Sunday, January 8, 2017

It's a New (Noon) Year in First Grade!

Happy 2017!

One of my resolutions is to be a better blogger this year, which won't be hard considering I didn't have a single post in 2016. I started taking graduate classes in the summer of 2015 and finished at the end of last summer. Taking 24 hours of classes, teaching, and momming pretty much took up all of my time, and I fell out of the habit.

But I'm back!

And I wanted to start 2017 on a positive note!

When my own daughter (who is in my class this year) was a little bummed about going back to school after a very fun, family-filled Christmas break, I knew I needed to do something fun on our first day back at school. At the same time, I happened to see Chris Pombonyo's post about his Happy Noon Year celebration last year (follow him on Instagram HERE), and it was awesome!

I adapted the idea because I wanted to have a routine morning to get back in the swing of things, and I wanted to use the balloon drop to review some math concepts and kick off our new unit. So I just told them we would have a SURPRISE during math.

We spent the morning reviewing routines, applying for new classroom jobs, reading Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller (a must for teaching kids about resolutions), and I found a halfway decent Youtube video of the ball drop in New York City to explain that to them.

Then this is what I did during my lunch. Thankfully it's pretty easy to hang an upside down trash bag from the ceiling (you can also buy balloon bags that are made for balloon drops, but Target didn't have those, and there was no time for Amazon by the time I planned this).

I was a little excited. :)

When the kids came back from lunch, I stopped them in the hall outside our door and told them the surprise was ready, but I needed them to go to their seats first so I could explain. They were just a little excited, too.


After they were all seated, I explained that inside the bag were balloons, and that everyone would get one and would sit with others who grabbed the same color. *Teacher tip: I told them if they popped their balloon, we would have to throw it away, but if they didn't, they could TAKE IT HOME. You would've thought I said the balloons were made of gold.* Each balloon had an addition or subtraction fact on it. Their job was to solve the problem and talk to their team to figure out what strategy made the most sense to solve that problem. 


They were all able to solve their equations and could tell me the strategy they used!! I was SO proud!

Then I told them that our new unit for January is about graphing, so we were going to graph the balloons that were in the bag to see which color we had the most of. I gave them each a balloon to color to match the balloon they grabbed, and we made a little class graph. 

Yellow won! 

We put balloons in backpacks and came back to answer questions about our graph, talk about collecting data and what that means, and some different types of graphs. This was a much more engaging way to introduce data collection and interpreting graphs than had I just started with a workbook page. And hopefully they will remember it. :) 

We finished the day writing our own New Year's resolutions. 

I wish I could tell you where this little project came from. I think it may be older than I am, but it's so darn cute, I do it every year! 

Happy 2017, everyone! I hope your year is off to a great start! 

Sunday, January 1, 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 (yeah 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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Last Minute Teacher Gift

Hi Friends! I'm stopping by for a quick teacher gift idea, and then I'm headed to bed because it's only Wednesday. I feel like it should've been Friday two days ago, and break doesn't start for me for a week!  

Anyway, I wanted to give you a last-minute teacher gift idea...a teacher t-shirt! 

We are lucky enough to have jean day every Friday, and I am always taking the opportunity to wear one of my favorite tees.

This summer, A+ Images was kind enough to give teacher bloggers a free shirt to try! 

I already had this one that I bought at their booth in Vegas last year and always get compliments on it, so I definitely wanted in on the deal! 

These were just a few of the shirts they made for bloggers this summer: 

 They have tons of great options on their website! Click here to check it out! 

You can even have class shirts made with pictures that your kids draw! So cool!

Hang in there for a few more days, friends!! Christmas is coming!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Building Engineers: The Presentation

In this blogging series, I will be highlighting some of the ways I have been able to incorporate engineering activities into my classroom. For several years, engineering was the part of the STEM acronym that I struggled with the most. This year I have been brave enough to experiment, and the results have been phenomenal! 

That was the idea anyway. Then life happened, and I've been a terrible blogger. But I'm back today to share my presentation on Integrating Engineering into the Primary Curriculum from the ICE Indiana conference today! 

I was a nervous wreck, but I loved having the opportunity to share my passion for bringing Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking into the primary classroom, and I learned a lot from my session attendees, too! Win win!!

Click on the image below to go to the Google Drive link for my presentation today. 

