered the Lego Ewok village for my room
28 I graduated from Red Lake Falls in 1992
29 I graduated from Northland in 1994
30 I graduated from Bemidji State University in 1997
31 I again graduated from Bemidji State University (this time with my Master’s degree) in 2006
32 I teach a night class at UND during the fall semester
33 This will be my fourth year teaching Teaching and Learning 250 Tuesday nights at UND
34 My favorite football team is the Cincinnati Bengals
35 I was 17 the last time the Bengals won a playoff game
36 I will be 43 in 21 days
37 This will be my 19th year at Lincoln
38 It will be my 20th year if you count student teaching
39 I student taught with Mrs. Semanko
40 My favorite short story is “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
41 “The Lottery” is another great short story.
42 My favorite horror story is “Pig Blood Blues” by Clive Barker
43 My favorite Stephen King short story is a tie among “The Man in the Black Suit,” “N.,” and “Crouch End.”
44 The summer after my freshman year, I read 35 novels over summer vacation.
45 My favorite horror novels are as follows
46 Pet Sematary (Stephen King)
47 Watchers (Dean R. Koontz).
48 I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)
49 Wolf Hunt (Jeff Strand) I just read this this summer, and it is hilarious.
50 The Silence of the Lambs (Thomas Harris)
51 ‘Salem’s Lot (Stephen King)
52 The Nightrunners (Joe R. Lansdale)
53 The Books of Blood (Clive Barker)
54 World War Z (Max Brooks)
55 The Traveling Vampire Show (Richard Layman)
56 The Illustrated Man (Ray Bradbury)
57 Both of my parents are dead
58 They died from lung cancer
59 My mother smoked Kool’s and my father smoked filterless Pal Mal’s
60 My mother was my best friend
61 We moved to the country when I was 11
62 My father loved to bale alfalfa hay
63 I had a Honda 3 wheeler
64 Like many young kids back then, I almost killed myself on it several times.
65 Moving out to a farm was actually a great thing for me
66 I spent massive amounts of time reading and writing
67 I didn’t know it at the time, but with all that reading and writing I was working on my 10,000 hours to reach mastery.
68 My 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Christianson, changed my life
69 She read one of my essays to the rest of the class
70 After that, I knew I wanted to do what she did
71 Dr. Drake at NCTC was another incredible professor
72 Dr. Christensen at BSU was yet another great professor who impacted my career
73 Dr. Helen Bonner, though, probably had the greatest impact on my writing in her Advanced Prose class at BSU
74 In grad school, the late Susan Hauser, had an incredible impact on my writing too
75 Dr. Kim Donehower, at UND, also had great influence on both my writing and teaching when I was part of the Red River Valley Writing Project
76 I attended the RRVWP twice (2004 and 2007)
77 This summer my wife and I helped chaperone the choir trip to New York City
78 It was my second time chaperoning the choir trip (my first time was in 2004)
79 I was insanely jealous of my wife whose group took her to the Museum of Modern Art
80 While they were at the MOMA, they texted me pictures of all of my favorite works of art.
81 One of my all time favorite pieces is “Drowning Girl” by Roy Lichtenstein
82 I also love the works of Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian
83 I played summer baseball with Mr. Zutz in RLF
84 I also attended NCTC and BSU with Mr. Zutz
85 Mr. Zutz is now my neighbor
86 We have two pets, a dog (Kozy) and a cat (Mischa)
87 My favorite vacation place is Custer, SD.
88 My favorite college football team is the Colorado Buffaloes
89 My wife’s favorite team is the Green Bay Packers. Do you know how annoying that is?
90 One of my favorite times of the football season is actually the preseason, which begins in a few days. Hope springs eternal for everyone.
91 By far, though, my favorite time of the NFL season is the draft.
92 I have taught a wide variety of classes at LHS
93 American Lit
94 British Lit
95 Science Fiction
96 Creative Writing
97 Composition I (which is now Foundations)
98 Composition II (which has now become a part of Lit and Lang 11 and 12)
99 Lit and Lang 9
100 Lit and Lang 10
101 College Comp
102 College Comp II
103 Journalism / Yearbook
104 My favorite holiday is Halloween
105 I spend the majority of my summers at the Porpoise Key Club pool with my kids
106 My step-son, Casey, is moving to Sioux Falls, SD
107 My step-daughter, KoKo, lives in Brainerd and attends St. Cloud State
108 My wife works at Thune Insurance
109 My wife and I saw Hozer last year in early September, and it was awesome.
110 I have seen Def Leppard three times.
111 My first concert ever was Metallica at the Hyslop at UND in the summer of 1989