Saturday, April 15, 2017

Try this AWESOME Easter/Spring Tradition... It's an Egg Tapping Tournament!

Looking for a fun Easter/spring tradition for your family or group of friends? Start an egg tapping tournament!  It’s simple, inexpensive…and SO much fun!

1. Simply hard-boil one egg per friend or family member in attendance.  (You may color or decorate the eggs as desired, or just leave them plain. )

2. Print out the egg tapping bracket (that can be downloaded for FREE at my TPT store) if you have 16 players or less.  (If you have less than 16 players, you may have to fill in some of the “first round” lines as “byes” or give each player 2 eggs.)
Click HERE to download the free bracket!
If you have a larger group of participants, you may wish to go to and customize your own bracket.

3. Fill out the first round (lines on both outer edges) slots with players' names or their “egg team names.”

4. Begin the egg tapping tournament by having two players that are pitted against each other hold their hard-boiled eggs with the “points” facing each other.  The players “tap” the eggs together with the intention to break the other’s, without breaking one’s own. 

5. Amazingly, only one egg will crack each time.  The player whose egg does NOT crack or break moves on to the next round of competition.

6. Continue play until a final winner is determined!

Want to know more about the history of egg tapping?"
Click HERE!

Enjoy your new tradition!                           

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rolling Out the Red Carpet at the 2017 Teacher Blogger Retreat!

Every year at our Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, after a day filled with connecting with other educators and filling our hearts and minds with the most inspiring professional development imaginable, we inject some pure fun into our retreat weekend in the form of a "Saturday Night Social Event!"
This year, our Saturday Night Social Event was all about rolling out the red carpet for the amazing educators in attendance...and making them feel like the celebrities that they are!
As teachers ourselves, the planning committee knows how many hours of over-time teachers spend doing all that they can to make each day's lessons special.  We know how much of your own money you spend equipping your classroom with everything it needs to make learning come alive. 
And to us... Well, that makes you a VIP worthy of celebrating!
Our goal was to provide those attending the full red carpet experience...and the help of a few amazing sponsors, we made it happen!
The theme for our evening event wasn't a hard one to come up with! We knew right away that the evening had to fit hand-in-hand with the objective of our retreat...spoiling (and thanking) educators who work so hard in the trenches everyday.  However, figuring out how to pull off a true red-carpet event was going to take some expertise and major support!
Without hesitation, ESGI stepped up with excitement to team with us to bring our dream to life!
And we (the planning committee) weren't surprised a bit!  ESGI is ever-present, year-round, supporting teachers as they seek to be the best they can be!  They have been long-standing, loyal supporters of our annual teacher-blogger events, and their true love for educators shows in everything they do! 
 I mean, after all.... If it wasn't for ESGI helping the entire planning team with assessments and report cards, saving us EACH over 400 hours a year (That's real people! Not an exaggeration!)... the planners would never have time to plan the Spring Teacher Blogger Event! LOL
Y'all... Just in case you haven't heard about ESGI and how it will totally change your "teacher-life"... let me enlighten you! 
ESGI is the simplest, easiest to use assessment platform for conducting one-on-one assessments for emergent and non-readers. They offer over 700 pre-made assessments from which you can choose and use, but you can also create your own!  It's easy-peasy!  Trust me!
Sound like something you can't live without?  (Answer YES now!!!)
Well, give it a try! Simply go to and enter the code: B7296
All teachers who register for a free trial account between now and April 10th using this code will receive an EXTENDED FREE TRIAL through August 31, 2017! That's right! FIVE MONTHS FREE for ALL teacher who have always WONDERED about ESGI but for some reason, have never tried it out! That's not all!  All teachers who register for an ESGI trail during this campaign will be entered to win a "Pot of Gold" mystery grand prize from ESGI.  (Announcement coming on April 11th, the day after the campaign has ended.)  ALL teachers who are NEW to ESGI are encouraged to sign up for a trial, and will qualify to purchase ESGI in the fall at the discounted price of $159.
** Reading this post after 4/10/17? No worries!  Enter the code (B7296),
and you are still eligible for a 60 day free ESGI trial! **
Teachers...once you use ESGI, you will NEVER go back!  It's a game-changer, my friends!
Don't just take it from me...ask any ESGI user, like these friends!
So.. as quick as a wink, with the help of ESGI, we built a "red carpet dream team" consisting of Chris Pombanyo (LIVE in the Classroom), Chase Mayo (professional videographer) and Kristen Black Sloan (ESGI) to work with us to make the red carpet event happen!
And.... WA-LA!  We made it happen!
Check out this crowd awaiting the celebrity LIVE stream!
Take a peek of some of the incredible LIVE stream clips created by Chris, Chase, Kristen and their gifted team....

