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As a teacher, my measure of a great project is when my students are excited for their chosen presentation dates because they are deeply engaged in the task. That same eagerness has come from a lot of my guests on The Personal Playlist Podcast, which originated as a Building Outside the Blocks project for my grade 7 class. I am joyful that this experience has resonated with so many educators. Sarah was among those who were excited to share her P3 (link coming soon).
Sarah Lalonde is a teacher candidate finishing up her degree at the University of Ottawa. She is also a blogger and one of the podcasters on VoiceEd Radio. As the Community Manager for VoicEd , she is in charge of community engagement for this incredible station that is literally changing the way you talk about education in Canada. In her current placement, she is shadowing an English teacher who is also charge of student leadership activities- a role very close to my heart.

Sarah felt that her playlist was truly original. She was correct in saying that she is the first guest in her age group. She is 23, and maybe even the first millennial on the show. Sarah refers to herself as a country bumpkin, which was well-reflected in some of her playlist choices. Her nostalgia song features the Queen of Country Pop because this artist was her role model growing up. She did projects about her and her grandma played her music on the way to swimming lessons. Sarah choreographed a lot of dances to her music with her brother and some neighbours, and she played Rock Band- Country Tracks with this song, too. It even inspired her to get a guitar. Here is Shania Twain’s Any Man of Mine:
When people choose their identity song, they choose something that shows who they are and what they love. This song resonates for Sarah because it also keeps her grounded. “I don’t think there is a better song to really represent who I am…I blare it on the radio in the car…I listen to it when I need to remember who I am and where I come from.” As a person who has moved a lot in her adult life, she has deepened her passion for her hometown. Check out her #HelloMyPLN video. It tells her story so well and helps the viewer get a sense of where she comes from.
The song title for her identity song is also the name of the company that she and her boyfriend started. Their mission is about showcasing where you come from in order to bring it to where you are going. To do that, they aim to provide unique apparel and gear in the latest styles that include baseball shirts and tank tops (see above right). From the county fairs to the gravel road that leads you to three acres of land she lives on, this song reminds her of spending time with her friends, driving down a country road, checking things out and just spending time with one another. Sarah shared, “Being homegrown is a state of mind; a mindset of knowing where you come from and always staying true to your roots.” Here’s Homegrown by the Zac Brown Band:
Sarah felt blessed to be that Disney Family who went yearly to visit the Magic Kingdom. Once she was out of high school, she learned that she could work at the Disney International College Program (ICP) for Canadian students. She worked on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and got to interact with guests by educating them about the animals on the trail. “Walt Disney World changes you,” added Sarah noting the two-finger point and the reference to staff as cast members. “Everything is particular, well designed and well-thought through.”  She chose a Disney song for her motivational and pick-me-up song.
“I had to add some Disney flare to my P3, or else it wouldn’t represent who I am.” Some of the lyrics in this song really speak to her because the song is about believing in yourself and following your dreams.  She pictures herself with students in a school, as that is where she truly believes she belongs. No matter what obstacle she has in front of her or what she’s going through, this song helps to remind her that she can “go the distance”. It is a song that is included in the fireworks presentation at Epcot, and it gives her a spark when she hears it. Here is I Can Go the Distance (not Difference as I wrongly announce on the podcast) from the animated movie Hercules.
Sarah felt that her songs really paint a picture of who she is. “Honestly, I am really happy with the songs that I have chosen,” Sarah concluded and adds, “ and I do not have another song that I think would help anyone paint a picture of who I am as a person.” Sarah has been dreaming about being a teacher and impacting students lives for as long as she can remember.  She has gone the distance, and the end is in sight because she graduates in June. Sarah has all the ingredients to be a great life long learner and educator, and I know that she will make the most of every step of her journeys.

Source: Noa Daniel

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