Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Teacher Blog Tuesday

I’d like to start out this post by saying how very sorry I am to the families that lost loved ones last Friday in Connecticut.  To the police officers and first responders, doctors and nurses, and others who assisted in this tragedy, my prayers are with you as well.  It was a horrible thing and there are just no words…  As a mother and a teacher, I am just sick about it.  Thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. 


My first feature today is not one, but two bloggers.  Husband and wife, Justin and Katie are both bloggers and have answered questions together.  They are just adorable and totally deserved to be followed!

      Red: Justin

  Green: Katie


1. Name of blog and link:

Justin: Writing Pad Dad. http://WritingPadDad.blogspot.com

Katie: Teacher to the Core. http://www.teachertothecore.com

2. Why did you start blogging?

Justin: I’ve wanted to start a blog for a very long time. I’ve always enjoyed writing and, when I was a student, my teachers always told me “you should keep writing”!

Katie: I wanted to share what was happening in my classroom and the curriculum I develop to turn my first graders into readers!

3. Tell us a little about your teaching background.

Justin: This is my 15th year teaching. I teach 4th grade this year, but taught 3rd grade for the 11 years before that! I have also taught 5th and 6th grades.

Katie: I taught 6th grade my first year, and it about killed me. My first year was hard, like it is for everybody, but I had just turned 22 and acted like I was still in college. Oh my Lord, I was a nut at the time! I was also meeting and dating my future husband (That would be me! And, we met while teaching at the same school! It was fun being whispered about!), was President of my college sorority, very much involved in church, and teaching was a whole lot of newness to deal with on top of my very busy social schedule! (She was busy going on dates with me. And, Katie, that breaks the record for the longest sentence ever). The great news is that in all that I survived my first year and married the best guy! (Again, that would be me!). I taught 2nd grade for 7 years and have now happily landed in 1st grade where I have been for the last year.

4. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Justin: Oh, boy. This question is right up Katie’s alley! For me, “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch and “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton because they were on the radio constantly while Katie and I were dating. Every time I hear those songs it takes me back. It was a happy time. I also like a lot of 80’s songs that I am sure no one remembers.


“Oh Lead Me” by Delirious

Anything from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album- thank you, Justin, for introducing me to some quality music! (I do have good taste, don’t I?)

“Everybody Say Don’t” sung by Barbra Streisand

“Full Attention” by Jeremy Riddle

I spend some quality time with Alanis Morrisette’s “Jagged Little Pill” CD. Nothing against the new “Zen ” Alanis, thanking India and whatnot, but I like angry Alanis better.

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Justin: Getting through having my newborn son in the N.I.C.U. for 17 days. Hands down the hardest. I really know the meaning of the saying “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy” after experiencing that.

Katie: Watching my newborn struggling to breathe in the N.I.C.U. It was horrible. That was the longest 17 days of my life. He is happy and healthy now (we are so blessed), but I am a changed woman having gone through that, and will always be a N.I.C.U. Mommy. I still pray for all the babies in all the N.I.C.U.s. I know it’s a blanket prayer for babies I don’t know, but God knows all their little names.

6. What’s your favorite TV show?

Justin: “Shark Tank” and pretty much anything on the Food Network.

Katie: That is a hard one. It’s not even on TV anymore, but I really liked “Diagnosis Murder”. Oh, you don’t know that show? That’s because I was the only one watching it. Dick Van Dyke solving murders was kind of fun when I was pregnant and confined to my bed for 3 months of complete bed rest. I love “Glee”, the Housewives (all of them) on Bravo, and “Giuliana & Bill” on Style. (You left off your most favorite show of all time, “Monk”. Groans. That was painful).

7. Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?

Justin: Wait… let me check. Nope, I’m not a girl…oh…sorry… completely lost my train of thought. What was the question again? Oh, yeah. My wife drives me crazy with DJ Inkers, so I’ll say Times New Roman.

