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Leaping Liebster Awards! I accept!!!!!!

Shut the front door! This morning when I checked out my e-mail I was both amazed and gratified to discover that I had just been awarded the Liebster Blog Award.  Jo Anne who blogs over at Teaching in Cardigans nominated my new blog and so did MS J at Surviving Sixth Grade! Both amazing teachers from the looks of it, and excellent bloggers on top of it!

The main aim of the Liebster Blog award appears to be an attempt to offer public recognition to relatively new and unknown bloggers for their blogging. Personally I think this is a great idea, and not just because I have received the award! Over recent months I had noticed the Liebster badge on many of the blogs I visited, and I often wondered how I might get one of these pretty little badges for my then non existant blog.  And here it is, not once but twice in the same day!

The "Rules" to Accept the Award: 
    Link back to the blog that nominated me (DONE)
    Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers (Done, read below!!!!)
    Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator (I am answering both Ms. J's and Jo Anne's Questions.)
    Share 11 random facts about yourself (Done)
    Create 11 questions for your nominees (Done)
    Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them (Will Do!!!!!!)
Jo Anne's Questions
1. What was your most memorable teaching moment? I have had a ton in my almost first year of teaching.  But the one that sticks out was actually in my student teaching. I was working with a 1st-3rd grade Montessori class and had a Somalian girl who wore a hijab on some days.  I had a little boy ask “why does she wear that thing on her head?”  I remember having one of the sweetest conversations on culture, respect, empathy, and understanding.  It was truly a blessing that this happened. Funny thing is the little girl just said, ”because I want to!”  And in her culture she does not have to wear it full time until she is 12 so really it was because she wanted to!
2. What has been the most exciting thing you've done this summer?  Gone up to the cabin EVERY weekend.  I love the cabin.  I am lucky to have 2 in my arsenal of get aways.  We have been going up to J's dad's cabin as they allow dogs.  It is so nice, quiet, fresh, and beautiful.  I really am looking forward to going up there more even this fall.  I can not imagine a better place for grading than on the porch with a giant cup of coffee.
3. What was your favorite TV show as a child in the grade that you teach?  I am a dork.  I never really watched much TV.  I was always writing stories, or designing clothing.  When I was in 6th grade though.  Hm….One show I KNOW I watched, loved, and wanted to be on was Where In The World is Carmen San Diego.  I would watch the show and get SUPER DUPER mad when the kid put something in the wrong place.  I wanted to go to the Geography Bee when I was a kid but my school did not fund it.  I loved that show and even had the board game (which I dominated at!).
You can totally watch them on YOUTUBE!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!

4. What do you keep in the trunk of your car?  I drive a Chevy Trail Blazer....So I keep EVERYTHING in the back of my car.  But what is in it right much school stuff!  I get to go into my classroom today and try to organize some of it.  I am thoroughly pumped!  However on any given day you will find a snow scraper, blanket, mittens, hand warmers, snow boots, small shovel, flashlight, fruit snacks.  (Hey I live in Minnesota….that is an essential kit if you get stuck in a ditch somewhere. )
5. Why did you decide to become a teacher?  I decided to become a teacher after working with kids at an art camp.  I saw their light and eagerness for learning and fell in love.  I went to school for it and never turned back.  Many of my friends rallied back and forth with what they wanted to do.  I never turned back.  I love what I do, even on the really hard days.  I am really hoping that after grad school I get into the grade level that I would really like to teach.  So I am crossing my fingers!
6. If you could have had the starring role in one film already made, which movie would you pick?  I am so lame. I do not watch many movies, or watch much T.V.  Probably Hermione Granger.  I love her in the books more than anything but, hey, since they made them into movies I will go with her.  I even wrote a paper in college about how Hermione Granger and I are intertwined and if she were real she would have gone to the college I went to.  St. Kate’s –an all girl university in Minnesota!  
7. What are your favorite books about teaching?  I love the Words Their Way books.  I WISH I had been taught to spell in the way that these books show.  I also really love two books one of my favorite professors wrote.  They are  of the few I kept.  Her Name is Dianne Heacox.  She is a genius.  The first book is Differentiating Instructionin the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12
I found a video on it here:

The second is MakingDifferentiation a Habit: How to Ensure Success in Academically DiverseClassrooms.  Both AMAZING.  I highly suggest them.  They really make me thing when I am creating lessons.
8. If your house was burning down, what three objects would you save? 
My Dog.
My Computer
My wallet.
I do not have many sentimental items sadly.  But my dog is one of my best friends, my computer has files, pictures, memories that I would need in order to process what just happened to me.  And my wallet has my credit card and my ID.  I would need a cocktail fast.
9. What thought or message would you want to put in a fortune cookie?  “You are the prettiest girl in the room.” Granted this would have to be a girls only fortune cookie.  I see a lot of girls struggle with self esteem issues and I would love to just hand them out to all girls.  I am going to be working with all girls this year.  I am nervous about it but loving it at the same time. I hope that while I am teaching math I can help these girls to really love and embrace who they are, fix things they can change and accept what they can’t. 
10.           What is one item that you really should throw away, but probably never will?  a shirt my dad found me at a garage sale that says "FIll to this line with Margaritas" then has a line that goes across my chest.  It is super thread bare and really green.  I like it a lot.  It is old as dirt, unflattering, and sort of inappropriate. 
11.           If you had to give up a favorite food, which would be the most difficult to give up?  TACOS for sure.  I have so many food allergies that tacos are my fall back.  Tacos and burritos.  I love them.  When friends as to meet up for supper and cocktails I always suggest Hispanic food because I know I am not allergic to it!

