#NCTE15 Disney for English Teachers (Part 2)

I wish the story had a happy beginning. I woke up bright and early for my 8 AM session, ready to begin my now familiar journey through the miles of skywalk from my hotel to the Minneapolis convention center. To my horror, the skywalk was closed and I was forced to walk outside in 16° weather. I clutched my Starbucks, flipped on my fuzzy hood, and trekked the whole mile like a big girl. I’m glad I did. Today’s sessions were incredible, I couldn’t choose just one. Here are the highlights from the five I attended. In the interest of time, I have chosen one salient point for each presenter. If you would like more information on the presentations or links to materials, send me a message and I will be happy to pass those along.

Responsible and Responsive Reading: Understanding how to Nurture Skill and Will

Kylene BeersTeri LeseneDonalyn MillerBob Probst

This was my favorite presentation this year as well as last year. Even though I had just seen Kylene in California this year, I still thoroughly enjoyed her presentation. Why?

  • Kylene’s opening: responsive and responsible reading is vital to our democracy. Boom! (I hear MeMe Ratliff in my head when I write this.)
  • Donalyn Miller demonstrated an excellent protocol on discovering your reading journey. In this exercise, you talk about books that were important to you during each step of your reading journey, starting with early reading all the way through a current text. I’m excited to both write my own journey, as well as help my students create a journey of their own.
  • Bob Probst said that we need to teach kids to trust and learn from non-fiction, while also continuing to question. It is smart for our students to remain intentionally skeptical. We should go to non-fiction when we have questions we need to answer, but also when we have answers we need to question.
  • Kylene’s presentation was also about non-fiction, and she posed a question we should be asking our students; “what surprises you?” She also provided this awesome slide.

If only I could show this for my parent conferences

  • Teri Lesene was pressed for time but shared some of her must reads. Here is the link to her “Professor Nana slideshare” which lists over 50 books that you should be reading. I love that she says you can, in fact, judge a book by its cover.

Reading Revolution: Creating Independent Learners Through Assessment that Encourage a Love of Reading

Stephanie JalowiecKarlen ShuppJames McCaffrey

This one really blew my mind and I don’t even know where to begin. Thisschool decided that not enough students were reading. So, they put giant libraries inside their high school English classrooms and soon 100% of their students were reading. I recommend you check out their slide share because it comes complete with links to all of their assignments. I had a tough time choosing one thing from each presenter.

  • Karlen talked about the importance of beginning the year with a reading history. This assignment asks students to talk about what their reading lives looked like in elementary school, middle school and now- sound like another activity from today?
  • James shared the end of the year activity which is called “My Absolutely True and Unabridged Reading History”. This activity allow students to think reflectively about their growth throughout the year.
  • Stephanie talked about ways to accomplish all of this. Students should be reading 20 to 25 books a year, and the minutes for independent reading need to be increased at school.

Again, I recommend checking out their slide share, as well as their blog.

Cultivating the Art of Teaching Through Creative Learning Opportunities

Lee Corey, Jennifer Kosloski, Elizabeth Scanlon

I selected this session because I am working with the teachers in Beverly Hills Unified to implement the Lucy Calkins Units of tudy. This session covered self-care for educators, PLCs, and Edcamp. We actually had the opportunity to participate in an Edcamp during the session, which made it an active and unique experience.

  • Jennifer Kosloski shared a scaling activity that asks teachers to rate the stress in their life on a scale from 1 to 10. I did this using my two-year-old’s app on my iPad, so it’s a little tough to see. This was suggested as something to do as you launch your PLC.This question is difficult to answer, but also important to think about and identify.

Home stress top, professional stress bottom

  • Cory Lee shared ways to connect at a distance. She had a slew of recommendations.
Stenhouse newsletter
Heinemann teacher tip of the day app
Two writing teachers blog and their slice of life writing challenge
Book clubs in person or via voxer
  • Elizabeth Scanlon walked us through the Edcamp model. This was great for people who are looking to start an Edcamp in their area. One thing I had not previously thought of: inviting students and parents. Students could present sessions to teachers on bullying. Parents could learn more about the content standards. Check out the resources available through the Edcamp site.

Engaging Students and Inspiring Teachers with the Power of Inquiry-Based Constructivist Approaches and Multimedia Literacies

Cyndy Scheibe

Or in other words, how to tackle your content standards using digital media. Check out the website for Project Look Sharp for lots of great FREE resources in this area. Here is a nifty chart that shows different ways you can use media to address traditional text forms.

Digital media options for the classroom

My personal favorite was watching the first two minutes of A Beautiful Mind, and talking about character. We went deep — analyzing the main characters clothes, motions, relationship to the setting, etc.

Well, that’s all folks. Needless to say I am excited to get back to work. On Monday I plan to hit the ground running with the fantastic strategies I learned over this weekend.

If you ever have a chance to attend NCTE look for me.

I’m a lifer.