Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NCTE Saturday Wrap-up

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by
Saturday at NCTE was a marvelous experience filled with stories from writers, presenters, and slicers and capped off by a lovely dinner with slicer friends.  Feel free to scroll through quickly, the details are there to help me remember this red letter day.

1.  NCTE Author Strand - Stories of Reading:  Rethinking Instruction in a Digital Age - Franki Sibberson, Bill Blass, and Troy Hicks
Loved this session!  All of the presenters are currently writing books on this topic which should be published in time for next year's NCTE convention.  I felt that I knew Franki from blogging, and I've always heard great things about Troy.  I'm always a little leery of "digital sessions" because I get lost quite easily.  However, the deciding factor that landed me in this session was that it was in the same room where the TWTs team would present at 9:30, and I promised Kim that I'd save her a seat.  It was an incredible session!  Don't miss Troy's wikispace where he shares all his presentations from NCTE!

2.  Tools to Build a Culture of Writing Through Story - Anna Cockerille, Stacey Shubitz, Tara Smith, Betsy Hubbard, and Dana Murphy
What a delight to listen to our Two Writing Teachers team live (except for Beth)!  I feel that I already know these writers, even though Betsy is the only one that I had previously met in person.  Dana's presentation inspired me to think about family writing nights (a possibility for teaming with teachers from our three elementary schools).   I had the privilege of sharing this session with Kim, my new NCTE friend.  I'm looking forward to seeing her more at Tuesday Slice of Life.

3.  Poetry as a Dimension in the Landscape of Knowing - sponsored by the NCTE Committee on Excellence in Poetry for Children
Amy Ludwig Vanderwater was on this panel.  I enjoyed a quick chat, a hug, and asked her to autograph "Sheep's Whisper" in Lee Bennet Hopkins' new anthology, Manger, which I recently reviewed for Poetry Friday.
I didn't take any notes, just sat back and enjoyed a wonderful hour of poetry shared from the books on the 2014 Notable Poetry List.  Near the end of the session, I met Kevin Cordi, founder of the Poetry Box project and Joan Bransfield Graham (contributor to the box).  My students have always loved Flicker Flash.  Stop by Poetry for Children for a blog tour and the backstory for Joan's most recent book, The Poem That Will Not End.

I actually took a break for lunch and headed down to the exhibit hall where I was lucky to get the last two poetry books for a book signing with Laura Purdie Salas and Irene Latham.  I loved meeting and chatting with these rock stars of poetry,

Meeting writers was one of my favorite parts of the conference!  I even stopped Nancy Steineke as I passed her in the convention center to tell her how much I've used her book, Reading and Writing Together.  I sat behind Nancie Atwell in a session and couldn't resist tapping her on the back to tell her how grateful I am for In the Middle.  I love that both these teachers stayed in the classroom and shared their expertise with us through their books.  They were gracious and kind even though I'm just one of the thousands of teachers who have been influenced by their books.

4.  Middle Level Mosaic:  Stories from the Middle
As a long-time middle school teacher, I couldn't resist this lineup - Linda Rief, Teri Lesene, Donalyn Miller, Kylene Beers, and YA authors Alan Lawrence Sitomer, James Dashner, and Chris Crutcher.
It was a wonderful session of storytelling by each presenter.  I loved being nourished by story.

5.  Reading Poetry Across the Curriculum - Co-Chairs:  Janet Wong and Laura Purdie Salas
Janet and Laura led an energetic, poetry-filled session.  Even though it came at the end of a long day of workshops, I was energized by the poetry love that permeated this room.
I participated in two of the roundtables during this session:
Poetry and Art led by Paige Bentley-Flannery - She shared many hands-on activities and we were active participants.  It was great fun!
Poetry and Social Studies led by Sylvia Vardell - She shared picture books with links to social studies topics.   I was enthralled by Sylvia's tights with poetry printed on them.
And I closed my day by sharing this session with  Kim, my new friend from the First Timer's Breakfast.  I'm sad that we failed to take a picture together.  Next time, Kim!

Slicer Dinner!
I loved our dinner together.  Please forgive me if I asked for your name multiple times during the evening.  I'm definitely name challenged (a deficiency to which my students can attest) and need the visual prompt of seeing names as well as hearing them.  Often, I connect with you by the title and picture of your blog more than by your name.  The exchange of literacy gifts was fun.  I like how Stacey intentionally got us up and moving to a different part of the table for this event.  I received a beautiful handmade box (that folded flat for travel) with quotes about writing from a slicer who mistakenly stated that she's not crafty!  I'm so glad for the  pictures that have been shared from our evening together.  A big thank you to Stacey for all her efforts to organize this gathering!

And that's the end of my NCTE adventures.  I spent Sunday with my son and his wife before heading home on Monday.  Next time, I want to arrive earlier (that 3 hour time difference from west coast to east coast is challenging) and stay longer!  


  1. NCTE is a thrilling experience. There are always so many interesting sessions to choose from that I often wish I could clone myself and attend multiple sessions during the same time slot. The exhibit hall is just mind boggling.

  2. Wish I could have been there! It sounds so fun and enlightening.

  3. Sounds like an amazing time. Thanks for the links within your slice.

  4. I'm so glad you got to experience NCTE! I cannot wait until next year -- I'm going! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ramona, the Slicer dinner and the fun literacy gifts were one of the highlights of my first NCTE experience as well. I just loved finally putting faces to blogs, although I am just as bad at remembering names as you are. Seriously, next year, I'm making name badges with our blog headers on them for the Slicer dinner!

    Please keep me posted if you end up doing a family writing night. I'm so glad you were in our session. Like I said during my presentation, I truly felt surrounded by old friends.

  6. So glad you documented all of this for those of us not able to be there. I am sure the dinner would have been my favourite part, we have such a lovely community here. Love the pics too!!

  7. Thanks for the recap, my friend, it took me back to NCTE and the grand time we had. So very glad that we finally got to meet! I'm sorry I missed some of the sessions you were able to attend - so many sessions, so little time!

  8. Ramona, you are inspiring! Here you are retired but yet you fly across the country to continue to learn. Every session sounds like a winner. What an awesome dinner it must have been!

  9. Sorry I missed this one, but I'm glad to have been closer to home this year.
    Glad you liked Troy's workshop. I'm an author of a chapter in one of his upcoming books. NWP connected us years ago :) I'm blessed with these wonderful communities.... getting to meet you Ramona :)

  10. I think it's so neat that I loved my Saturday too, yet, except for the dinner, it was completely different. Guess that's the magic of NCTE!

  11. Next time! I hope we can capture the magic again. It was a most awesome experience. I am so happy we got to meet.

  12. I love the way you re-capped Saturday, Ramona. I'd love to meet some of those authors, although I have met some. What a fabulous time you had!

  13. Ramona,
    I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to see you when I walked into the room where our session was to be held during NCTE. After following your stories on your blog, I was so happy to finally get to meet you. The conference was amazing. There were so many great speakers it was hard to be everywhere. I missed many of the sessions you discussed above so I appreciate hearing more about them. I was disappointed to miss the Slice of Life dinner. My night was unfortunately already booked.

    Thanks for sharing all the fun of NCTE. I'm still trying to write my post. It's so hard to put it into words.


  14. Love your recap, Ramona! I'm still reveling in the magic as I share books, posters, and other goodies I brought home with the kids and teachers.

  15. Thank you for sharing your experience! It was great meeting your in person! I love the idea of a writing night!