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Monday, July 13, 2015

Viva Las Vegas! TPT Conference Linky Party!

Hi everyone! I'm STILL on a Vegas high! I am so thankful that I had the time to make the trip again this year. It was BIGGER and BETTER than last year (I wasn't sure that was possible) and I'm linking up with Elementary Entourage to share some of my highlights of the trip. 
Get ready for picture overload! I just had to share the many pictures I took with various bloggers because although I took many notes during my sessions on Thursday and Friday, the networking with other teachers was what really made the trip for me. If you are an introvert like me and large groups of people make you nervous, going out of your comfort zone is not the easiest thing to do. I can be loud and talkative but that doesn't mean I'm an extrovert…I know there are some of you nodding your heads right now. I love my job but recharging by myself everyday is essential. Vegas was a little intimidating last year and I was more nervous this year because there were even more teachers attending. However, there is something to be said for meeting those bloggers you talk to virtually in person! I am so proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone and would do it all over again. The connections made and discussions that took place to face to face are invaluable. If I thought everyone was great from meeting in the virtual world, they were even more awesome in person. I met so many celebriTeachers (thanks for the term, Matt!) and all of them were so down to earth! Teachers just like you and me! 

The first picture on the left is my roomie of two years running, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching. I LOVE this gal so much and we just have a blast together. Joanne was wonderful too because she let me recharge my introverted self at night. I was exhausted each night and just fell asleep literally in seconds of hitting the bed. The time change didn't help matters either! No, we didn't plan the chevron but isn't that great? The picture on the right is Joanne and I with Matt from Digital: Divide and Conquer! He was at the top of my list of bloggers to meet in person and it was so funny because Joanne and I were walking past this cafe and we heard our names being called. We looked over and the only guy that we could possibly think that might know us was Matt. I wouldn't have recognized him just walking past but we both said, "Are you Matt?" When he replied, "Yes" we might have squealed just a little. Matt is simply amazing and I just love his innovative ideas and quirky sense of humor.

Here is Joanne and I with Matt's sweet wife, Jodie!

Here is the sweet, talented Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher that I was able to talk with again this year (on left) and I met Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire in 5th for the first time! Jennifer was so great to talk to and one of the most humble and truly kind souls that you don't get to meet in person that often. I just loved her!
Here is Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files! I didn't recognize her at all (she's kind of incognito when it comes to pictures) but I about fainted when I introduced myself and found out who she was! I have followed her tutorials and organization work for years. She was so sweet in person!
Here is my group of BBB's with Megan Favre from I Teach. What's Your Superpower! This blog was designed by Megan and I absolutely love her work! Oh my goodness, is that girl talented or what? Of course I LOVE my BBB's (see more about this wonderful group in the last picture XXOO). From left to right is Diane from Fifth in the Middle, Emily from I Love My Classroom, Michele from Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans, me, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, Megan Favre from I Teach. What's Your Superpower?, and Jessica from Ideas by Jivey.
 Here are two of the lovely ladies that I couldn't wait to meet from the collaborative blog, iTeach 4th. Heather Renz from Mrs. Renz' class, Meg from The Teacher Studio, and below Layla from Fancy Free in 4th. These ladies are amazing and I am looking forward to collaborating with them more!

Here is Rachel Lynette from Minds In Bloom on the right. I saw her present last year as well as this year and always take away so much from her presentations. She is simply amazing and inspiring to listen to!

Here is Krista Walden from Creative Clips and Creative Chalkboard! Eeek! 
So sweet and down to earth in person! 
After a full day of a morning meet up and workshops on Thursday, we decided to go to dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe. It was great and had a huge menu selection at reasonable prices. Then, we walked the strip for a bit. I had to share a few pics of my encounter with Chewybacca. It started out sweet and innocent until he wanted to dip in for a nose rub! Haha! He had this weird voice box and I couldn't help but scream. It must have been hysterical to witness!

