December 31, 2014


2014...  It's been real...

I'm linking up with Farley for Currently, January 2015 edition.

Listening:  T. Swift on NYRE...  Did I mention I got tickets to her concert for Christmas???

Loving:  I've sincerely loved being off with my kids these past few days.  We've done nothing.  It's been glorious.

Thinking:  Monday?  Don't tell me I'm the only one dreading that 5:00 alarm.

Wanting:  Cha-cha-cha changes...  I sincerely hope this is a year of change for me.  I have no clue where I want to go professionally.  Do I want to keep teaching but venture into the presenting world? Do I want to change grade levels?  Do I want to move out of the classroom altogether?  Do I want to pursue administration?  The truth is, I have no clue.  I pray God guides me where I am supposed to be.

Needing:  Just because I'm lazy.  And it's pretty.  But mostly because I'm lazy.

Yes:  I was selected to present at ISTE in Philadelphia this summer!  I'm stoked, to say the least.
Maybe:  See above...
I wish:  Bottom line, I want to share this love of teaching with others.  At the end of the day, I hope I can inspire others.  

Hello, 2015.  I know you won't disappoint.

December 30, 2014

French Lick Blogger Meet-Up

As we get ready for 2015, I know we are all thinking of resolutions for the coming year.  One of my resolutions for the new year is to be a better blogger.  I have really slacked this time of year, for this reason or that reason.  Either way, I want to do better!

Last year, I was in the same funk.  Trying to do everything is hard!  Around March, my blogging was pretty much non-existent.  And then I heard about the big blogger meet-up hosted by the fabulous Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections.  I signed up to go, and boy, was I motivated after that weekend!

Holly is planning another epic meet-up.  You can read all of the details by clicking her button below!

Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections

Here is the low-down on what we will be doing that weekend:

Friday, March 13th

IF YOU CHOOSE... You may check in on Friday night and check out the resort on your own.. or meet up with those of us who check in early!   Rooms will be offered at the French Lick Springs Hotel in the "blogger block"  for a discounted rate.  (There is a concert on the grounds Friday night, so the rate for Friday is higher than Saturday's rate.  Friday's rate is $205 and Saturday's rate is $169.) Regular rooms have two queen beds and sleep 4...but there is 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! Also, please note that during registration you can indicate that if you are willing to share a room with another teacher(s) and I can match you up with other teachers to save some money!  

Saturday, March 14th 

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 TONS prizes and product give-aways! We guarantee some epic teacher-swag giveaways, my friends!  We had over $10,000 in the BEST teacher product giveaways last year... and we are working on surpassing that this year!  We will also be playing some seriously fun get to know ya' games, which will result in forming friendships for life!  Oh! And I can't forget to mention our annual "Teacher Tool" gift swap game! #funandfunctional 

The cost for attending this luncheon event will be $35, which includes your lunch and beverages, as well as a portion of the room reservation/technology fees.  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!).  If you live close, you may choose to drive in for the day.  This fee needs to be paid by Feb. 25 to guarantee your registration.  (More details for payment will be sent via email/FB messager if you register using link at bottom of this post.)

2:00 pm - Teacher Tips & Tricks for Blogging, TPT and more!
After the luncheon and meet-up fun, we will be having a sharing session about teacher technology, blogging and creating TPT products.  Bring some of your best ideas and a list of your favorite resources to share with others!  You might want to bring your laptop for this too!  This session is totally optional...but is a fun way to share ideas and set up networks for blogging, Pinterest, "linky" parties, etc.  Last year's workshop session was INCREDIBLE... and this year's will be even better!  We will be sending out an email survey to everyone who registers, asking for topics of interest. Then, we will be recruiting topic discussion leaders with experience/expertise on the hottest teacher topics to help facilitate our group sharing. Oh! And look forward to lots and lots of informal pop-up presentations, as our questions lead us! We will also be doing some round-table sessions with special topic/grade-level break outs.  We believe everyone has an area of expertise and something to share!  