And that was just a peek at the red carpet activities! 
There was SO much more fun to be had!
Take a peek at how attendees were welcomed to the TRUE red carpet fashion!
Yes!  We had actual paparazzi too!  So fun!
A HUGE shout-out is in order for ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY, as well!

We were so thankful for their generous sponsorship of our event décor!
As every teacher knows, Oriental Trading has EVERYTHING you need to flip your space, whether its a classroom or a ballroom, into the perfect environment for fun!

 Did I mention that we challenged the attendees to dress up like their favorite celebrities?  Take a look at a few of the famous look-alikes we had in attendance!!

And this dress....The unforgettable outfit that Bjork wore!
DeeDee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) rocked it out...while I attempted my best red-carpet pose!  HA!
ELLEN showed up as well!
It wouldn't have been a red carpet night without this DENIM-atic Duo!
Hello Brtney and Justin!  (A.K.A. Hope and Wade King)
Everybody's favorite GoNoodle group showed up too!
Hey there, Koo-Koo Kangaroo!
And I just HAD to get my picture with this legend!
It's Britney....and Britney!  LOL
Hey!  It's Meighan and Elliott from Teacher Pay Teachers!
We LOVE how TPT seeks to be apart of the teacher community!
Thanks for your constant support of educators!
We even had some SUPER heroes attend!
Do you recognize the TROLLS?   
Now that's creativity!
And...Willie?!  Willie, is that you?!
"Willie Nelson" was the winner of the Star-Studded Red Carpet Scavenger Hunt!
She won her very own HUE HD Doc Cam! 

Thanks HUE for supporting teachers and helping to sponsor our
2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!

The evening was also filled with some fantastic music and dancing!

And our "Red Carpet Event" would not have been complete without an awards show of our own!  
Nominations for several categories were taken early in the evening, then using the Kahoot app, attendees voted to select winners in each category! It was a blast!  

Winners went home with framed certificates and of course, their own Oscar-like trophy!

GoNoodle generously sponsored an amazing professional photo booth for the event!
Leave it to GoNoodle to find a way to record the amazing memories and fun of the night!

GoNoodle, We LOVE you!!!
Oh my goodness!  It was quite a night! 
If you were not able to join us this year, be sure and mark your calendars for next year's event!
You will NOT want to miss what we have planned!
And...Until next year.... That's a wrap my friends! 


Saturday, April 1, 2017

2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat -- Daytime Event Highlights!

When was the last time someone rolled out the RED CARPET for YOU as a teacher? 

Well, that’s exactly what we did for all of the attending teachers at the
2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!

We LOVE to celebrate teachers (and all school staff) for the celebrities they are!  We know how hard you work all year round, and you deserve to be spoiled and admired!  Wanna take a peek at just how we rolled out the red carpet this year?

Well, read on, my teacher friends!

The weekend began as it does every year for those of us on the planning team -
with lots of Friday prep! 

We had a HUGE increase in attendance this year, so this year that meant filling 560 of these awesome bags from Scholastic Reading Club with all kinds of goodies from our fabulous sponsors! 
Thank you to our AMAZING teacher “swag bag” sponsors! Seriously, I cannot say enough wonderful things about these companies!  Each of them truly, truly love educators and were so excited to help us “give back” to the educators in attendance!

We were able to take a quick break Friday evening for dinner under the dome at the amazing West Baden Springs hotel before getting back to work setting everything up for Saturday morning!  (It’s a tradition to meet in the dome on Friday night to meet new friends and visit old ones!)

On Saturday morning, we were back at it early for attendee check-in!  

We also had some awesome sponsors greeting attendees and treating them to some of their products!

Before we knew it, it was time to start the day! 

When the doors opened, attendees grabbed their seats and began checking out all of the amazing sponsor donated raffle items.  That’s right!  There were even MORE amazing give-aways!  Yep!  Over 100 amazing give-aways, totaling over $50,000 in teacher swag and prizes!  (We weren’t kidding when we said we're spoiling teachers!)

