So you're going to the I Teach Conference in Vegas... Now What?

Are you going to any of the I Teach conferences in July? Well, I've got a FEW tips for you!  I wrote this post before going my second time. I've updated it (2016) with a few more things than I had before.

I know there are TONS of people going to Vegas in a few weeks. A lot of you are first timers. My first time going, I had no clue what to expect. I just knew I was going and would try to go with the flow. BOY – did I learn A LOT!

Here’s a few tips that may help you out if it’s your first time OR if you’ve never been to Vegas.

Take lots of pictures. Of EVERYTHING. I don’t mean outside where you’re sightseeing. You should take tons of pictures inside your sessions. The reason? When you leave, you are going to forget what all those great ideas were that you wanted to implement. If you take a picture of the slides that you’re like, “oh yeah! That’s a great idea.” when you get back home, you’ll have the picture to refer back to. Most of the presenters bring their charts, games, tons of examples and so much and they have it out for you to look at before the session begins or when it’s over. Take pictures of it all.

Just be sure you're allowed to take pictures of the slides. The presenter will let you know. :-)

If you have a small camera that takes great pictures, bring that. If your phone does a great job, bring that. Here’s a tip if you plan to use your phone. Bring a charger. The first year I had my Mac. I could just charge it using that. However, that thing isn't too light after a while.

My phone did not last through every single session. I had to charge it during one of the sessions even though it charged the entire night! That should show you how many pictures I was taking. To prevent this EVER happening, I bought this little goodie from Amazon for $12.99.  It's a portable charger. All you have to do is plug in your usb charger and boom! You have a charger wherever you go. It's so tiny, it won't be in the way at all.

There are more colors to choose from, but I decided on black. It is lightweight and works like a charm! My phone WILL not die for I Teach K this year.

Make sure to save all your pictures on your computer or on your cloud at night. This will free up all that space on your phone or camera so you’ll have enough space the next day. It stinks when it pops up and says you have NOOOOOO space for more pictures.

Jot down as many notes as you can. These will make all of your pictures make sense. As I heard things that I wanted to try, I made a quick note about it in a little notebook that I brought. I made sure to write each session and who the presenter was before I started notes. This helped to jog my memory when I went back through my notes and pictures about a week or so later. If not, my notes would have made ZERO sense. One year later and I still look back to my notes for ideas. I got so many ideas for things that I wanted to try and wasn’t able to.  I can still go back to my notes with pictures and ideas scribbled out to the side. If your note taking stills aren't fast enough for slides like this one, snap a picture of it and write down the essential information that you will take away from the presenter.

There will be SO many great ideas that you’ll get. BE SURE TO WRITE THEM ALL DOWN! It would be a shame for you to go and forget all those great ideas. I have a new notebook ready for Vegas. I'm bringing this as well as a notebook with all my session info in each one.

I live in the south so I know all about it being hot. However, we have a very humid hot. It’s not the same as in Vegas. You can dress comfortably outside with dresses, capri pants, shorts or however you’d like to dress. When you are in the conference rooms, it is quite cold. I wore a dress (very CASUAL) everyday and the first two days, I had to have on a jacket. I am cold natured. If you’re naturally hot, you may not need a jacket. Just remember when you're packing that it will be hot and you won't want to have on skintight jeans or really hot tops.

As far as dress goes, just remember. You're practically on vacation. You're not there to impress anyone. Don't feel like you need to wear heels and go all out. People will be there in tennis shoes, jeans, capris, shorts and so on.

There is some beforehand things that you need to take note of. Pack a tote bag to take with you to hold your session handouts. If you haven’t already printed off your session notes, get those printed. I made a binder last year and added some extra paper. This was great because I utilized the pockets for other little things that I picked up in the exhibition hall and during the sessions. It was hard enough for me to write on if I needed to. If you’re not a fan of binders, go get your handouts bound together to make a notebook. This will be super easy to slip down in your bag that you take with you.

On the note of packing, make sure to pack some tampons. If you know you don’t have those moments, don’t. If you’re rooming with other ladies, be sure to pack some. You never know who may need them and you might save the day.

From the airport to your hotel – I prepaid for a shuttle to take me from the airport and back when it was time to leave. I think it was around $8. There will be tons of taxis at the airport to take you to your hotel. This year, I think I will just get a taxi to do both. Don't forget to bring some actual money for this. I rarely have cash and it's nice to pay the drivers.

The conference area will be open for you to come in on Sunday to check-in/register. I think that’s what they are calling it. You will go in and get your bag, the SDE brochure will have all the sessions for the week, and your name tag with all the sessions that you signed up for. They also gave a binder with a notepad inside which is really convenient if you forget to bring your notebook. There may have been a pen inside, too! They give you a nice little lanyard to wear as well. It is VERY convenient because it’s hard to remember what you signed up for. Just look in the brochure to find the room numbers. I highlighted all of the sessions that I wanted to go to. You will be allowed to go in rooms that you did not register for if you change your mind. I found this VERY convenient. I changed my mind after signing up for the same presenter a few times. I wanted to see something different the 3rd time and liked that I didn’t have to go to what I signed up for.

