Saturday, November 20, 2010

NCTE News (part 1 of at least 2)

Being here at NCTE in Orlando has been an amazing experience. If there's one thing I've learned this year it is how important it is to share knowledge. That is the gift of the online community -- NINGs, twitter, FaceBook, blogs, wikis, etc. We need places to share and think together. The sharing and thinking help us all be smarter together. So as I share my experiences and thoughts of NCTE the last few days, please feel free to add your thinking as well.

Ok, I guess I need to back up a little and say that conventions are also a place to have fun as well. If NCTE was going to have a convention at the happiest place on Earth, far be it from me to not enjoy the Disney experience! :) So, the first night we got in, I went with some friends to Epcot to enjoy some rides, food, fireworks, Pooh, Tigger, and shopping for all things Mickey. It was a perfect way to relax, rejuvenate, and giggle a lot!

The first day of the convention, the highlight of my day was the Elementary Section get-together. One of our central Ohio blogger friends, Julie Johnson, from Avery Elementary School in Hilliard won this year's Donald H. Graves Award for outstanding work as a writing teacher. This award annually recognizes teachers in grades K-6 who demonstrate an understanding of student improvement in the teaching of writing. To receive this award in a year when educators are both mourning the loss of Donald Graves as well as celebrating his contribution to writing education is a true gift for Julie. I am soooooo very proud of Julie and this amazing achievement, and I feel so fortunate to have been there when she received this prestigious award.

There is much learning that comes outside the actual sessions that are offered here at NCTE, and dinner Thursday night was a perfect example. I sat at a dinner table with Katie DiCesare, Meredith Melragon, Franki Sibberson, Louise Borden, Mary Lee Hahn, Karen Szymusiak, Stephanie Harvey, and Anne Goudvis. To be part of the conversations at this table was very energizing, both professionally and personally.

I do want to mention at least one session that I attended. My first session was bright and early Friday morning. It was a session that talked about poets and bloggers. I was drawn to this because I have participated in Poetry Friday in the kidlitosphere VERY sporadically, but I truly want to do more. I got to listen to gifted poets like Lee Bennett Hopkins, Pat Mora, Jame Richards, and Marilyn Singer. I also heard some very talented bloggers who are very connected to poetry online -- Tricia Stohr Hunt of Miss Rumphius, Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader, adn Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children.

Fun little tidbit for me -- Lee Bennett Hopkins stopped by here on our blog to comment on my review of his anthology, Amazing Faces. So I introduced myself to him and got a huge hug! How fun! In addition, he introduced me to Pat Mara, the author of one of the poems in Amazing Faces. Marilyn Singer read some poems from her book, Mirror Mirror. I forgot how fun it is to hear a poet read her own words -- I sat there with my mouth literally hanging open as she read. Then, as each blogger shared their commitment to sharing poetry online, it renewed my resolve to be a bigger part of that community. One of my favorite take-aways was when Tricia shared how she believes that scientists and poets look at the world with the same eyes. A fascinating take-away for me as I look at the students in my own class.

What I've shared has not even begun to tap in to this NCTE experience. Stay tuned in the next few days for more!


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with those that are at home. Lee Bennett Hopkins stopped by my blog too for Amazing Faces just last week. I was so thrilled, I'm glad he was wonderful in person.

  2. What fun it was meeting YOU.
    I'm glad you had such a good time.

    Lee Bennett Hopkins

  3. Thanks for the shout out Karen! I am so glad that my friends were there to share this wonderful event with me.

  4. I'm still basking in the new knowledge, new friendships, renewed friendships, and the memories of sessions, learning, thinking, swimming outdoors in November, and hugging Pooh Bear.