Saturday, March 28, 2015

GIVEAWAY & Weekend in Review: #SpringTeacherBloggerMeetup2015

To say that I was excited for this event was an understatement. I was excited from the moment I hit submit on my Google doc. I had that moment of being a kid in a candy store--purely sweet and amazing. As a first year teacher, every 'first' moment I have makes everything seem more real and makes me feel like I'm a real adult (if that's even possible). I knew I was amongst a group of individuals whom in my eyes, were absolute superstars. If you would like to see pictures of all the fun we had, we blew up Instagram with our pictures using the hashtags: #SpringTeacherBloggerMeetup2015 and #GoNoodleTeacherDanceParty. 

So. Much. Fun!

There are no words, other than A-MAZ-ING, to describe the awesome tips, tricks, and treats I received from this meet-up. (I apologize for the quality of the pictures. It was much easier for me to walk around with my iPhone than a camera.)

Before digging into all the nitty-gritty details of our weekend, there are some pretty important people that need to be thanked for putting together and sponsoring our event.

This would not have been possible without the fabulous Holly Ehle from Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Connections and Brittany Banister from Mrs. Banister’s Kindergarten Kids.

I am so thankful for everything I brought home from French Lick.
BIG THANKS to GoNoodle and Teachers Pay Teachers for sponsoring the PJ Party! My GoNoodle lanyard is too cute! My students loved finding our dear Mr. Freckles Sinclair!

 As the picture shows, we brought home AMAZING goodies in our Vera Bradley swag bags. It just so happens that Ziggy Zinnia is one of my favorite patterns! (and it matches my personal Vera Bradley planner) Love that I live near such a giving company in Fort Wayne, IN. We also received an ERIN CONDREN teacher planner. That’s right, I said ERIN CONDREN! Holy Oprah moment! You get a planner, and you get a planner, EVERYBODY gets a planner! The excitement was is R-E-A-L! 

Creative Teaching Press has always been a go-to in my classroom for their adorable borders and letters. It’s always great to get little things to add to centers or to hand out for a job well done! As for all the grading I needed to catch up when I got back, my new WeVeel gel pens and Scentos markers were definitely going to come in handy! Not just one scented marker, but TWELVE scented markers! I definitely contemplated sharing my markers with my students, but I caved because EVERYONE should experience Scentos sometime in their life! J

My TBFF (Teaching Best Friend Forever), who also happens to be my lifelong family friend/sister, Alex and I embarked on our journey from Northern Indiana to Southern Indiana. In all of my 23 years, I had never been to French Lick before. It was somewhat odd that I had never been there before, but unless you're a golfer there wasn't ever a major reason to go...until now! It is absolutely gorgeous down there with the hills and  beautiful hotels and resorts. Alex and I packed up our things and booked it out of school for a fun-filled weekend. 

Our agenda (my possibly not in order version of it, of course) for the weekend went like this:
1-Lug way too many bags with too many outfits, shoes, and teacher stuff to room

2-Get some shut eye instead of hang out with others... in my defense it was a Friday and my kids were certified loco/hyped up for the weekend (as was their teacher) and I was one tuckered out girl.

3- Pick out something to wear that was not too hot, not too cold, but just right for the event. #HorribleChildrensStoryJoke

4- Walk into the Hoosier Room completely in AWE of its Schoolgirl Style beauty. SO glad I used her design expertise when putting together every inch of my classroom! :) AND she made our name tags for us! How adorable are these?! 

6- Wait patiently for a delicious lunch and wonder why in the world I didn't eat breakfast. 

7-Exchange Teacher Tool gifts... If you would like to hear all about that, you can read about that post here

8-Fill out some (at the time random) giant letters with your name, blog name, word to describe yourself, picture to describe your favorite subject, what you would like to get out of this weekend, and then wonder what in the world these could spell. 

Come to find out, they spell exactly what this weekend was: an INSPIRATION.

9- Q&A time where I felt proud of myself when I knew an answer to a question that I asked myself when I started blogging last year. I am in no way, shape, or form boasting about what I knew before the meet-up, I just realized that many did not think about doing this and it was only fair to pass along to our blogger world and share! Sharing is caring, right? :) Now that I hopefully have peaked your interest as to what that might be, here's a short rundown. A question was asked about fonts in blogs. Since I can remember, I have been slightly font lie. I remember changing my fonts in elementary to "Kristen" because it was, at the time, adorable. I love me some good fonts! I couldn't stand loathed hideous, basic fonts. Oddly obsessive on my part, but that's a completely different blog post. The question was if it was possible to change the font from the standard fonts given in Blogger. I remember thinking last year that I would have been so totally lame if I would have asked/Googled basic questions about fonts because it was so obvious in the blogger world. I made the decision to type my posts up in Word using my pretty fonts and just copy and paste into my blog post and pretend like I knew what I was doing. Voila, Hello Doodle Print font in my posts. It was like a lightbulb moment to so many at the meet-up, I just had to share.

Anddddd...... we're back on track

10- Choose ALL (the limit does not exist) three small group discussions to attend. Alex and I decided to stay together and go to the following:
-Choice #1 with the amazing Greg Smedley-Warren from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard who was FULL of extra sparkly ideas for “fitting it all in” with blogging, TpT, lesson planning, etc.
-Choice #2 was with the dynamic duo (and my teacher, TpT, blogging, D all of the above.absolute IDOLS) Deanna Jump of Mrs. Jumps Class and Deedee Wills of Mrs. Wills’ Kindergarten where we learned all about Reading and Math Workshop.
-Choice #3 was with some fabulous fellow Hoosiers, Tiffany Copple and Brittany Banister from 2 Techie Teachers where we learned all about iPads in the classroom, which is perfect for our 1:1 classrooms.