5:30 pm - Dinner Reservations at Resort Restaurant/s
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!  We're even considering planning a late night, teacher PJ party!   More details to come on that!

Sunday, March 15th

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! 

Look at that porch...  It's just as peaceful in real life!

Here is the French Lick Resort, where the meet-up will take place.  It's a gorgeous hotel with so much to offer!

This is the West Baden Springs Hotel.  Drop. Dead. Gorgeous!  Make sure to spend some time over there also.

This is the lobby of the French Lick Resort.  You'll feel like you are walking into a scene of The Great Gatsby.

If you've never been to French Lick, you are in for a real treat.  The town is just 45 minutes from my home, and my family goes there often for weekend getaways.  It's breathtakingly beautiful, and the hotels have lots to offer!

Are you ready to sign up for a weekend you will always remember?  

Simply click HERE to get more information about this event! 
We hope to see you there!

December 7, 2014

Peek at Our Week... All Aboard the Polar Express!

It's hard to believe we only have two weeks until Christmas break!  

Next week is all about The Polar Express.  This week has always been special to me, but it is even more now that I have kiddos of my own.  You see, The Polar Express is a family tradition for us.  Every year, we head over to the historic town of French Lick to ride on the "real" Polar Express train.  It's likely the most popular holiday attraction in our area, and we've been going for five years now.  In fact, we've already booked tickets for next year.  Porter says he wants to go until he turns 32, so it's evident that we will be lifers. :)

Here are my crazy kiddos.  The looks on their faces say it all. :)

Anywho, I'm linking up with my friend Deedee to tell you all about our week!

All week, we will use the book The Polar Express as our anchor text.  We will also pull in non-fiction stories about trains.  The main resource we will use comes from my newest Polar Express pack (available on TPT).  Click the picture to learn more.

We are in the middle of so many things right now.  We are currently busy rehearsing our play, The Gingerbread Man, by HeidiSongs.  We perform it for our families the Wednesday before Christmas break, and on the Tuesday before break, we will be performing at a local nursing home for the residents.  

We are also knee-deep in our latest PBL event.  We have been busy creating greeting cards to sell to raise money for a local child advocate agency.  The kids are rocking it.  The only coffee shop in town has agreed to sell the cards for us, so I cannot wait to see the results.  

These kiddos amaze me.  Here, they are working on designing their cards.

On Friday, we get to come to school in PJs, drink hot chocolate and eat yummy cookies, and watch the movie, The Polar Express.  I absolutely love this day.  Partially because I can wear pajamas.  Mostly because it's an amazing day.  

Here is a peek at our week!

Now head on over to Deedee's blog to tell us about your week!

December 4, 2014

Christmastime Is {Almost} Here!

I know... Crickets, right?

It's been a long while.  

I'm not going to lie... I haven't missed blogging.  Life has been way to crazy to worry with it.  It seems as if I have been pulled in a thousand different directions in the month of November.  It's not just a hectic time in my personal life, it's also one of the most hectic times in the classroom.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has so much to offer.  Almost too much, really.  Pinterest and blogs have made it even harder to pick and choose what you want to do with your little darlings, who, by the way, are crawling up the walls during this time.  There are so many wonderful things to do between the turkey and the Christmas carols.  Trying to fit it all in is impossible; trying to decide what to do makes me want to cry.  The struggle is real, folks.

I've been teaching for eight years, and for at least seven of those years, two themes have remained constant in December:  The Gingerbread Man and The Polar Express.  I never tire of any of these topics, and there is SO MUCH you can do with them!

This year, I have created two very special math and literacy station packs that are perfect for those themes!  Click the pictures below to check them out for yourself!

November 7, 2014

Five for Friday

Click the link above to link up, too!

This week was just one of those weeks.  Both of my kids went through their rounds of the yucky stomach bug going around, so around midnight Monday, my turn came.  Thank God for technology and awesome colleagues who helped get my room ready while I puked my guts up.  

