Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 TPT Conference Planning In a Nutshell

Are you feeling overwhelmed by TPT conference planning? Does the nitty gritty planning feel like a giant jigsaw puzzle? To make it easier, I have compiled all the links and helpful tips you need for last minute planning into one blog post!

We had a terrible storm this week with tornado-like winds that created lots of damage and power outages in my part of Pennsylvania. After a seven day camping trip, my family returned home to two days without power. So much for modern conveniences!

I was just itching to get organized for my trip to Las Vegas for the 2015 TPT Conference. As soon as the power clicked on yesterday, I ran for my computer. With conference registration, travel arrangements, and hotel accommodations out of the way, it was now time to plan all the small details of this adventure.

I must say, the planning process was not as easy as I had imagined. It felt like a scavenger hunt of sorts, trying to track down all of the necessary information from various sources. After reading many blogs, emails, Facebook pages, and forum posts about the conference, I quickly discovered that a binder would be necessary to keep everything organized. I headed to Target and picked up a binder, divider tabs, a pocket folder, and some loose leaf paper. I highly recommend a binder if you are going to the conference. :-)

To make things easier for you, I have compiled a list of all the web places I visited in order to get myself organized for TPT Conference 2015. Here is the original conference site, but I found many other sites with important information. If you know about any other shortcuts or great resources, please comment below so I can add them to the list.

First, go to your email and search for your own "TPT Conference Confirmation". It is a great place to start. This email tells you the conference session numbers that you signed up for at registration.

Then, go here to identify the session names and times.

Next, you will want to go here to print the session materials. Just scroll to the bottom of the blog post and click on each of your sessions. It will take you to a TPT store where you can download the handouts.

I organized my session materials using divider tabs. Each divider tab tells the session number, name, day and time.

After that, go here and print out the TPT Vegas 2015 Official Program Guide. It is a two page guide that is very helpful in creating your schedule. It also shows you the meeting location for each session.

This editable schedule freebie from Cassie Thompson was extremely helpful for the next step. You can download and then edit your own schedule in a PowerPoint document. I created a schedule for myself from flight departure to return landing. It includes all of my sessions, plus the conference check in times, networking opportunity, welcome reception, continental breakfast, keynote, and happy hour. All of these things can be found in the program guide. Seeing it layed out in this format made everything really come together. I printed this for my binder.

While making the schedule, I did some research on the various meet-ups that will be happening throughout the event. Here are links to the meet-ups that I found. These are all separate from your conference registration through TPT. I signed up for the gatherings that I plan to attend using Facebook and then added them to my schedule. There are name tags that you will want to customize and print for these meet-ups. Click below for more information about each meet-up.

Full Time on TPT Meet Up- Wed. 7/8 (12:00 P.M)- Grand Luxe Cafe at The Pallazo- sorry I can't find a link for this one. Please let me know if you have the scoop.

Make a Splash Teacher Bash- Wed. 7/8 (1:00-4:00 P.M.)- The Venetian Pool

Cool Kid Meet and Greet- Wed. 7/8 (4:00 P.M.)- B & B Burger & Beer. . .this event is now full, but you can add your name to the waiting list.

4th Annual Blogger Meet Up- Wed. 7/8 (6:30 P.M.)- The Venetian Conference Center

Go Noodle Meet Up: Cabana Day- Thurs. 7/9 (12-7:00 P.M.)- The Venetian Pool

SELLERbrate TPT Secondary Meet Up- Thurs. 7/9 (6:30 P.M)- The Rockhouse Bar at The Venetian

Kick Back With the Primary Pack- Fri. 7/10 (7:30 P.M.)- The Bourbon Room at The Venetian

In the back of my binder, I added a pocket folder with my conference registration, flight itinerary, hotel, and transport information. I also included my business cards. I added some extra loose leaf paper in the back for note taking.

Finally, I used this editable binder cover by Student Savvy to create a cute inner cover page for my binder that includes my name and logo.

There is one more helpful tip that I came across in my planning that is worth sharing. The Venetian offers a free app that you can download on your phone! It has an easy to use navigation system to help with directions throughout the hotel, as well as restaurant menus and other useful information.

I hope this post will make your planning experience a little easier. I am so excited to meet many of my blog friends in Vegas very shortly! Maybe we will see each other there! My bright pink and green binder should be easy to spot in the crowd. ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

(Finally) Time for Summer!

