Sunday, July 16, 2017

Create and Use a Green Screen on a Teacher Friendly Budget!


Want to spice up boring book reports in your classroom?  Then using a green screen with your students is exactly what you need!

Watch below to see how create and use a green screen for unforgettable experiences in your classroom!

Do you use a green screen in your classroom?  What projects are your favorites?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Red Carpet Event at the 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!

Every year at our Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, after a day filled with connecting with other educators and filling our hearts and minds with the most inspiring professional development imaginable, we inject some pure fun into our retreat weekend in the form of a "Saturday Night Social Event!"

This year, our Saturday Night Social Event was all about rolling out the red carpet for the amazing educators in attendance...and making them feel like the celebrities that they are!

As teachers ourselves, the planning committee knows how many hours of over-time teachers spend doing all that they can to make each day's lessons special.  We know how much of your own money you spend equipping your classroom with everything it needs to make learning come alive. 

And to us... Well, that makes you a VIP worthy of celebrating!
Our goal was to provide those attending the full red carpet experience...and the help of a few amazing sponsors, we made it happen!

The theme for our evening event wasn't a hard one to come up with! We knew right away that the evening had to fit hand-in-hand with the objective of our retreat...spoiling (and thanking) educators who work so hard in the trenches everyday.  However, figuring out how to pull off a true red-carpet event was going to take some expertise and major support!

Without hesitation, ESGI stepped up with excitement to team with us to bring our dream to life!

And we (the planning committee) weren't surprised a bit!  ESGI is ever-present, year-round, supporting teachers as they seek to be the best they can be!  They have been long-standing, loyal supporters of our annual teacher-blogger events, and their true love for educators shows in everything they do! 

 I mean, after all.... If it wasn't for ESGI helping the entire planning team with assessments and report cards, saving us EACH over 400 hours a year (That's real people! Not an exaggeration!)... the planners would never have time to plan the Spring Teacher Blogger Event! LOL

Teachers...once you use ESGI, you will NEVER go back!  It's a game-changer, my friends!
Don't just take it from me...ask any ESGI user, like these friends!

So.. as quick as a wink, with the help of ESGI, we built a "red carpet dream team" consisting of Chris Pombanyo (LIVE in the Classroom), Chase Mayo (professional videographer) and Kristen Black Sloan (ESGI) to work with us to make the red carpet event happen!

And.... WA-LA!  We made it happen!

Check out this crowd awaiting the celebrity LIVE stream!

Take a peek of some of the incredible LIVE stream clips created by Chris, Chase, Kristen and their gifted team....


And that was just a peek at the red carpet activities! 
There was SO much more fun to be had!

Take a peek at how attendees were welcomed to the TRUE red carpet fashion!
Yes!  We had actual paparazzi too!  So fun!

A HUGE shout-out is in order for ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY, as well!

We were so thankful for their generous sponsorship of our event d├ęcor!
As every teacher knows, Oriental Trading has EVERYTHING you need to flip your space, whether its a classroom or a ballroom, into the perfect environment for fun!


 Did I mention that we challenged the attendees to dress up like their favorite celebrities?

I choose Leslie Mann...she's on the left in case you couldn't tell!

 Take a look at a few other of the famous look-alikes we had in attendance!!


ELLEN showed up as well!

It wouldn't have been a red carpet night without this DENIM-atic Duo!
Hello Brtney and Justin!  (A.K.A. Hope and Wade King)

Everybody's favorite GoNoodle group showed up too!
Hey there, Koo-Koo Kangaroo!

It's Britney....and Britney!  LOL

Hey!  It's Meighan and Elliott from Teacher Pay Teachers along with Holly from Mrs. Ehle's Kindergarten Connections!  Holly is the mastermind behind the planning team!
We LOVE how TPT seeks to be apart of the teacher community!
Thanks for your constant support of educators!

We even had some SUPER heroes attend!

Do you recognize the TROLLS?   
Now that's creativity!

And...Willie?!  Willie, is that you?!
"Willie Nelson" was the winner of the Star-Studded Red Carpet Scavenger Hunt!
She won her very own HUE HD Doc Cam! 

Thanks HUE for supporting teachers and helping to sponsor our
2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!

The evening was also filled with some fantastic music and dancing!

And our "Red Carpet Event" would not have been complete without an awards show of our own!  
Nominations for several categories were taken early in the evening, then using the Kahoot app, attendees voted to select winners in each category! It was a blast!  

Winners went home with framed certificates and of course, their own Oscar-like trophy!

GoNoodle generously sponsored an amazing professional photo booth for the event!
Leave it to GoNoodle to find a way to record the amazing memories and fun of the night!

GoNoodle, We LOVE you!!!

Oh my goodness!  It was quite a night! 
If you were not able to join us this year, be sure and mark your calendars for next year's event!

You will NOT want to miss what we have planned!

And...Until next year.... That's a wrap my friends! 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fun with Oriental Trading

We became teachers for the fame and fortune right?!?!?!  

Well, maybe not, but that doesn't mean we can't pretend like that's the reason for a night of fun.  That's exactly what we did in French Lick a couple weeks ago.

