Saturday, April 12, 2014

Secret Admirer?


It's not what you think.  Actually I had the privilege of being the admirer in this fun blog party!  Today I am so excited to share with you a teacher creator that I admire - Paula from The Reading Bungalow!  Paula is a reading specialist in Alaska.  Although she doesn't have a blog to follow, there are lots of great ideas and resources being shared!  You can find The Reading Bungalow on Facebook, Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.

For this round of Blogs We Admire I had the chance to check out her Facebook page and all the amazing resources she has available in her TpT store.  There are so many ready to go, easy to use resources.  I have been using her Race to the Top - CVC Words games with my students this past week and boy do they love this game!


I loved this game too!  I first used the game during tutoring with my kiddos that are struggling with blending.  They sure loved the race and didn't even realize they were practicing their reading skills!





  Not only did they have a blast playing the game, but it was great to watch them help each other with letter sounds and cheer each other on!  After a great success in tutoring I had to use it in my classroom during center time.  I paired up my students with similar reading levels for this game.  My kids that have mastered blending were working on fluency while my kids that struggle with blending continued to work on sounding out and pushing the sounds together.  Everyone loved the game!!!

If you would like to try this game out with your students, click on the picture below to get a freebie sample of the game!



There are more great games and resources like this in Paula's TpT store.  Here's just a couple that I have my eye on!!!!

These CVC Word Puzzles would make a great center or
guided reading group activity.
I think I MUST have these for the beginning of the year next year!
What a great, fun way to focus on beginning sounds!
Make sure and check out The Reading Bungalow!  I know you won't be disappointed.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring Blogger Meet-up


A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a spring blogger meet-up in Indiana.  This is actually what I asked for as a birthday present and it was one of the best birthday presents ever!  It all started last summer when I ventured to Las Vegas for the I Teach K conference. I went alone!!  :-0  I decided that I could go alone and go to class and back to my hotel room or I could just put myself out there and see if anyone else was going alone and wanted to hang together.  So I posted on a Facebook group and I ended up meeting the best people ever.  We had a fabulous time and have kept in touch all year.  In February I heard that one of my I Teach K friends, Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connection was hosting a blogger and teacher meet-up and I wanted to go so bad!  I decided this would be a great birthday present.  So I asked the hubby for some airline miles for my birthday and my parents chipped in for the hotel.  It was amazing!

I flew into Louisville, Kentucky and then headed north to French Lick, Indiana.  Not sure how they came up with the name of that town!  We stayed at the beautiful French Lick Resort and learned about its amazing history!


Not only did I get to see Holly, but I also met up with Michelle and Tracy that I met at I Teach K too.  It was a little reunion!


I also go to meet lots of new awesome teachers!  There's nothing better than being in a room with other teachers that love what they do as much as you do!  So the meet-up was amazing!  Holly did a great job hosting, and planning, and gathering, and organizing, and guiding and gathering some more.  She worked with Melanie at School Girl Style to have some beautiful decorations.  Thank you School Girl Style!


Holly also gathered all kinds of giveaways and prizes for those in attendance.  Here's just a few of the amazing things we got to bring home!

A super cute tote bag from Vera Bradley!
The tote was just perfect to fill up with all the other goodies!





We also had lots of giveaway prizes that everyone had a chance to win.  I went home with a Starbucks Gift Card and a cute chevron mug!  A huge THANK YOU to all of the companies that made donations for the meet-up!  You made a group of teachers feel very special.  Thank you Vera Bradley, Scentos, Erin Condren, Jamberry, SDE, Crayola, Kaeden, Hue, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Creative Teaching Press.  

Here's some great news!  You too have a chance to take home goodies from some of these companies.  At the end of this blog hop you will be able to enter to take home this:

One lucky person will win all of this!!!!!  So keep hopping all the way to the end so that you can register!

One of my favorite parts of the meet-up was the Teacher Tool Swap.  Each teacher was asked to bring their favorite teacher tool that was around $10.  We played a little game and traded tools then had fun unveiling all the favorites.  I got an amazing assortment of Post-It tabs and flags that I have already put to good use.  It makes it so easy to find things when I tab it and it makes easy to color code too!  I also received a package of index cards (which I use all the time!!!) and a box of super cute paper clips!!!! Here's a glimpse of what I received.

Besides all the fun we had it really was an amazing weekend.  Here's what I personally took away from the event:

1.  Probably the most important thing was a kick in the pants from my new friend Greg of Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

Greg is an amazing kindergarten teacher that I have followed for a long time.  I love his ideas, his excitement and his classroom stories.  After I had a celebrity moment we moved on to being friends.  Greg and I had the chance to talk throughout the weekend.  One of the things I asked him was about blogging.  I told him that I find myself doubting that my ideas for blogging are interesting, informative, or anything else that might have value to another teacher.  So, I just don't blog about it.  Greg really inspired me to blog about whatever ideas I have to share.  He said yes, people might already being doing "that" in their classroom, but we all have a unique spin on how we teach.  It's sometimes not the newest and latest ideas, but the unique way I do something that will help another teacher.  So thank you Greg!  And if you don't like what I blog about, then I apologize in advance and you can blame Greg!  :-)

2.  The second thing I took away from this weekend was the importance of taking a little time for me.  I tend to think of "me time" as being selfish and taking away from my kids (personal and school).  I always feel bad for doing something for myself.  But I can honestly say that occasionally taking the "me time" makes me a better wife, mommy and teacher. 

3.  The last thing I took away from the weekend was learning about 2 things that were new to me:  PicMonkey and Jamberry!  PicMonkey is a free online photo editing program that is super easy to use.  Be watching for a PicMonkey blog post coming soon.  I also learned about Jamberry!  All I can say is why had I never heard about this before!  Jamberry is a company that creates designer nail wraps.  These are very durable, easy to apply and OH SO CUTE!!!!!  The night before I left I had the chance to do my first Jamicure and I love it!  My students and fellow teachers love it too! 

So thanks for checking out the wrap-up of my fun birthday weekend!  It was so much fun I'm thinking we need a Texas Blogger and Teacher Meet-up.  Anyone interested???

Hop on over to my new friend Abbie at Tales From the First Grade to find out about her thoughts on the weekend.  Just click the picture below!

Tales from the First Grade







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