Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sofa, Tables, and Books, Oh My!

The first two weeks have passed in the blink of an eye! The hustle and bustle of starting a new school year mixed with my children's Back to School nights and the start of fall sports have me running nonstop from morning to night. Surely you can relate!

I have so many wonderful updates to share about our Tiny Tech Cafe. This project, which began as a little dream of mine, has quickly taken shape and continues to evolve with great support from students, teachers, community members and even complete strangers! (For those of you wondering, "What's a Tiny Tech Cafe?" click here for our first round of updates.)

In my last post, I outlined the structure and purpose of the cafe and shared a few photos of our green screen area, our bar-height table and chairs, our logo and SAMR display. Now I am excited to share that our Tiny Tech Cafe includes a bookshelf, a sofa, an additional table, two bar stools, and a hanging curtain divider, all financed with the generous donations to our GoFundMe campaign!

WOW! Can you believe all that's happened in just TWO WEEKS?! It's incredible! 

The Tiny Tech Cafe was dedicated on September 6, 2016, the first day of school, in memory of my mother-in-law who would have celebrated her 69th birthday that day. She was a Mechanicsville Elementary School parent almost forty years ago and in my early days as a classroom teacher, she would lovingly make curtains and tablecloths for my room. Even though she passed away in March of this year, I wanted a little bit of her to shine through our cafe, so I created a small memorial in her honor:

We've been blessed by several random acts of kindness these past two weeks as well! One teacher made a lighted display and another custom-ordered a JOY pillow from two of our parents. We also had a visit from one of our retired teachers who donated additional pillows to our cafe so we can switch them out for the seasons!  

Oh, the indescribable JOY of so many people working together to make a vision come to life!

Our Tiny Tech Cafe campaign will remain active through the month of October with our focus now shifting to stocking our Lending Library with  awesome, new, relevant, inspiring books for teachers to borrow and read. (If you have a suggestion of a great book, leave a comment on this blog post! Better yet, if you are the author of a great book, we would love to have a signed copy of your book donated to our cafe as a wonderful random act of kindness!)

In addition to receiving support, we've also had the joy of blessing others with our campaign. Just this week we celebrated the accomplishments of two well-deserving teachers who attended eight (yes - EIGHT!) of my Tiny Tech professional development sessions last year. All of these sessions were optional, so their attendance and implementation of what they had learned was incredible! These ladies will enjoy a sweet treat at Starbucks thanks to the generous donors of the Tiny Tech Cafe!

Below are all the blog posts I've shared about our recent updates (believe it or not, this post is only a brief summary!) Click the links below to discover our latest news:

Post 1 - Tiny Tech Cafe
Post 2 - Coffee, Anyone?
Post 3 - When You Wish
Post 4 - Making Progress
Post 5 - Cardinal Love
Post 7 - We Have a Sofa!
Post 8 - Sit or Stand

To date, we've received funding from 17 donors - so amazing! I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for all your support! It's our goal to purchase the Green Screen app in the next week and start filling the bookshelf with more books. If you would like to join in as one of our donors (and earn rewards, too!) click here! When the campaign closes at the end of October, we will have a sign displayed in the Cafe listing all our donors and contributors, celebrating the joy that's created when we all work together to achieve a goal!

Please consider sharing this blog post with a friend or a member of your PLN. Perhaps they, too, would be inspired by designing a Tiny Tech Cafe in their building!

Thanks again for all your support - we couldn't have done this without YOU!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Celebrate Monday

Ahhhh... today is the official last day of Summer Break for those of us in Central Virginia. Tomorrow begins a brand-new school year with smiling faces, happy children, and joy, joy, JOY!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job as an educator? :)

This past week has been a flurry of activity as teachers have set-up classrooms, organized folders, and prepared to meet students and parents at Open House. I, too, have been busy, playing more of a behind-the-scenes role helping teachers with creating parent surveys, setting up computers, and planning for tech integration lessons and projects to come.

But right here in this moment, as I sit on my back deck snuggled under a lightweight fleece blanket listening to the early-morning sounds of summer chirping around me, I want to take a moment to #CelebrateMonday.

For those of you who are new to the Twitter scene, #CelebrateMonday and #FlyHighFri are two of my FAVORITE educationally positive hashtags to follow. They begin and end my work week with joy and help me find other positive thinkers in the sea of Twitter followers.

Today I am celebrating the progress on my Tiny Tech Cafe.

If you know anything at all about me, you know I am PASSIONATE about education, educators, and children. But I am also passionate about random acts of kindness. My vision for turning our sterile and stoic computer lab into an engaging Tiny Tech Cafe is starting to gain momentum as friends, family, and community members join together for a shared purpose.

It really is mind-blowing to see how it's all coming together!

I've written several updates throughout the week on the progress and wanted to share them with you as well:
Post 1 - Tiny Tech Cafe
Post 2 - Coffee, Anyone?
Post 3 - When You Wish
Post 4 - Making Progress

I am humbled to see so many people supporting this project! It is incredible! Best of all, I can already see an increased engagement of conversation with teachers, students, and parents who want to know more about the Tiny Tech Cafe.

In a recent post by 4 O'Clock Faculty, we were asked to share our goals with the world. Here are my goals for the Tiny Tech Cafe this year:

Together we can achieve great things!

If you would like to join in and be a Tiny Tech Cafe Supporter, please click here! We would love to make our vision a reality through a fully-funded campaign!

I am excited to see what the first week of school holds for us at Mechanicsville Elementary and I hope your week shines with brightness, too! What are you doing today to #CelebrateMonday?