Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reflections about #NCTE16 - #SOL 11/29/16

With all the activity of the Thanksgiving holiday, it's hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago this Wednesday evening, I was arriving in Atlanta for the 2016 NCTE convention.

As I reflect back on my time in Atlanta, I can't help but think the convention was just one HUGE family reunion.

Like a reunion, there were the initial hugs when seeing friends for the first time, there were the hugs that happened sporadically throughout the weekend, and then there were the bittersweet goodbye hugs.

There was a great deal of time spent in social gatherings, complete with food, beverages, and lots and lots of laughter, tears, and conversations. And in this family, there were books - lots of books - and conversations about books as well!

But my biggest take-away from NCTE 2016 is what a brilliant "family" I belong to!! I spent the last two days reading through my notes, looking at tweets (#NCTE16), and scrolling through the pictures I took; I am overwhelmed at the generosity of this NCTE family! The people I spend time with play a huge role in how I grow as a professional, and I so appreciate the time this group puts into sharing with one another.

Here are just a few of the thoughtful statements I heard from various "family members" at the reunion:

  • Jen Allen - If everything is the same, we risk losing the identity of teachers and students.
  • Cris Tovani - We need to have engagement time for practice, wipe-outs, and do-overs for students as they are learning.
  • Franki Sibberson - Be careful that the story students tell about themselves is not just a test score.
  • Ann Marie Corgill - Relationships and deep conversations about important books matter.
  • Katharine Hale - With technology, we create windows to what students are thinking.
  • Kristin Ziemke - Be careful that we don't judge a child's story but the chapter we walk in on.
  • Ellin Keene - Reading synthesis is how our comprehension changes as we read; we revise our thinking.
  • Matt Glover - Important for students to read unfamiliar books. The thinking they do is different.
  • Terry Thompson - Let's reframe the gradual release model. Focus on 4 conditions for scaffolding: focus, flexibility, feedback, responsibility.
  • Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan - We are trying to do too much in each lesson; we need to give students time to learn and trust their wisdom.
  • Dorothy Barnhouse - We need to start complex thinking by using simple text; leading to complex thinking in complex text. This is a form of gradual release.
  • Barbara O'Connor - I start with the title, and then I really get to know my characters. It is important that the characters have flaws.
  • Augusta Scattergood- Read each chapter and look for small astonishments.
  • Kirby Larson - As a writer, I'm a beachcomber. I never know if I'll use the treasures, but I keep them anyway.
  • Sara Ahmed - We must make all kids visible in our learning communities. Identity webs are one way to do so.
  • Laura Robb - Choice allows kids to invest in the books they are reading.
  • Kylene Beers - The best questions are to be explored, not answered. If you already know the answer, it's not a real question.
  • Jeff Anderson - The most important parts of conversation are listening and trust.
  • Donalyn Miller - How can we guarantee that all the kids we serve have access to books 365 days a year?
I'm so grateful all these people and thousands more came to the reunion to celebrate who we are as a family. I loved every hug, every conversation, the food, the drink, the books, the learning. Looking forward to our reunion next year in St. Louis! Hope many of you can join us there!

In the meantime, a huge thanks to the gracious team at Two Writing Teachers who host Slice of Life each week. Thanks so much!!

In the meantime, a huge thanks to the gracious team at Two Writing Teachers who host Slice of Life each week. Thanks so much!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

#IMWAYR - 11/28/16

A huge thanks also to Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye at Unleashing Readers for hosting the kid lit version of "It's Monday, What Are You Reading?"!!

#NCTE16 in Atlanta ended 8 days ago for me, and I am just now making the time to process all the learning.  Which leads me to today's post for It's Monday, What are You Reading? Actually, a better title for me this week should be: It's Monday, What are You Planning on Reading in the Near Future? ;)

Publishers at NCTE are so kind - each year, they give away copies of upcoming books so that educators can share them in the classroom with their students. Who doesn't love a free book?!! But through the eight years I've been attending NCTE, I realize I've gotten a bit more selective in taking free books.

What I've come to realize is that I love talking to the representatives at the different publishing companies, asking them what books they are most excited about in the near future. This leads to conversations between two book lovers about why an upcoming book is a "must read." I found myself caught up in these conversations, in awe of different writers' talents, many of them new names to me, but some "old friends."

I'm sharing a picture of the stack that made it home with me. Some of them were generously shared in the exhibit hall; others were generously shared at publishing house events. These will be the books I look forward to reading in 2017. In fact, I wasn't going to read any of them yet, but I just couldn't resist one, in particular.

I loved Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan, and her latest is SHORT, due out in January of 2017. I will review it more in depth later, but let me say I loved this book, also!

Just a few books on my
reserve list
Just a few books on my
reserve list

My other reading, to begin tomorrow after a trip to the library, will be focused on informational picture books. I am woefully behind in reading the latest in this genre, so after the suggestions of friends who have read considerably more than me, I started to reserve books at the library.

After tomorrow, I will be curling up with piles of informational picture books. I know the Nerdy book nominations will open soon, and I hope to be an informed voter!!

I'm looking forward to what others are currently reading, as well as planning to read. Happy reading week to all!