Thanks so much to all of the attendees this morning! I hope to see some more awesome educators tomorrow morning! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Go Back to School with GoNoodle!

I'm so excited to be linking up with so many other fabulous bloggers to share my love for GoNoodle

I use GoNoodle twice a day every single day in my classroom without fail. We take a brain break/restroom break in the morning (usually two or three videos/songs) and another one in the afternoon. It provides the perfect way to get my kids up and moving, get them in and out of the restroom quickly, and help them transition from one activity to the next. 

This is our fourth week of school, and we've already maxed out two Champs! 

I also came up with some attention signals using Koo Koo Kangaroo songs and posted about them on the GoNoodle blog {here} and on my blog {here}. They work like a charm! 

I even use GoNoodle as part of my classroom reward system, and you can read about that {here}

Can you tell I'm a little obsessed?

This year, I will be using GoNoodle Plus for the first time, and I'm so excited! 
We will begin our 15 day free trial next week, and then I have three months paid for by generous parents who took stars off of my "Grant a Wish" board at Meet the Teacher Night! If you need ideas for what to ask parents for, a month of GoNoodle Plus is an excellent choice!  

There are so many amazing features of GoNoodle that you just can't afford not to use it in your classroom. 


GoNoodle LOVES teachers and wants to spread the GoNoodle joy, so they are allowing each of the bloggers participating in this blogging blitz to give away an item from the GoNoodle Shop!! 

I am giving away a set of 25 "Champtastic" Activity Books

I actually bought a set of these last year and gave them to my class as part of their Christmas gift from me. They loved them! 

Enter to win using the super easy Rafflecopter below! 

And get 15% of anything in the GoNoodle Shop by using code BTSwithGoNoodle
Not sure what to buy? If you don't already own one of their t-shirts, you NEED one. 
They are THE softest t-shirts I have ever owned in my life. And my kids go crazy when I wear them. 
Lanyards are another must-have. I wear mine every day! 

Be sure to check out all of the posts this long weekend and enter to win some of your favorite GoNoodle Swag!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy GoNoodling! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vegas 2015 Recap!

Whew! I'm sure you've seen a ton of #tptvegas15 pictures by now, so I'm just stopping by to give you a quick recap of my trip!

This was my second annual trip to Las Vegas for "teacher week." 

You can read about last year's trip {here} and {here}

This year we arrived later in the week, so I missed the I Teach 1st conference this time around. I would have LOVED to see some of the presentations, though, and I heard they were great!

After we got settled, I went up to the Exhibit Hall to explore and ended up in a GoNoodle dance party with some of my favorites! #onlyinVegas 

I know I talk about GoNoodle all the time, but I seriously love it. I'm already looking forward to introducing my new class of STARS to some Koo Koo Kanga Roo!

That first day was also my 8th wedding anniversary #070707, so my husband and I had to go out and celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with amazing food?!

So so so SO good. 

And how sweet were they to give us that little (super delicious) dessert!?

Wednesday night was the highly-anticipated Vegas Teacher Meet Up! 

I have to tell you that I was so terribly nervous about this meet up as the event approached. The thought of walking into a room filled with over 1000 teachers and bloggers by myself was causing me major anxiety. Finally I just decided to reach out and email an Instagram friend that I had virtually connected with to see if we could go together. 


Sarah from Mrs. B's First Grade is one of my new favorite people. We became instant real life friends, and I'm so glad I was brave enough to put myself out there. 

We had such a great time meeting and talking to so many amazing teachers! 

This is only half the room. There were teachers everywhere!

I met so many people but only remembered to take a few pictures! 

I always love seeing my fellow Hoosier, Jodi Southard from Fun In First, and I was so excited to finally meet my talented blog designer, Megan Favre from A Bird in Hand Designs

Plus, we received this AMAZING teacher swag bag! 

Thank you GoNoodle, Scentos, Ellison Education, Creative Teaching Press, Carson Dellosa, Creative Clips, and any and all other sponsors of this awesome event! 

After the meet up, I was starving, so I went and had my first-ever Chipotle (and yes there is one in my city…I've just never made it over there) experience with the always stylish Elizabeth from Kickin It In Kindergarten and another new fabulous friend, Danielle Ann from I have never met a sweeter person, and I am so so happy we were able to get to know each other! 