I was so thrilled that it was UFC fight week when we were in Vegas. I'm a huge fan and although I didn't get to see anything UFC related, it was cool watching various happenings in the hotel and people walking around with UFC lanyards. I kept thinking I would see a famous fighter but no such luck.
We are already to Friday and here is Lisa from Learning is Something to Treasure. She was SO sweet and I've been following here for awhile now.
Here is Meg from Teacher Studio again and on my right is the amazing Melissa from More Time 2 Teach. She just amazes me because she is the organizer behind iTeach 4th, iTeach 3rd, and iTeach 5th! Wow!
I LOVE this collage below because these four ladies all have something in common! Last summer when I found out I was going back to teaching math on my departmentalized 4th grade team, I turned to these bloggers over and over again for inspiration on how I wanted to organize and structure my math blocks. Clockwise starting on the left is the wonderful Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6. Her ideas on calendar math and spiral math homework are a must read. Next is my dear friend Tara from 4th Grade Frolics. I remember her blog was the first blog I actually came across and the reason I decided to start blogging. I have wanted to meet her for years now! I use her math meeting ideas and board templates every day and also my math workshop board came from her store! Next, is the inspirational Jennifer Runde from Runde's room! I use her interactive notebook daily in my class as well. Finally, there is the sweet Elizabeth from Fun in Room 4B! Her serious of posts about math workshop were so helpful last summer when I was trying to figure out how to use this model in my math block. She was do down to earth meeting her in person and I am excited to keep building on these friendships and collaborating with some amazing teachers!
 Here is some of my friends with the man of the hour himself,
Paul Edelman! EEK!
My dear friend Erin from I'm Lovin Lit was a busy girl presenting both days but we finally got a good picture at the end of the day Friday. I won't bore you with all the "not so good" pictures her hubby took trying to get this one. Haha! Erin is so amazing and I am truly inspired by her everyday! When I start to doubt myself trying to divide my time between work, kids, and schedules, I always think of Erin who has not only two, but THREE kids herself! I took so much away from her session again this year.
 Finally…Friday night dinner at I (Heart) Burgers! Yummy!
 Isn't Michele cute getting ready to eat?
The gang at dinner! LOVE!
I saved the best picture for last. These are my BBBs (Best Blogging Buddies). Some of our BBBs couldn't make the trip but these ladies are the #1 reason I made the trip again this year. We talk daily via social media and their love, support, and guidance in not only teaching related matters but personal matters as well has been the best thing that has happened to me on this journey! I am so thankful and blessed to have them in my life. In the back row starting on the left there is Michele from Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans, me, Diane from Fifth in the Middle, Emily from I Love My Classroom, and in the front Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, and Jessica from Ideas by Jivey.
Okay, so maybe THIS is the best picture. Haha!! Jessica's face is absolutely hysterical. This was after happy hour on Friday. :) Jessica presented for the first time this year and I can only imagine all the time and effort that went into that. Her session was incredible. It focused on writing common core passages and questions (which so many teachers are looking for) and she left time for teachers to really answer questions. I learned so much in this session and have already started revamping some products based on her advice! 
Bottom Line? There is only so much motivation I can get from reading motivational handouts, books, etc. It's the real conversations that take place whenever a group of teachers get together (not just TpT conferences but wherever) that leave you feeling refreshed and motivated to improve your teaching. That's what TpT has done for me. I know I am a better teacher because of TpT and what I have learned by being immersed in this community. Blogging and creating products have been on the back burner this year but I am always working to improve as a teacher. I feel so blessed to have a job I love and the motivation to always continue to strive for improvement! 

 I am still enjoying vacation since I flew from Vegas to Seattle to visit my best friend from high school since I was already out this way. She has a little ten month old baby and I am loving my time with her catching up! I go back home to NY on Wednesday and am already missing my two kiddos. At least we have the rest of the summer ahead of us since we start back at school in September. 

Head over to Elementary Entourage and check out the rest of the Vegas happenings from other bloggers who have linked up! Hope to see you there next year if you are a blogger considering attending! :) It's worth it!

Check back tomorrow for Tried It Tuesday! 
Link up anything you have "Tried" at school or home!


  1. Oh Holly! I'm so glad we could meet in person! You are incredible! :)

  2. Great pictures! You can tell you had a wonderful time and soaked up every moment!
    Literacy Loves Company

  3. Holly, I'm so glad that we were able to finally meet! I loved talking to you because you always had such a big smile on your face :0) It's hard to believe that Vegas is over. Now it's time to go over our notes and set a plan in action.
    More Time 2 Teach

  4. Sounds like you had a WONDERFUL time! So glad you were able to connect with so many fabulous bloggers, Holly! :)

    Joy in the Journey

  5. Holly~ You are a wonderful BBB and I'm so proud to call you my friend. I love that picture of me getting ready to eat!... Good thing we were in the final countdown I was starving! You need to send that to me. :)
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  6. LOVED being your roomie again! We have so much fun together! I LOVED that my stomach hurt every time we exited the elevator because we never remembered to push the button! LOL! Your post and pictures portray the conference and the time we shared perfectly. I'm so grateful to have a friend like you in my life! You are an amazing woman! Love you! xoxo
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  7. Holly, your blog post was so heartfelt and I loved every minute reading it. It was so amazing to finally get to meet you! You are someone and I could SO teach with you, my iTeach Fourth blogging buddy. :) Hugs to you!
    Heather from Mrs. Renz’ Class

  8. What a wonderful post. I love all the pictures. This was my first time in Vegas and I agree that I feel motivated and refreshed from being surrounded by so many inspiring teachers. I am so glad I am on this journey.
    Side note: I also spent time speaking with Krista from Creative Clip and she really is just so lovely and kind.

  9. This looks like a great trip and conference! I'm kicking myself for not going yet again...I love to be around people, but I need to recharge too like you. I've resolved that I am going next year! I will be a nervous wreck but I have to just go and do it! Maybe if I put it out there enough times publicly, I won't have any choice but to go. LOL

    Schoolhouse Treasures

  10. That's it...I'm going next year. I want to have fun with you and everyone else. I can't believe I missed another year of getting to meet you in person. It just can't happen again.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  11. So my wife actually read this before me and told me all about it!--she's been reading all the blogs and updates from everyone, I love it!

    What a blast. Like Joanne said--this post captures all the moments perfectly. Its so funny because you have these mental images of what people will be like, sound like, and say. Then you meet them and it's even cooler than you imagined.

  12. I took some photos of food also! I love the good food! You took some great photos! Looks like you had a great time.

  13. I was there and missed meeting you! :( I would have loved to meet all of your BBB's too - all wonderful bloggers whose work I admire! I'll have to do better next year...