Sunday, March 11, 2018

Teach Your Heart Out- Nashville

It has been FOREVER since I've posted! But I had to get on here and share about the incredible weekend I had! When I found out the Teach Your Heart Out conference was coming to Nashville, I knew I had to make it! And they made it affordable by offering a subscription box where you could pay for the conference monthly up to the conference.

First, lets talk about the swag! I LOOOOOOVE the cup they gave us. We got the cutest cookies and I'm definitely hanging that flag near my desk at school!
 Second, I got to meet some of my favorite teachers I follow on social media. I'm not going to lie... I was fan girling on the inside but I think I played it cool! haha! Michelle and Vera were so genuine and sweet. It really meant a lot to me that they took the time to chit chat with me and take a photo with me! These ladies are such inspiring teachers and it's so cool to meet them in person!

The hotel was AMAZING! I didn't stay there because I only live 15 minutes away, but in the 10 & 1/2 years I've lived in Nashville, I have NEVER been to the Opryland Hotel. I was so beautiful inside! I loved the sound of the water, and it felt like a little village inside. So cool! The conference rooms were beautiful and the seats were super comfy.

They had props for everyone to take photos. I was so sad I didn't get one on the stage before I left yesterday! And I missed out on the photo booth! Bummer!

I thought it was so crazy that Monica Genta was presenting the high school sessions. My youngest sister graduated high school with her and I graduated with her older brother. Small world! (It's only crazy b/c we went to school in a small town in central Illinois!)

The 2nd day, Gerry Brooks spoke and had me crying from laughter. I definitely waited in line to get a photo with him. Even my non-teacher friends/family recognize him! 

I'm sure everyone knows Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard. I teach in the same district as Greg and he was so kind and invited me out to dinner with him one night my first year teaching in metro. I felt like I knew him forever when we met. He was so kind and fun to chat with! When I ran into him at the conference, I had to snap a pic with him too! =)

One of my favorite sessions was with Michaela from Especially Education. I'm in NO WAY an Exceptional Education expert, so when I heard she was presenting, I had to go. This year I have a few friends who are non-verbal and her session was on eliciting language through cooking and science experiments in non-verbal children. She gave some great ideas that I'm excited to implement in my classroom!

 Will you believe me? I've NEVER made slime before. So this was exciting for me to make some in her session! =)
The other sessions I attended (but forgot to get pictures of) were Vera's (The Tutu Teacher) on building my classroom library to represent ALL children in my class. I loved this one because it was what I got my masters in! Teaching and Diversity. So I'm a huge advocate on making sure every child is represented and seen in the classroom.
I also attended a session on Teacher Wellness. I'm grateful that the Metro Nashville Pre-K department has begun a Teacher Wellness program where we discuss things that help "fill our cup". B/c we pour so much of ourselves out into our classroom, school and students, that we need to "refill b/c you can't pour from an empty cup." It was another great session! This is definitely an area I'm working on in my own life.
There were so many great sessions but my FAVORITE was the keynote on day 1. Dr. Marcia Tate spoke on 20 Instructional Strategies that Engage the Brain. It was AMAZING. I wrote down so many notes and am inspired to try out some new strategies in my Pre-K classroom.

I'm so thankful I had the opportunity and funds to attend this conference! I highly recommend attending if they have one near you in the future!