So here I am in Dallas with ALL of the National State Teachers of the Year. I am SO honored to be here with them. I have met such fascinating, wonderful people who have amazing stories to tell. They have heard all about you as well!
Here are some pictures from my trip so far. I will take more tomorrow!
This is the hotel where we are staying--it's beautiful!
Everywhere in the hallways are these beautiful, large pieces of artwork. This is one of my favorites.
This is the reception area where we get our tea & coffee each morning and gather for pre-dinner discussions.
Aaah...and the heated, outside pool. Today it was actually in the 70s, so we got to go in! By next week it will be down in the 30s though, so we are very lucky today!
These are the Delaware, Utah, Massachussetts, and Kansas teachers enjoying the hot tub. See the blue bottle? All of our water comes in those cool bottles...
Bamboo! Just thought it was cool...
These are the North Carolina, Caliornia, and Florida teachers--Cheryl, the Florida teacher on the far right is a finalist for National teacher! She's a very very sweet lady.
This is my new, new dear friend, Wilma Ortiz from Massachussetts. She teaches English as a Second Language in Amherst to middle school students. She is SO much fun--you would LOVE her!
North Carolina, Delaware, and Massachussetts...two of them are crazy middle school teachers, can you tell?
This is my friend Joe--he teaches 6th grade in Delaware. Umm...I'm not sure what to say about him, I think this speaks for itself as to why he has chosen a profession that involves middle schoolers. Same sense of humor.
We had a dinner at the Dallas Aquarium. From left to right, this is Laurie from Wyoming, Jennifer from North Carolina, me, Mike from Oregon (he was the 2008 National Teacher of the Year), and John from Washington DC.
These are previous National Teachers of the Year. They sit and guide us through our conversations and while the rest of us think they are rock stars, really, they're just regular people here like everybody else.
Wilma--Massachusetts; Jennifer--No. Carolina; Darrin--California; Jay--Washington state
We are getting a Smart Board for our classroom! The SMART people came and gave us an entire day's worth of instruction on how to use the equipment we are receiving. Oh my goodness, you guys are going to LOVE it! I learned so much and am very excited to start using it!
Part of what we receive is a classroom set of student response systems. You can take multiple choice, math, or short answer tests/quizzes/evaluations on these and have them instantly scored. Your teacher can create automatic charts based on what your answers were. We are also getting a SMART slate, so the activity/quiz, etc. can be put on the slate and projected onto any white board and you can still use the response systems! This means any of your teachers can borrow the response systems--they don't just have to be used in my room! It is absolutely amazing. They should be here after February vacation!
The Dallas Aquarium
This was our dinner at the aquarium. Here we were each given full scholarships for a bachelor's or master's degree that we are able to grant to any community member to the University of Phoenix, which has campuses in New Hampshire. I still can't believe that I have the opportunity to help a former student or a single parent get his or her degree. What an honor!
Today's lunch was sponsored by People to People.
Typical plate of food--I have been running every morning so I can burn some of this off! I have eaten SO much this week!
I miss our classroom--and I'm looking forward to returning to where I am most comfortable, but I have received so much invaluable information this week on how to speak to groups across the state and how to help make change at a state and federal level in education. It has been an experience like no other. I have made friends that I am excited to visit with throughout the year, and that I know will last a lifetime. They are simply amazing people and passionate teachers. I cannot believe that I have been awarded the opportunity to be here in the midst of such greatness! I will try to take more pictures tomorrow--my last day here--and will see you on Monday! I hope everything is going smoothly--I miss you all!