We began the daytime event with a welcome message…from me!  It was so humbling to look out at a room full of over 550 teachers who all shared the common bonds of loving children, wanting to better ourselves as teachers, and also desiring to move education forward in positive ways! #teacherlove

It was important to me to kick this event off by sharing the history of the event and how our mission has always been to bring like-minded, passionate educators together and to celebrate them for all the hard work they do for kids all year long!

Next up was everyone's favorite principal, Mr. Gerry (pronounced with a hard G) Brooks. He gave a fantastic keynote about setting goals for ourselves, our students and our families that left everyone laughing and feeling inspired!

After the keynote, we all went to our designated buffet lines for a yummy lunch.

 (You can tell it’s a teacher event when there is a specific plan for how to line everyone up to keep things organized and efficient! LOL)



After lunch, we held our annual “Teacher Tool Swap” activity.  This is a yearly fave!
We played a "Left, Right" game which re-told the history of the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat. When the game was over, every teacher ended up with a gift bag filled with someone else’s favorite teacher “tool!”  The gift “givers” shared why the tools they gave are the best, in their opinion.  I LOVE seeing what the yearly teacher tool “trends” are!  So. Much. Fun.

We kicked off the professional development portion of the day with an amazing whole-group session presented by Hope and Wade King, the dynamic husband-wife teacher team who teach at the world-renowned Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hope is also the author of the popular educational blog, Elementary Shenanigans, and the Kings are co-founders of the amazing “Get Your Teach On” Conference,” a one-of-a-kind teacher conference focused on student engagement and best practices in the classroom.

Hope and Wade delivered a phenomenal presentation to our group on the power of student engagement. They demonstrated ways we can "set the stage to engage" our kids every day to increase their achievement and help them WANT to come to school instead of just showing up because they HAVE to!  You could FEEL the energy in the room as we rocked out our own learning lessons to Wade’s electric guitar! Every person in the room was completely engaged and inspired…and folks, there were 560 of us!!! That is saying something!  Hope and Wade King were beyond amazing! 

From there, we split up to attend three rounds of mini-sessions. Sarah Cooper (A Rocky Top Teacher Blog) and Tiffany Copple (2TechieTeachers Blog) were the mastermind planners of the professional development sessions. They did an amazing job! 

 We had some of the best teachers and presenters in the country hosting these sessions! Take a peek at just a few…
 DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten presented on writing in the classroom. 

 Tiffani Mugurussa from Time 4 Kindergarten shared tips on how to get started with selling on Teachers Pay Teachers

 Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors taught attendees how to use PowerPoint to create classroom resources. 

 Christina from Miss DeCarbo led a session on making comprehension more concrete for students. 

 Haley O'Connor from Teaching With Haley shared strategies for helping students improve their self-control. 

 Amanda Pauley from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten gave attendees some strategies for classroom management.

  Marissa Zimmer from First Grade Stars shared quick and easy ways to integrate STEM into teachers' daily curriculum.

Heidi Neels from Flipping For First showed attendees everything SeeSaw has to offer them.

Maja Austin from Kooky Kinders taught attendees about the power of Donor's Choose to fund their classroom needs.

Brittany Banister from Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids explained how ESGI Software can save teachers time when assessing. 

 Chris Pombonyo from Live in the Classroom led a huge session on effective digital tools to use in the classroom. 
Crystal Oswald from The Balanced Teacher  showed attendees how she creates engaging songs for her classes. 

We wrapped up the PD portion of the day with a quick panel session featuring Principal Gerry, Hope and Wade King, DeeDee Wills, and Chris Pombonyo. This allowed attendees to ask these experts anything! 

Finally, we ended the daytime event by announcing the prize winners of our fabulous sponsor give-aways!

A huge THANK YOU to all of these amazing sponsors:

Check out all of these happy teacher faces!! 

Did you miss out on the fun this year? No worries! You can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win some teacher swag, too!!


Whew!  That was quite a post!  And believe it or not…that was just HALF of our amazing retreat!  Stay tuned for the next post about our UNBELIVABLE Red Carpet Event!

Check back soon for a recap of the epic red carpet evening event sponsored by ESGI, GoNoodle, and Oriental Trading!