Katie: DJ all the way! I am dying over the new clip art license. I am in heaven uploading my curriculum to TpT.

8. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?

Justin: 39 and there are soon to be 40. Will someone please have a fire extinguisher handy?

Katie: 34

9. What was the last book you read?

Justin: The English Assassin by Daniel Silva. Great read.

Katie: What Remains by Carole Radziwill (Sad, but beautifully written)

10. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Justin: Most recently? Putting up Christmas lights on our house. Next up? Taking Christmas lights down.

Katie: Laundry. Boo! Hiss!


Our next blogger is Allyssha from Teaching and Tapas.

1. Name of blog and link:

Teaching and Tapas: 2nd Grade in Spain

2. Why did you start blogging?

I “started” my blog four years ago but I REALLY STARTED in August 2012. I originally started it to keep track of what I do in my classroom so that I could easily remember it the following year. There is a part of me that is still thinking that but I think I have evolved. Now I realize it can be helpful to other educators. I love the idea that I can share my little tips and tricks and things that work for me with anybody else who is interested. I think it is an exciting time in our profession because of how technology can link our resources and wisdom.

3. Tell us a little about your teaching background.

I taught 1st grade and Kindergarten at an amazing private school in Portland, Oregon for five years. The school was TINY and I had many roles other than a classroom teacher but I loved every minute of it. But, I started itching to live abroad. So now I am teaching 2nd grade at the American School of Madrid. I have been here for three years. The last two years were in 1st grade so 2nd grade is kinda new for me. The school is incredible with awesome administration and excellent resources. My boss works us hard and I have learned an incredible amount at this school. We are big on Common Core, Writers Workshop, Reading Workshop, Interactive Read Aloud, standards-based grading, and UbD. I have learned a lot but I want to learn more! So I am currently working on my administrative license and Math Specialist certification

4. What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

When I idealize my life, I think about Let’s Get Out of this Country by Camera Obscura (“we’ll find a cathedral city...”) but I will reluctantly admit that in high school my classmates chose the song Manic Monday for me and it is a pretty accurate representation J

5. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Getting on the plane and moving to Spain was a toughie. I had just met an amazing guy. I loved my house that I owned. I was leaving my friends and family behind. But I had made a commitment. That day in the airport was full of drama and gushing tears as I left that handsome guy behind...good thing he is now living with me three years later here in Madrid!

6. What’s your favorite TV show?

Can’t decide between Dexter, Mad Men, or Game of Thrones. I dedicate too much of my week making sure I don’t miss them J

7. Are you a Times New Roman or DJ Inkers kind of girl and why?

I am an ifont maker kind of girl. I seriously have a font addiction. So much so that I am making my own fonts. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a font only to find out that it doesn’t include numbers, uppercase letters, or normal punctuation. Gah! Can’t stand that!

8. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?

On my birthday last week there should have been 35 candles. But wait a minute...I didn’t have a cake! How did I let that pass? Cake is kinda my favorite thing. Whelp, I guess that is a good reason for a big dessert night this week J

9. What was the last book you read?

Ugg, probably a work related book. Before that, it was the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I am not the world’s biggest fan of her writing, but I was definitely sucked in.

10. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Cannot decide between folding laundry or doing dishes. Nope, definitely the laundry. I dread it with all my might. Even worse because here in Spain we don’t have a dryer so there is never a hurry to get it folded for the next load. Lately I have been using my clothesline more than my closet when I get dressed in the morning.


Like the font you see?  It’s mine!  It’s my first attempt at creating fonts.  Plan on seeing more!  Get it free from my TpT store.

If you would like to be featured some Tuesday, email me at dml8609@gmail.com



  1. Thanks for including the Missus and I! Have a Merry Christmas!
    Writing Pad Dad

  2. I just came across your blog and I am your newest follower! I am just starting out blogging and I noticed your new teacher blog posts. What a great and helpful idea!

    1. Awesome! If you'd like to be featured, email me!


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