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Learning & Connecting at NCTE

Attending the NCTE Annual Convention has become one of my favorite November rituals.  I’m amazed at how I declare each year’s convention “the best one I’ve ever attended!”  It was the first time I’ve attended Not only did I learn from the presenters, but I got lots of ideas and things I can use in my consulting work.
I’ll devote a couple of my December posts to specific sessions I attended at NCTE. Until then, here are a few quotes I jotted down from authors and literacy leaders:
  • “We want everybody to find themselves in a poem.” –Georgia Heard
  • “There’s so much more to share about a child’s learning than just numbers.” –Katie Keier
  • “Engagement isn’t just a thing, it’s the only thing. You can’t teach if no one is listening to you.”  –Chris Lehman
  • “Rhyme, rhythm, and repetition makes your teaching stick.” –Marjorie Martinelli
  • “Visuals are the way to give kids access points into your instruction.” –Kristi Mraz
  • “Poets often write themselves into realizations.” –Tom Romano
  • “If you teach in a school where all books are celebrated, bigger kids won’t be ashamed to pick up picture books.” –Beth Shaum
  • “Poetry can help students find their own voice, discover what’s in their heart, and write their own history.” –Joyce Sidman
  • “The truth serves as its own element — readers react to both the story and the truth of it as they read.” –Audrey Vernick
One of the best things about NCTE is meeting educators from all over the globe and reconnecting with former colleagues and classmates.  Some of the connections and re-connections I made in Boston:
  • I broke bread with Tara Smith and Linda Baie twice.  We even landed up attending some of the same sessions, which was an unexpected treat.
  • I ran into Stephanie Jones, one of my literacy professors from TC (who is now at the Univ. of Georgia) who was the person who inspired me to start a blog years ago.
  • I received writing advice from two people whose opinions I greatly respect. First, I had breakfast with my editor, Bill Varner, who gave me some new insights.  Second, I walked and talked with Kate Messner who got me to re-think about the way I talk about the picture book manuscript on which I’m working.
  • I happened to sit next to JoEllen McCarthy and Stella Villalba, who I know from the Twitterverse and blogosphere, respectively. By chance, I squeezed in-between them at an informative roundtable session, which enabled me to chat with both of them in real time.
  • I spoke with Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts, and Maggie Beattie Roberts right before their session on close reading, which was JAM PACKED. I sat on the floor, which (as I told Kate and Maggie later in the the afternoon) I won’t do for just anybody since I have neck/back problems. That being said, hearing them speak together was well worth sitting on the floor for 75 minutes!
  • I attended the Stenhouse Author Reception on Saturday night where I had interesting conversations with other authors and many of the people who work at Stenhouse.  Many thanks to Stenhouse for hosting such a great celebration!
  • I ate dinner with Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli at Max Brenner (where I had the most amazing cup of hot chocolate in my life!). We caught up, talked shop, and made some future plans.
  • I caught up with my friend Emily who I rarely see now that I no longer live in New England.  She and her family invited me to their home for Shabbat dinner, which was such a wonderful treat! Additionally, Emily and I had a delicious brunch together at Flour in Back Bay before I caught the train home.
  • And finally, I shared stories and broke bread with other Slicers. Linda Baie, Catherine FlynnBonnie KaplanClare Landrigan, Tammy Mulligan, Mandy Robek, Amy Rudd, Lee Ann Spillane, Tara Smith, and Karen Terlecky (and Amy’s colleague Kristi who we’re hoping will join the SOLSC in March!) joined me for breakfast at Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newberry Street.  Here’s a photo of the 12 of us:
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Clockwise from the bottom left: Mandy, Lee Ann, Stacey, Clare, Tara, Linda, Bonnie, Catherine, Tammy, Amy, Kristi, and Karen
Next year’s NCTE Annual Convention will be held in Washington, DC from November 20 – 25th. Will you be there?

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

24 thoughts on “Learning & Connecting at NCTE Leave a comment

  1. The NCTE conference in Boston was wonderful! I learned so much my head was spinning as a flew out of Boston on the Sunday evening flight! It was great to meet you and other slicers Stacey! I wish I could have slowed the hands of time while we were there…it seems like it flew by. I’m still working on reflecting and organizing my plans for sharing. It’s coming together…

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    • It’s hard to believe I’ve been home for six days! In that time I’ve gotten a cold (and gotten better), hosted Thanksgiving, celebrated Chanukah, and now Isabelle is sick. What a whirlwind!

      Hope to see you next year!

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  2. I was so sad not to connect with you gals. Perhaps next time! But I have renewed zest for my writing life after NCTE and oddly I skipped breakfast so that I could go to Penny Kittle’s session and write. It was like a dam of resistance broke (visual from Elsie’s slice today) and words came flooding out of me.

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  3. Thank you so much for those choice words of the NCTE presenters. All were worth taking time to process. Can’t wait for your posts on the sessions, it’s the next best thing to being there. And, the beautiful community of SOLers wonderful to see them together.

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  4. Sounds like it was an amazing experience. I love all the quotes you posted at the beginning. The fact that a majority of what you posted had a link to poetry made me smile, BIG smiles. I love that poetry is still alive in so many hearts of educators and being resuscitated in those who may have let it slide. I can’t wait for next year!

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  5. It certainly was exciting to be with you, Stacey, and meet so many connections that previously were just online! What a pleasure to talk with such wonderful educators! Thanks for getting us all together!

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  6. I have been experiencing NCTE through all of my virtual friends there. Sure wish I could see them face to face. One day… The conference sounds like it was rich with ideas and connections. We need these things to keep us energized.

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  7. Great recap! I’m sorry I missed you. 😦 There were SO many choices, and while I loved what I chose to do, I still was sorry for missing what I couldn’t do and not meeting everyone I wanted to meet! Love the picture! It was a whirlwind, and it’s great to read others’ perspectives on the experience. I will definitely plan on being there next year!

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  8. That sounds amazing! Last year was my first NCTE and I loved every moment. I will DEFINITELY be there next year!! Hoping to get the opportunity to meet you and share in some of these amazing experiences. Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to the blog posts about NCTE. Thank you for sharing your time with those of us that couldn’t make it this year.

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