Category Archives: NSTA 2014

Shell Science Teaching Award–Sonoma Race

Do you remember back in March when I told you about being surprised at an all school convocation?  I thought that was unbelievable, but there was more to come that has left me speechless! February 28th is a day I won’t soon forget!
(This video may or may not work if you are reading this by e-mail–click on “being surprised” above to see it). 
After sending me to Boston to attend the National Science Teachers Association conference, I was told that I would also be attending the Toyota/SaveMart 350 in Sonoma, California to meet the driver of the Shell Oil sponsored car, Joey Lagano!  My husband and I just got back from California and all I can say is that I am speechless!  It was one of the most unbelievable experiences I’ve ever had in my life!!  Totally, unreal, unbelievable, exciting, and humbling all at the same time.  I cannot even begin to put into words how unbelievable this whole experience has been.  
One of the other cool parts of this trip was being able to see my name on the back of Joey’s #22 car!!
This is it in the garage before the race on the 22nd.  Seeing it gave me goosebumps and I teared up!  I had to look away or I would of been a hot, blubbering mess before the race even started!
Sprint Cup Practice
Here is a shot of Joey’s car during the race. Sprint Cup Practice
My husband and I got to meet Joey Lagano, driver of the #22 Shell/Penzoil car!!  So nice and down to earth…he knows a lot about his car and the science behind it! Logano M&G
Logano M&G
I got goosebumps everytime Joey’s car went by during the race.  Seeing your name on the back of a NASCAR car for 110 laps–well…there are no words to explain the feeling!CUP PRACTICE
Joey and I pre-race!DSC_1150
Joey with my husband and I.  DSC_1152
We got to stand on “this side” of the red carpet before the drivers meeting. 
We also got to stand behind the stage and look out at all the drivers during the driver’s meeting before the race.
Here I am being interviewed by Claire B. Lang from 24/7 NASCAR Talk on Sirius XM Radio before the race.  DSC_1167 Karen Labat (The Social Investment Manager-Education for Shell), my husband and I on the track before the race.  We are standing at the beginning of Turn 11.  DSC_1171
I got to stand next to Joey’s car pre-race in the pits so I could see my name on his car!!DSC_1173
Joey was nice enough to take a picture with us before the race started. DSC_1183
This is Todd Gordon, Joey’s Crew Chief. 🙂DSC_1185
For about 1/2 of the race, we got to sit atop Joey’s pit box–talk about incredible!!  This is the part of my trip that made me want to cry tears of joy and humbleness!! I kept looking around thinking…how lucky am I to be here??  There are SO many other deserving teachers out there, so I was excited to be able to represent all of you and the work you do everyday!!DSC_1187
This is the only way to see a pit stop!! 🙂
Look at the awesome jump drive my host Ron gave me with these pictures on it!!
I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time I was there!!  I am super excited to bring racing into my classroom and to teach my Kinders all about the science at work in racing (plus it’s fun to watch!!)
For all of you teachers reading this…I just want you to know when you are having a tough day (or let’s face it…a tough year!), there is lots of LOVE out in the world for teachers!  I heard it and felt it loud and clear during this trip.  I was thanked so many times for being a teacher and for doing the job that I do; so I wanted to make sure to pass that along to all of you!
I actually sat down and cried when this trip was over…it was so MAGICAL (in that take your kids to Disney for the first time magical kind of way) that I didn’t want it to end…and four days later I still don’t want it to end!!
Then I got home and Googled myself…AMAZING!!  So many media outlets have been so wonderful in sharing my story and every time I read a new story, I just shake my head in disbelief!  I’m telling you…there are no words to describe this!!
But now the fun begins!  Getting the word out to you to apply for the Shell Science Teaching Award
Getting other teachers, parents, administrators, and community members to see that science education can and SHOULD be starting in early childhood classrooms. 
Getting my hands deeper into the world of science education. 
Getting out of my introvert ways and into ways of sharing my love of science with everyone. ❤
Much love and many thanks to all of you who have supported me on my journey!!  I can’t do what I do without the love and support from each and every one of you, so THANK YOU!! ❤ 
A BIG shout out to Ron, Sam, Karen, and Joey for making the weekend so special–you guys are all amazing people and I can’t wait to get to know you all better! 
I think NASCAR has gained a new fan…despite growing up in Indy all my life and loving my IndyCars…I think there is room in my heart for NASCAR too. 🙂

So this happened…

I generally hate talking about myself.  I like to share ideas on this little bit of blog space, but just this once, I’m going to share something that happened last Friday because I’m just so darn overwhelmed by all the kind words from colleagues that went into making it happen. 🙂

I found out on Friday, at a whole school convocation that I am the National recipient of the Shell Science Teaching Award!  I was completely shocked, humbled, and awed to be chosen.  Needless to say, I cried.  A lot.  I couldn’t get it together! 🙂  I was surprised…completely surprised!  I knew I was going to be recognized for being one of three finalists nationally, but had no idea that I was going to find out that I was the National winner!  In front of the entire school!!  I can’t do what I do without the entire group of people who were there to see it happen, the kids, the staff, and my family!

In order to get this award, I went through three rounds of judging.  In November, I submitted a paper talking about my philosophy of teaching science and what some of my favorite lessons were.  I made it through that round and found out I was one of 10 finalists nationally, so I had to submit a video of me teaching.  Then, I found out I was one of three finalists nationally and had a team of three teachers do a site visit.  They spent the entire day watching me teach, talking to my colleagues, administrators, and parents.  That’s the last I knew of anything–that I would be hearing about the results near the end of February. 🙂  Totally caught me off guard!! 🙂


Here I am with our Superintendent. 🙂 (See the blotchy red eyes?  🙂  )DSCN9637

Our Director of Elementary Education. 🙂DSCN9639

And everyone!  My Principal, Assistant Principal, Director of Elementary Education, me, hubby, my son, school board member, and our Superintendent. 🙂DSCN9641

This is my family…I can’t do what I do without them!

As part of this award, I get an all expense paid trip to Boston for the National Science Teachers Association conference, and I won $10,000!  Can you believe it??  I knew that going into the whole thing, but the reality of actually winning–well, it took awhile to set in!

I am so humbled to be chosen as the recipient of this award and can’t wait to get the message out that young children and learners can participate in Science and they can be very successful at it! 🙂

Best. Day. Ever.

Kristen 🙂

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