Our team of organizers know that teachers are truly rock stars and we wanted them to be treated like the red carpet stars they are.  We couldn't do this alone!  Oriental Trading made it possible for us to create a red carpet affair we won't soon forget.

We were greeted by the paparazzi trying to get our picture...getting sneezed on and kicked under the guided reading table on a daily basis!

This amazing Hollywood arch stood at the entrance to the ballroom!

Inside the ballroom, the decor really made everyone feel like they were at a red-carpet affair.

Jenny is "red-carpet" gorgeous!

It felt like we were really in Hollywood!

A few photo booths were set up so we could get memorable pictures throughout the night!

Of course, Oriental Trading sent everyone home with their very own Oscar!  Loved it!

This night would not been magical if it weren't for Oriental Trading!!  They were an amazing sponsor for our event!!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent products of my choice in exchange for writing this post, but all opinions expressed are 100% my own!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Inspiration at the 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!

When was the last time someone rolled out the RED CARPET for you as a teacher? 

If you attended the 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, your answer is two weeks ago! 

We love to celebrate teachers and all school staff for the celebrities they are, and that is exactly the purpose of this event. This year was no different, and we want to share with you all of the fun and celebration that happened AND give you a chance to win some awesome teacher prizes!

The weekend began as it does every year for those of us on the planning team - with lots of prep! 

We had a huge increase in attendance this year, so this year that meant filling 560 of these awesome bags from Scholastic Reading Club with all kinds of goodies from our fabulous sponsors! 

We were able to take a quick break for dinner under the dome at the amazing West Baden Springs hotel before getting back to work setting everything up for the retreat! 

On Saturday morning, we were back at it early for attendee check-in. 

We also had some awesome sponsors greeting attendees and treating them to some of their products! 

Before we knew it, it was time to start the day! 

As soon as attendees entered the ballroom, they could put their raffle tickets in the items they hoped to win. We were lucky enough to have some AMAZING sponsors provide some fabulous prizes for our retreat! 

We began with a welcome message from Holly Ehle from Kindergarten Connections, our incredibly talented director of this event, who explained the history of this retreat and how her mission is to celebrate teachers for all of the work we do for kids all year. She is amazing! 

Next up was everyone's favorite principal, Mr. Gerry (pronounced with a hard G) Brooks. He gave a fantastic keynote about setting goals for ourselves and our students and families that left everyone laughing and feeling inspired. 

We also had to get a group picture with Principal Gerry! :)

After the keynote, we all went to our designated buffet lines for a yummy lunch. 

Then we had fun playing the "Left, Right" game describing the history of the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat with the Teacher Tool Swap. 

I ended up with a Target gift card and dry erase markers!  You can't have enough dry erase markers!

To kick off the professional development portion of the day, Hope and Wade King from the Ron Clark Academy and Elementary Shenanigans gave a phenomenal presentation on the power of student engagement. They demonstrated ways we can "set the stage to engage" our kids every day to increase their achievement and help them WANT to come to school instead of just showing up because they HAVE to. 

Every person in the room was completely engaged and inspired! Hope and Wade King are beyond amazing! 

From there, we split up to attend three rounds of mini-sessions. We had some of the best teachers and presenters in the country hosting these sessions! 

 Sarah Cooper and Tiffany Copple were the mastermind planners of the professional development sessions! They did an amazing job! 

 DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten presented on writing in the classroom. 

 Tiffani Mugurussa from Time 4 Kindergarten shared tips on how to get started with selling on Teachers Pay Teachers

 Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors taught attendees how to use PowerPoint to create classroom resources. 

 Christina Decarbo from Miss DeCarbo lead a session on making comprehension more concrete for students. 

Haley O'Connor from Teaching With Haley shared strategies for helping students improve their self-control. 

 Amanda Pauley from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten gave attendees some strategies for classroom management.

 Marissa Zimmer from First Grade Stars shared quick and easy ways to integrate STEM into teachers' daily curriculum.

 I introduced attendees to Seesaw, an online digital portfolio!

 Maja Austin from Kooky Kinders taught attendees about the power of Donor's Choose to fund their classroom needs.

 Brittany Banister from Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids explained how ESGI Software can save teachers time when assessing.

 Chris Pombonyo from Live in the Classroom lead a huge session on effective digital tools to use in the classroom. 

Crystal Oswald from The Balanced Teacher  showed attendees how she creates engaging songs for her classes. 

We wrapped up the PD portion of the day with a quick panel session with Principal Gerry, Hope and Wade King, Dee Dee Wills, and Chris Pombonyo. This allowed attendees to ask these experts anything! 

Finally, we ended the daytime event with the PRIZES from our fabulous sponsors! Check out all of these happy teacher faces!! 

A huge THANK YOU to all of these amazing sponsors!

Goodness!  That was a fun day and an even longer post!  And believe it or not...that was only HALF of our amazing retreat!  Stay tuned for a recap of the epic red carpet evening event sponsored by ESGIGoNoodle, and Oriental Trading!  It was UNFORGETTABLE!

Did you miss out on the fun this year? No worries! You can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win some teacher swag, too!!