Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bloghopin' Teacher Week 2016

This past week I linked up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2016. Well, this week was my second week in school and a busy, yet great one at that! The beginning of the school year is such a whirlwind, and I loved the simple format and it was super easy to post on Instagram every day. 

Meet Me Monday: Tell Us About Yourself

What's there to tell? The above picture summarizes me pretty well. I tend to stick to the basics and love what I'm doing wholeheartedly. I am truly a small-town girl and have these Sierra Nevada mountains in my blood. I went to a small K-8th-grade school. a relatively small high school, and our local community college. This community is my home. I attended UC Davis and am a Geo-Aggie through and through (Geology major if you didn't know that). Most days you can find a stack of Amazon Prime orders stacked on my doorstep, and I always have two wiggling rescue pitty pups waiting for me after school.  I'm addicted to Nickel & Suede earrings and like to play with color in my fashion. Most importantly, I have been married to a wonderful man (and the BEST #teacherhusband) for nearly eight years (our anniversary is 11/17). Christopher is quite the amazing support and is my backbone and the reason why I can follow my passions so fully. 

Teaching Tuesday: My Favorite Lesson

My teaching passions are rooted heavily in math and science. I have participated in the Salmonids in the Classroom project for three years and have been successful all three years. Only one salmon egg has not successfully made it to the river (89/90? I'll count that as SUCCESS!). As I have transitioned from 5th to 6th and a 4/5th classroom the focus of this unit has shifted, but every time it has been such an engaging experience. Our Chinook salmon have led discussions about the environmental impact of human development, river stewardship, and the drought in California. We have talked about the effects of dams on our local rivers, the loss of the natural salmon run due to changes to the river (focus on our local Tuolumne River) , and historical influence of the salmon run on populations of Me-Wuk Indians. Each year my lessons change and evolve. They always surprise me. Running the whole program is exhausting; however, each December when I set up my tank I get reinvigorated. 

Where I Work Wednesday: A Home Away from Home

My classroom is my home away from home. The room was the former library for many years, so it has taken a lot of effort to make it feel like a classroom again. This is the second year that I've been in this room and hopefully many more! My room is colorful and bright and focuses on making this a space students love. They take ownership and pride in our room. After all, it is OUR room.  I haven't completed a complete reveal of my classroom, so consider this a sneak peek!

Threads Thursday: Just My Teaching Style

If you have spent any time on my Instagram page, you know that I love to dress up for the classroom. Over the years I have been known to dress to match my lessons and have been nicknamed "Ms. Frizzle" at my school site. Rocket ships, dinosaurs, numbers and salmon eggs are just a few things that I have incorporated into my outfits. Fashion should be fun and my daily outfits make sure that I have a blast with my students. If I cannot bust a move with Koo Koo Kangaroo, lay on the floor with a whiteboard, get messy with glitter and paint, then I won't be wearing it in the classroom. Now, don't confuse that with a casual flair, I make sure I still look professional and I love to feel fancy in my clothes. It is really a balancing act.

Friends Friday: Meet My Inspiration & Teaching Family

Over the past three years, I have been teaching (five if you include my student teaching time), I have learned how important relationships with your colleagues are to your happiness. I have been blessed to work with such wonderful people and have expanded my group of teacher friends with the help of social media.  While these are not ALL of my teacher friends or supports that I have, these are the standouts (and ones I actually had pictures with!).

(From Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

Laura: We LOVE technology! Together we have been nicknamed: "The Laura's" (or Laura Squared). I am so thankful that we can chat and collaborate with the STEM TRACKS program or in our masters classes. Laura & I teach at neighboring schools and have both been in 4/5 combo classes recently. It seems like the more time we have together, the more powerful our collaboration time becomes.

Bobbie: I absolutely love following Bobbie's ideas on her Instagram page (@super_mrsk). She is a fellow CalState TEACHER and I am thankful that we got to meet during our #TeachersTakeSacramento2016 meet up.

Amy: TPT's Director of Seller Happiness is a bundle of ENERGY! She is such a positive cheerleader for teachers and education. Within minutes of meeting her at #TeachersTakeSacramento2016 , I knew that she would be a positive force in my life. I am so thankful for her.

Becky: My mentor teacher AND my BTSA support provider, a colleague,  AND friend! This lady is such a support in my life and I could not imagine a world without her. Ironically, Becky had my great-grandmother as a teacher and my husband was in Becky's mother's class in first grade. He also had her as a student teacher several years later.  As I am still learning about the world of teaching, Becky continues to be my source of support. I continue to be her text/call away technology support!

