Psalm 56:4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
**Warning!! This post contains many images, and will most likely be VERY long because it was AMAZING and I want to share it :) You have been warned :)** Oh, and… I’m posting it on both my home and school blogs. It was that amazing (did I mention how amazing it was??) !! :)
I was honored to be invited to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View, CA. You heard that right!! I got to go to THE GOOGLEPLEX!!! I applied along with (from what I heard) 2000-ish other hopeful attendees and was among the 65 chosen to attend the GTA in Mountain View and become a Google Certified Teacher!
It was an amazing experience! I’m finding it hard to describe though… I think it’s like when we visited the Grand Canyon, you’ve seen the pictures and you’ve read the descriptions, but words and pictures can’t capture how really amazing it was… That’s how I feel about the GTA!
Just after getting the invitation to attend, we were also all invited to a G+ group so that we could start connecting, and that’s exactly what we did! The conversations started flowing and we all started connecting. There were discussions to get to know each other, connections between people who were fairly local (I got to meet 2 of our cohort at the Connecticut Google in Education Summit in June, Allison Mollica and David Saunders). We got started creating t-shirt designs and shared ideas about how to connect implement Google Apps and Tools in our classrooms. One of our cohort organized a get-together at a local restaurant the evening before GTA so that we could meet up and connect even more!
We arrived a little early and checked out a little of the campus… We were fascinated by the Google bikes!! How cool!! The Googleplex is huge, and to make it easy for everyone to get around, they leave Google bikes all around the campus! Need to go to building 6? Plop your laptop in the basket and ride over! We saw lots of Googlers do just that!
Finally it was time to get started! That’s me, waiting for them to open up the doors!
We were greeted with a wonderful breakfast (one thing about Google, you’ll never go hungry!! There’s food everywhere you look!! Micro-kitchens around every corner).
There was a presentation running to welcome all of us! With our G+ photos :) So fun to see ourselves on the screen :) We’re just like the kids!
The day was filled with LOTS of workshops and activities… It was amazing to spend (the LONG) day with so many other educators who were SO EXCITED to be there and share their experiences. We didn’t pause much for photos, but I couldn’t resist one with the “owl” Google sign :) We know I have a “problem” with owls!
The day was packed full of activities… And at the end of it… THIS happened!! We all officially became Google Certified Teachers!!
After our amazing day, we were treated to a wonderful celebration supper (there was lunch and snack in between too!). Here’s me with the amazing Becky Evans after the celebration!
The next day was just as amazing! Starting again with yummy breakfast, and the entire day devoted to learning and collaborating! I got to chat with 2 of the Boston based Googlers who were in for the Academy!!
After we were officially done, we took a little field trip to the official Google Store…
Google Certified Teachers on the move!
You are HERE!
After a trip to the store, we took a little ride around the campus to see some of the cool sights…
One of the main buildings…
Well, hello Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich :)
And the Streetview Car and Pin!
And, of course, if you were going to find the answer to everything, it would be at Google!!
The final day was complete with one more pit stop… You can’t go to California and not stop HERE with your new friends!
I’m currently working on my Action Plan and can’t wait to share all the Googley knowledge I’ve gained… More on that once it’s ready :) Thanks so much for hanging in there if you made it to the end!! I know that there were a lot of pictures, and they can’t really do the experience justice, but trust me, it was AMAZING!
I also want to mention… A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the Wilmington Educational Foundation who gave me a Summer Educator Grant to help pay for the expenses of getting out to California for this amazing experience!! Thank you so much!! It really was the experience of a lifetime!!
This summer was no exception to our crazy summer vacation streak!! Here is just a little overview post… I’ll post more about specific places in later posts because otherwise this one would be insanely long! Because, you know, I took just over 3500 pictures :) I do promise not to share them all :)
The start of the crazy summer vacation plan was my getting accepted to attend the Google Teacher Academy (there will be a separate post about that!!)! I knew that I would need to be in Mountain View, CA for July 30+31. So, once I was accepted, Mike started on the “What are we going to do on our summer vacation?” plan. Here’s what we did…
The short version:
Fly into Edmonton, Canada, spend 12 days hiking/exploring in the Canadian Rockies, (we also made a little detour to Glacier National Park too, ’cause that’s our favorite place and it’s not too far). then Mike and the kids fly home from Calgary, and I fly to California, attend the GTA, and then continue on to Yosemite (’cause, you know, I’m out there… should do something like that, right?) and finally fly home.
Which meant us all leaving the house July 16, Mike and the kids flying home July 28, and me finally arriving home on August 6. Yup… We’re a little nutty! It was a LONG time to be away, but it was a great trip in many ways!!
Here’s just a couple of scenery pictures to get us started… There was a very large fire in the area, so it was hard to catch a lot of the really great photos that I expected to see, but that’s OK! It was still beautiful! Oh, did we mention the BEARS?? Umm… we literally lost count of how many bears we saw, both black bears (which can be brown too) and even a couple of Grizzly bears… Most from the safety of the car :) We don’t ever get out of the car when we see one (unlike some other people we saw)… Best to be safe, even though they are eating and paying no attention to us, they’re still WILD animals that need space and respect. Getting eaten by a bear would kinda wreck our vacation :)
There are many glaciers still, and they’re what cause the magical water. The glaciers grind the rocks into glacial flour. The glacial flour is lighter than the water, so when it runs off into the lakes and rivers, it doesn’t sink to the bottom and catches the light to create that beautiful blue. Whatever the reason, it looks magical :)
from the boat tour on Maligne Lake
A view of the Athabasca Glacier and the top of the Columbia Ice Field
Moraine Lake from the top of the Rock pile
Hmmm… I have to look this one up, we hiked up to the top and this was the view… I don’t remember the name of the hike, but will check!
Another from Moraine Lake (can you say magic??)
And, one of the bears… (this one is a black bear, not just ’cause he’s black :) but because of the shape of his head and the shoulders). I didn’t bring the actual zoom lens, just too much to carry around… This pic is with my Nikon 3100 and the 18-55 kit lens. We were in the car (with doors closed, but windows open) and the bear was searching for berries and grubs.
More about specific hikes (like the one to the Tea House) soon, there’s a LOT of pictures to sort through :)