Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Setting Classroom New Year Goals


Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017! Here's to a fresh start, new beginnings and updated goals! Goals...that is where today's quick post comes in. 

Every year, I like to spend the first day back from break checking in with the students and resetting our focus as a classroom and as individuals. 

What are goals?
What are OUR goals?
What is important to us?
How are these goals going to help us be successful?
Why will these goals help us climb to success?

I use this activity as a springboard to the kickoff of the second half of our year for a couple of reasons. 
1. Students are more focused. 
2. Students better understand what they need and how to accomplish that. 
3. Classroom community is stronger and there is more support. 


Today, both of our classes brainstormed a list of things that they wanted to focus on for the remainder of the school year. They thought about what they wanted to accomplish as a class and as individuals and then they chose what traits they could apply to help them met these goals. The words in BLUE are the traits and characteristics that they listed. The rest is how we brought our goals together. 

How does this truly help us? We refer to this often. 
1. It is displayed in our classroom for all to see. 
2. We read it together EVERY day in our morning/afternoon meetings. 
3. We adjust it as needed. We know that it is a living, working document that can get changed as we need it to. 


The conversation, communication, and support is KEY to this, and I love watching our conversations and positive actions shape lives!

What are your classroom goals?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat

We are ready to roll out the red carpet and announce that we are opening registration for the


And you WILL NOT want to miss what we have planned for you this year!
Are you ready to be treated like the red carpet star that you are?
Need a weekend of pampering to escape from the “work” of teaching?
Need to be re-energized and fall in love with teaching all over again?
Ready to shine and be recognized for the teaching-star that you are?

Then come walk the red carpet with us at French Lick Resort!
French Lick is an incredible resort is located in southern Indiana, but it is within 3 hours of Cincinnati, Nashville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis!

And let me tell you...they are ready to pamper us again!  

Here are the details...
WHO:  YOU are invited!
WHAT:  Spring Blogger/Follower Retreat!
WHEN: March 17, 18 & 19, 2017
WHERE:  French Lick Resort & Casino - French Lick, IN
WHY:   To meet new friends, share blogging & TPT tricks & tips, 
and just have fun! {LOTS and LOTS of FUN!}

Join us for the whole weekend, or just a day!
Here is a peek at some of the things we have planned…
Friday, March 17th
·       OPTIONAL:  Many attendees gather and socialize at the beautiful West Baden Hotel.  Come early and join us! 

Saturday, March 18th
·    Blogger Meet-Up Luncheon:  Get-to-know-you luncheon, teacher product giveaways, and “Teacher Tool” gift swap game

· Keynote Speaker:  None other than PRINCIPAL GERRY will be there to uplift, inspire, and create a room full of laughter


·    Teaching, TPT, Blogging Round-table and Workshop Sessions:  We will send out a survey asking for topics of interest and we invite you to submit a round-table proposal as well. 

Dinner Reservations at Resort Restaurant/s:  (OPTIONAL) Meet up for dinner at one of the resort’s casual, but classy restaurants.

 Saturday Night Social Event:  Since everyone who is a teacher knows they went into this profession for the fame and fortune (ya, right!!)……We will be rolling out the red carpet for you as we invite you to dress up as your favorite star, pose for the paparazzi, and fabulous fun with friends!  (Heavy hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, photo booth pictures and party favors included.  There will also be a cash bar.)

Sunday, March 19th
·    Sunday Breakfast/Brunch:  (OPTIONAL) Meet at the resort’s famous breakfast buffet for our last gathering of good food, good conversation, and goodbyes!

The cost for attending this event is $75, which includes your lunch and beverages, a portion of the room fees and our Saturday night social event (including food and non-alcoholic drinks).  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.12 to guarantee your registration.  Also, note that due to the increasing popularity of this event, registration may have to be limited due to size.  (More details for payment will be posted on our private FB meet-up/retreat group page.)
Wondering if this event is something you might be interested in?  Check out what some of last year's attendees have to say...
Hannah F.Last year was my first year at French Lick and I was so nervous! I remember driving up there and imagining all the things that could go wrong! (of course) But, when I arrived I was overwhelmed with the kindness of every single person there. Everyone felt like they belonged and they did! The whole weekend was full of fun activities that helped me grow as a teacher and as a person. I made so many brand new friendships that I will carry with me forever. I remember driving away feeling refreshed and so ready to get back into my classroom! This weekend will refresh your love for teaching from the very instant you step into the hotel! “

Heidi N. "It was so refreshing to be surrounded by like minded teachers!  I left the weekend with new perspective, new ideas, and a lot of new friends!"

Maja A. "Last year's meet up inspired me to do so many new things, I finished out the school year strong with the things I learned from the other teacher/bloggers there!  I am so excited for this years meet up!"

