Sunday, March 29, 2015

My First Teaching Presentation!

#ididit!   Yes, I started my post with a hashtag.  It deserves it!  I checked something off of my bucket list last weekend and I'm so proud of myself.  It's always been a dream of mine after starting my teaching career to present at a teaching conference.  Well, last week I did just that!  The good state of Indiana hosted their first ever ISTA (Indiana State Teachers Association) Good Teaching Conference. The applications to present opened up in December and I applied thinking I would NEVER get in, but wanted to start putting my foot in the door.  Well, I found out a few weeks later that they picked me!  AH!  So the procrastination began....  And when March hit I went into panic mode!  But relax - it all came together very smoothly!

Wanna know what I presented on!?  The Gradual Release Model!  Our school has been using the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model now for 5 years and I will never teach another way again.  Through my research and practice I've found that there are a lot of teachers who say they 'use' the gradual release model - but they are missing a lot of important pieces.  I wanted to share all that I've learned from my experiences with other teachers in hope that they would walk away with just one idea.



My first session only had about 7 people in it but I was totally okay with that!  My second one had about 15.  (It was a small conference to begin with - only about 175-200)  I found that I was pretty relaxed and well versed.  I even was asked to come do professional development at a school!  Super flattering!

I had a few requests from the lovely ladies who attended to put the materials I gave them on my blog for them to grab so I'm doing that in hopes that they snag them up if they need them.

The videos are too big to upload so unfortunately I can't share those.  They are of me teaching so you wouldn't want to see that anyway! ;)  

They also wanted a downloadable version of the differentiation ladder template.  You can find it by clicking on the photo below! 



Here are a few photos from the fun day!!



Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Easter is right around the corner!  We decorated Easter eggs yesterday and I did one for TPT :)  LOVE it!!




And I couldn't resist showing you a photo of this little cutie!!


Make sure to follow me on instagram at @adventuresofroom129 for more info on the contest below!








Saturday, March 28, 2015

#springteacherbloggermeetup2015 Weekend Extravaganza! (And Giveaway!)

Keeping in all of this amazing information until now has been SOOO hard to do!!  But alas, the link is live and I can share all of the amazing details about this weekend - and if you're a good listener, YOU may end up with some swag of your own ;)



So a few weekends ago, over 100 teachers from around the country took over the French Lick Resort and Casino in Indiana.  It was our second year to have this blogger/teacher meet up.  Getting together with this many passionate, dedicated, and amazing educators in one places is overwhelming - but in the most rejuvenating way possible!

The weekend started with a delicious lunch, mini sessions, and of course - giveaways!!  School Girl Style was so amazing to donate all of the name tags, agendas, and extremely adorable decorations!  It looked FANTASTIC!!


I was lucky enough to get inside to snap a few pictures before the crowds took over.  Check out all of the swag!  Scents was an amazing contributor to the swag this year.  Everyone who came got a pack of their smelly markers - great for anchor charts and a pack of their new markers Sugar Rush!  I can't wait to try them out!!  Vera Bradley also donated some adorable tote bags for everyone as did Lakeshore Learning!  Both as super cute!  Creative Teaching Press had a few goodies there for everyone too, stickers and cute inspirational notes for kids.  I'm telling you - I walked away with tons of fabulous items donated by some amazing companies who truly do love teachers!  Brenda from Primary Inspired also had emery boards for everyone from Origami Owl!  She's a teacher AND she sells Origami Owl.  Can we say double threat!?

I was lucky enough to create treat bags for everyone as well and I donated an adorable apple Scentsy warmer too!  The biggest reaction came from when Holly announced that EVERYONE who attended was getting a FREE Erin Condren Lesson Planner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, that did deserve that many exclamation marks!  Not only did I get to meet up with some amazing people, I learned a lot as well.  This year, we had round table discussions where we got to choose topics and listen to 'experts' talk and discuss about specific topics.  I went to one on business with Christina DeCarbo (she's so stinkin' cute!), one one student engagement, and then one on using technology in the classroom.  Being taught about education from other educators who are still IN the classroom is empowering!

With so many people there this year, I didn't think we'd take time to introduce everyone - but we did.  This part of the day meant so much to me.  We all took time and wrote items about ourselves on these letter cut outs we were given.  We didn't know what we were doing with them at the time.  Then one by one tables went up, and we introduced ourselves and letter by letter we spelled a word....

