Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Liebster Award!

A Liebster! How exciting! My very first blogging award.  A big thanks to Stephanie at Tales of Teaching in Heels for the nomination! 

So, you're probably thinking...A Liebster? What the H is a Liebster?? Well, it's an award for bloggers with less than 200 followers (and I have 1, so this is great!) I just started blogging a few weeks ago, and I'm so excited to share my passion for teaching and family with, if I could just get some followers, right?

Anyway, here are the 11 questions that Steph asked me to answer:

1. How long have you been teaching?
I'm just about to begin my 7th year, time flies!

2. What's your favorite teaching/coaching moment?
I have so many favorites, but last summer I received an email from a former student that said, "Mrs. V, thanks to you I can no longer read a book without thinking about it more deeply! I just wanted to enjoy this beach read, and all of a sudden I'm looking for symbolism and analyzing the author's perspective." It pretty much made my day!

3. What's your favorite blogging site? (it doesn't have to be related to teaching)
I'm new to the blogging community, not only writing, but also reading...and I love them all.  One of my favorite non-teaching blogs is

4. Which store is your favorite place to buy things for your classroom?
I don't have an educational supply store near me, so I buy most things online or at The Bookman, a great little hometown bookstore.

5. What advice do you wish you got as a new teacher?
Be flexible!! You can lesson plan all you want, but lesson plans never factor in the reality of a classroom full of 16 year olds.  Be willing to adapt on the fly.

6. What three things are always in your teaching bag?
Red pens (yes, I know about the studies against red pens...I still love them), Grading rubrics (I use a specific set of rubrics for EVERY single paper...I carry them around so I can grade papers anywhere), Athletic tape (My cheer girls always need it, and I seem to continuously collect 1/2 used rolls)

7. What teacher inspired you as a student?
Hands down, Sharon Rocker, my AP Lit teacher.  I teach Pride and Prejudice to my seniors every year in honor of her.

8. What do you love most/worst about teaching?
I love those AHA! moments when a student all-of-a-sudden "gets" it.  And I love when students tell me that they love such-and-such a novel...especially when they've been non-readers all of their lives.

9. What's your favorite piece of technology to use in the classroom? How do you use it?
I use Moodle All. The. Time.  I use it as a discussion forum for my students, and I also use the chat room feature.  I place half of my students in an inner circle for book discussion, and I place the second half in an outer circle with computers (we have a mobile laptop cart) logged on to the chat room.  The outer circle is required to comment on the inner circle's conversation but they are not allowed to speak out loud - only through the chat.  Half way through class the two groups switch.  They love it, and it's a great way to have the entire class participate in a discussion.

10. How do you plan to incorporate the new Common Core Standards this next year?
The CCS are pretty similar to the former Michigan state standards, so I don't have too much changing to do.  I have added some more non-fiction selections to my book lists, but overall the change isn't too drastic.

11. What do you love to do when you aren't teaching?
I love hanging with my kiddos.  I love cheer.  I love the beach (we live less than a mile away). I love to read.  I'm sort of writing a novel, but it's about 3 years and 150 pages in and I just can't get motivated to finish.  Ugh.

Here are 11 random things about me:

1. I am 1/2 Dominican, so I speak Spanish pretty well and can do the merenge and salsa.
2. My daughter and my brother will both be freshmen in high school this year.
3.  My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
4. I call my husband Chris Hottie...and so do most of my students.
5. I am a huge baseball fan. 
6. This year I will both teach and coach my daughter...should be interesting.
7. I have a strawberry, blueberry, and mango smoothie for breakfast almost every day.
8. I'm obsessed with Tide with Febreeze laundry detergent...I love the smell!
9. I love John Mayer, Maroon 5, Jack Johnson, and Hillsong Live...random.
10. I used to be a yoga instructor, but now I just take classes whenever I can.
11. I am the 1993 Michigan state gymnastics champion in the Floor Exercise...woohoo!

Now, 11 questions for my nominees:
1. How long have you been teaching
2. What subjects/grades do you teach, and which is your favorite
3. How do you feel about the Oxford comma?
4. What advice would you give to a first-time teacher?
5. What three things are always in your teaching bag?
6. What is one classroom activity that is always a hit with your students?
7. What is one of your favorite blogs out there?
8. Who is your role model?
9. What is your favorite piece of technology to use in the classroom? How do you use it?
10. What is the best piece of teaching advice you've ever received?
11. What do you love to do when you aren't teaching?

And the nominees are... 

Thanks again Steph! And best of luck to the newest Liebsters!


  1. Yay!!! Thanks for sharing the interesting facts :)

    Tales of Teaching in Heels

  2. Thanks for the nomination Jenn! : )

  3. I love finding other High School English blogs! Mockingbird is also a favorite of mine :) I miss teaching freshmen for that very reason.

    English With Mrs. L.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I love my freshies...but I also love my seniors...looking forward to sharing tips and ideas!