Viva Las Vegas - The Experience of a Lifetime

What a wonderful, exciting, life-changing experience! The Teachers Pay Teachers team did not disappoint! I met so many new people, finally got to put an actual face with a name, and learned so much. I am so thankful I was able to go this year (I missed it last year and was so bummed!). 

When I think about what I enjoyed the most, hands down it was the people...the TpT team, the teacher-authors, the bloggers...simply put, the people. I was given the opportunity to help lead a networking session on Thursday. It was awesome! It was exceeded my expectations! The other leaders were great to work with, and I enjoyed meeting and greeting everyone who came (that I could get around to...there were more who came than I truly expected). "The Others", as the secondary sellers have been called, rocked it out! I think everyone left knowing more people to collaborate with and knowing what our goals are now. 

The Fabulous Secondary Networking Leaders

Wednesday was filled with Meet and Greets. I was able to sneak in two of them. Kayse Morris and Literary Sherri hosted the Cool Kids Meet and Greet. It was a wonderful time to get to know some new people before the conference started. I even took the hubby so he could meet some of the people he hears me constantly (and I mean constantly) talk about everyday. 

Literary Sherri, Kayse Morris, and me at the Cool Kids Meet and Greet

After dinner and socializing at the Cool Kids Meet and Greet, we headed to the Blogger Meet-up. WOW! There were approximately 1,100 people there! All in one room! It was crazy but awesome! I enjoyed meeting tons of people. The bloggers who put it on worked super hard. Over $55,000 of prizes were awarded. Yes, that's right...over $55,000. 

There were two people who I desperately (seriously, though) wanted to meet while I was there. One was Amy. She is our new Director of Seller Happiness, and the title could not be more perfect! She is the one who graciously answers all of our questions, always with kindness. She just lights up the room when she walks in and makes you want to smile. I got to first meet Amy at the Cool Kids Meet and Greet. Then I was able to talk with her a little here and there on the other days. She is fabulous! 

Amy, the Director of Seller Happiness

The other person I wanted to meet was probably on most people's list, too. Deanna Jump. She is one of the one's whose name launched TpT into a new era. And she is so nice. I cannot tell you how many photos were taken with her over the course of the week, but she did so without any reservation. Thank you, Deanna!

Deanna Jump and me

As the conference was winding down for me, it occurred to me that people are the most important thing. I hope to take the new bonds forged and continue this journey with some of the most wonderful, inspiring people I know. So for me, the best part of the conference was the people. 

Please head over the Viva Las Vegas Linky to read all about everyone else's experiences. Thank you to the Elementary Entourage for hosting this linky! 

Descriptive Writing with Legos

When you think of writing, what stands out in your mind? Is it the words you weave together to create the perfect prose? Is it the revision process that seems to never end? Is it the teeth grinding type of memory? Or is it the wonderful feeling you get when you complete something that was completely fun? 

Teaching writing can be difficult at times. Motivating students to write can seem even harder. So, how do you get the students motivated to write? 

One tried and true writing lesson I have used is the Lego writing activity. The students absolutely love it, and they generate lots of talk in the hallway. If you have not used Legos or blocks in your classroom, read on. 

This activity is a collaborative group activity; students are divided into groups of three and assigned a job title/task to complete during the assignment. This keeps all students actively engaged and contributing to the overall product. The three jobs are recorder, designer, and contractor. 

After all jobs are chosen or assigned, I tell the students they have a super task to complete. They have to design and construct a functional item with the materials found in their group container. Not only will they just design and construct a functional item, but they will also have to write detailed instructions for other groups to be able to complete the construction of their item. Writing assignment sheets are passed out, and the students' eyes get bigger as they learn the materials are Legos (or building blocks, whatever you have on hand). 

Soon, it looks like an explosion of colors as the Legos go all over the floor and desks. I usually have to take a deep breath to regain my composure (I like order, structure, and neatness.), but it is definitely worth all of the mini-anxiety attacks I go through for them to really love the activity. 

Here is glimpse into the beginning of the assignment. 

Here, the students are making lots of progress, and the recorder is jotting down detailed instructions. 

This is a finished product from one group. It is a garage that houses a utility vehicle. 

If you are interested in implementing this activity in your classroom, click HERE. This resource provides teaching tips, writing assignment sheet, writing papers, rubric, and job titles. It is a lesson your students will remember for a lifetime!

