Monday, January 27, 2014

Join me for a Spring Blogger Meet-Up at the French Lick Resort!

Hey bloggers (and blog stalkers!)... looking for a weekend of fun?  
The French Lick Resort and Casino in French Lick, Indiana, has graciously offered to host a "Spring Blogger Meet-Up" for us!   It's a BEAUTIFUL resort!  And let me tell you...they are ready to pamper us!  The staff there is going out of their way to make this experience spectacular! Just take a peek!

This incredible resort is located in southern Indiana...but is within 3 hours of Cincinnati, Nashville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis!

Can you join us???

March 22-23, 2014
French Lick Resort
French Lick, Indiana

Below is the basic agenda for the weekend. 
(Please note that if you are interested, there is a link at the bottom of this post you can follow to tentatively register.  Once you submit your info, I will send you even more event details. Sometimes it's better not to post "too" much info on-line!)    

Friday, March 21st
IF YOU CHOOSE... You may check in on Friday night and check out the resort on your own!
Rooms will be offered at the French Lick Springs Hotel in the "blogger block"  for a discounted rate of $169.00. 
(Regular rooms have two queen beds and sleep 4...but there is plenty of room to add a roll-away and pack in even more co-workers or blogging friends!  The room rate doesn't just have one person book the room and then split the cost!)

Saturday, March 22nd 
12:30 pm - Blogger Meet-Up Luncheon
(Private Meeting Room at the French Lick Springs Hotel)
Join us for a get-to-know-you luncheon event filled with prizes and product give-aways!

The cost for attending this luncheon event will be $25, which includes your lunch and beverage, as well as a portion of the room reservation fee.  This is the ONLY required fee for the entire weekend!  The rest of the event (hotel fees, if you choose to stay on site, and the remainder of the meal fees will be on your own, based on your choices!).  This fee can be paid in advance, or at the door. You will receive more details if you choose to attend!

5:30 pm - Dinner Reservations at Resort Restaurant
We will meet up for dinner at one of the resort's casual, but classy restaurants!  This event is not required (just in case you plan to bring your spouse and would prefer a romantic dinner!?), but we will be offering group reservations for dinner that will offer an incredible meal at reasonable prices! (We are teachers, ya' know!)

7 pm - After Dinner Options
After dinner, attendees may go their own ways...or travel in groups via complimentary shuttle to any of the resort's entertainment hot spots!  Suggested group after dinner activities include visiting the West Baden Hotel's spectacular dome, where you can enjoy drinks at Ballard's Bar while watching the dome's colored light show, or visiting the French Lick Casino for some gaming fun! Other options include visiting the Xanadu Coffee & Creamery for dessert or gathering with new friends in one of the resort's grand lobbies to share blogging tips and tricks!

Sunday, March 23
9:30 am - Sunday Breakfast/Brunch
We will meet at the resort's famous breakfast buffet for our last gathering!  
Good food, good conversations, and goodbyes!

After brunch, you are free to explore the resort or head home, 
re-energized to be the best teacher-blogger you can be! 

Sound like fun??  Interested in attending?
Simply click on the link below to "pre-register," and I will send you more information about the meet-up and how to reserve your room in our "blogger block" with our special discount code!

So excited to see you soon!  I don't know about you, but this crazy polar vortex we are stuck in and all of the snow/cold days 
that have come with it has begun to give me "cabin fever!"  
I'm ready to have something exceptionally fun and 
exciting to look forward to!  YAY! 

For more information about the beautiful 
French Lick Resort itself,
click HERE!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Celebrating MLK Day!

I just wanted to do a quick post highlighting a couple of really great resources I found to incorporate into my study of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Check them out!  They are just perfect for primary classrooms, in my opinion.  

This is an EXCELLENT video teaching about 
Martin Luther King, Jr..  Take a few minutes to view it! 

Another excellent resource you can use to teach the 
value of diversity this MLK day, is this book:

The book has an excellent theme!  
It teaches us that like a box of crayons, we are all different but together we make a beautiful picture.  

If you don't have a copy of the book, consider using this awesome little video....

In the words of Robert Fulghum, "We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box."

Blessings and peace to you all! 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's a Snowball Fight! 22 Fabulous FREEBIES for you!

Don't miss the BIGGEST 
Snowball Fight of the Year!!

22 of my favorite blogger friends 
and I have teamed up to bring you a...

Our forts are built...
the snowballs are packed & stacked...
and we're about to BLAST you with FREEBIES!!

