Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NCTE 15 Takeaways

It's dusk on the country highway heading north to central New York. I watch the sky turn from a lighter shade of grey to a darker one as nature shuts her eyes to the world. The road is lit only by headlights. In these long stretches of road, I recall the darkness of the night sky over Chicago when returning home from NCTE 15 on Sunday. It was a different darkness, a sky lit by rows of lights that reflected onto a glistening snowy landscape, a new wonder of late autumn's passing days that I never experienced before Thanksgiving. 

Reorienting myself after the hustle and bustle of NCTE 15 has been a slow process. Conference energy is no longer felt as my family makes our way to my hometown. I am trying to readjust to the real world of life as I know it but exhaustion from traveling is setting in. Nonetheless there is so much to be said about the learning gathered from the conference. 

Falling into Learning

Igniting wonder in learners was a focal point for my NCTE 15 team who spoke passionately about fueling the fires of creativity and independence. You can access my first post with a photo of my team here. 

Throughout the conference I captured tweetable nuggets of wisdom:

From the opening day:
  • Song and poetry are like sister arts. ~Taylor Mali
  • Celebrate the arts of language: the ability to read, write, and think critically is important.
  • Get caught trying. ~Chelsea Clinton
  • Failure is a badge of courage. ~Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Throughout the conference:
  • If children need to grow, to stretch, to dream, to laugh, to cry, to find a friend, to vanquish a foe, they should read. AND When we want our kids to become readers, we have to do something really, really important. We have to let them read. ~Kylene Beers
  • Part of writing is breaking the rules and finding your voice. ~Kate DiCamillo
At the Heinemann breakfast:
  • Lucy Calkins posed a question for all of us to ponder: How can we use the written word to lift the level of reading? Then, followed with we need to lead children to literate lives.
  • Essence of writing workshop is "Watch me. Let's try. Off you go". ~Maggie B. Roberts
From the Wonderopolis breakfast:
  • Wondering builds a habit of mind. Students need to become participatory citizens of the world. AND Nonfiction is about wonder. It has been transformed through wondering. ~Georgia Heard
  • Teachers need to be concierges of wonder for kids (Paul W. Hankins) and the connectors (Kristen Ziemke).
  • We need to teach children to be uncommonly courageous. ~Paul W. Hankins
A statement that sums up the essence of why we continue to learn:
  • Recognize the power of literacy and reading to transform students' lives. ~Dick Robinson, Scholastic's CEO
Although the trip to NCTE 15 was a long one with many delays on the return, I walked away with inspired to continue to transform education. Learning alongside literary luminaries, colleagues, and others made the trip a worthwhile endeavor. 

This post is dedicated to all the eduheroes of NCTE 15 and to be included in the Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life

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