Tuesday was Election Day, and in our district, we use that day as a PD day for all staff.  This year, we broke into cohorts and rotated to various sessions on priority standards, nonfiction text vs. informational text, writing essential questions, and the SAMR model.  I led a session for our K-12 teachers on priority standards along with three other teachers and our superintendents.  In the afternoon, we broke into grade levels to focus on making a game plan to move away from textbooks (YAY).  

It was just a really crazy week.  I am glad to see Friday.

Need a resource for Veteran's Day in your classroom?  Check out my math and literacy station pack with a patriotic theme!  It's 111 pages of awesome activities!

I was honored once again to be a featured blogger for GoNoodle!  This post contains 7 hacks to make your time with GoNoodle awesome.  Check it out here.

We are getting prepared for a big digital project... Our Thankful Project!  Our first step is to learn a new digital tool, iMovie.  Seriously, folks.  If you have iPads in your classroom, iMovie is a must-have app.  It is so user friendly.  On Thursday, the kids learned how to insert media, delete media, and add text.  Next week, we will learn how to add voice overs, and then we will begin creating our iMovies of things we are thankful to have in our lives.  It always amazes me when I teach kindergarteners a new digital tool.  Typically, they fly through it!  Yet another reason to advocate for the use of technology with youngsters. :)  I am excited to see how well they do!

Need a Thanksgiving resource?  Look no further!  I am so excited to be doing our Thankful Feathers on Wednesday with the kids.  

Basically, each kid will take home five feathers printed on colored construction paper.  There, they will draw or add pictures of things they are thankful for.  When they bring the feathers back to school, we will make it into a turkey using the feathers!  I always put this craft on my bulletin board, but I seriously have ZERO pictures of it up!  I can't believe I didn't take pictures of it last year! 

Anyway, click below to check out the resource for yourself!

November 2, 2014


I'm linking up with Farley for November's Currently!

Where did you go, October???

No joke, October was awesome.  Busy, but awesome.

November ushers in my favorite time of the year.  I love everything about the holiday season.  Thanksgiving is all about family.  I love to cook, so I am always in charge of our big family get together's turkey.  The smells in my house are out of this world when the bird is in the oven!  

Then there's Black Friday.  Shopping is my addiction, so it's the most amazing day.  I get together with some of my best girlfriends, we load up in a van, and shop until we literally drop.  

That all leads up to Christmas.  Oh, Christmas.  Seriously, favorite time of the year.  My favorite Christmas tradition in our home is our advent devotion, A Meaningful Christmas.  

23 of my favorite friends and I are participating this year, and we will do our big ornament swap right before Thanksgiving.  This will be my second time to go through the process, so I am excited to host this year!

Anyway... Here goes my Currently.

Listening:  It's been a long weekend!  My little guy started barfing while out trick-or-treating on Friday, so we are all so tired from that.  My daughter stayed with Grandma last night to stay away from the sickness, so she partied all night!  Right now, I am winding down while watching some Food Network while she snoozes next to me. :)

Loving:  My family and I had a big Sunday dinner today to celebrate my grandparent's anniversary and my aunt's birthday.  I love getting to spend time with my extended family and feel very blessed to still have all of my sweet grandparents.

Thinking:  Although we don't have school on Tuesday due to Election Day, our staff still meets for some good old PD.  I am presenting with our superintendents on priority standards, so I am a little nervous about that!  I'm also finishing up some Veteran's Day things for the upcoming weeks, which is wonderful, but a lot of work!

Wanting:  Is it just me, or is this year flying by?  It seems as if it's going even faster than usual.  My little guy is not only in kindergarten this year, but he's in my class.  It's gone great (that's always the first question everyone has), but I am trying to absorb every memory we are making this year.  I want time to slow down!

Needing:  Am I the only one who stresses about everything???  Some say their plates are full.  I have a complete smorgasbord on my hands.  I sometimes don't know how I make it all work.  I need to rely on the fact that God's got this, so there's no need to worry. :)

Reading:  I'm re-reading Teach Like A Pirate right now.  I love everything about this book.  When I'm feeling the need to be rejuvenated about teaching, I pull it out.  It's a great, fast read, so if you haven't read it yet, go get it now!

