July 17, 2013


The German girl in me is very honored to be nominated not once, not twice, but three times for a Liebster award. For those that don't speak my language, Liebster means sweetheart, darling, or beloved. Basically, this award says I'm pretty lovable. And I sure like to think that I am! :) I was nominated by Bridget at First Grade Circus, Tara at Teaching With Twitte, and Amy at Middle School Minions.

Liebster Nomination Rules
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you. 
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with less than 200 followers. 
3. Answer the questions posted for you by the nominator. 
4. Share 11 random facts about you. 
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees. 
6. Contact your nominees to inform them of their nomination. 

I'm going to do a question round-up here so I'm not repeating myself or boring my poor readers to death.

My Questions:
1. Why did you start blogging? I think my blog was originally an outlet for me to share my opinions on things that were happening both inside and outside my classroom. It was a place I could get on my pedestal and share with the "world" (more like my mom, grandmas, and a couple close friends) what I was thinking... with some fun narratives from my classroom.

2. What's your favorite after-work recipe? Anything in the crock pot! I think my absolute favorite meal is one we call Mexican Chili, which I got from Pinterest (like all great recipes). I throw in frozen chicken breasts/tenders, cream cheese, green chilies, corn, southwestern tomatoes, and black beans. When I get home from school, I'm always ready to eat my own arm, so this recipe is great because I can just shred the chicken (which takes about a minute) and eat it over brown rice or lime tortilla chips.

3. What is your most memorable teaching experience? My most meaningful moments as a teacher have honestly come from when students thank me for going above and beyond to support their children during rough times. I have a few thank-you notes that make my eyes fill with tears whenever I think about them.

4. Where did you go to school? I got my bachelor's in Communication Arts at North Park University, which is a tiny, private school in Chicago. I wanted to go to a Christian school and loved the idea of having that safety net while still living in the city. And to be honest, I thought I would intern at Harpo Studios, become BFF with Oprah (sorry, Gayle), and take over her show when she retired. :)

After two years working in marketing, I decided to go get my master's in Education from DePaul University. The program had a great reputation, and I was able to take all my classes at a suburban campus near my house. Win-win.

5. How do you deal with difficult students & parents? I think the best thing to do is to remind everyone that we need to work together for a common goal. Every situation is so different, but I think, at the end of the day, everyone just wants to feel valued and heard. Just letting people vent is often the first step in coming together to solve a problem.

6. What is your favorite television show? The Real Housewives of... wherever. I watch them all. The only season that doesn't trill me is Miami, but I still watch it because Joel loves Mama Elsa. ha! I could probably happily lose my remote if the TV were stuck on Bravo. :)

7. Do you speak any other languages? I speak some German. I took it in high school and college. My sister is always amazed at how much I still remember, but I know I've lost quite a bit over the years since I never have an opportunity to use it. I wish I spoke Spanish... maybe someday.

8. How do you feel about grading? I definitely give participation grades for many, many assignments. I went to a district-wide institute once where the speakers talked about how the value comes in students practicing the skills rather than getting the grades all the time. I think this is especially true for ELA teachers because we can't possibly grade every writing assignment. So, I take a lot of participation grades for accountability and then grade parts of assignments or maybe only a handful of students for assignments that repeat (so I can assess for mini-lesson needs).

9. What is your favorite thing about teaching? Building relationships with my students. It makes me so happy that I still have relationships with many of my former students on Facebook where we still check on each other and even share book recommendations.

10. What is your favorite read aloud? I think my new favorite is the Emmett Till book (Getting Away with Murder) I did at the end of this school year. My students were super engaged in the story and accompanying lessons.

11. What teaching resource have you found the most helpful? I would say my CRISS handbook because it's kinda my teaching Bible. I have so many pages flagged and have loved so many of the activities I learned about in that training.

12. What is your favorite way to relax after a tough day at school? Definitely with some Bravo, snuggles with Joel, and maybe a glass of wine. :)

13. What is your favorite food? If I had to pick just one thing, I think I'd choose an Italian Beef from Portillo's. Oh, the deliciousness!

14. What is your best vacation spot? I'm not very good at taking vacations, but I have to say our Destin trip over spring break this year was Ah-mazing!

15. What's one thing you would change about schools in general? I would get rid of standardized testing. I envision a happier, less stressful environment for teachers and students.

16. What's the most frustrating thing about blogging? You never know how people will respond to what you put out there. Like my linky party from last week that I was SO excited about but didn't have ANY participants. And then I see a million people participating in linky parties that I don't even care to read. Maybe I'm just weird. ha!

17. Do you create your own classroom items or buy them? I've always created my own or received items from co-workers, which I tweak for my students. I'm not good at getting something and using it as-is. I always have to change things to make it fit my style.

Random Facts About Me
1. If you give me hard wood floors and a pair of socks, I will do endless fouette turns.
2. I make no apologies for the fact that I sing in the car at the top of my lungs.
3. I get super hot and bored laying out, but I can sit in the pool all day long.
4. I'm obsessed with painting my ring finger a different color.
5. I judge drivers with Packers stickers on their cars.
6. If I could, I would live in flip flops.
7. I can't sleep without my squishy pillow and a good fan.
8. I know the name of every neighborhood kid that goes to our pool but not one parent.
9. Kelly Gallagher has had a major influence on me as a teacher.
10. I would love to work on a morning radio show.

My Nominees:

Questions for My Nominees:
1. How do you seat students in your classroom? 
2. How do you solve the dreaded "I can't find my pencil" issue?
3. What's a typical lunch for you at school?
4. What one technology do you want most for your classroom?
5. What hours do you typically work in your building?
6. Do you see yourself teaching the same subject/grade in 5 years?
7. If you weren't teaching, what would you do?
8. What is the best TPT resource you've ever purchased?
9. Whose blog are you always excited to read and why?
10. How much do you collaborate with colleagues? 
11. What is one thing you hope to improve on as a teacher this year?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the nomination! :)

  3. Thanks! My Liebster post is up now at http://sjsdblogs.com/coughlin