Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Join us this summer during the TPT conference for an awesome TEACHER MEET-UP!

Coming to the TPT conference this summer?  
(Or maybe you are just looking for a fun excuse to get away???)

Either way, YOU are invited to join us in sunny Orlando, Florida!  
 You've worked hard all year...and you deserve a little fun, right?!

Well, we can guarantee lots of fun, lots of friends, and LOTS of giveaways! 

Thanks to our primary sponsor, TeachersPayTeachers, this will be a night to remember! 

Here's a peek at just a few of the 1000+ friends that attended last year!
{Check out more pictures from our 2012 and 2013 and 2014 meet ups!}

At last year's meet up we gave away hundreds of prizes and this year will be no exception! We have lots of surprises in store for this meet up, so PLEASE join us!

(A peek at last year's prizes. All donated by our awesome sponsors!)
We had so many other sponsors that helped donate over $55,000 worth of swag, prizes, and goodies!  Can you believe that?!  I don't know about you, but to us... that's a whole lotta love for teachers!  

What you need to know:

*All teachers are invited to this meet-up! You do NOT need to have a blog to attend this special event!

*You can RSVP on our official Facebook event page: HERE! If you do not have a Facebook account, you can RSVP by commenting on this post.

*Please don't be shy! Every year we have people who are worried about not knowing anyone. This is a great opportunity to say hi to some of your favorite teacher-bloggers, as well as meet new friends and connect with teachers from all over!

*Please download the nametag template HERE. (Add your name, print and wear it to the meet up!)

*The meet up will be held at The Swan and Dolphin Resort, but the actual conference room number will be posted closer to the meet up. Follow our Facebook event page to get updates on the exact location.

We are super excited to attend the TPT Conference this year and know that this Teacher Meet Up will be incredible!

Can't wait to see ya'll in sunny Orlando!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Teaching about Easter

Life has certainly been a whirlwind lately....but thankfully, I've had a few extra days to slow down and re-focus on what is really important.  I teach at a small, private Christian school in which we are given Good Friday and Easter Monday off.  This extra time has been such a blessing to me.  It has given me a little time to reflect on my priorities...and also appreciate how blessed I am to be able to share the love of Jesus in my classroom.  Although I know it may be a little late to be posting about Easter ideas....I personally will spend another week with that focus, so I thought I might as well do a post on some of my favorite Easter teaching resources! {Some of them are from "throw back" posts!}

Now, I understand that many of you will not be able to use the ideas I'm blogging about in this post in your classroom, as you may teach in a public school. (I spent my first 10 years teaching in public school myself.)  However,  I'm going to share them anyways...for my private teacher followers... and perhaps for you to use at home as "mom/dad/aunt/grandma" with your own kiddos!

Here are a few of the Christian Easter activities/resources I use in my classroom...

Easter "Write the Room" Activity
I just LOVE Alessia Albanese's "Write the Room" activities!  She is my go-to girl for these activity resources.  Check them out HERE!  (If you don't have this type of center in your classroom, I would highly suggest giving it a try!  The kids LOVE it!) Let me explain, in case you don't know how a"Write the Room" center works.   You place different "cards" around your classroom (can be theme words, like this one... or it can be math equations, or anything!)... and then the kiddos who are assigned to that center grab a clipboard and recording sheet and search around the room for the hidden cards.  When they find them, they write the words (or answer to the math equation or whatever) onto the recording sheet.  Here is a example of the recording sheet I use.  (I always use a two-sided recording sheet.  I always designate which side of the page the kids MUST start with... and then they flip to the second side if they finish the first.) 


OH!  Please note that Alessia's Easter Write-the-Room Set includes a FULL Easter, 
non-religious, set of cards/recording sheets too! 

Book Nook/Reading Center Activity
At my "Book Nook" center, my students typically work on making different types of interactive emergent readers, which they complete and then place in their familiar reading boxes.  This week, we used this little gem!  The students read the sentence on each page... then cut out and glue on the corresponding picture.   The set even comes with a pre-made "answer key" booklet which you can leave at the center too, if you choose.  You can find this awesome resource in "Let's Learn S'More's" TPT store!  Click HERE for more details!

Easter: Emergent Reader, The Easter Story (For the Christi

Easter Art Activity
We also complete this little Easter art activity. The kiddos simply painted the background paper with liquid watercolors (bottled..not the trays), then cut out the black silhouette hill and crosses.  The liquid watercolors dry quickly.. and you can glue on the ground and crosses about ten minutes after you paint!   


Easter Story Video

We watched this very age-appropriate Easter video on YouTube.  It is VERY child friendly/developmentally appropriate in regard to Jesus' death on the cross.

Walking with Jesus... Palm Sunday Skit

Two years ago, I had a "grand" last-minute idea to create a Palm Sunday "walk-through" skit of the events of that special day.  You know,  "bring it to life" for my kiddos!  Ok. Ok.  If you know me, you know that any excuse to use costumes is just my "thing!"  Here are a few pictures of  one of our Palm Sunday walk-throughs.   

NOTE:  Be sure to check out my Easter posts from the past too... as past photos were pretty epic too!  CLICK HERE to view them! We used different costumes last year...but truly, you can pull this off with a few towels and bedsheets!

Do you celebrate Palm Sunday or Easter in your classroom?
If so, I'd love to hear what YOU do in your classroom to make Easter come alive!

And... I think one of my all time favorite video resources is this one!  It's a short and perfectly appropriate way to explain Easter to little ones!  If you can't use it in your classroom, perhaps you can use it with your own family!

Writer's workshop is an important part of our day EVERY DAY...and Easter is a perfect time to see what kiddos understand and are thinking about in regard to Jesus.  Take a peek.... These just MELT. MY.HEART. 

(Don't you love this pic?  The little dude is having fun collecting eggs...but "thinking" about what Jesus did for him!)  

Jesus had his "last dinner"... LOVE that one!

LOVE to see these little ones fall in love with Jesus!  
{Their independent writing skills are pretty good too!}

*   *   *   *
And that's not all... Just take a look at this writing piece that one of my "kinders" did the day after spring break last year.  {Talk about about a "text to self" connection, in terms of taking Bible lessons to heart!!}  This is what my sweet kinder-baby wrote after visiting her grandmother who had cancer.

Thank you God for what you did for ALL of us on Good Friday and Easter, so that we can have eternal life... 
and look forward our own Heavenly reunions!

That's it.  Just a little Easter Joy to share with ya' today!

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!

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After the swag giveaways, everyone's arms were literally OVERFLOWING with teacher swag...so 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 ESGI....plus much, much more!

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