Weekend in Review! #springteacherbloggermeetup2015

 I'm here to tell ya, friends....if you ever have the opportunity to go to a blogger meet-up....GO! Yes, even if you're stepping out of your comfort zone. I can't tell you how many times I heard people say, "I really was kind of nervous about coming...so glad I did" at a meet-up. Heck, I was one of them. My first meet-up a couple years ago with the Indiana bloggers, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. So glad I went! The people I met there are now some of my best friends! 

BUT - THIS blogger meet-up? IT.IS.THE.BEST meet up ever! Seriously! There's just something to be said for getting together with like-minded people: people who share the same interests, who are passionate about the same things. Like my good friend Jenny said, this meet up is more like a retreat. Not only is it super fun....it's also rejuvenating & inspiring.
We owe a BIG thanks to Holly Ehle of Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connection  and Brittany Banister 
of Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids for organizing it all! Hats off to these two ladies! They planned a full weekend of awesome! We started Saturday off with a catered lunch & lots of chatting!
Brandy- Firstie Kidoodles & Stacey - Teaching Ever After

After our favorite teacher tool gift swap, there were small table talk breakout sessions. My sweet friend, Amanda of The Primary Gal & I hosted a table talk all about the social media side of blogging & TpT. Wanna know more about Pinterest & Facebook? Just let us know!

Next activity of the day? Teacher swag! Wow! There were so many companies that donated gifts & door prizes. So great to know that teachers are so appreciated! Check out that picture....those are just some of the items everyone went home with! Just some of the sway: bags from Lakeshore & Vera Bradley, markers, pens, & stickers from Scentos, more cute stuff from Creative Teaching Press, goodies from Scentsy & Origami Owl, & wait for it........an Erin Condren Teacher Planner!
And guess what?! We have a few swag bags to give away! Keep on reading to find out how!
Thanks, TpT!
What a day! And we haven't even started with the PJ Party! We had so much fun at the lunch meet up last year, we knew we wanted more time to hang out next time. Holly & Brittany cooked up a super fun PJ Party. BIG tHaNkS to GoNoodle & TpT for sponsoring this event! Wow! Oh my gosh....it was stupendous! TpT & GoNoodle......you ROCK! I seriously cannot thank you enough!
If you don't GoNoodle with your class, you've got to try it out! My kiddos absolutely adore GoNoodle! It's great for a quick brain break & WoNdErFuL for indoor recess. And that song we're daancing to up above? Pop See Ko! My kiddos favorite!! 
Decorating pillow cases.
Photo booth fun with Adventures of Room 129

Greg Kindergarten Smorgasboard & Annie Ride Away with Mrs. Ridgeway

Megan Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade
Whew! It was a busy, busy whirlwind of a weekend, & not nearly long enough to enjoy being with these wonderful friends!
To hear more about the weekend....click through the blogs below...

An InLinkz Link-up

Here's your opportunity to win your very own swag bag! Just look at all that awesome in there! 
Just click into that rafflecopter widget down there, get your entries in, & cross your fingers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Collaborative Math Conversations

Disclaimer: This product was provided by the company for review. Following is an honest opinion regarding the product. 
Didax let me try out this set of Common Core Collaborative Cards....& I was hooked the minute I opened the box! Oh my gosh, y'all! This is just all kinds of wonderful!

Written by Kit Norris (who also had part in writing the Common Core Standards), this Grade Level Set, which comes with 36 cards for each of the five domains: Algebraic Thinking, Base Ten, Fractions, Measurement & Data, & Geometry
Here's how it works: 
  • For each solution/answer, there are 4 different cards that model that solution/answer - each in a different way. The picture to the right shows an example: the two kiddos sitting next to each other have cards that model 3/4. 
  • Each card also has a role: Discussion Leader, Resource Manager, Recorder, Team Captain. I LOVE that they're already built in! Being able to talk about their thinking in math is SO important! And having these roles ensures that each kiddo in the group has a more equal voice than they otherwise might have. 
There are several ways you could use this in your classroom, but here's how I used them. I mixed up sets of the cards & passed them out. Kiddos' first step was to determine the answer for their card, then give me a thumbs up (see the two kiddos in the pic?). When I saw that most had their thumbs up, I gave them a signal to start looking for the other members of their group. They knew that they needed to find 4 people who had the same answer. After gathering all four together, they used the roles that were on the cards to discuss & plan a presentation to the rest of the groups. 

Oh my word!! They LOVED it! It's not often that you hear kiddos say things like "That was FUN!", "Can we do that again?", "Can we do these every day?!" in math! Especially not when the activity is rigorous & requires some higher level thinking.....& that's just what these Common Core Collaborative Cards do! That's one of the reasons I was so excited to try these out....it's not often you come across an activity or strategy that explicitly encourages higher level thinking, collaboration, and verbalizing mathermatical thinking! I love how well it not only supports those Math Process Standards like "construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others", but gives kiddos continued practice with those skills! I mean, I was thrilled with the math talk that I was hearing! I mean, seriously....check this out! 
I am just so in love with this product! It's been so effective in my classroom, & my kiddos are loving it! I am thrilled to tell you that Didax is giving away a Class Set for one of YOU! 

Bunnies A-Go-Go FREEBIE!

