Archive for August 2016
“What are you wishing for?”
A teacher asked me this question today and it really made me think. What AM I wishing for? What are my hopes and dreams for this Tiny Tech Cafe? Why am I putting so much effort into this space that, unlike a traditional classroom, will be shared with an entire school?
I’m wishing for joy. 🙂
See, I adore my job as a technology integrator. I love working with the teachers; I love working with the students. I love the curiosity of learning something new and I even love the struggle of trying to master something just out of reach (although, to be honest, that’s a bit more of a love-hate relationship there, lol.)
I want to learn beside people. Every single person in my school has something they can teach me, from the thirty-year veteran with two degrees to the wide-eyed kindergartener still learning his ABCs. I wish for a space that encourages learning, but in a conversational way. I desire to end the school year more connected, more vested, more committed to my school and community than I am right now.
And all these things bring me joy.
Even though I made a wish list of things I hope to purchase through this GoFundMe campaign, I took it a step further by taking photos of the items I hope to purchase. These are just a few of the things I need to make my wishes come true!
These four items are my “must haves” and together cost $375 before tax, but there’s no shipping charges (although I do need to find someone who has a truck that might want to help me transport the big items if they won’t fit in my car – any volunteers?)
Right now we have $285, so we are still in need of donations just to get the basics in the Tiny Tech Cafe.
Today one wish was fulfilled by one of our amazing MES parents – Susan Miller stopped by and dropped off Command hooks which I will use to hang the green screen as well as other frames and canvases on the walls. I am so appreciative of our parent support!
A special thanks also to Amy Gregory who donated to the Tiny Tech Cafe last night! She chose the “Expresso” level of sponsorship and earned a magnet in addition to having her name on our donation poster.
Won’t you consider donating too?
Every little bit helps! Whether you click here to make a donation, or share this post to spread the word, you are making a difference for the students and teachers at Mechanicsville Elementary School.
As always, I appreciate your kindness and generosity. It’s exciting to share my vision with you and include you in my joy!
During summer break, teachers have to pack up most of their classrooms and either find creative ways to store everything along the walls and on cabinets, or they have to take items home. This means the first day back is a time of hustle-and-bustle, with everyone moving things back in, unpacking, rearranging furniture, setting up.
Several teachers stopped by the lab today as I was bringing in my curtains and coffee maker, asking questions about the Tiny Tech Cafe. It was fun to share my vision with others, especially those who aren’t on Facebook and had no idea what I was trying to do!
Our principal’s presentation this morning focused on three themes for the year: Relationships, Equity, and Relevance. It made my heart so happy to know that my mission for the Tiny Tech Cafe aligned with her mission of strengthening relationships! How cool is that?
Then it was time to get nitty-gritty in the lab. Since this isn’t a traditional classroom, it’s often used as a storage space for items that won’t fit in other places. I opened my door to see dozens of computers stacked on a long table; my teacher’s desk buried under bags and boxes.
It was a little overwhelming to say the least! Thankfully, our sysop had spent time in the room before me and had the student laptops arranged on the other tables (Thanks, Brenda!)
As I started to move things around, a few more teachers stopped by to chat. Two teachers, Carrie Sutton and Jennifer Madison, both offered me easels, which was listed on my GoFundMe wish list! So awesome!
One of the first things I desperately wanted to set up was the coffee/tea station. About a month ago, I had purchased a little table stand at a yard sale and repainted it in a light mocha color with coffee swirls for added decoration. The coffee swirls matched the ones I painted on my canvas, too!
I couldn’t wait to set up my coffee/tea stand, but I had some major hurdles ahead of me. See, the coffee maker, which would go on this stand, had to plug into the side wall. The wall behind the table with all the computers, which was buried four rows deep.
It took nearly 4 hours to clear everything out of the way (which included me giving away that long table and my oversized teacher’s desk), but the result was totally worth it! Look how cute the space is now!