INSPIRATION!  That was it. In one word - that's what this weekend was about!  Isn't Annie adorable in this photo!?!?  

I was even so lucky to have won a FREE SDE seminar!!!!  They are so generous to have donated such an amazing prize!!!  



Overwhelmed yet?  Told you!!  But there's more!  That night - two amazing companies provided us one last get together.  GoNoodle and Teachers Pay Teachers threw us a PJ Party!!!!

This just blew my mind!  There were makeshift beds and pillow cases for us to decorate, t-shirts designed, food, a photo booth, and of course some GONOODLE dances!!!  

I'm so blessed to be a part of this amazing community.  I have met so many of my closest friends through blogging and I will never forget these memories.  The only sad part about this is that there's over 300 days until next year's meet up in French Lick.  :(  

So - do YOU wanna win some swag!?  You can win all of the amazing products that the bloggers received at the meet up!  Just enter below to win all of THIS:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to check out some others' experiences from this amazing weekend!?  Then go through the link up and see what they have to say!




Makes you want to blog right?  ;)  I hope you're having an amazing weekend!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Found the Gold Freebie Hop!


The fun is here and gone right??  Wrong!  We are all recovering from what was a whirlwind of green, gold, and glitter.  The author's over at A Spark of Inspiration are coming together to help make your recovery even more enjoyable!  We are creating a pot full of gold just for YOU!  Each stop has a fun freebie for you to download and enjoy!  Make sure you hop all the way through.  Thanks to A Spark of Inspiration for hosting! 

Soooo....  Want some GOLD!?  With standardized test time coming up - these little friends of mine help my kids through it one page at a time.  They are quick and easy to use.  We spend about 15 minutes each day on a skill in the packet.  Is it the most fun of activities?  No..  But is it necessary that they get the practice?  Yes!  And with as little as 15 minutes a day - they barely realize they are doing it by the time they are done.  This packet includes concepts such as beginning, middle, and ending sounds, prefix/suffix/root words, synonyms/antonyms, syllables & rhyming.  Download a free sample of the packet below!




I hope you can find a need for it!  It you want to check out the entire packet you can do so HERE!

But WAIT!  You're not done!  Click the photo below to continue on!  




Monday, March 9, 2015

EdExpo 2015 TOP TEN!!



So I can't believe I've been able to keep all of this amazing information in all of this time!  A few weekend ago, I got the chance of a lifetime to go down to Atlanta with 50 other amazing teacher-bloggers.  We all attended the annual EDEXPO!!  What's this you say?  An AMAZING conference/expo put on each year by SDE to showcase some of the most amazing and engaging education products of the upcoming school year!  We got a chance to walk the floors and scour for our "Top 10" products!  All of the bloggers put their "Top 10" together and came up with the ULTIMATE Top 10.  Those vendors were given an "Eddie" award for being the 'best'!  Are you on the edge of your seat yet?  


Well, here they are!  If you're interested in purchasing any of these products, I encourage you to take a look at the EdMarket Dealer to find the best deals!   


And ONTO THE LIST...

The first product is Touchtronic Numbers & Letters from Junior Learning.  These amazing letters are paired with a downloadable app for kids to practice letter and number recognition as well as decoding and reading simple words.  Talk about engaging!  (Click the photo to learn more!)


This one is one of my favorites!  I love Wordly Wise and the same company makes this amazing game called The Reading Game!  This is perfect for early readers!!  The game works in stages to teach students how to recognize Dolch and Fry sight words and then puts them into sentences and eventually independent readers for the students to read!  Everything is fun, engaging, and wonderfully educational.    (Click the photo to learn more!)


The next game is just as fun and maybe even a bit more funny!  The Say It game allows students to practice on level vocabulary in a round robin type game.  This can be used in centers or at the bathroom during breaks!  Each student receives a card with a vocabulary word OR a fun word/phrase.  The students in the group have to create a continuous sentence without stopping using all of the words.  (This may be fun for us adults too *wink wink*!)  Click the photo for more!


There was a tie for forth place!  

Goldiblocks are a fun 'tool' designed to get girls into the building and creating mode!  


Boink Fidgets are amazing tools to use in the classroom for those wiggly little ones!  Fun and helpful all at the same time!