So no worries if you’re having second thoughts about what you filled out when you registered.

The exhibition hall will be PACKED with tons of booths and vendors. These will range from TPT authors to big name teacher supply stores. They will be selling tons of manipulatives, teacher shirts, and some of the newest trends in education. It will make it a lot easier when you have money to pay for these things. This is the other reason you need a really sturdy bag. You WILL find something that you want. The past few years some of my favorites were dice and other little manipulative for my kiddos. I am hoping that the stamp people are back. I forgot to go back and buy these super cool ten frame stamps that I saw.

A+ Images will be there selling shirts! YOU WILL WANT A SHIRT! They made my shirt for the conference and all I have to say is that I LOVE it. They are so awesome to work with and the shirts are made extremely fast. They are an amazing company. I decided to have my blog name on the front and my blog button on the back. It makes it easier for people to recognize me if someone happens to be looking for me... *hint hint*

Save room in your suitcases when you are packing. After you spend that money on more shirts, manipulatives, souvenirs for your family, and tons of classroom goodies - you're going to need some space. I would leave at least a space inside a carry-on or part of your suitcase. You don't want to go over the luggage weight and have to pay any money, so make sure to save room. I didn't think about this the first year that I went. 
I'd like to take this time to give myself an award for being the MOST on point packer as I was leaving Vegas one of those years. YEP! 50 pounds on the DOT. I didn't have to pay any extras at the airport. THANK GOODNESS! This is all because I stuffed my carryon with most of my goodies that I purchased, lol. Just kidding.

SDE will give you a booklet with all the vendors that will be having a giveaway. There is close to 100, if not more. You will have to fill out your name, school name, school address and email. I knew to print out my information on labels beforehand. The Avery 5160 is the perfect size. If you can get in your classroom, I'm sure you have some to spare. Type all your information in and then just print. Take the labels with you to registration on Monday and then you can take a few minutes and place all the labels on each page in the booklet. When you are walking through the exhibition hall, it makes it a lot easier to walk by and drop in your information. Your hand will thank you because the space is SO tiny that you have to write in.

Who loves GoNoodle?! I do! GoNoodle will have a booth in the exhibition hall! I'll be hanging out with GoNoodle one day that week. You should TOTALLY come and have a dance party with us. You might win some goodies. You also can thank the amazing people over GoNoodle! They will be there with tons of swag!

I changed my lanyard to a GoNoodle one after I visited them!  I had to represent my love for them the rest of the week.

If you came alone or with a HUGE group of people, you should definitely mingle. As you're walking to sessions, stop and talk to other teachers. I went alone last year and I met SO many new friends. I posted this on instagram:

There is TWO wonderful women in particular that took little ol me in after I posted that. Vannessa and Claudia are amazing and I'm so sad they're not coming this year. Hopefully, next year we can have more fun! We had such a great time.

Instagram may be trouble for me... I also posted this:

And then Greg found me. I was so embarrassed when he did find me. He wasn't supposed to see my IG post... However, I am so happy that he did. I absolutely adore Greg. He is one of those people that has a true LOVING spirit and he's so welcoming and lovable and just awesome. I'm so happy that I met him in Vegas. I got to hang out in his classroom this year and can't wait to see him again in Vegas. He's amazing! Oh yeah, he presented last year and I'm bummed he's not presenting this year.

Even though you will be there with tons of stuff to do... take time every single day to just enjoy that you are in Vegas. I stayed up probably to 2 or 3 every single night there and got my tail up to be in my session by 8. TOTALLY WORTH IT! I plan to do that ALL over again in a few weeks. Live life to the fullest! I plan to do just that in VEGAS.

Blog Hoppin' had a really fun scavenger hunt that kept me entertained as well. I have read that so many people are going solo. Step outside your comfort zone and join in on all the social media fun that will be taking place. You will be able to find places to go, people that are going to eat and other things. If you're not in a Vegas FB group, you should be! There are so many teachers that you could spend time with. If you're going with friends, meet some more teachers and have a huge hangout session all week.

I totally asked this random guy in the airport to take a picture. Hey, I needed someone with tattoos, lol.

Eat all the food you know you shouldn't be. Drink all the drinks to make you happy and giggly. I even tried guacamole for the first time. NEVER. AGAIN. YUCK!

Kim Adsit was AMAZING. I would go back to her again this year if I hadn't already gone to three of her sessions last year. Our keynote was Marc Brown. HE WAS HILARIOUS.

And as a fun little note, here's what I'm packing. I've also provided you with a little checklist to remind you! Just print, write in, and CHECK OFF! If you're going to be in Vegas and you see me, come take a picture!