The CAFAB4 meets Team TPT: What an explosion of innovation all in one picture! I cannot say enough about each one of these people. Team TPT (Amy, Elliot, and Jillian) are a fantastic bunch! They bring love and support for education wherever they go, and have really pushed me to keep being the educator I know is possible. I was so excited to meet them at our first annual #TeachersTake meet up. I am hoping that they can come to our 2017 meetup (planning is in the works). The ladies of the CAFAB4 (Brianne, Erin & Sarah) are my an integral part of my found tribe. I know that whatever is happening, these ladies will be the positive cheerleaders, a source of ideas and overall happiness I need. We have become quick friends, and I know all of them will be in my life for the long haul. If I ever need a pick-me-up I just call/text/Vox and someone is there. I LOVE it!

The "Dark Side" Team: Wow! What would I do without these people? (Larry, Cynthia, Debbie, Lindsey--not pictured Janet). We have almost TOO much fun at school. Laughter can always be heard from our side of the building, but I know that lots of learning is happening too. We like to pick on Larry, decorate for the seasons, and most of all just be there for each other when we need it. I don't think anyone on our side of the building takes ourselves too seriously. It is a wonderful place to work. I'm so excited to be part of this team and am happy to welcome Nancy & Gabby this year!

Katie Byrd: I am so thankful to meet the positive and always bubbly Katie (@mrsbyrdslearningtree) at our #TeachersTakeSacramento2016 meet up! I always felt pulled to her Instagram account, and I absolutely love her energy. She has been a cheerleader for me on my social media account for awhile, and I am always so happy when she likes or comments on my posts. It is funny how you can feel so connected through social media, but Katie is one of my Instagram teacher friends. I'm hoping we get to chat more at our next meet up!

Sheila Jane: I know that this FABULOUS lady knows how much I adore her. Sheila has been a sparkling beam of joy in my teaching life for the past two years. I finally had the opportunity to visit this beauty at her house this summer (though we did briefly chat at the #TeachersTakeSacramento2016 meet up) , and I know that her positive energy will continue to carry me through my teaching career. When I need to refocus my energy in teaching or really return to my roots/love of education, I turn to Sheila. Her calm nature and support for the happiness of teachers is phenomenal.

Thank you for reading through my crazy highlights of the week! I hope you all have a wonderful 2016-2017 school year! Stay tuned for a tour of my classroom this year and the exciting news I've been dying to share!

Happy learning!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coming Together as Teachers, Leaving as Friends: Teachers Take Sacramento 2016

When I joined the four-person planning team and we started planning this event, I was not quite sure what to expect. I know personally that meet ups have been enriching experiences that have allowed me to bond with other teachers, share stories, and form relationships with people across regions, states, and country borders. It was my hope that through this meet up that it would allow teachers the opportunity to connect with each other. I know that for me teaching can be isolating and meet-ups have allowed me to build relationships with Teachers Pay Teachers sellers, share common issues and struggles with other teachers, and build friendships with other people in the realm of education. In fact, Brianne, Erin, Sarah and I have become friends and been able to bond due to previous meet-ups we have attended. It is through previous meet-up opportunities (including time spent together at TPT Vegas 2015) that we have been able to form valuable friendships. I know that I have leaned on each of them for support, we bounce ideas off of each other frequently and share in the general struggle and laughter that comes with teaching. They have quickly become an integral part of my teaching tribe all thanks to previous teaching meetups and gatherings. As we began planning this event I knew that if it provided the opportunity for just one person to make a connection with another educator, then I knew it would be successful. 

As anyone that has planned an event (big or small) would know, sometimes the details can drive you crazy. Through our late night Voxer messages, lots of emails and text messages, and conversations over meals Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 more than a crazy idea or dream, it became a reality. Throughout this process, I learned that working as a collaborative team can be such a rewarding and empowering experience.  I learned that while Brianne enjoyed coordinating details with the location coordinator, attention to detail and decorative flair was truly Sarah's forte. Erin, on the other hand, was phenomenal at gaining outside educator (including that AMAZING dropbox link) and TPT support, and she was the head contact which ultimately was responsible for getting team TPT to our event. I am grateful for being able to work on such a memorable event and could not ask for better friends to share the experiences. 