America the Beautiful

America, how I love you so! All of the news lately, the bickering on social media, the lack of tolerance for one another has really been on my mind the past few weeks. As Americans set aside this day to celebrate and enjoy the liberties and freedoms granted to us, I think we should pause and count our blessings. 

Freedom. One single word with such a profound impact. Freedom to choose to pray, to speak, to assemble, or to seek happiness. Freedom has not come to us without a price. The price many have had to pay for us to have said freedoms is beyond my comprehension. Those who fought toe to toe on the front lines did so with a passion and desire to allow America to be America. 

Love. In the media we are shown the hate, the hurt, and the tales of hard times. What many news outlets fail to portray is love. Love for others, love for our country, and love for a brighter tomorrow. I believe America was founded on love just as much as it was for liberty. 

Family. This can be a narrow or broad as you want to make it. Immediate family, extended family, community, city, state, and country. I am so thankful we live in a country where we are free to extend our hearts to those everywhere. 

Today I will choose to be thankful for the freedoms I enjoy, for the love I am able to give and receive, and for my family members (both near and far). But most importantly, I am thankful to wake up and enjoy this beautiful country I call home. 

What does July 4th mean to you?

Five for Friday

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the fabulous Five for Friday! Whew, it's been a week! It has been a good week, but it has definitely been a busy one! 

We just returned home from our little beach vacay! The weather was perfect and the company was even better. It was nice to get away and relax a bit. At one point I did think I was going to lose my mind...there was no WiFi! What? I know! I had to drive down the street just to be able to answer a few pressing emails; however, it was nice not to be glued to a device the entire time. 

Upon returning from our trip, we stopped by the house we are renovating. I was so happy to see my dad had surprised us with reclaimed wood for our sunroom. Prior to leaving for our trip, we had discussed options. Part of the wall would be sheetrock, but we really wanted something different on the bottom. Well, he found some over 100 years old, and it was up (not finished, of course) when we returned. It is going to look so pretty when we finish this room. I think it might just wind up being my favorite room of the house. 

This is just a pic of a pretty rainbow from our back yard. It has been raining at home off and on for the past several weeks. This pic does not do the rainbow justice. 

I had a new logo designed by RebeccaB Designs. I love it! She was so easy to work with, and I highly recommend her! She also designed these business cards to incorporate the new logo. I love them, too! The UPS man just delivered them last night. 


There is a conference coming up in a few weeks that Michele Luck and her hubby Steve will attend. While they are there, they will hand out goody bags to administrators and teachers trying to spread the word about TpT. I put together this little mini-book to go in the goody bags. I am impressed with myself because I am usually late getting promotional items together and mailed. 

I hope you have a wonderful, safe weekend!

Happy Teaching!

Currently ~ July Edition

Can it really already be July? Please, tell me it isn't so! 


Listening: HGTV...I just cannot seem to get enough of it. I love Fixer Upper. They are just the cutest couple. We are renovating an old house now...gutted it...yep...we're crazy. And every time I see a new episode, I think to myself, "How cool is that!" 

Loving: Everything about summer...I just love summer! Late mornings, pajamas all day (shh, don't tell), no make-up, no schedule, snuggling with little one who is growing way too fast for this mama...the reasons are endless. 

Thinking: I really wish I could stay the whole time in Vegas...I am in the last semester of my doctoral work, and I have class on Saturday. Since I live in Georgia, the flights back home were horrible in trying to back late on, I am leaving out early Friday morning. I am so sad about this because I will miss an entire day! The professor is not understanding about it, so it just has to be this way. But I will enjoy Tuesday through Thursday will some pretty awesome people! I am really excited about that part!

Wanting: A cute new outfit to wear that is fun! I want something to wear to Vegas that is fun and cute. I don't want something like I already have. It appears to me I better get to shopping before I have to pack. 

Needing: To find some hidden money...(see above comment on listening)...We have not sold our current home because we are living in it while we renovate the other one. It was be super awesome to find some hidden money to speed up the reno project AND be able to buy all NEW decor to go in it. 

AllStar: Being real. Period. I am not a fake person, and I am as real as one gets. I believe in honesty and loyalty. 

Thank you Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this monthly linky! I always love participating and reading everyone's "current" lives.