#NCTE16: Celebrate

Atlanta . . .

The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum

The home of Martin Luther King Junior

The home of thousands of teachers this weekend

Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together

Learning together

Feeding their souls

Fueling their passions

Collecting their energy

Forging a future

In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!

I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways.  And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.

Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza!  What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel.  Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began.  Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country.  Together we are better.  We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.

We are activists.

We are here.

We are learning together.

We are reading together.

We are turning and talking.

We are growing together.

And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.

Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast.  Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage:  Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine  Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.

Sharing memories.

Sharing credos.

Tweet worthy quotations.

Watching a master at work on a video.

Writing our own credos.

And then we were off.

Every session has close to 50 choices.  Hard choices for learners.  Who do I REALLY need to hear?  Who will affirm my beliefs?  Who will push me to new understandings?

Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.

One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher.  If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing.  As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do.   The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating.  A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?

No pictures here in this blog post.  My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini.  It’s not my favorite device.  It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.

Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.

Decisions  about sessions.

Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.

And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?

Much more joy and learning ahead!

How will you spend your Saturday?

 

 

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2 responses

  1. I knew I would get a great NCTE dose by checking in with your blog! I am following the hashtag, but missing the energy I can imagine there. One of my student’s from last year has some of his work set to be in Ralph’s new book (wahoo!). I can’t wait to check out the book soonish! It is something I am so interested in!

    1. Erika,
      #NCTE is amazing. Today was an 8-5 day that was positively packed with brilliance! So much learning. The poetry session was superb!

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