Keynote: Jimmy Santiago Baca
Jimmy Santiago Baca’s said that reading and poetry saved his life in the NCTE opening keynote filled with his stories as well as a call to action for teachers: “If not teachers, who should be teaching our kids to take action!” He also shared a deep appreciation for teachers and the work they do. Jimmy told of teaching reading to kids even if it meant bringing in pizza to first meet their physical needs. He also spoke about the need to involve parents and communities in our work and that would mean meeting them where they are. . . not always waiting for them to come to a school event. You can learn more about him here.
A45. Conferring as a Path to Help Students Develop Voice and Agency: Today, Tomorrow and Forever
(Christina Nosek, Jennifer McDonough, Kristin Ackerman, Patricia Vitale-Reilly, Lisa Eickholdt, Kari Yates)
What a start to the conference. Some friends in real life, or from books, blogs or Twitter chats. These six each offered round table sessions where you could choose three 20 minute sessions. Here are a few of my key take aways.
Patricia Vitale-Reilly How to Make Conferences for those who struggle REAL!
R – Relevant
E – Engaging
A – Authentic
L – Lasting
Each part of the acronym was supported with items from her toolkit. (And a few were even marked up as figures from her books.) It was great to see her mentor texts and some examples of her student tools and checklists.
Kari Yates – Four Ways to Know and Nurture a Reader
These characteristics are NOT hierarchical but Book Choice can and will impact all the rest. In order to have confident and competent readers book choice will often be the first area for teachers to begin their conferring work. Kari shared some key questions that teachers would use to focus their conferring work.
Christina Nosek – The Language of Conferring
Enter as a gracious guest
Step it Up
Make it Stick
If you are following along on Twitter, you saw those five!
Christina’s videos of her conferring work with students from her fifth grade classroom illustrated each of the five points above. (Extra bonus: Watch for the book, currently in publication, from Christina and Kari that will be out in early 2018.)
B. 36 Reading as a Personal Art
(Anne Atwell Merkel, Nancie Atwell, Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle)
Seats were scarce on the first floor and both balconies of the Ferrara Theater as Anne Atwell Merkel began with some basic information about the status of readers, reading in schools, and a deep appreciation for her mother’s gift to their school. Passion and activism as themes continued in Nancie Atwell’s speech. “Activism is a teacher’s right and responsibility. What do you do and why?” Kids are readers when they leave her K-8 school but they come back to share that they don’t read in high school. why not? Because in high school reading is often still about whole class novels, usually chosen by a teacher, with packets and/or art work that is wasting students’ precious reading time. Blunt, practical, and yet Nancie continues to be an advocate for student choice and voice in order to have a reading life.
Check out this quote from Nancie Atwell:
“Inexperienced unenthusiastic readers NEED workshop, not strategy instruction or digital platforms. Give them time to read.”
And then Kelly and Penny stepped to the podium. The cover picture of their new book (February?) has been on Twitter this week, so it was no surprise to me that their duet was a perfect mixture of their classrooms and their thoughts as they easily highlighted their main points. Flipgrid videos literally showed us how they were working together as well as with a class of college students for two purposes: to build connections to help students be more successful in college and to challenge each other, respectively, to think deeper about the ELA work they are doing in their classrooms. Secondary folks, you will want this book just for their thoughts on HOW MANY whole class books, scheduling, and the amount of independent reading time that literally will help craft the citizens of tomorrow that we need today. (HINT: New book also coming soon!)
C.37 Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors
Jennifer Serravallo – Learning Process and Craft Strategies from Authors
A series of actionable steps
Break down the skill (How to show not tell)
Make the way I say it generalizable
Authentic – show what I do
Something to outgrow
How to develop writing strategies
- Spy on yourself.
- Notice what writers do in mentor texts
Kate Messner – 15 yrs. as a MS teacher before moving to full time authorship
Structure is Kate’s niche. She found a structure for Over and Under the Snow. Then she used that text as a mentor text to write more texts. I’m looking forward to the “document” format in Breakout.
Sarah Weeks – Beginnings
“That’s my favorite part of writing. Haven’t messed up anything yet!”
“Ideas come from unusual places.”
“Always have my eyes and ears open.”
“When working with young students and grad students, photo prompts let us see what happens. Start with talk— what do you notice?
“What are you thinking?”
“How does it make you feel?”
“Let your emotions come out your pencil – not your mouth!”
Kat Yeh – Find the Emotions
“When you write from an emotional truth, the fiction that you put around it becomes believable for the reader.”
“No matter how ridiculous something is . . . there’s a way to connect them so even in the not working, you will have something to add to your story.”
“Write without lifting pen from paper. . . .Start writing. Cannont stop and cannot lift your pen.”
“What are you feeling?”
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater @amylvpoemfarm
Amy shared that Poem Farm began as a poem for every day for a month and then expanded to a poem every day for a year. Since then she has gone on to catalogue the poems. Amy’s advice included:
“In order to write, do stuff in the 22 hours away from your desk. Not just watching shows but up and moving around.
Use photo prompts. Take pictures when you see something that strikes you.
Varian Johnson – Author of The Parker Inheritance
Look for inspiration in:
Other people’s work
Two examples of real life events were the: Uke Medical Varsity team – 1944 North Carolina College Eagles and a secret tennis game in 1957.
And is that was NOT enough, check out some of the books generated by this panel.
D.18 Choice Matters: Perspectives of Students and Teachers
(Lester Laminack, Jason Augustowski, Linda Rief and the #BowTieBoys: Ryan Beaver, Sam Fremin, Ben Hawkins, Ryan Hur, Joseph O’Such, Sean Petit, Kellen Pluntke, Jack Selman, and Dawson Unger.
If you haven’t seen the #BowTieBoys, then it has totally been your loss. In this panel session, Lester Laminack quizzed the two teachers and the gentlemen students. Ranging from eighth graders to juniors in high school, they were:
with thoughtful responses,
provided suggestions and solutions to add MORE choice the day!
E.12 The Secret of Crafting Engaging Nonfiction
(Alyson Beecher, Candace Fleming, Deborah Heligman, Melissa Stewart)
With 190 published books to her credit, Melissa Stewart drew my attention in this session. Some gems that I gathered:
“Concept books: what is the Concept? What is the connection for students? What is my emotional commitment in order to work on this book? (Hear the backstory for Can an Aardvaark Bark?)”
“Where do my ideas come from: What I see, What I hear, and What I experience. How do we “teach” this to students?”
“If you write broadly, you are not going to get good research.”
“”Research is like a treasure hunt. Research is fun. What interesting facts can you find? How can you find a community person to interview?”
“Have students use sources they can’t copy during research like watching a webcam video of animals.”
Did you have a great learning day Friday at #NCTE17?
What else did you learn?