Clothes and Shoes

  • Flats (there will be a TON of walking)
  • Cute and comfortable sandals
  • Flip flops (can't go anywhere without my flip flops)
  • 2 pairs of wedges (for meet-ups in the evening)
  • 4 comfy dresses for dinner (I am going to an Educents dinner, Teacher/Blogger Meet-up, Pool Party/Secondary Meet-up, and the Primary Pack's Meet-up on Friday night)
  • Maxi dresses for the conferences
  • 2 pairs of shorts or capris
  • 2 lightweight tops
  • Jacket for the conference
  • Plane attire (as bummish as possible because that's when I'm the most comfy... hehehe. This will be lounge pants and a cute top possibly.)
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Socks in case my hotel is freezing
  • Swimsuit - doubt I'll get in a pool, but I need to be prepared
  • Swim cover up

Toiletries and Necessities
  • flight itinerary
  • license/ID
  • hotel information
  • money and debit cards
  • books for plane
  • blanket for plane
  • laptop
  • headphones
  • phone charger & PHONE!
  • wristlet
  • jewelry
  • make-up bag (plus comb/brush)
  • toiletries bag (toothpaste, soap, body wash, loofah, face wash, perfume/body spray, lotion, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, sunscreen, tampons, hair products)
  • medicine (I get really bad migraines so I have to be prepared)
  • sunglasses
  • snacks for room, conference, and plane ride
  • notebook for notetaking 
  • camera
  • pre-printed labels for the vendors
  • Notes notebook or binder
  • pens
  • materials needed for sessions (if you signed up for Make and Takes, it tells you what you need)
That's it! That's my list. Download a really easy and quick checklist to help prepare yourself for Vegas or pin it and print it off later. There's one for K, 1st, 2nd, and a general one for other conferences. Enjoy!

If you're going or wish you were going, what's something that you would HAVE to take? Let me know in the comments to make sure I didn't FORGET something. See you in VEGAS friends!


  1. Girl, you are ready to go!!! I can't wait to see you again!!!!!!!

    1. I might be a little too excited! And yes! Can't wait to see you again. It's been TOO long.

  2. I am going for the first time this year. Thanks for the checklist!!

    1. You are so welcome! Have fun while you're there!

  3. THANK YOU FOR THIS! Everyone has been posting how to ready for the TPT conference (that I'm not going to), and you are the first I've seen that posted about the SDE Conference! I'm so excited I don't know what I'm going to do with myself while I'm there. I'll probably be star struck meeting all you amazing celebriteachers! Hopefully I'll see you there! Selfie time! :-)

    1. YES!!!! You will definitely have to remind me and find me! I would love to meet you and get a picture in.

  4. I am going to the SDE conference next month! I am so excited. This will be my first time to attend this conference. Your tips were so helpful. Thank you!

  5. Hi friend! I live here in Las Vegas and was hoping we could meet up one day or evening. Let me know if you are interested!

  6. Silly question....I get there pretty early on Tuesday, but I'm registered for Wednes. and Thurs. Do you think they will let me into the exhibition hall on Tuesday? I hope so! Thanks again! Everything is in tip-top shape and in order because of your post.

    Also, do you really think I need my laptop? Would my iPad suffice?

    Miss V's Kinder Kraziness

    1. Your iPad should be perfect and less of a hassle to have. I don't really remember getting on mine all that much other than maybe plugging my phone in it during the conference lol. And as far as I know, anyone is allowed in the exhibition hall, registered or not. I did read somewhere that some people only go to go in the exhibition hall. ;-)

  7. Thanks so much for this post. I will be going to I teach 1st this year and its my first time going to a big conference like this. I'm sooo excited and just printed that packing list! Thanks again, hope to see you there!

  8. This is SO great! I have been stressing over what to pack!
    I am so excited though - this is my first year!
    Hope I get to meet you!
    Bec :-)

  9. Keri, I can't believe I am just reading this! You are too cute and too kind! Vannessa and I are saving our pennies and we are going no matter what! Something to look forward too!!!!

    1. - Claudia, The Humming Bird Teacher :)

    2. - Claudia, The Humming Bird Teacher :)

  10. Keri, I can't believe I am just reading this! You are too cute and too kind! Vannessa and I are saving our pennies and we are going no matter what! Something to look forward too!!!!

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  12. I was there with Marc Brown too. Wish I was going this year. I would add business cards. It's nice to exchange info.

  13. I was there with Marc Brown too. Wish I was going this year. I would add business cards. It's nice to exchange info.

  14. I'm SOOOO looking for Keri from enchantedkindergarden! Thanks for all of the reminders! I'm so excited and it is still over 2 weeks away!

  15. Thanks for all the info!! It's my first time to SDE and I was going to go with a friend, but now I'm going solo... This has been a great help!


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