Ms. J’s Questions:
    What was your favorite subject in school? Well, as a math teacher you would expect that math was my favorite.  I actually struggled really hard with it until 6th grade with Mr. Brzinski finally figured out I had a learning disorder.  Then I really liked it.  But I would say my favorite subject all around was science.  I loved learning about nature and things that are in it!
    What is your favorite song right now?  The one that you blast in the car riding down the street! Royals by Lorde (see Currently July) and Blurred Lines by Robin Thick and Pharrell.  FOR SURE!!!!!
    What’s your favorite place to vacation?  Anywhere warm, with a beach, and a fruity flavored icy drink.
    What’s your most memorable teaching moment? Other than the one above.  This year I had a student who was homeless.  She could have gone any way but she chose to hang out with kids that were studious, asked questions, and generally did good things.  Her mother was kind, and truly cared about her daughter.  She would send notes with her week asking for an update.  At the end of the year (almost a whole school year going shelter to shelter) not only did this student get a’s and b’s but she also got a few awards for following Panther Pride and our monthly focuses.  I gave her an award for love.  As she truly loved not only everyone around her but herself.  She could have had incredibly low self esteem but she chose to live above her circumstances and live “out loud.”  In about March her mother got a part time job at Caribou Coffee.  She worked her tail off, got a promotion and is now a manager.  On the last day of school this student had to miss the big field trip to the amusement park as they were moving into their new apartment.  I was so proud of her and her mother.  I sent each of the cards,  The mother I sent some coasters and magnets for her new refrigerator (to post her children’s good school work on) and the student some posters to decorate her new room with.
I am not sure if this is a teaching moment. But it taught me to really understand how blessed I am.
    What are your hobbies?  Reading, eating (I do not cook though) playing with my dog, creating things, DIY, and actually, yard work.
    What was your first job?  Well I worked at Subway for 3 hours for my first “paycheck.”  They made me make the tunafish for their tuna sandwiches.  I quit on the spot.  Stuck with baby sitting.
    Who makes up your family?  My family that I live with is my boyfriend, J, and my puppy Angus.  But I have a mother, Kathi and a father Shannon. They are still married and live about an hour away from me.

    Who was your favorite teacher and why? Mrs. Brizinski. She was the one that figured out I had a mathematical learning disablility.  She gave me graph paper and extra time to take my exams.  She cared more about my growth of ¼ of year than any one else did.  Because of her I was successful in Jr. High and Highschool Math.  I did not get caught up until 12th grade but I did.  She made me want to be a teacher and a math specialist because of her understanding that not all students learn math the same way.
    What’s the best piece of teacher advice you ever received? Count your calculators.  I swear to god.  I would have had to ay for about 15 TI84’s last year had I not counted them EVERY CLASS, EVERY DAY.
    What’s the last movie you watched?  What were your thoughts? OZ the Great and Powerful – it was really good, if you are into teenager movies.  The graphics were phenomenal even J liked it.
    If you could be any animal what would it be and why? A meerkat!  Duh look at them!  

Honestly though, they take pride in their community, by educating and nurturing their young as a whole group, they take turns, they clean their homes, and they watch out for one another.  And they are stinkin cute!

11 Random Facts About Me: 
1.     I only like the orange and yellow Starbursts.  I give the pink and red ones away
2.     I watch Netflix but only as background noise.
3.     I LOVE to paint my nails.  I used to bite them really bad.  So I started to use nailpolish as a reward for not biting my nails.  Every Saturday, if I didn't bite, I would put 10 bucks in my pocket and run to Target, get a Starbucks coffee, and peruse the nail polish isles.  The 10 bucks was just enough for a small coffee and any bottle of nail polish, any one I wanted.  This was about 4 years ago.  I now have about 250 bottles of nail polish.  It has turned from a reward to an addiction.
4.     I am currently obsessed with anything nautical.  Well currently is not the right word.  I have always been.  I grew up on a boat.  My dad was a professional fisherman so I learned to fish about the time I learned to walk.  Many girls have visions of their wedding (even when they are not engaged).  They know everything about what is going to happen from the dress, to the groom’s tuxes, the flowers to the cake.  The only thing I care about is that the person I marry loves me and I get married on a boat.  A big freaking boat!
5.     I am an only child.  But until I was about 10 I asked for a big brother for Christmas every year!
6.     I am obsessed with the Presidents of the United States of America.  I know all sorts of random facts about them.  One of the books I have written is an interactive, electronic book about the presidents and their pets. I have been contemplating publishing this as an Ebook for about a year now but have just not had the time to edit it properly. 
7.     I can not fuction well with out at least one cup of coffee.
8.     I find freckes incredibly interesting and wish I had more.
9.     I make up random songs and sing them really loudly to my students about what ever it is we do.  I do not sing well.  At all.
10.  I love the smell of freshly mown grass and bonfires.
11.  The mall gives me anxiety.  I do all of my shopping online. Except Target, Craft Store, Dollar Store and grocery shopping.

