Yes, I'm in the airport. :)
***Let me begin by saying that I DID NOT take the photos with my good camera, so the quality isn't what it usually is. I didn't feel like carrying another couple of pounds around Vegas with me, ha!
Where did we stay?
So, we stayed at the most amazing hotel...the Palazzo, which is a part of the Venetian. Gorgeous!!
What did we do?
Well, I'll be honest...I don't gamble and I don't drink, so I didn't do either of those things in Vegas. My sister and I did a lot of shopping and eating. We also went to Fremont Street where there is a really amazing light show above you on an enormous screen every night.
Here's a picture of the "Eiffel Tower" in Vegas. It's an exact replica of that infamous structure, only half the size. :) The picture to the right is a so-so picture of the screen on Fremont Street that does it absolutely no justice!
Something else that we did was visit the Mob Museum, as well as attend "O," which is a Cirque show! They were both AWESOME!!!
The food in Vegas is AMAZING!!!
Let's not forget the entertainment on the streets...!!!
Yes, folks...he IS spray painting himself!!! Only on the streets of Vegas.
So, this guy didn't have a seat...he was sitting on air or something hidden beneath him! So cool!
Oh yeah...I also attended the first annual TpT conference!! Wooo hoo!!!
Most importantly...who did I meet?!
I started TpT in January 2013. Several months later, I met this adorable lady in a mutual teaching group online. You may know her...and if you don't...you should! Her name is Nicole Shelby. :) Not only is she one of TpT's TOP sellers, she's a wonderful person and someone that I have grown to be very close with. We couldn't wait to spend time together at the conference, and that's just what we did! So, a lot of these pictures have both of us in them. :)
(Click on the picture to see Nicole's store)
Actually, the very first sellers that I met in Vegas were also a couple of well-known sellers on TpT. That may be a bit of an understatement, ha! You will be sure to know our "millionaire teacher," Miss Deanna Jump! Let's not forget Miss Dee Dee Wills! I was literally in the middle of eating a chocolate covered strawberry when I saw them. So, I all but threw it at my sister and ran straight toward them...yeah, I did that! Poor girls...they didn't know what they had coming to them! They were so sweet! It was a great way to start my trip. :)
Sadly, I didn't get to meet every single person that I wanted to. The conference had over 800 premium sellers in attendance! So, what does that look like?
Kinda like this...
During the opening portion of the conference, we had the privilege of listening to the top of the TpT chain of command, if you will. :) Nicole and I were even lucky enough to meet Paul Edelman, the FOUNDER of Tpt! Poor guy...he was being hugged by over 800 sellers, women and men alike! haha! He was a great sport and was just as excited to meet all of us. :)
There simply aren't words for the type of people that run this amazing educational empire. They are exactly what I hoped they would be...and so much more. Let me use a few words to describe them.
These are just a few that come to mind, but the bottom line is that they are directing, managing, and creating TpT with good intentions, big plans, and GREAT BIG HEARTS!!
The amount of growth that Teachers pay Teachers has experienced in the last eight years has been tremendous! From an unimaginable increase in sellers...approximately 3.2 MILLION users, over 4,200 sales per MINUTE...the list goes on and on! But, their GREATEST success, and one that is surely worth bragging about is the fact that they have altered the way teachers interact and educate their students all around the world!
I'll never forget getting an email from a teacher that lived in Bermuda, who I am now happy to call my friend, miss Lynn Furtado. Lynn wrote to me to let me know that she had done a blog post on a simple symmetrical activity that I posted on TpT. I was moved to tears and completely humbled that students in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean were learning because of something that I created! What?! Impact. I knew from that point on that my life would never be the same. I have received emails from teachers throughout the world, including Spain, France, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Impact.
(Pictures of Lynn's students using my Earth Day Symmetry pack!)
You see, after talking to, and looking into the eyes of the other sellers, as well as the brains behind TpT, one thing was evident...they felt the same exact way that I did. We are servicing the greater good and the future of our world. To be a part of that movement...well, there are simply no words.
Thank YOU TpT!!
I certainly don't want to forget about some of the other amazing people that I met...and I feel so badly that I didn't get more pictures! I'm sure that more will pop up this week. :) I'll be sure to share!
(Click on the pictures to visit their stores!)
Amanda Nickerson from One Extra Degree
Annie Moffatt from The Moffatt Girls
Britt Leigh from The Superhero Teacher
Dana Richlew from 3rd Grade Gridiron
Karen Kennedy from Kennedy's Korner
I met SO many other sellers at the conference that I would have loved to have taken a picture with, but our mouths got ahead of our good picture-taking intentions, ha! So, to those sellers that I met and don't have a picture with...I LOVED spending time with you! XOXO!
What has TpT done for me?
Well, of course it has helped me and my family financially, which has been such a blessing. Every time I get a "cha-ching" on my phone or computer, I literally say "thank you" in my head (and sometimes out loud!). I also say..."they chose ME. Out of all of the sellers on TpT...they chose something that I made! Wow!!" I'm kinda like Taylor Swift when she would get on stage and just stare in dis-believment that her fans were there for her. Okay, so I'm not on a stage in front thousands of screaming fans...and I can't sing to save my life, but I am on the world's stage with almost 3,000 fans in my TpT store, almost 3,000 fans on my FB fan page, and almost 3,000 fans on my Pinterest page. All of that happened since January 2013! Blessed. If you were a part of those numbers...thank you. If you're not...help a girl out and follow!! Haha!
I won't lie...the extra income is nice, but let me tell you what TpT has REALLY done for me. It has revitalized me as a teacher, it has introduced me to some pretty amazing people, some of which I consider my closest friends. That is something that money can't buy...and something that I am extremely grateful for.
I live in a very small town in Pennsylvania. A town in which the majority of our students don't have a great deal of money, and many of which come from broken homes. Because of the people that I have met, I am able to bring a little bit of my friends from around the world into my little classroom with me each day. I am always trying new ideas and adapting what our online discussions and collaborations are bringing to the forefront. It's an incredible journey...and a great privilege to be able to share that with my students in our little town. THAT'S the best thing that TpT has given me.
My final thoughts as I fly home...
As I look out my window, I see immense, rolling mountains, the peaks of the clouds and the world below me. We live in such a beautiful place. We are a mere speck of humanity, but that doesn't mean that we can't move our own mountains and be the peaks that our students see before them. We, as educators, have a very important role in our communities, our states, our countries, and in this world. We stand before our children in this great wide world and do something just as miraculous as the beautiful sights before me. We set the stage for the future as we know it. There isn't much that is greater or bigger than that. Be the mountains and the peaks that they see. Be the good. Be the ones that inspire and show them a greater future...one that even their adventurous minds couldn't imagine. Fill them with hope...and lastly, let's make learning fun!
Thank you TpT. Thank you for the opportunity to move mountains on a daily basis in the classrooms throughout our world.