So I organized for Vegas, the same way I plan for a new school year. A few months before the first big day, I ordered new supplies. I was so excited when my new business cards and pens arrived. I kept them in plastic for awhile and just looked at them. I do that with new school supplies too- once you take them out of the wrapper a little of their magic floats away.
New clothes are always important for a new school year too. I picked up a few new things at Target and Macy's. I also got an adorable shirt from A+ Images. They were beyond helpful and really went the extra mile to make sure my late order arrived in time for my trip and was exactly what I wanted.
Like every good teacher, I wanted to be super prepared for the first day! I made myself a pretty new binder, and filled it with flight reservations, conference information, session hand-outs, and blogger meet-up schedules. Did I mention my very, very, very, detailed itinerary?!--oh my! Just wait until you see it later in this post. It will remind you of the best lesson plan you ever wrote....#sarcasm, but maybe, if you're like me!
Of course, I wanted to show my friends how excited I was for our first day and how much I appreciated them! I made my roomies buttons and key chains...it's kind of my thing to make gifts for people instead of buying stuff. (The cups and supplies were all from Michael's craft store.)
I was beyond blessed to be staying with Diane Romo of Spreading Joy One Giggle at a Time. She was my mentor for student teaching and the person who taught me everything I know about teaching first grade! Being in her classroom, watching her teach, and listening to her laugh is life changing! I was beyond excited to share this experience with her!
When I got my first teaching job, Ashley Schroeder of Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd is the friend I could see teaching across the hall...and then it was like the hall became invisible. Even though we were in separate rooms, we did planning together and coteaching together and dreaming together! Although I can't see her across the hall anymore, we have a new bond! She has taken me under her wing and taught me everything I know about this crazy adventure of blogging and TPT. She is the reason there is a Polka Dots Please.
I was also so very excited to meet Ashley's #bloggybestie Angie Olson of Lucky Little Learners. I have been following her on social media for a long time and learning about her through Ashley. I am constantly impressed by her knowledge and her willingness to take chances, especially when it comes to technology! I knew meeting her would be an unforgettable experience!
So I was totally prepped and ready for the
Remember that very, very, very, detailed itinerary I told you about...let's call it a "working document" now! It took me a ridiculously long time to get to the airport-- so long that I missed my flight! What??? Yes, it was exactly like a movie scene, and I was the girl bawling in the airport. People probably thought I was leaving my entire family and moving forever to a foreign country because of the waterworks. Poor Diane, I totally abandoned her!
Here's my empty seat on the plane #wompwomp and the text from my mom. I should have taken a selfie of myself working alone at airport terminal 23 for 5 hours, but hindsight is 20/20.--maybe next time.
So at this point, it was kind of like the first day of school. I had everything planned out. I was dressed for sucess. I had the best supplies...and then real life happened! Here's that very, very, very detailed itinerary I've been telling you about....
So when TPT conference actually started, it really was like being at school-- except you don't have to tie anyone's shoes or watch your friend's class so she can use the bathroom. We were waking up early, looking for coffee, and getting ready to learn! I was meeting new friends all the time and getting to know more about my old friends. ( I refer to my learners as my "friends" all year long.)
We had coffee with super sweet Annie of The Moffatt Girls and very talented Aly of Just a Primary Girl-- We never realized we went to college together!
I was thrilled to meet so many teachers who I admire professionally and personally! It was like being at the best professional development day ever planned!
Cara of the The First Grade Parade
Hadar of Miss Kindergarten
Vera of The Tutu Teacher
Amy and Lisa of All Y'all Need
Although the conference was only 2 days, I learned more than a year's worth of information. I learned about mistakes I have been making--sorry for making you cringe with all the product cover photos, and I guess dropping pinterest was the most devastating choice I could have made for my brand. There are also lots of things I can improve. I need to single-task instead of multi-task and continue to learn from the amazing teachers who open up their classrooms! My blog needs a bit more attention, and I will try to share more of my own classroom with you!
I felt so very encouraged by so many teachers and bloggers to keep creating clipart, which is something I just taught myself how to do this summer! Your feedback meant so much to me! I think it may grow into my "niche" in the future. I even saw one of my clips in a presentation at the conference. Yes, I know it's only an arrow...but it's MY arrow!
The conference was just like a year in the classroom. You are nervous to meet all of these new people, and then you don't want to say goodbye to them. You watch them grow and you watch yourself grow, and suddenly you're both wiser than before. You realize those immaculate plans you made can't hold a candle to the teachable moments you seized. You stay up late sharing ideas and get up early to get things done. By the end, you are inspired and exhausted, and asking...when I can I come back for more?
If you are planning on visiting Vegas for some professional development or just a much needed vacation, hop over to Vegas.com to plan your details! Just click here: https://www.vegas.com/
If you want to read more about the amazing experiences from the TPT Vegas Conference, hop on over the the Elementary Entourage! You can read posts from some some super special teachers or link up to share your story too!