November 1, 2014

Five for Friday (Saturday Edition)

Ahh, November.  My favorite month may have come and gone, but I love what November brings.  Holidays, family time, fun classroom experiences...  Great stuff.

I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  

The fact that it's Saturday pretty much sums up how this month went:  Busy, busy, busy.  

Did I say busy?  Field trips with my classroom and my daughter's classroom (my son is in my classroom, so I guess he had a field trip, too), a quick trip to Disney World (Best. Week. Ever.), Parent/Teacher Conferences, our school's Fall Festival (I'm PTO president this year, which is a full time job in and of itself), my daughter's Fall Festival, both babies having the sickies... Not to mention the day to day responsibilities of being a wife, mom, teacher, friend...  I loved October, but November is a welcome sight.

Anyway, let's get onto this week, shall we?

This week was all about spiders, bats, and owls!  I'm not big on the scary aspect of Halloween, but I think there are so many academic "scary things" that can be tied into the week to make it full of fun and learning.  

On Monday, we focused on spiders.  That topic could be an entire weeklong unit, but we crammed as much as we could into the day.  We used the fabulous Deanna Jump's Spider Unit for many of our activities.  We also used Krea Hill's All Tangled Up! activity pack for this awesome project we did Monday afternoon.

The kids were given yarn, tape, and a chair, and had to use what we learned about spider webs to create one of their own.  You can see that some turned out amazing!  

The rest of the week was devoted to bats and owls.  These activities are some of my favorites of the year.  We get so deep into science, and I LOVE IT!  Here is a glimpse at our hallway display.

We also dissected owl pellets yesterday.  I always get our pellets from the local raptor center, so they are free, which is awesome.  

The kids are so funny when we dissect owl pellets.  By the time we do them, they know it's owl barf, and I always have one or two who refuse to touch them.  However, this year, all of the kids at least attempted to go through their little chunk of owl regurgitation. :)

I posted this sweet picture on my Facebook and Instagram on Thursday after being particularly frustrated with our math series' math lesson.  To put it nicely, it was horrible.  There are so many more engaging ways to teach these concepts.  So, what did this little trouble maker (me) do?  We threw out the math lesson, grabbed some ten frames and Halloween erasers, and went to town teaching two fewer.  The kids did GREAT.  I think they really got it.  They weren't getting it with what our math series was doing.  

November means Thanksgiving!  Do you still need resources to make your classroom a fun, engaging environment during the holiday season?  Look no further than to my Thanksgiving unit!

Click the picture to check it out for yourself!

It's 20% off until Monday!  Enjoy!

October 10, 2014

Scare and Share Blog Hop!

I'll be the first to admit, I am not huge on Halloween.  I don't know what it is... We definitely celebrate the trick or treat tradition with my kiddos (who have not one, but two costumes this year!), but I'm just not that into the scary parts of it.  I know... Lame. :)

Anyway... Some of my Indiana Teacher Friends and I are giving you some major fun this weekend!  You won't want to miss out on this!

First up, a FREEBIE!  My kids love seek and finds... You know, Where's Waldo style?  We've been doing this with sight words forever, but we recently started using these for number recognition.  Some of my sweet little kiddos struggle with number recognition, and these help so much!  Check it out here:

Also this weekend, we will be throwing one of our famous $1 sales!  I have four fantastic resources marked way down so you can enjoy them!  Here's what you can get for next to nothing!

I just love the cuteness of this pack!  It's jam-packed with math and literacy stations perfect for kindergarten!

This is by far my favorite pack.  It has some technology components within it, which makes my heart happy. :)  Plus, who doesn't love pumpkins?!?!

I know I just said this, but this is one of my favorite resources as well.  It's user friendly, and packed with not only fun activities for Thanksgiving, but is also very academic.

I just love teaching our Gingerbread Man unit around Christmas!  These activities would be perfect for your classroom in December!  

Check out what other Indiana Bloggers are selling this weekend:

An InLinkz Link-up

Now, hop on over to my friend Sarah's blog to grab another freebie!