Today is the last day of my Spring Break. Sad face.
But guess what?! That means I only have 9 weeks + 4 days  (+4 because we have 4 snow days to make up) left until summer! Aaaaaand....we're not even going to talk about how stressed that makes me right now....only 9 weeks +4 days to get A LOT of stuff in!

Anyway -- enough about all of that. I just figured out last night that Easter is only TWO WEEKS away! (Time sure does fly, doesn't it?). I've pulled this color-by-place-value activity mini-pack for my kiddos to work on in the next couple weeks, & thought I'd share it all with you!

So here's my little Happy Spring gift for you! Just click the image below to download from my dropbox!

Favorite Teacher Tools! Linky

Last weekend, I had THE most aMAZing time at the Spring Teacher Blogger Meet Up in French Lick, Indiana! I'm not kidding....Ah.MAZ.ing!! I'll be blogging all about it in the next few days, but for now we'd thought we'd all share about the Favorite Teacher Tool Swap. 
The Teacher Tool Swap is just one part of the weekend fun. Everyone who wanted to participate wraps up one of their favorite teacher tools to swap with someone. This year, we had so many people, the at broke into grade-level bands to do the swap. Here's a pic of the Grade 2 & 3 Group. See any faces you recognize? After a fun left-right story/game written by Amanda Pauley (Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten), you end up with someone else's favorite tool. Here's mine! Wonder what's in it?

I ended up with a couple fabulous teacher tools from Debbi Watson over at 3rd Grade Pad. 3
Check these out:

 Have you heard of this Quirky Stapler?? It is super cool. It attaches to its base magnetically....which means you can take the two pieces completely apart. Do you realize what that means?? It's PERFECT for stapling booklets together....repairing books....& stapling items on the wall! (Can we say Hello....bulletin boards?!). Another feature I really like is because the base is magnetic, you can keep it handy on your whiteboard, or even on the side of your desk! 

I also got some of those amazing Frixion pens I've heard so much about! And everything I've heard is true! These pens write SO smoothly! Aaaand...they're erasable! I mean-- really erasable! Remember those 'erasable' pens from back in the day?  Yeah -- they sorta kinda erased...but didn't at the same time. Bleh. Remember? These are not like those at all. They really do erase!

Found the Gold! FREEBIE Hop!

Have you heard?! My Sparkie friends & I actually caught that rascal leprechaun & grabbed his pot of GOLD! And guess what was in it................................

And we're SHARING! Thanks to my sweet friend Ciera over at Adventures of Room 129 for sending you over here! If you haven't been hopping the circuit to grab them up, you can start right here! Just click the 'Hop to the Next Stop' button down at the bottom of everyone's blog post, & we'll guide you right through!

Here's the freebie I'm sharing with you all: 
Anyone teaching schwa in the next couple weeks? Here's a sweet sample from my Schwa Activity Pack. One of my kiddos' favorite things to do is Read & Write the Room. They'll have a blast searching for words with the schwa pattern!
Next stop? You're on your way to see my amazing friend, Mrs. Leeby! And away you go......

Scratch Off & WIN! In Math? Yep!

Disclosure: This product was provided by the company for review. Following is the blog owner's an honest opinion regarding the product.

Have you seen these cool Scratch Off Stickers from Eureka? When I first saw them in the store, I thought, "My kiddos will ab.so.lutely FLIP over these!" I was super excited when Eureka asked me to test them out in my classroom! There are just SO many ways you can use these in your classroom....

My first thought was as a behavior management tool. How fun would it be to make up little cards with a variety of rewards? SUPER fun, of course! And SUPER exciting! It's super easy.....just type up your text, place the sticker over the part you want them to reveal. I just used the same rewards I normally do in our classroom: things like "Extra Tech Time" and "Lunch in the Room".

And scratching them off? It's like winning the lottery! Talk about motivating.....you wouldn't believe how motivated my kiddos were to earn one of these little cards!

Now-- here's the part that I think is REALLY exciting......check out how I used the stickers in our math instruction. We're working on fractions -- specifically equivalent fractions and naming whole numbers as fractions. We're also really big on student choice in my school, so I wanted to make sure that I incorporated choice in the activity.

Each kiddo got a card that asked them to create an equivalent fraction for...........the fraction that's under that little gray square! Eeek! How exciting!! It's like winning the fraction lottery! Right in class! Seriously! I enjoyed listening & watching my kiddos excitement as they scratched off that little gray rectangle to reveal the fraction. So fun! After revealing the fraction, kiddos got to decide whether they would represent the fraction using clay, drawing a picture, or using manipulatives. The cool thing is, they were so engaged in the activity, that most of them ended up representing their fraction all three ways! Win! Win!

Take a look at this smart math....

I'm telling you...just adding those little scratch off stickers amped up the engagement and increased their involvement, Did you see that picture of equivalent fractions up there?! Now, that's like winning the lottery!

I'm super excited that Eureka is also going to give three of YOU your own set of these handy, dandy little scratch off stickers! You're going to LOVE them!! Three people are going to win two sets of the stickers. They come in packages of 150, so there will be plenty to keep you and your kiddos busy!

Just enter your info in the Rafflecopter widget down there & cross your fingers! I'm crossing mine for you!