Are you ready to sign up for a star-studded weekend of fun?  Simply click HERE to register for the event.
Questions?  Feel free to contact us at teacherbloggerretreat@gmail.com


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Directed Drawings Are the Jam!


Over the next few posts, I am going to be sharing pictures and short explanations about what are some of our favorite things to do during the holidays in 5th grade! During the season, my goal as an educator is to help provide fun yet purposeful activities for the kiddos to do! And, the season may be over but these are great to save for next year! 

Everyone is an artist in their own way. And, kiddos LOVE to draw. A couple of years ago I stumbled across the YouTube account called Art Hub for Kids. The account is run by a father who draws with his kids and shares the step by step videos that they make of their drawings. Since then, I try to bring in directed drawings opportunities as much as possible.


This year, we made reindeers using ARTventurous' directed drawing steps. I LOVE how they turned out! 

For this specific activity, we drew the reindeer with our pencils then traced over with black and brown markers. Then the kiddos completed their artwork with water color!


Watercolor is a form of paint that kiddos are not getting a lot of exposure to nowadays. I always start off our watercolor events with a brief tutorial on how to use the watercolors to get the most out of our art!

They were so focused and creative with their art!


I was so impressed with the finished projects!





Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Grinch Day in 5th Grade!

I LOVE the holiday season in the classroom. It is hands down one of my favorite times of the year. There is so much excitement and joy to be found by watching and experiencing the holiday cheer through the eyes of children. 

Over the next few posts, I am going to be sharing pictures and short explanations about what are some of our favorite things to do during the holidays in 5th grade! During the season, my goal as an educator is to help provide fun yet purposeful activities for the kiddos to do! And, the season may be over but these are great to save for next year! 


I love Grinch day, and 5th graders love Grinch Day, too! Every year I try to do different things in the classroom so I switch things up a lot! This year we dressed up in green, read the story, watched the old animated film, and did a Readers' Theater which the students LOVED. They did such a great job with it. I am constantly so impressed with how much students embrace amazing opportunities to showcase their talents. The key is making sure you provide them as much opportunity to do so in an environment where they feel safe and respected!


I snagged this big book version at a conference a few years back for FREE, and it is one of my favorite holiday books! 




I also am a firm believer of providing healthy holiday snacks as much as possible! This was my first year trying out the Grinch hats, and they were a huge hit! We also had some Grinch punch. You can check out the recipes and directions here (punch) and here (hats). 


It was so easy to put together, and I did go ahead and make them the night before. I had several teachers ask me on my IG account how they held up, and they did great! I did sprinkle a little Fruit Fresh on it to help the fruit keep their color until the next day. 


Next year, I think I am going to let the kiddos make the snack on their own! I will give them the tools and fruit then encourage them to make a Grinch hat out of it(without seeing a picture). It would be a great writing/brainstorming extension for the holiday season. 



Our Grinch Readers Theater was my favorite part of the day. You can find the script by Katie Rink here.  The kiddos got to pick the roles, they read through the script together, we put on our hats, and read the play! They cracked up, smiled, and had a blast. For the hats, we used sentence strips and printouts of Whos from Whoville and one of the Grinch.


There are so many great ways to pull in resources that enhance your classroom learning experiences during the holiday! 












Monday, November 28, 2016

Classroom Teachers vs. School Teachers

Over the last few months, I have had the extreme pleasure of working with some amazing educators in our district. We are beginning a new PLC journey in our schools so we have been collaborating on the best way to transition to truly effective PLCs.

During one of the sessions that we had, I brought up the difference between a classroom teacher and a school teacher and what these teaching differences can mean to a PLC, our schools, district, and most importantly--our students. I had first run across the comparison when reading The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros (You need this book if you have not read it yet--like Amazon it ASAP!)

Looking at the differences between classroom teachers and school teachers is meant to help teachers realize the power of collaboration. The teaching community should be just that...a community! Just think of how much stronger the learning experiences that we strive to create for our kiddos could be if we would be more mindful of creating opportunities where we are sharing, respecting, and trusting one another. 

So, my challenge for you today is to check out the graphic below and think about your role in your teaching journey. Are you a classroom teacher or a school teacher? 



Ever since I came across this portion of Mr. Couros' book, I have found myself using this frame of thinking constantly. I encourage all of us to think about how we can push even further than the "school" teacher mindset. Why not think about being a district teacher, a state teacher, a "WORLD" teacher?  At the end of the day, we are in this profession to help our kiddos be the BEST that they can be. We strive to create learning experiences and journeys for them that are centered around their success. How powerful would it be if we had the mindset that we were helping raise all the kiddos of the world together? ALL of our kiddos. Not YOUR Kiddos, not MY kiddos or THEIR kiddos----OUR KIDDOS. 

That word OUR is just so powerful. 

Teaching can be hard. It is not always easy, but it's worth it.  We are all in this together. 
#bestjobever #teachertribe #happyclassrooms