Seeing old friends and making new ones was by far the best part of the trip. 

That, and I could wear my hair straight in July without it becoming three times the size and frizzing out like I just rolled out of bed. 
Just sayin.

The TPT Conference: Come Together, Go Further started the next day. 

Apparently I didn't take any pictures during the day, but that night I went with my husband and our friends who came to Vegas with us to see Rock of Ages. 

It was SO fun! 

Flash photography was not allowed, so that bottom pic was the best I could do. Still, it was an awesome show. A little on the raunchy side, but very talented performers and amazing music!

Friday was the full day of TPT conferences, and I was able to meet, connect with, and learn from even more of my favorite teacher bloggers! 

I have followed Jennifer White from First Grade Blue Skies for years. She was just as wonderful in person as I had pictured, and her session was great! The quote from Zig Zigler (pictured) was my biggest takeaway from her. 

These women are amazing! Holly Ehle, Danielle Ann, Hope King, Cara Carroll, Erin Klein, and Sarah Barnett are all incredibly talented, inspiring, and NICE people. 

Overall, it was a wonderful trip! 

My biggest takeaways:

1. Focus on the task at hand - turn off all other distractions (this one is especially tough for me).

2. Keep your to-do list for the day to a minimum so you can actually accomplish what is on it. 

3. Be Brave. Reach out. Make connections.  

These lessons can apply to all areas of my life, especially the third one. 

I absolutely adore all of the friends I've made through this blogging journey, and it only happened because I was brave enough to reach out and was willing to open myself up to new and wonderful friendships. I have learned so much from them and am inspired by them daily.

I'm linking up with Elementary Entourage for this post. Click the button below to read about other Vegas experiences!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stop What You're Doing, And Sign Up for Camp GoNoodle!

Sign up for what?! 


If you're like me, you are in love with summer. 

Staying up late, sleeping in (well unless you have little ones like mine), long lunches, bathroom breaks anytime you want one, the list goes on…

But one part that is not so fun is when your kids at home, probably while sitting in a room filled with toys and games, say, "I'M BOOOORRRREEEEDDDD!" 

Can you tell this just happened in my house last week? 

Well, I have some good news for you. 

Just as GoNoodle saves the day in your classroom, they're back this summer with a program for your kids at home! 

Beginning THIS Monday, June 29, GoNoodle is launching 

Camp GoNoodle is a free online program for kids to stay active and be creative this summer! If you already know and love GoNoodle for the classroom, you'll love Camp GoNoodle for your own kids! And if this is your first time hearing about GoNoodle, Camp GoNoodle will be a great introduction for you and your whole family! 

Here's how it works: 

Head to Camp!

Each Monday starting June 29, a new set of five adventures will appear at Each adventure uses's active videos and games for inspiration and challenges kids to use their imaginations, get moving, and be outside. 

Go On Adventures!

Imagine building your own DIY jetpack, creating an obstacle course race, or making sushi with things you already have at home. 

Sing Along!

Each week also includes two brand new camp songs to inspire creativity and movement. 

Connect with Fellow Campers!

Share your adventures using the #campgonoodle hashtag to join the camp community. Each week, "Campers of the Week" are recognized as All Stars and earn excluding Camp GoNoodle prizes. 

Earn Badges!

Complete each week of adventure by printing the weekly badge to hang up and show off your accomplishments!

There will be four weeks of camp, each having a different theme! 

All you need for Camp is 

1. A free GoNoodle account
2. a device with internet access
3. a family ready for adventure! 

If you already have a GoNoodle teacher/classroom account but want to participate at home with your own family, you will need to sign up to receive Camp GoNoodle emails by going to 
*This is important because Camp GoNoodle emails are only being sent to parent accounts.

If you don't already have a GoNoodle account, click {here} to sign up! 

So who's with me?!

Share what you love about summer and link up below! 

Here is the blank Summer Loves Linky image for you to fill in: 

And use this image on Social Media to spread the word: 

AND as a BLOGGER BONUS, GoNoodle will be doing a (random number generator) drawing on July 4th to choose one lucky blogger who links up to win this awesome Camp GoNoodle prize pack! 

Bloggers, click below to grab the code to put this full linky on your blog, too! 

Link up below and help us celebrate summer with GoNoodle!