Blogs That I'm Nominating: 
    Danielle at Camp We Wanna Learn A Lot
    Amber at A Little Bit Of Everything
    Melissa at Wild About Fifth Grade
    Miss Rudolph at The Secondary Classroom Can Be Fun Too
    Scott (yes a guy!) at Planting Ideas

My Questions:
1.     What made you start writing a blog?
2.     What song do you most listen to when you are in need of a pick-me-up?
3.     Can you name a movie adaptation that was better than the book?
4.     What children’s book describes the meaning of life best in your eyes? OR What book (children or adult) changed your life and why?
5.     What obscure pieces of trivia are you most impressed with yourself for knowing?
6.     What are you thinking about doing for Open House this year?
7.     What are you thinking about doing for first day of school this year?
8.     If you had to pick another career what would it be?
9.     Who is your celebrity crush?
10.  What is your favorite thing about your mate or best friend?
11.  What is one piece of advice you would give a new teacher?


  1. I wanted to answer my own questions. I thought about doing it for my 11 facts but thought that would be cheating. :)

    1. Honestly to keep my thoughts organized. I like to “talk out my problems” but no one I know really wants to listen to them. This seemed like the right platform for the job. I also love the community and the collaboration.
    2. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. Gets me every time.
    3. I have been asked about this choice and argued it. But I like the way that Peter Jackson did The Lovely Bones. I like how he made the movie more innocent than Alice Siebold originally made the book. Don't get me wrong I LOVED the book, but I like how the rape, adultery, heart attack do not come into play in the movie. Better may not be the operative word for this comparison, but “evoked different feelings” definitely encompasses them.
    4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack. I cried when he died last year. I was a TA for a children’s literature class and sent out an email just 15 minutes after I heard he passed away to my students. For me, I was a kid who had a horrible time in grade school. It was a time before ADD had a name, so I was punished and teased a lot. My favorite time was library period. We were allowed to pick one book a week and return it the following week. Every week, I would pick a Sendak book…namely, “Where the Wild Things Are”. I would just soak it all up. In ways, I very much felt like Max. I really envied his escape. I wanted that world for myself. So, I started focusing on the illustration. I began crating my own world in drawings and language. That pretty much began what defined me as a person. I became very active in art at an early age due to this. I began spending all my summers in an art program for kids at a local Art Institute, and began honing my skills and creating poetry. II am now a TEACHER, and can show my kids the power that Mr. Sendak’s book.
    5. Cold water boils faster and hot water freezes faster.
    6. Something with glow sticks (because I can buy 100 of them pretty cheep) and a card stock that says “We’re going to have the brightest year in math ever!!”
    7. OH my goodness, I have thought about this over and over. There are so many good “math” related ice breakers but I can’t choose. I also thought about doing a writing/interview assignment. I have 6th graders coming from different schools and not knowing one another. I thought about doing a newspaper article (if I do it I will attach at a different time) where I pair up students and they ask each other (and fill out for) questions on a pre made newspaper template. I will then take pictures of all the kiddos and attach them to the paper. I could bind them together then, if we have a new student they can “check out” the class book to get to know their classmates. But I don’t know.
    8. An author. For sure. I am constantly writing. I have written 3 books (not published) and am working on one (from that TA experience) that might get published by Scholastic…we will see.
    9. Fricken Justin Timberlake or Ryan Gosling. Duh.
    10. That he makes me laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY. And he looks at my food allergies as a “challenge” not as a hindrance. Fortunately for me he likes to cook. So the fact that I am gluten free and allergic to onions, garlic, and eggs makes him crave recipes that taste good but are ok for me to eat. I am SO LUCKY!
    11. ORGANIZE. Get yourself a teacher binder. Talk to your PLC or colleagues and do not be afraid to ask questions. It is not a secret you are new….do not try to pretend you are not new (in front of teachers…kids and parents that is a different story)

  2. There are so many things I want to say about this post, but let me tell you how nostalgic I got when you mentioned Carmen Sandiego... I LOVE that show! I used to play all the computer games on an old, beat up PC my parents had. They used to show it on PBS where I lived and the show Ghostwriter would come on afterwards. Definitely look into Ghostwriter if you haven't heard of it! I plan to watch a few episodes of Carmen Sandiego now that you mentioned its on YouTube... :)

    1. AH! You can watch GhostWriter on You Tube too!

      It wont let me imbed in the comment lines!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! I am constantly battling the idea of if my posts are too long because of pictures.


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