Oh, the last day of school! Such a joyous celebration. Saying goodbye is bitter-sweet in many ways. At my school, we have a special way to bid our students farewell on the last day of school. At dismissal time, teachers come prepared with bubble paraphernalia of all sorts. Celebratory music blasts from speakers on the school rooftop. Once all of the students have boarded the buses, each bus makes a dramatic exit, leaving one at a time as we all fill the air with bubbles and wave goodbye. It is a moment that brings many to tears.

Our last day of school was originally scheduled for June 10th, but Mother Nature had other plans in mind. Snow days pushed everything back until the 15th. 

In my classroom, we counted down the last ten days of school with a special activity each day. You may remember my original post about this balloon countdown idea from Pinterest. You can visit the First with Franklin blog for the full details. I had to come up with a way to adapt the activity due to a latex allergy. Popping balloons probably would have been much more fun, but my students still really enjoyed opening a new bag each day.  The anticipation added a lot of excitement to the last days of school. I found the white bags for 3/$1.00 at the dollar store. I outlined the numbers with a black marker, and then the children decorated. I used many of the ideas from First with Franklin, but altered a few to better suit my own students. Here is a list of our special activities.

10. Ink Pen Day
9.  Movie Day
8.  Kick Your Shoes Off Day
7.  Rearrange the Room Day
6.  Extra Recess Day
5.  Bubble Day
4.  Lunch in the Room Day
3.  Wear Shades Day
2.  Party Day
1.  Shaving Cream Day

Which leads me to the next picture. . .

After cleaning out desks and peeling off name tags, I squirted shaving cream on each desk in the form of the child's cursive name. They smeared it around and played for a while as the globs of dried glue came loose and stray pencil marks disappeared. Then we used a wet washcloth to remove all the shaving cream. This technique works like a charm.

My pictures are slightly out of order here, but this next picture shows how I move all the desks together for the last day of school and roll out a big sheet of bulletin board paper for the children to decorate when they first arrive in the morning. They are always so surprised to see the room like this, and the banner really sets the tone for the day.

I always take pictures throughout the school year and make a slideshow for my students to watch on the last day of school. As a special gift, I burn them each a copy of the slideshow to watch on DVD. Watching that slideshow with my students is one of my favorite parts of the school year. It sums up the whole year in about a half an hour and brings back so many memories. It is so neat to watch them grow in the pictures. Also, I just love to watch the expressions on their faces as they see all those pictures for the first time, set to music.

This year, I also made these gifts using Wordle. Here is the original pin that inspired me to do so. I used my favorite Tolsby frames from Ikea that I previously blogged about here. They are two-sided, so I was able to put a photograph of each child on the other side of the frame. They turned out great and I could tell that the kids really loved them.

Now it is time to relax and recharge! I have many vacations planned for the summer, including a trip to Vegas for the TPT conference in July (yay)! Stay tuned for some summer blog posts as I reorganize and revamp some classroom supplies for next school year. :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June Pick 3 Pinterest Linky

Yippee! It's time for June! We are counting down the final days of school in my classroom. With nine school days left, I am definitely feeling the crunch! Although life is crazy right now, it will soon be time to shift gears and slow down for summer. In the back of my mind, I am working on my summer bucket list and Pinterest always helps me fill that bucket. 

I am so happy to link up once again with Inspired Owl's Corner and Pawsitively Teaching for the Pick 3 Pinterest Party!

Click on image to view the original Pinterest link
I love this idea for a homemade Father's Day gift! My own children would certainly enjoy making it.  The gift is a paper weight made out of salt dough, but I am thinking about a garden decoration made from cement. 

Click on image to view the original Pinterest link
Now, doesn't that tree swing just look awesome? It is made out of an old rocking chair! My kids would LOVE it. I can just imagine their bare feet hanging from the front. It seems fairly simple to make. This summer, I will be on the lookout for a nice, sturdy old rocking chair. Hmmm. What color shall I paint it?

Click on image to view the original Pinterest link
Finally, what child can resist a bowl full of jello worms?  They look so real! These are made with raspberry jello, extra unflavored gelatin, whipped cream, and green food coloring. The secret ingredient is flexible straws. I am trying to decide if it will be more fun to make these together with my kids or to surprise them with an unexpected snack. :-)

If you are looking for some more June inspiration, check out what others have picked for the month of June! The June Pick 3 Pinterest Linky is open through the end of the month. All are invited to link up below to join in the fun!