Number 5 was the F.U.N. Empty Number Line by Learning Advantage.  Number lines can be difficult for students to understand, especially when learning something like FRACTIONS!  This number line comes with all of the pieces for teachers and students to use and put together, together!  Chains and hooks allow students to connect pieces on the number line to see where everything belongs.  Very hands on and visual all at the same time!  


The next ones are super colorful and fun!  Math Bands!!  What a great way for students to help practice and learn their multiplication facts!  I can see my kids 'earning' each bracelet as they master their facts.  They can wear it throughout the day and can be memorizing their facts all day long!  


This next one really hit home.  I have so many students who I think would really respond well to this amazing product.  Busy Fingers by Fiddle Focus.  These soft, and tactile blankets and attachable fabric pieces are just what kids need to help them stay focused.  They can be mobile or velcro to a desk to stay in one spot.  This is something quiet that students with ADHD or someone who needs a fidget could use and its quiet!  Such an amazing idea!


So, I'm in LOVE with these products.  Pencil Grips have the most amazing...well, pencil grips!  They are designed to teach students how to hold a pencil correctly in a variety of stages depending on how the student is currently holding his/her pencil.  And they have more than just that!  You should SEE their Ultra Safe Scissors!  


The next one is great if you're trying to implement STEM into your curriculum!  


And there was a tie for # 10 too!!

 So amazing for tactile learners!


And last but not least...




These were just 10 (really 12) of the most amazing products in education around!  I'm super excited to be teaming up with some of these companies so you'll be seeing more of them really soon!  You could even have a chance to win a product or two ;) ;) 

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my EdExpo trip!  I got to meet and remeet so many amazing people, teachers, bloggers, and friends!  It was the weekend of a lifetime!  Which product are YOU going to go check out?



Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Spark of Inspiration Blog Hop!!

We have been WAITING for this day to come for months!!!  The teacher bloggers over at #A Classy Collaboration have been working on rebranding our collaborative blog into something new and better.  And we are READY!!!  Please give a grand welcome to...

A Spark of Inspiration!

Make sure to click the header above to go check it out!  And please follow us while you're their if you don't already!  We have added so many new authors and lost a few friends that we felt like we needed a new do!  What do you think of it!?  I'm in <3!!  

So we're having an inspiring blog hop to celebrate.  What's in it for you!?  Well, take a look!

First, all of the author's have chosen a free product just for YOU!  Here's mine:  


I've taken my Grammar Exit Tickets and pulled a few pages I hope you can use!  Just click the photo above and its yours!!  But WAIT!!  There's more!  




IF you hop through the entire hop you can grab a lot more freebies!!! Make sure to stop by A Spark of Inspiration to see if you've won!  Here's your next stop on the hop!


Have fun!!!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Technology Must Haves - A Bright Idea Linky!!



Ok - so is anyone else super glad that January is over.  IDK about you, but that was a tough month.  My daughter got sick with pneumonia, everyone in the house got sick with the stomach flu, then we all got a cold, my washer went out, furnace is going out, husband was in a car wreck (don't worry - he's fine!), and school's been crazy.  February has been a lot nicer to me....so far!!  ;)  Ha!  Anyways...  At the beginning of the year, our school went 2-1 on iPads in the classroom.  They have been great, but I must say, I'm very picky when it comes to what my kids do on them.  I just don't download apps and let them play.  What they do on them must be very meaningful.  So I'm going to share two AMAZING resources with you that are completely FREE that I hope you'll find as amazing as I have!  :)

The first one is an app called Show Me.  Can I say WOW!!!  This is a 'white board' type of app.  It has a lot of really fun features, but what I think it neat is its ability to take pictures and videos and save them to the app.  Oh the possibilities!!  I can see myself using this to keep videos on of math lessons for students who are absent.  They have a website that you can explore to learn more!


Here is a cute video of one of my kids using the app with cheese-its to practice area and perimeter!


video



The next amazing technology tool I want to show you is a website called readtheory.org.  If you've never heard about this website I promise you, your jaw will drop!  I've created a little 'how to' video to introduce it!


video

If you don't have time to watch it, its basically a great website/tool that you can use for reading comprehension where everyone in the class gets his/her own username and password and can read short stories and take quizzes for points.  The neat thing is that the stories are differentiated and the better they do on their stories, the higher their levels go and vice-versa!  I hope you check it out!

If you liked this bright ideas, make sure to check out the rest of the link up!  









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