Liebster! Liebster!

I gots to be honest. I've been nominated before for a Liebster Award.

 And it was when I was completely swamped and was quite neglectful towards this lil' blog. I'm not saying it wasn't an honor, but I just felt like I had bigger tasks to tackle because these Liebster Awards are very intense! A lot of work goes into them and I wanted to do it justice. So when the lovely Angela form Southern Friend Teachin' nominated me this time around... I felt ready (and honored!). So thanks very much Angela! I loved checking out your blog as well as the others that you nominated! It's always a blast to find new blogs to follow!

(to visit any of the blogs, simply click on their buttons)

So now... for the rules:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers (this part is at the end)
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Contact my nominees and let them know that I nominated them

Here are the questions from Angela at Southern Fried Teachin!

1. What is one of your favorite teaching memories?
Hmmmm this is hard. I've got a lot! Do I go the funny route? Do I go the proud mama route? We'll go with the funny route: One kiddo (I call him my lil' gummy bear because he reminds me of one) told me a joke, this is how it went:
Student: Mrs. Olson, I wish I had a beaver named Justin.
Me: Oh really? Why is that?
Student:Because then when people would come and ask me, "What's your beaver's name?" I would say, "Justin Beaver."
He then couldn't stop laughing, tripped on his snow pants, fell to the floor, and continued laughing. It's these moments that I remember how little they are so and full of life.

2. What is your favorite school lunch?
Easy. Cheesy Bread and Tomato Soup.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy creating things- either for my classroom, my home, my family/friends... I also enjoy watching Law and Order: SVU (It's quite an obsession really), trashy reality (can you say The Bachelor and Real Housewives?? I can) and just relaxing. I hope once I get more settled in my career I can have more time for other hobbies.

4. What song gets you up and going and puts a smile on your face?
Oooooh it depends on the time... I'm a product of 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys battles, so really, any song by either of them

5. If you had to give any advice to a new teacher, what would you say?
Go with your gut, stand your ground, and be open to making mistakes. With my teacher prep program, I was constantly observed, and it really helped. I wasn't as nervous when people were observing me and I was open to hearing feedback. I grew so much faster and deeper by being open to the feedback from those more experienced, but I wasn't scared to share my own ideas and stand up for what I believed in. I'm still considered a newbie (only in my 2nd year) but I'm feeling much more confident with just being open.

6. What is a simple review activity that you do in your classroom?
Hmmmm, I often add some review into our morning message. I leave blanks where they have to fill in the blanks or I pose a question that they have to discuss with a partner. I also use white boards a ton to do quick reviews, and then I say, "Chin it" (which shows me they are ready), and then "Spin it" (to reveal it to me), or play simple games like Password at morning meeting or Scoot games.

7. What is the best teacher gift you have ever received?
For this past Valentine's Day, I had a student who noticed other kids were bringing me chocolates and presents. She came up to me, pulled a sucker out of her candy bag, and walked up to me and said, "We don't really have a lot of money, so all I have for you is this sucker." I gave her the biggest hug and explained it was the perfect gift.

Also, last year, I had a great parent volunteer who coordinated a class gift. She took a picture of our class at a field trip and then put it in a frame and had all the students sign it without me knowing. She delivered it with a lovely note thanking me for the year and saying that she hoped I would never forget my "first" class. I have the picture by my desk with the card still attached. :)
8. What is one piece of advice you really wish you could give to parents?
What a great question! I have lots of advice... easy coming from a young teacher with no kids herself. However, I'm sure some of my ideas may change once I become a parent myself. However, my one piece would be: "We are a team- trust me here at school to do my job with your child and I'm going to trust that you are at home doing your best job with your child as well." That meaning, I'm going to hold your child accountable at school to do to their best work, to grow, and learn and I expect them to support their child to the best of their abilities (knowing that every family is different) and hold them accountable as well at home.

9. What do you love about blogging?
I love not only sharing ideas to make life a littler easier for others but also to get ideas to make my life a little easier. Sometimes, blogging can make me feel inadequate by some of the amazing things everyone is doing, but I'm learning not to compare myself to other bloggers but to be inspired by them.

10. How do bring laughter into the classroom?
Oh goodness... I can be such a goof in the room. I use different voices when teaching, actions to go with teaching points,  get up and share ideas through movement, just dance videos to have some fun, and play fun games at morning meeting like "Joker." However, I also hold my kids to pretty high standards and they know I can change on a dime if they loose TOO much control (every now and then we all gotta loose control right??)

11. What is your favorite book to read to your students?
I haven't found a favorite yet. I've enjoyed reading Jigsaw Jones books during our mystery unit. My kiddos really love Jigsaw and his humor. I also enjoy reading The Memory String because it has great character trait work.

My Rando 11 Facts:

1. My hometown was listed by National Geographic as the 23rd most historical town EVER!! (Maybe an exaggeration?)... I bet your dying to know where it is! Ok, I'll tell you- Red Wing, MN. Look it up. :)
2. I use to drive a blue moped with a rainbow helmet when I was in my college years (a whopping 3 years ago).
3. I worked at a pool for  3 summers just out of high school over the summers. Not as a lifeguard- because I really can't swim all that well, but as a monitor. I still had to wear those swimsuits that left awful tan lines though. 
4. I love mac and cheese and hot chocolate.
5. I convinced my family to get a family dog 5 years ago... best decision ever. I love Charlie our cavapoo.
6. I married my high school sweet heart this past July after being together for over 8 1/2 years.
7. I'm going to Italy in July. It's the first time I'm going abroad. I've only been as far as Mexico.
8. I bought a yellow knit hat this winter and wear it ALL THE TIME. I made the mistake of telling some staff that I wear it extra long if I didn't shower that morning and was hiding my bad hair day. Let's just say, that was a bad choice- I now get teased. (All in good fun, don't worry you defenders against bullying!)
9. I hate washing dishes. Period.
10. I have toes that are shaped like frog toes (or so I think).
11. I hate wearing socks.

Now for the 5 lovely blogs that need some recognition for being awesome!
I gotta do my team mates blog. She just started blogging. People- she is an amazing teacher and was my mentor; (and although she isn't paid this year to be my mentor- shucks for you, Kate) she is still one of my go-tos when I need someone. Check her out!

Over at Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard, you are bound to find many strategies to get students actively engaged. Check out her Bentin's Bucks!

Kay loves a good linky (just like myself) and has many great ideas that she has shared through Holly's Tried it Tuesday linky parties. I love her detailed posts.

Karri at One Sassy Teacher (who doesn't love that name?!) has some great posts. Her latest one is all about student accountability and it sounds AMAZING!

Mrs. Palmer's teaching blog is new to the blog circuit but 1) it's super cute and 2) she has some great pictures of student's working in action! I personally love the way she is doing a paper collage with the president's faces. 

Here are my questions for my nominees: 
1. What made you start a blog?
2. What strategies do you use to keep your students engaged in their learning?
3. Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Pop (soda), or other as your drink of choice?
4. What piece of advice would you give parents?
5. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
6. First thing you do when you wake up on a school day?
7. First thing you think when you wake up on a school day?
8. What advice would you give to a first year teacher? (or second year teacher...hello.. me!!)
9. Which task/teaching responsibility do you dread to do the most and why? (example: taking attendance, passing out papers, making copies, etc.)
10. Have you had any weather related school closings this year? How many?
11. What is the best part about being a teacher?

Thanks again, Angela for the nomination and giving me a good kick in the butt to do it! It's been fun! :)



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