So lace up your boots, pull on your mittens,
and get ready to load up on 'SNOW' much good stuff!!

Hop on over to to the Happy Teacher Heaven facebook page to begin your adventure of downloading 22 fabulous freebies!

Look for this tab on every facebook page to find the next FREEBIE.
Note: You will not be able to access the freebies from an iPad.  

Click the image below to download a copy of the clickable map to find your way to all the 'snow forts'!

The Snowball Fight begins at 10 am CST 
on Saturday, January 18th.  

But don't delay because the snowballs melt at 
10 pm CST on Monday, January 20th!!

We hope you have fun on the hop and find lots of fun freebies that you and your kiddos will love!

Make sure to follow our blogs too so you'll never miss a FREEBIE!  

Thanks for joining our Snowball Fight!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

RTI: Number Confusion & Reversal Investigations

I have received so much positive feedback about my recent RTI: Letter Confusion Investigations TPT pack, that I decided to put 
together a NUMBER confusion/reversal packet too!   
Check it out below...

Do you have kiddos who confuse visually similar numbers or constantly write them backwards?  You know, the kiddos that say “2” for “5”... or write “6” for “9.”   Well, I’m happy to tell you that I’ve taken some of my ‘reading specialist’ knowledge and whipped up a little packet that will help those students work out their number confusions!  

Here is the "science" behind WHY this approach works....

If this looks like something one or more of your kinder-kiddos could benefit from, check it out by clicking HERE or on any of the picture links above!  It is my hope that these resources can be as helpful to you as they have been to me!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

RTI: Letter Confusion Investigations

Do you have kiddos who confuse visually similar letters?  You know, the kiddos that say “b” for “d”…. or “u” for “n.”   Well, I’m happy to tell you that I’ve taken some of my ‘reading specialist’ knowledge and whipped up a little packet that will help those students work out their letter confusions!  

Here’s the science behind WHY the resources in this packet WILL work…

...And the best part is that I have created this packet to be prep-free!  Just print and go!   Included in this packet are suggestions on how to use these resources in your whole group, small group, or individualized instruction.   Oh...And I have provided a simple RTI documentation form for your use too!  Check it out by clicking HERE or on the packet pic at the top of this post!  Hope someone out there can find this helpful!   This method has never failed me!  It's a simple, easy way to strengthen your kiddos visual discrimination skills and teach them "how to" attend to the visual details which they need in order to work out their letter confusions!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby, It's COLD Outside!

Well... The SNOWPOCALYPSE has hit!  I'm up to my waist in snow drifts... and awaiting my 2nd EXTRA day off!  Believe it or not...I'm beginning to get bored!?  Ugh!  I just can NOT stand sitting still... and I'm running out of things to do around the house.  {Ok, I'm running out of things I WANT to do!  LOL} On top of the snow,  it is just plain FREEZING outside!  Freezing as in -45 degree windchill!  BRRR!

With all of this cold stuff swirling around me... I've decided that I need to do something to mentally warm myself up!  What could be more warm and fuzzy than giving away a hot chocolate themed FREEBIE?!

So... Here 'ya go friends!  Click on the picture below to grab this little coin identification game from my TPT store!  Pin it, post it, and pass it on!  

Stay warm out there!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Here Comes the Snow!!!

Well friends, I'm sitting here in northern Indiana waiting for the Blizzard of 2014!  Yep! Forecasts are telling us to expect 12-14" (or more!) of new snow within the next 24 hours.  Dead serious.  They say up to 2" an hour! Looks like an extended break for me! Woo-Hoo!

Well, all this talk about snow reminded me of one the first "freebies" I found on a blog.  (The blog I found it on was I'm sad to report that the blog author quit blogging over a year ago. But no worries!  I have an active link for you to download this great freebie!)  I use it every year during my "winter/snow" theme week.  The kiddos LOVE. LOVE. LOVE it!  You can use it whole group, or at a center.  So anyways, I just had to share the link with you!

The idea behind it is simple, but fun!  

1. Grab a few bags of mini-marshmallows and put them in a bowl.  (If doing it with your whole class at once, I'd fill regular styrofoam bowls and have partners share the bowl. However, each kiddo still needs his/her own recording sheet.)

2. Provide a large spoon, or a mini-scooper (to each group, pair, or at the center).  I like to use those cheapie clear plastic scoops you find in powdered drink containers.  (Ummm... Yes.  I DO have quite a collection of those scoopers.  Why, you ask?  Well, if you haven't picked up on it yet... I have a sweet tea obsession and when I am a "desperato" I mix up a Countrytime beverage. #gottastop #drinkwater)

Sorry for the diversion!  Moving on....

