Sunday, February 26, 2012

Permission To Pin

I LOVE Pinterest! I know that I have said that a hundred times! I had wondered, however, how it all worked in fabulous copyright land.  Okay.. I wondered about it, but not enough to really look closely.  So, I have added a permission to pin button on my blog.

I love pinterest and like so many other people it has given me so many amazing ideas.  I also love the fact that I am able to share my ideas and information with others.  Teachers are the best at sharing.. right :)

To find out more about permission to pin check out this great blog Corkboard Connections

So, happy reading and pinning!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Destination ImagiNation

Myself and Megan (partners in crime)
For the past 3 years I have had the AWESOME opportunity to be a Destination ImagiNation Team Manager.  What better way to spend your time working with kids working on crazy ideas, watching them grow, and then spending a day with crazy cool people wearing crazy cool hats!

A few years ago my principal approached the staff asking for team managers of Destination ImagiNation.  I of course volunteered (surprise, surprise) But I was SO glad that I did! What is Destination ImagInation?

"Welcome to Destination ImagiNation!

Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, we reach 125,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation, our core program, is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving. To read more about Destination ImagiNation"
The school district that I am has a great program with lots of supports.  This year there were so many things that our district offered to get our teams ready.  A DI team presents a Team Challenge that they work on for more than 3 months (usually) and the day of competition has an Instant Challenge.  
This year Audra (an AWESOME advocate for all kiddos) offered a Instant Challenge Workshop for teachers.  During this time she put out materials for Team Managers so we could work on Instant Challenges with our teams.  

How great was this! So Organized and so many great materials!  Audra even had an AWESOME hat made out of a gift bag.  It is amazing to see all of the crazy hats that people are wearing on competition day.

While preparing for the DI tournament students learn to work together, learn to budget and so much more!  The challenge our team chose was creating a movie trailer!  During team meetings they learned how to sew, learned about different cultures, learned how to record music, learned how to build sets and of course learned that they could do it!  What is great about DI is that it is all students (now.. sometimes that doesn't mean that I didn't want to pull my own hair out)  I was able to teach them skills, but in the end it was all about the students could do.  No interference allowed!

Irving also offered an Instant Challenge Workshop this year for students to practice instant challenges.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

My team didn't place this year, but I am still so proud of them! I know they learn a ton about working together and coming up with a solution to a problem (without killing anyone) but I also learn a ton from them!  It always amazes me to see what they come up with to solve a problem.  DI gives me a chance to see students in a different way. 

DI is of course all about the students, but to be a successful DI team you need some supportive parents! I have been so lucky for 3 years now to have parents that volunteer the kiddos time (sometimes those meetings last until 9 or 10), volunteer their time (and vehicles, and sanity, and tools, and time.. and the list could go on!) and volunteer so much more!  From the bottom of my heart.. thank you to ALL of the volunteers that make DI possible!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


On Tuesday February 6, 2012, I was lucky enough to be nominated as one of the 3 Finalists for TCEA Classroom Teacher of the Year.  What an honor to be even one of the finalists!  For the past 2 years I have gone to the TCEA Convention for the whole time, but some major time constraints (Destination ImagiNation... promise there is a blog coming about that!) I was not able to.  I was, however, able to make the reception Tuesday evening with my AP in tow.  Imagine my shock and complete GRATITUDE that my name was called as TCEA Classroom Teacher of the Year.  I am super thankful for this opportunity, but more than anything I am super HONORED.  I think I work hard.  I work as hard as I can for my students, my school, myself, and my family.  I also realize, however, that there are many people that have made me the me that I am.  I am so grateful for every person that has even spent a few minutes in my life to make me the outgoing, honest, outspoken, strong, and powerful woman that I am today.

I do want to mention a few people.

I am so THANKFUL for my parents.  My parents taught me the importance of hard work, but also the importance of doing your best and trying your hardest.  They instilled in me my drive to be better and to go farther than I ever could.  Thank you Sharon and Joe Don Stevens for your love, patience, understanding, and time that you have given me. 

