Budding Blogger Showcase: The Loop

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to Jeanne Bergeron for being the WINSday winner this week!  You'll have an email coming your way soon! :)

 {Email amandamadden@me.com if you would like to be featured}

This week, I'm showcasing a fellow blogger and real-life friend, Shasta Looper over at The Loop.  My school district was lucky enough to have Shasta as a teacher for many years, but she has now moved on to bigger and better things!  She truly is an amazing teacher with so many great ideas and unparalleled dedication!

I'm not just bragging on her and making this stuff up....there IS proof out there!  In 2012, Shasta won the Miliken Educator Award - which is a HUGE deal!!  I'm telling you this because I'm pretty sure she never would! ;)  I could rant and rave over her all day long, but I'll let her tell you a bit more about herself....read on!

Hey, ya'll!  Don't you just love Amanda?  I am continually amazed at all the irons she has in the fire and that she is able to maintain a fabulous blog, classroom, TeacherPayTeachers page, and Teacher's Clubhouse and Lighthouse Minds.  Whew!  That exhausts me just to think about it.

I am thrilled to be here on Teaching Maddeness today!  My name is Shasta and I've known Amanda virtually a lot longer than I've known her personally.  We both taught in the same district in South Carolina and I had heard of her through the grapevine - all good I promise!  But, we had never met face to face to my knowledge until a couple of summers ago at the first SC Bloggers Meet Up.

I've been blogging on and off for about the last 10 years or so as a means to keep in touch with out of town family. My husband and I lived in Seattle, Washington at the time and it was the only way that I could realistically share photos with friends.  No Facebook at that time.    I have started and stopped several blogs over those years, but here recently, I've been primarily dedicated to my "teaching" blog, The Loop.

I've been married to Cheney for the last 15 years.  We met while we were both in Alaska 16 years ago.  He had moved from Greenville, SC and I was teaching Vacation Bible School for the summer.  One car accident, a few shed tears, and it was destined.  After my time in Alaska came to a close in August, I went home to Louisiana and started school again, not thinking twice about him.  On Thanksgiving evening 1996, my phone rang out of the blue and it was Cheney.  He had found my number somewhere and just wanted to call.  Some astronomical phone bills, lots of letters, and one date, we were engaged on a plane somewhere between Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas.  16 years later and we are still going strong.  We've lived ALL over the US - Alaska, Washington, Louisiana, South Carolina, and now Tennessee.

We are parents to one particularly precious pup, Taku, who was a gift from my favorite principal ever 6 years ago.  He's a rambunctious Jack Russell Terrier that loves nothing more than snuggling up on the sofa under a blanket with his people.

Being that I'm from Louisiana, there is really only one interest that matters and that is LSU football.  I'm a tiger girl, every weekend - even when it is tough.  That usually is when we play Alabama.  I wish that I could say that I LOVE to run, but to be honest, I hate every moment of it until I am finished.  Then, I have the most amazing sense of accomplishment.  So, I love how I feel after I run.  I usually chase that run with a coke or a chocolate chip cookie, so it really negates itself.

This year has brought about A LOT of change for us.  I left the comfort of my classroom and a district that I was comfortable in to step WAY out of the box and become a Master Teacher for the TAP System.  Not only did I move out of the classroom, but I left my state of South Carolina.  I'm much farther from the beach (7.5 hours now) than I'd like to be.  While it has been a different and challenging experience, it has been good overall.  It has been awhile since I've felt that uncomfortable squirm when learning something new or doing something I don't feel like I'm good at, but I've got it in spades now.  Every day I'm faced with new challenges.  The biggest one that I've faced is becoming comfortable with evaluating teachers.  I've never done it before, and it is not easy.  Great empathy for those of you who have been doing it for awhile.  It's definitely different than being in your own classroom.

Technically, this is my 14th year in education.  I started out as a 2nd/3rd grade teacher and I've moved through the ranks of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th.  I have to say that 5th grade is absolutely my favorite grade to teach.  That was simply because of the content - Social Studies, and my AMAZING team.  Life hasn't been the same since I've left.  I have a hard time choosing a favorite subject to teach, but any opportunity that allowed me to integrate reading, writing, social studies, and costumes was a heavenly day for me.  My team and I would create experiences for our kiddos and we would assume characters.  It was amazing!  I have a trunk full of costumes to prove just how excited I was to do it.

This year, if you popped into my classroom unannounced, I'm not sure what you would find.  I teach one hour of Science (least favorite subject ever) from a rolling cart in another person's classroom.  So you would probably see me scouring the cart looking for materials that I can't find.  Students would be on the floor in groups doing some sort of experimenting or group project and it would be loud - or louder than typically.

My days are SO busy in my new role that I do need something to get me through one of those days quite frequently.  Here lately, it's just been lunch.  Most of my days I am running down the hall with a granola bar or a pocket full of almonds because I'm meeting in a coaching session with a teacher. Or lunch is at the very end of the day because I haven't had a chance to eat.  On a really bad day, it's a red can of Coca-Cola classic.  I know, slay me now.  It's terrible for me and I'm perfectly fine with that.

My must-have teaching resource has to be hands down, my students.  They take me to places, that I wouldn't be able to get to without them.  I always try to give them some sort of ownership in our learning by allowing them to create questions or explore topics.  We then prioritize them based on our learning goals and then tackle them through our lessons. This past week we started our unit on Animal and Plant Adaptations and the questions they were able to come up with blew me away.  We decided to create an expert wall in the classroom for students to have a part in the teaching.  They are so motivated to learn all about their area that it is providing me with an extra dose of energy at the end of a long day.  Truth be told, my iPad is pretty important as well - but I haven't been able to utilize it like I have in the past - new district, limited technology.

My blogging goal for the year is really to set up my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I've got a list of ideas, but I'm not the artsy fartsy type of teacher, so I struggle with creating the cute cover sheets and craftivities that go along with skills.  However, I'm going to bite the bullet and dive in soon.   As far as blogging, if I could just blog one day a week, I'll be happy :)
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1 comment

  1. Loved reading about The Loop! Thanks for introducing me to a new blog. I love your blog, Amanda! Very inspiring!


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