Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat -- Weekend in Review LINKY!

Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat -- Weekend In Review Linky!

We all had it when we started.  You remember… fresh out of student teaching, getting the call that “you got the job!”  WOAH!! Talk about excited!  You were ready to change the world!  YOU were going to be the best teacher ever and bring joy and excitement to every single moment in your new classroom.  You remember being excited to create a new bulletin board…and how much you looked forward to bonding with your supportive and encouraging colleagues at the next staff meeting!

… Hmmm.

While I certainly hope you still feel that way…I’m guessing that it is not the reality of most teachers reading this post.  The fact is… Teaching is HARD… and what we do is often very under-appreciated.  By spring, most of us are feeling worn down… in need of some help in re-discovering the passion that we had when we started this crazy adventure!

Well… re-discovering and/or re-igniting that PASSION for teaching was what the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat was all about!

Here’s a little recap of MY experience…

I arrived on Friday night with my girly-girls, Heather (Smack Dab in the Middle) and Brittany (Nifty in First Grade).  
These girls are my positive peeps, who keep me uplifted and encouraged on a daily basis at our school. We unpacked, settled into our room at West Baden, and then met up with dozens of other teacher bloggers at the West Baden dome for teacher-chat!

French Lick Resort is a BEAUTIFUL place, my friends.  As in, breathtaking!

In case you don’t know, the resort has two main buildings…

The French Lick Springs Hotel…

…and the West Baden Springs Hotel.

Check out the dome lobby at West Baden!!!

 This is a picture from the balcony in our room!  AWESOME!

If you are looking for a unique vacation experience,
checking out the French Lick Resort is a MUST!
This place has an AMAZING history!
(Favorite vaca spot of Al Capone, where the Bloody Mary drink was invented, home of multiple "medicinal" springs and more!)

The French Lick staff treat us like royalty…and let’s face it…
usually teachers are NOT treated like royalty!  LOL

We all LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this place!

As the director of this event, I spent Saturday morning with the most amazing group of friends and HARD WORKERS on the planet in preparation!

Here a pic of Brittany Banister (Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten) and I welcoming the crowd!  
I couldn't have pulled this event off without her help! We make a good team. 

Finally, it was time for the luncheon meet-up event to begin! 

We started the day off by introducing our retreat theme “Take Your Passion… And Make it Happen!”   The brilliant and talented Chad Boender (Male Kindergarten Teacher) created and shared this awesome video to get us all thinking about our own teaching PASSION.  Take a peek…

Amy Borrell Berner, the one and only TPT Director of Happiness, also inspired us all with a wonderfully uplifting keynote.
Since our hearts were full…it was time to fill our bellies!  LOL
A delicious lunch was served by the French Lick staff, and then we moved right into a fun & creative "Get-To-Know-You" activity where each table decorated a giant letter with words that told all about each teacher.  The letters were colorful, cute and creative...and packed with info about each teacher (blog name, describing word, favorite subject to teach, and of course, included the passion of each teacher.)  Every table group then came up and shared their letter to introduce everyone. When complete, it came together to spell…

After that we hopped right into our Teacher Tool Swap activity!  This is one of my fav parts of the meet up!  Basically, every teacher brings his/her favorite “teacher tool” and then we do a fun exchange activity in which everyone opens a gift…and the “giver” explains why they love that “tool” so much! It's fun to see "tool trends" every year!

This was followed by a series of "Round Table Discussions!"  Eeks!  Another highlight of the event, in my opinion!  :)  Teachers were invited to choose from dozens of different topics for 15 minute round table discussions, led by the best of the best!  We had four different rotations, and over 60 sessions in all! I wish I could have gone to them ALL!

Finally came the
BIG Teacher SWAG Give-Away!

Our AMAZINGLY GENEROUS sponsors donated over $15,000 in prizes and giveaways!

The following sponsors LOVE to support educators!

Image result for erin condren logo Image result for twinkle twinkle little jarImage result for gonoodle
Image result for tieks   

Image result for osmo Image result for udderly smooth Image result for sit spotsImage result for the pencil gripImage result for kwik stix
Image result for stella and dot Image result for younique products Image result for silly mcgilly Image result for creative teaching press
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Image result for lakeshore learningImage result for seat sacks

Image result for better life bags  Image result for classroom friendly supplies  Image result for perfectionate photo propsImage result for doodle bugs paper Image result for doterra
Image result for book creator  Image result for maria dismondy Image result for just plain adoorable

After the swag giveaways, everyone's arms were literally OVERFLOWING with teacher we broke up for dinner on our own, and came back together at 9:00pm for...