I am so THANKFUL for my troop leader Nancy.  Girl Scouts was and still is such an important part of my life.  Nancy taught me the importance of volunteering, giving my time to others, and being creative and fun while doing it.  I have been so lucky to meet other important Girl Scouts along the way from anyone from Camp Kiwanis to my amazing friends here in Irving (Skye.. and so many others)

I am so THANKFUL for my husband.  We are two of the most opposite people you will ever meet.  I like folk and quiet music... he likes rock and roll.  I like to be creative with my computer and hands.. and he is an artist with food.  But Chef William has taught me how to be strong.  He has taught me how to love and continue on with things even they are tough.  He has taught me how to speak my mind when it is important.

I am so THANKFUL for my sister.  Although we are 2 VERY DIFFERENT people, she has taught me the importance of being who you are.  I look up to her so much in all that she does and all that she accomplishes.  To tell you the truth, I am often jealous of her too :)  She is an amazing woman.

I am THANKFUL for my Plurk and Twitter PLN. I would not be where I am today if I didn't have the constant support of my immediate social media friends.  If I have a question about something for the classroom, they are there to help.  If  I have an idea about skyping or connecting with other classrooms they are there in an instant to connect! KimberlyW, Mitch, Elaine, Elaine, Kevin... and the list goes on...and on.. and on.. and on (I know I have left off so many.

I am THANKFUL for my Sisterhood of the Traveling Macs.  Who else can you create crazy shirts with, present with, travel with, and call in a time of need! You can with Lori, Kimberly, and Kay.

I am THANKFUL for my BrainPop friends.  You guys have given me SO many opportunities that I can't even name them all.  Kari and Allisyn you guys ROCK!

I am THANKFUL for all of the amazing people that I work with at school.  The ones who keep me in line and keep me going. From my DI parents that are so supportive to my paraprofessionals in my classroom.

I know, I should be able to take a compliment.  I am super honored that I was named Teacher of the Year. I guess what I am trying to say.  Is yes, I think I am a pretty good teacher and person.. but in reality it takes a village to raise and create a woman like myself.  I would not be who I am if I did not have the spirits and love of so many people.

On another note.. today I received an email that I am one of the 20 Educators to Watch by the National School Board Association.  Wow! I am SO thankful. I am so Honored.. and I feel so loved.  It has been one crazy year.  Thank you for all that have contributed your time, energy, and love to helping me be the best that I can be.  I am so thankful!

Disclaimer.. there are 1000000s of people that have crossed my path at some point or another and helped me be the person that I am. Whether it be through financial support, love, compassion, and so many other things.  I apologize if I didn't list you.. my brain is tired.. still at school.. DI Saturday :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Paraprofessional Week

At the first of January our school celebrated Paraprofessional week.  I think that every staff member that works with all students is important.  Often times I think that we forget about how important paraprofessionals are.  Having a paraprofessional week was the perfect way for me to show my appreciation to our AMAZING staff!

I did a little something each day (and thanks to pinterest.. I think they turned out pretty cute!)
anti bacterial handsoap-remove the label-found some pretty stickers

found these cute buckets at Target and filled them with hugs and kisses

Loved this idea! Stuffed a water bottle with lemonade packets.
The note inside says thanks for being a great "ade" to the class

These baskets were from the special ed staff to all of the paraprofessionals.
Inside were hugs and kisses, fun socks, and fingernail polish

I ended the week with these.  Brought my Lucy and Lopez a sonic drink and giftcard.
The picture in the back is my Favorite idea! I gave each student a letter to hold that spelled out Thank You!
We went around the school and took the pictures.  I made big ones for my personal paraprofessionals, bu
printed off 5x7's for all of the other paraprofessionals.

 How do you celebrate the staff that you work with? Do you have any fantastic ideas? I am always looking for fun ways to remind people that they are amazing!
Newest addition to my door!