Teachers Take Sacramento 2016: 

February 19th & 20th

Our weekend of adventures started with a low-key gathering for drinks with friends and ended with even more time for talking and laughter. Each moment will be treasured and I am beyond blessed for each one of the unique and passionate education-enthusiasts I met throughout the weekend. Each and every person brought their passion and love for all things teaching and I left feeling inspired knowing that these wonderful human beings are making a difference in the lives of so many people.
#TeachersTakeSacramento2016: Outside the California State Capitol Building in our fabulous shirts printed by Graphic Traffic by Marty (a local business here in the CA Bay Area).

The Scavenger Hunt: Old Town Sacramento

During the planning process, Sacramento always seemed like an obvious location choice. Full of rich history and fabulous eateries, when we finally decided on a location I instantly started dreaming of fun activities. As a former Sacramento resident (I attended UC Davis--GO AGS!), I spent a lot of time wandering the Downtown and Old Town Sacramento area. After narrowing down a list of ten places, the Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 Scavenger Hunt was born! While I'm still slightly envious of all the bonding time during the scavenger hunt, I can honestly say that I had a blast watching all the photos take over my social media feed. 
Some of my favorite photos from the Teachers Take Sacramento 2016 Scavenger Hunt. One of my favorite parts of this event was watching our hashtag fill my Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds. What I loved the most was seeing teachers creative, sometimes a bit goofy, and enjoy getting to know each other. 

The Main Event: Dinner & Meet Up

Who doesn't love a photo booth?! What I love the most about this adorable prop made by the Photo Booth Prop Shop on Esty is the nod back to social media (Instagram). While mingling and maneuvering between groups of people, I overheard, "I follow you on Instagram!" so many times. It goes to show how powerful social media can be in the teaching community.
The laughter was definitely contagious over on this side of the room!

Giveaways & SWAG: The Support of Companies Both Big and Small

Something that blew me away (as a first-time event organizer) was the generosity of all the companies that sponsored. We had the support of companies big and small and overwhelmingly we heard the words, "Yes! We love teachers!" 

We were blessed to have so many different companies and small businesses donate digital and customized products. Sarah had the great idea of displaying all their donated products in such an elegant manner. Seriously, if you need inspiration for party planning, crafty solutions, or decorations, Sarah is your girl!

Thank you Spelling City, Planbook, Alexis from Laugh Eat Learn Designs, Tailwind for your generous support!!!

Handmade Items You'll Adore: Find them on Etsy

Trashy Crafter
Classroom Friendly Supplies
Erin Condren
Educational Insights
Heidi Songs
Better Life Bags
Maria Dismondy
Nickel & Suede
Kendra Scott
Seat Sacks
Funky Monkey Fashion Accessories 
Front Row
Lakeshore Learning
Pampered Teacher
The Teacher Crafter

Brianne had the great idea of making one of our giveaways an interactive game. Throughout the reading of a story written celebrating our meet-up participants passed a special gift either to the left, right or across the circle. 

After many giggles and attempts to remember which way was which, three lucky winners finally got to unveil their prize.

Thank you to HUE HD for donating such wonderful technology goodies.

Many thanks to Amy, Jillian, and Elliot of Team TPT for supporting and attending Teachers Take Sacramento 2016!

A HUGE shout out to Kat of Sprout Classrooms for handmaking a beautiful wine glass for each one of the attendees. As we were setting them out on the table, I could not help but notice how beauty they brought to our meetup. In the times that I have used my glass since the meet up I cannot help but smile and remember the laughter and joy that accompanied the weekend. It goes without saying that yes, laughter and camaraderie (with wine, of course) is always part of the plan.
A special thank you to Sheila Jane for her continued support and promotion of teacher happiness. What could bring more teacher happiness than delectable, bite-size treats!? Thank for donating edible happiness and continually being a ray of sunshine in the teaching world. Congratulations on celebrating your one-year birthday of It makes me so proud to be part of THM network!

The After Party: Bowling at Country Club Lanes

Oh boy! Bowling with teachers is a real treat! We don't mind being a little bit goofy and we don't take ourselves too seriously! It was such a blast to end a fantastic evening with such a laid-back after party.
The smiles of this weekend will forever be kept in my heart. The level of passion and love for all things education brought light to my heart and a renewed sense of love for the teacher community.

One of the biggest joys of this event was seeing the passion, inspiration and love that people have for teaching (and all things related to the education of children). 

My deepest thanks to all our wonderful sponsors and everyone that made this event possible. I am forever grateful for the time that was shared celebrating.

(A special thanks to Shyra for taking so many wonderful photos during our event)

With Love from the CAFab4: Erin, Brianne, Sarah & Laura

And of course, we could not leave you out of our meet up! Join in on the fun & enter to win a swag bag!

We hope to see you next year! 


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