Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NCTE - Friday Wrap-Up!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by
I entered the massive hotel so early that the conference center was virtually empty.  There was no one around to direct me.  Since I'm directionally and map reading challenged, I looked for someone who might know where they were going.  I spotted two ladies and asked if they were attending NCTE.  They replied affirmatively.  I learned they were also planning to attend the First Timer's Breakfast.  I followed them.  Once we were seated at our table, I joined one of them to go downstairs to check in and pick up a name badge holder.  With my name prominently displayed around my neck, my new friend inquired, "Aren't you a slicer?"  It was Aileen Hower,  a fellow slicer.  Soon we were joined by another first time attender of NCTE, Kim Dooele.  We quickly found many points of  connection:  she completed the 31 Day Slicing Challenge in March, she posts to Poetry Friday, and she loves books and poetry as much as I do.  We spent our first two sessions of the day together and met up later in the day for another session together.

Here a few quick takeaways from my Friday sessions:

Literary Models and Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
  • Writers can borrow from a text in many ways:  writing topics, personal connections, characters, new plot lines, a character trait, language patterns, literary themes, genre elements, or author's style.
  •  Ruth Calham - I reread books because I'm not finished learning from them yet.   It takes many reads to really get it.
Harnessing the Power of Narrative, Visual Art, and Lyrical Storytelling in Informational Books
  • Jen Bryant - Research is a journey, a discovery, an adventure.  
  • Personal note:  I recently discovered Bryant's Georgia's Bones, a new favorite. 
  • Melissa Sweet - When I look at archival material, I'm looking for details and clues that become part of the design.  She showed us how Balloons Over Broadway is all about movement.
  • Cynthia Grady - Research is an exploration of ideas that involves going from question to question, meandering and enjoying the process.  
Writing Teachers Write:  Journeys into Digital Composition
  • I glanced across the room and spotted Tara Smith.  I immediately knew her, even though we had never met in person before. 
  • I soon realized that this session was filled with fellow bloggers who may have been drawn to the session as I was by slicer presenters Cathy Mere and Julie Johnson.  I enjoy Cathy's poetry and posts.  Julie's post last February about the Poetry Box led me to contact Kevin Cordi and the opportunity to host the Poetry Box in October.  It was so fun to meet both of them.  
Knowing Stories:  How Published Authors and Student Writers Improve Their Craft through the Use of Mentor Texts
  • Jeff Anderson - When we want to do something well, we study it.
The Lessons Poetry Teaches:  A Doorway into Writing
  • Georgia Heard - Poetry can be the doorway for students to become fluent, competent writers.  
  • Rebecca Kai Dotlich - Tools of the craft make up the playground of poetry.
  • Paul Janeczko - Unless we read poetry, we will never have our hearts broken by language.
I wrapped up the day with a visit to the exhibit hall with Tara Smith where we luckily obtained copies of Fish in a Tree after one of the salespersons found a few extra copies in a cupboard.  I also discovered The Story Blanket, a delightful picture book at the Peachtree Booth.

Best Part of the Day:  Meeting and learning from authors. bloggers, and speakers
Worst Part of the Day:  Deciding which session to attend when you want to be three places at once


  1. Ramona, it was such a pleasure to meet you in person at NCTE! I feel like I somehow missed you on Friday, even though I'm sure our paths crossed many times. I attended Cathy and Julie's session, also. It was wonderful.

    What a weekend! So thankful for this community.

  2. Hurrah, happy to hear about it, wish I could have been there, happy you went!

  3. What a joy it was to meet you, finally! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend - enjoy!

  4. Ramona, we were in several of the same sessions. I enjoyed meeting you in person at the slicer dinner and hope to continue connecting through our writing community within the slicing community. Have a wonderful holiday.

  5. Sounds like this was so much fun! I really hope I can figure out a way to go next year!

  6. How very cool to find the right people in the right place at the right time. I, too, would love to sit at the table and meet slicers in the flesh. Glad you had fun.

  7. Ramona, I really enjoyed getting to know you at dinner on Saturday. Thanks for sharing snippets from the sessions you went to. I was at many of them, including one I had already forgotten about! So glad to have a few days to process and think about the whole wonderful experience. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  8. Ramona, it was nice meeting you. Sorry I didn't get a chance to really talk with you.

  9. I love how you and Aileen connected! That's awesome (and so is she)!

    So glad I finally had the chance to meet you at NCTE. Happy Thanksgiving, Ramona.

  10. Ramona,
    It was great to meet you at the Slicer dinner. Maybe we can create our own "slicer" badge so we can identify each other earlier. I was at the First Timer's Breakfast and also struggled with "how" to decide on priorities for sessions. There were many great ones all scheduled at the same time!

    Thanks for sharing your view of NCTE!