And here is my favorite coffee/tea stand, ready for service:
I AM SO EXCITED!! Who will be the first guest in the Tiny Tech Cafe?
My joy today was compounded when I checked my phone and discovered that three more donations were made to my GoFundMe account since my previous post last night. WOW! A special thank you to Lisa Lockhart, Colleen Herrera, and an anonymous donor! Your generosity has pushed this campaign to $260 which is enough to have GoFundMe add another $50 to the fund!
Oh my goodness, such JOY!!
My next steps in making the Tiny Tech Cafe a reality include purchasing a sofa and bookshelf as well as putting up my curtains and decorating the walls. If enough money is raised through this campaign, I can add more joy with a rug, a floor lamp and some current books by my favorite educational authors, which will available for teachers to borrow.
Thank you, faithful readers, for joining in to support the Tiny Tech Cafe! If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, please click here or share this post and tag a friend! I appreciate each and every one of you!
Wow – where did summer go? With a blink of an eye, my summer fun with family is shifting into another season of school. Although I took a hiatus from blogging (lots of traveling with no laptop), my days were overflowing with kindness – given and received.
Now I’m embarking on another type of kindness and I’ll admit, it’s making me feel REALLY uncomfortable. As many of you know, I’m a technology integrator which means I help students, teachers, and administrators incorporate technology in their own learning processes. It’s an exciting job because technology is always changing, but it’s also a challenging job because… well, technology is always changing!
In my school’s computer lab, I have a desk in the back corner and for years (eight years, in fact!) I’ve always told people, “No, this isn’t my room – I just have this corner I work in.” But my corner isn’t really ideal for working with teachers OR students. If someone wants to collaborate with me, they are stuck pulling up a chair on the edge of my desk or, even worse, we have to scrunch up in between students who are seated at the tables with laptops.
My vision is to create a space that is open and inviting, comfortable seating and welcoming to everyone, kind’ve like the feeling you get when you walk into a Starbucks. I even have a name for this new area – Tiny Tech Cafe. I created a logo this summer, designing it digitally then painting it on canvas.
Which brings me to the uncomfortable part.
I have the space, I just don’t have the stuff.
The things I would love to have in my computer lab are actually pretty mundane. A tall bookshelf with some current educational books available for teachers to borrow. A few round tables and chairs. A sofa to sit on and collaborate.
Then my brain gets excited about the possibilities. I could have an area where I offer teachers coffee or tea! I could have another area where I can put up a green screen for students to create virtual reality photos and videos! I could have an area rug and a floor lamp, too!
Calm. Your. Self. Down.
All good things come with a cost and this is no exception. I spent most of my summer scrounging yard sales and online forums for low-cost items and I found some, but not enough to make my dream a reality. I saw an online post about GoFundMe and how they would donate $50 for every teacher’s campaign that reached $250 in donations before the middle of September.
So… I did something I’ve never done before.
I asked people to help furnish our computer lab.
You know that old adage, “It’s better to give than receive?” I will say that it’s 100 times EASIER to give than receive. Oh, how I hate asking people for help (even when there’s no money attached to it!)
But you know what? When you ask for help, people step up to do just that. They help.
So far I’ve had 7 people donate money to my Tiny Tech Cafe campaign. I even had one of my school’s parents offer to buy some Command hooks for me so I could hang all the pictures and canvases I purchased over the summer. Oh, I am so blessed!
I still have quite a ways to go to earn enough money to get the things I need, but I wanted to take a moment and say THANK YOU to those who have made a donation. You have truly warmed my heart and your kindness and generosity will be felt by all students and staff at Mechanicsville Elementary!
I would love for you to join in on the fun, too, and be a contributor to our Tiny Tech Cafe! Would you consider donating to our campaign or sharing this post? When they say “It takes a village”, it’s so true! In the coming days I will post updates (with pictures!) so you can see how I transform my boring little corner into something spectacular!
I hope you find simple and small ways to bless others with kindness. For me, I am blessed to have you as a faithful reader as we kick off a brand-new school year!