3. To "play," students basically take turns scooping with the large spoon or mini-scooper.  {Oh! I almost forgot that one time I left my scoopers at home and just used mini Dixie cups!}  For example, Johnny takes a scoop of marshmallows and then COUNTS them.   He then records the number of marshmallows he scooped and counted in the first box on the recording sheet.   

4. Play continues with partners (or group members) taking turns with the above step, but writing in the next empty recording box.  

This activity is hands-on and great for practicing counting the "teen" numbers! (The little scoopers have a capacity of about 19 mini-mallows!)  And the bonus... if you so choose, you may let the kiddos eat the marshmallows when they fill their recording sheet. {Personally, I'm a bit of a germ-a-phob, so if I know I want to let the kiddos eat the marshmallows, I give them their own bowls of marshmallows.}  If you just like the hands-on nature of this activity you can also just tell the kiddos NO EATING... and let the marshmallows sit out for a while and they will get nice and hard.  (Hard marshmallows are a natural deterrent for most sneaky-snackers!)

Click on the image below to download this Scoop and Count freebie!
(You can also click on the following link to see Can Do Kinder's original post on this freebie!

Here's to hoping you all are able to enjoy an extra snow day this week too!   But, stay safe!!!  It's COLD out there!  
(Predicted -40 windchills for us in the next few days!)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolutions for 2014

Well... It's New Year's Day.  Yep!  The time of year to think about goal setting.  I'm linking up with "A Peach for the Teach" to put my teaching-related resolutions in writing!  Here they are...

As most of you know, I attended the Nashville Blogger Meet-Up last week.  It was AMAZING!  It was so much fun to personally meet so many new bloggers, chat about best practices, and EAT! EAT!  EAT!  {Nashville has some yummy restaurants... and I've got 3 new pounds to prove it! LOL!}  Breakfast at Monell's prompted an "I gotta get in shape" discussion between Greg (Kindergarten Smorgasboard) and me.  Since we both will be going to Vegas this summer for the "I Teach K" conference, we committed to try our hardest to get in the best shape of our lives.  Well, as just a little "back story" on me... I've always been a somewhat "petite" person.  Not very tall... and a decent weight, I guess.  But, I gotta admit...this last year I have seen some body/aging changes that I don't like!  UGH! I'm TIRED, people!  And, my body aches in the morning!  What is up with that?!  I've never needed more than a 4 hours of sleep before... and could pretty much sleep ANYWHERE without a problem.  NOT. ANY. MORE.  Well, this girl has decided she is NOT going to sit on the couch and expand quietly.  :)  I'm going to GET FIT!  My main goal is to FEEL better... but looking acceptable in my Vegas swimsuit is an incentive also! LOL! 

I know myself though... and I need some accountability partners on this one! And, it just-so-happens that as we were FB messaging back and forth about this, several of our blogging buddies asked to join in.  One of our Nashville blogging buds, Kristine Harrison, offered to be our "coach."   Yep!  We officially have a fearless leader!  Thank-the-Lord!  :)  Now let me tell ya just a little bit about Kristine.  First off, she is HILARIOUS!  I mean it.  I could not stop laughing the whole time we were at lunch in Nashville.  This girl is soooo funny and upbeat.   She's a kindergarten teacher...but also a wife and momma of 3 energetic young boys, so she "GETS" what a crazy busy life is really like.  She knows her fitness "stuff" too!  She is an official BEACHBODY coach.  (BEACHBODY is the company that makes the best-selling fitness programs in the world including the P90X series, Insanity, and T25.)  I have no doubt that Kristine will be the kick-in-the-butt I need when I feel lazy, the great encourager when I feel worthless, AND the party animal who leads the Vegas celebration of achieving our goals!!!   

So... How about you?   Are you in?  Do you want to join our little fitness movement??  We have created our own private FB page where we can post our goals, progress and encouragement.  (Oh.. and make our Vegas plans too!)  If you would like to join our "club" just post a comment below with your info and I will fill you in with the deets!  If you want more details/suggestions, or have questions about how to find a good workout program... you can chat with Kristine by finding her on FaceBook (Kristine Nerstad Harrison) or by visiting this link:

We are still debating on our fitness team "name".... but here is one of our best options so far:

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you have some great resolutions in mind for 2014... and I hope that you achieve every one of them! "Link-Up" and post your resolutions by clicking on my resolution pic at the top of the page. Blessings!