11- Reveal the lucky winners of all the AMAZING donated prizes.

12- Receive our FABULOUS swag bag full of GOODIES! Hello, freebies from top-notch sponsors listed at the beginning of this post.

 NOTE** Crash Course by the AMAZING Kim Bearden and the Jamberry nail kit was from the lovely teacher tool gift exchange and not a part of the Swag Bag! :) 

13- Eat on your own. 33 Brick Street was totally worth it. Great food and drinks!

14-Two words: PJ. Party. Such a fun event to end our night. GoNoodle is such a blessing in my classroom and it made our event that much more fun. From fun dance jams to adorable t-shirts to decorating pillowcases, this was one fun night!

 How cute are these sugar cookies?! 

I am so happy Alex and I decided to venture out of our teacher comfort zone and meet all of these amazing teachers. What a truly amazing group! And with that said....who doesn't love a giveaway?! ESPECIALLY when it's this good! :) You and two others could win a swag bag full of all of our goodies we received. Follow the Rafflecopter  below to sign yourself up NOW! Here's a peek into the SWAG bag that could be yours! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Teacher Tool Swap Linky

I am SO excited for my very first linky! This school year has been full of many firsts for me. I am a first year teacher. I am a first-time TpT seller. This is my first blog. This is my first linky. Lots of firsts for this girl! Last weekend I was able to meet and collaborate with some of the most passionate and amazing teachers I have ever met. I will blog about my experience at the #SpringTeacherBloggerMeetup2015 next week, but I couldn't wait to link-up and share about all of our amazing teacher tools we received.
Click the link above for the original linky post! :) 

For those slightly confused right now... 
here's the 411 on the teacher tool swap!

We were able to bring a small gift that was either a manipulative or something you felt you just couldn't live without as a teacher. When we exchanged these gifts during the meet up, we were grouped into grade levels. Since some teachers brought a manipulative, it only made sense for use to be split into K, 1, 2 & 3, and 4-6 groups. I was so lucky to be sitting with some amazing upper elementary teachers. I remember sitting with my teaching friend and neighbor, Alex, and asking her "Do you think we're the only upper elementary teachers?" It was such relief to see a solid upper elementary group! :) 
Look at this great Upper Elementary Teacher Tool Swap group! :) 

When we met with our groups, we sat in an organized circle, which is clearly expected out of educators. :) Amanda Pauley, from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten, came up with the CUTEST gift-passing story. Every time we heard left, we passed the gift we had in our hands to the left. Every time we heard right, we passed the gift in our hands to the right. I received the absolute sweetest gift from Heather at Smack Dab in the Middle. I am pretty sure my whole face lit up when I opened this:

I told Heather this had been in my Amazon cart just sitting there. It was clearly fate that I received this book! :) I CANNOT wait to start reading this! The adorable gift was also accompanied with a pretty cool Jamberry kit! Teachers know other teachers almost too well! 

For my portion of the Teacher Tool swap, I thought long and hard about what I absolutely cannot live without as a teacher. There were so many obvious (but still so amazing) choices to give: Flair pens, Post-Its, marker, etc. I knew I could give (and receive) those types of things and they would be absolutely ADORED by other teachers. I wanted so badly to think outside of the box. My idea was literally sitting a foot away from me on my desk. Hello, LIGHT BULB moment! Three words: task card organization. 

These have recently come into my life and I am so glad that I found them! At one of far too many Target hauls, I came across these containers made for photos. It then donned on me that these would fit my task cards perfectly! I am such an organized teacher, but when it came to task cards, they were everywhere. Some were here, some were there and some were nowhere to be found....I never knew where they were when I wanted to pull old task cards to use for intervention time. I needed a solution and I needed it NOW! Since I have found these boxes, it has made my life so much easier when storing and using these task cards. 

Happy clicking! :)

An InLinkz Link-up

The whole weekend was pure teacher heaven! 

What teacher tool can you absolutely not live without?
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Peek at my Week {March 8th}

ISTEP+ Applied Skills is over. I repeat, ISTEP+ Applied Skills is OVER! Now that that is off my chest...I feel like I can breathe for now. This has been so stressful for the kids (and me). There is so much that goes into these tests and constantly feeling like you're failing the kids by not teaching something correctly or long enough is not a good feeling. I am such a worry-wart when it comes to things like this, but that's just how I am. During that week we did a lot of brain breaks, Kahoot!, and we watched Big Hero 6, which is such a good movie by the way! 

This week is full of awesome-ness! 
-I have right up until spring break (which is the next two weeks) planned AND printed!
-It is a 4-day week due to parent/teacher conferences on Thursday.
-I am going to my first ever blogger meet-up in French Lick with one of my best friends and neighbor teacher this coming weekend! (Hello, ROAD TRIP)
-Did I say I have the next two weeks planned?! (I am so excited about this, clearly!)

Now to peek at my week...It is jam-packed full of some fun stuff! 

We are learning about adaptations in science and it is the perfect time to have a camouflage day and a nocturnal day. For camouflage day, we are wearing camo and making butterflies to camouflage into different parts of the room (SO excited about this activity). On Friday, and to go along with our typical Flashlight Friday, we are having a lights-out day to act like nocturnal animals. Hello, new batteries in our flashlights. :) I can't wait to post pictures of our butterflies and nocturnal day!

Last week was just mentally and emotionally draining for me. I had a lot of tears and I could not have made it without my amazing family and 5th grade team members. These girls are AMAZING! Anddddd on that note, I am going to look at the next two weeks before spring break positively. I will try to keep my sanity and laugh at the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly.

Enjoy your week! (Hopefully it is getting warmer wherever you are!)