80’s Party

Thanks to the GENEROUS support of GoNoodle and TPT,
this night was like none other! 
Seriously, my friends... when it comes to TRULY supporting educators, GoNoodle  and TPT rock! We came to them with this crazy idea...and they believed in our vision and helped us make it happen!
 #GoNoodleRocks  #everyteacherlovesTPT

We were spoiled with dozens of varieties of cookies and brownies, pizzas, beverages and some 80's gear sunglasses, friendship pins and neon buttons!

And... did I mention the EPIC full blown professional photo booth??!! 
Oh-yah! GoNoodle provided the booth for us!  
Talk about incredible!!! 
Check out just a few of the hundreds of pics from our Saturday night social event...

The night was SO MUCH FUN!
I can't even begin to put it into words!

I CAN tell you that about a dozen of us prepared a flash mob to the song Footloose and we surprised the crowd!  It was a blast!
Thanks Amanda Pauley (Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten) for choreographing this!

Have YOU ever been to a teacher blogger meet-up?
If you have been considering attending one, just do it!

Check out this awesome little video that All Y'all Need and the Male Kindergarten Teacher put together to tell you why you need to attend a meet-up!

Wanna' read more about this amazing weekend???  
Check out the other posts in our linky below!

Jealous of all the giveaway goodies that attendees took home from the retreat?   Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win an awesome prize package of your own, including a HUE document camera and a year's FREE subscription to much, much more!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you, Holly, for a wonderful weekend. Your hard work does not go unnoticed!!!! xo

  2. Thank you for organizing this wonderful event. What a great event to regain that passion!

  3. Thank you again for hosting and planning such an amazing event! It was wonderful to finally meet you in person!

  4. I can't thank you enough for all the hard work you (and your crew of helpers) put into making this weekend happen. It was JUST what I needed to be inspired to take my passion and make it happen!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for for such an amazing weekend!

  6. looks like a successful weekend of FUN!!!

  7. What an amazing weekend! Thank you for all the hard work you always put in to show us love!

  8. I can not tell you how much fun I had. I was almost dreading coming to the event because I was scared to meet everyone! You are the cream of the crop Holly! Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone! I had so much fun!
    Jameson (AKA Tommy Lee)
    Lessons With Coffee 

  9. I'm so jealous after reading all of these posts! It looks like you all had so much fun and were rejuvenated after your weekend!

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  11. I would MOST love to try the Tieks shoes. I have been eyeing them for over a year (thanks to teacher blogs) but just feel guilty every time I go to spend the money.

  12. Thank you SO much for always putting this event on! It's such a great time for everyone to get together and bond. We all appreciate all of your efforts to make this event fun each year.
    Tickled Pink in Primary

  13. This looks like such a fun time!!! Everything in the teacher swag bag looks amazing, but I have always wanted to try an Erin Condren planner!! :)

  14. Would love to go to a meetup one day!! Also would love to try one of those fancy pencil sharpeners! :)

  15. Thank you so much, Holly, for the amazing retreat! You are a class act. Your leadership was amplified throughout the weekend in the caring, sharing, kindness and authentic talk that took place. Thank you for letting us be a part of such an amazing weekend.

  16. What a great post! We recently attended a meet up in Sacramento and are planning on coming to French Lick next year! :) I would love to try an Erin Condren planner or the fancy pencil sharpener. Your swag bags looked awesome!

  17. Thanks so much, Holly - this was an amazing weekend! We loved learning from and collaborating with so many other passionate educators! Thanks for all you did to put this together!

  18. I would love a pair of Tieks!!!

  19. This was my second time attending an event at this place, and was my first business event here (the other event was a charity show). Everything at event venues was perfect, the drinks and food was amazing. Even the coffee was wonderful.

  20. The staff is very warm and caring. They also take care of lunch and snacks for the kids. My son absolutely loves this Phoenix preschool, and because of that I too love this place!

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