The Liebster Award


Thank you Dorothy of for your nomination. We are honored!

Official rules for the Liebster award:

  • List 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
  • Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
  • Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

11 Random Facts


1. When I was a few months old, the sound of my mom singing “Danny Boy” would bring me to tears, every time.

2. My husband cooks dinner for me every night during the school year. Bless his heart!

3. I have been “playing school” since I could talk. My teacher pseudonym was Katherine Waters, and all the students on my roster were boys I had crushes on.

4. My first adult purchase after college was a Yamaha upright.

5. I like to send snail mail whenever I can.

6. l have a Pinterest board titled Dream Craft Room.

7. All of my pets are named after literary figures: Matilda, Oliver (Twist), and Tolstoy. This was not intentional.

8. When I make tea, I try to follow the steeping directions as closely as possible. For example, black tea should be steeped in water between 200-212 degrees for 3-5 minutes.

9. I collect pretty glassware and old tea cups and saucers for the tea shop I hope to open one day.

10. My favorite English Teacher read the poem “i carry your heart with me” at my wedding in 2010.

11. I wear suntan lotion with an SPF of at least 80.


1.  I sang at the Vatican when I was in high school.

2. My first major was musical theatre.

3.  I randomly picked “English Education” off of a list of majors. Glad that worked out.

4. I can’t swim.

5. My pets are also all named after literary figures (Gatsby, Walden, and Huckleberry). This was intentional on the part of my husband — a non-English teacher — in the hopes that I would not name our children after literary figures.

6. On the weekends, I moonlight as a photographer.

7. I watch so. much. television.

8. My favorite show of all time is Gilmore Girls. Immediately and closely followed by dark, violent shows like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and  The Walking Dead.

9. Famke Jansen once spilt coffee on me in a restaurant. She was lovely.

10. I love rap. A lot.

11. I’m really not a great driver.


Answers to Dorothy’s Questions:

1. If you could relive one day in your life, what day would it be and why?

Allison: September 14, 2007. The day my brother played with Tim Reynolds on a small stage in Fairfield, Connecticut. It must have been the happiest day of his life, and I would do anything to see him that happy again.

Rebekah: August 13, 2005 – my wedding day. It was a GREAT day, but I’d like to go back and relive it in a clear-headed, fully present way.

2. What are your two non-negotiables?

Allison: No smoking & no yelling. Both behaviors stress me out more than most things.

Rebekah: No gum-popping and no admiration for the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice.

3. What is the best teaching advice you have ever received?

Allison: “Do writer’s workshop. It will change everything.” — said by Rebekah, the first time we met, at the Starbucks on River Rd.

Rebekah: “Do writer’s workshop. It will change everything.” — said by my friend and former colleague Taylor Beall about six years ago when she handed me Write Beside Them. She was right.

4. What are three books you have recently read?

Allison:Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, In the Middle (a reread) by Nancie Atwell, If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Rebekah:Fire and Forget, edited by Collum McCann, Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell,  Far North by Marcel Theroux.

5. If you had a theme song, what would it be? (Everyone needs a theme song. Think Ally McBeal.)

Allison: I’ve never been able to answer this question even though I’m a huge music lover.

Rebekah: Right now, I would be happy if the theme from Game of Thrones followed me around everywhere I went. How epic would that be?

6. What is the best lesson you have learned from a student?

Allison: Slow down. You don’t always have to keep time.

Rebekah: Don’t mark in  red pen.

7. Write your six word memoir.

Allison: I’ve done this exercise with students before so I have a few: 1) I’d do anything for my brother. 2) Sings in the shower, the rain. 3) Yoga room’s 110. Anything is possible.

Rebekah: Crush on Hemingway, bad at memoir-writing.

8. If you ran for political office, what would your slogan be?

Allison: “Dedicated to teachers.” I think that’s Heinemann’s motto, though!

Rebekah: Hm. I don’t know. But I have always dreamed of running for school board in my retirement. That’s kind of like a political office, right?

9. What is one suggestion you would like to share with your administrator but are a bit scared to voice? (Clearly writing it on your blog is a much smarter career move.)

Allison: I think that all English teachers should teach 4, rather than 5, classes. The 5th period would be designated for writing conferences.

Rebekah: We need to spend more money and time on professional development. I don’t think a school can ever dedicate too much to its teachers growth. Meaningful professional development — formal and informal — is what has kept me in this job.

10. What is your favorite twitter chat?

Allison: It changes based on the topics. I tend to gravitate towards specific topics – writing, standards-based learning, assessment – rather than specific chats.

Rebekah: #engchat and #elachat


Our nominees:

Jennifer Isgitt @The Empathic Teacher

Susan Antonelli @Wonder Teacher

The English Teachin’ Vegan

Katherine Sokolowsi @ Read Write Reflect

Julie Reuter @ Teach Share Inspire


Questions for our nominees:

1. If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself, how would you spend it?

2. If you could have a professional chef cook you anything, what would it be?

3. Describe a lesson that flopped but you learned from it.

4. What is the one teaching book you can’t live without and why?

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

6. If you could achieve only one goal in the rest of your life, what goal would you hope to achieve?

7. What is the best book you read for pleasure in the last 12 months?

8. What one piece of advice would you give graduating seniors?

9. If you had to narrow it down to one moment, what inspired you to start your blog?

10. What fictional character would you like to spend time with in real life?


  1. Thanks so much for the nomination. I was thrilled to discover your blog and I would love to be in touch with both of you more as I work on integrating writer’s workshop into my more traditional ELA 10 class. I am on twitter @MarieLeveyPabst.

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