Posts Tagged ‘#NCTE15’

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.



After four days at NCTE, my brain was mush. I made it to the Minneapolis airport just fine with about an hour to spare before my flight. So I moseyed to my gate, stopping off at a cute shop. I decided to buy a squirrel for a new class pet. Not to replace Jack the lemur, or Ernie the penguin, but to add to the bunch. I took this picture outside of the shop. I planned to tell my students that I found the squirrel who needed a home.

Little did I know I was taking my time getting to my seat number, not my gate number. I got to terminal B and realized that my seat was 8B, but my gate was C5. I backtracked and made it to the gate with few minutes to spare before my flight.

When we returned to school last week, I told my students all about this adventure. I challenged them to write a story about the squirrel. Of course, we needed a name, too. Two of my creative writers took the challenge. I want to share them both because they are just too cute.

The Squirrel Anthony and And Bear Mowgli that got Lost at the Airport

One day not too long ago, they had a stuffed squirrel at the airport. The name of this creature was Anthony. Anthony had a friendly bear for a friend. His name was Mowgli. Mowgli and Anthony had been left at the airport for years, desperate for a home. One day many years after they had given up they found a nice, friendly, lost lady. Her name was Margaret. She was trying to get to Minneapolis but she got lost. Desperate for a new class pet for her kids that she teaches, she found Anthony talking to Mowgli in the crack of Mowgli’s arm. She asked Anthony if he would go back to Louisiana with her. Not being hesitant Anthony said yes! She finally recognized Mowgli. With a sorry and a, ”Will you come home with me and Anthony?” Mowgli said no! The reason he said no was because Mowgli was a statue and all Margaret had was a tiny little backpack. The bear also said that he wanted Anthony to be happy and that maybe someday he will get another offer to go home with somebody else. With a shrug and an, ”I wish you could come!” Anthony and Margaret set off into the depths of the airport and finally found the gate and set off to Minneapolis and came back to Louisiana to a nice Thanksgiving break and a room full of happy kids that is also the home of a pet squirrel named Anthony. They all loved him…(Lani)

Meredith, the Squirrel, and Smokey and Bruno, the Bears

Once upon a time there were two bears, a big one named Bruno and a small one named Smokey. And, they were the airport bears.They were statues and they stood there all day greeting people. But, one specific day Bruno and Smokey saw a rushing business lady, running to catch her flight and her bag was half-way open and as she ran a little grey squirrel fell to the cold airport ground. Then, a little girl picks up the squirrel and waits on the bench by the bears, when the child’s mother said that she couldn’t have the squirrel because they don’t know where it has been. So the mother places the squirrel in the crook of the arm of Smokey. Then they left to get on their flight. So, Bruno and Smokey started talking to the squirrel and found out that her name was Meredith. And, over the period of about 5 days they became good friends much better friends than she was with the business lady. And the most special day was when Margaret a GT teacher from New Iberia was on her way to Minneapolis when she found Meredith, and she took Meredith with her. Smokey and Bruno were sad , but they knew that it was right. So Margaret brought Meredith back with her class and they loved her very, very much. THE END (Emily)

Are you smiling?  All the best stories end with “they loved her/him very much.”

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

One of the highlights for me at NCTE is meeting all my favorite authors. Every one I meet is generous and kind. I love sharing stories of how my students connect to their books. The authors feel so proud when you talk to them about their books. They also reflect right back to me and appreciate the work I do in the classroom.

I can’t wait to share this video with my students. Some of them wrote letters that I delivered to their favorite author. Kate DiCamillo has already written back.

Making connections to authors enriches the experience of reading. Students learn that there is a real person behind the words. They realize the importance of writing. They aspire to be authors themselves.

If you are writing about digital literacy, please link up your blog post. Thanks.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

“I write to know what I am thinking.” Someone said this. Someone wise. I can’t remember who because there are days and people and ideas between hearing these words and today. But this is exactly what I am doing. Trying to process my thinking from NCTE15 through writing.

My trip home from Minneapolis was long. My brain is full to overflowing with words, ideas, love, and hope. At NCTE, teachers are honored. Teachers are fed. Teachers are inspired.

At NCTE15, I discovered…

Teachers are rock stars to authors. The work we do in the classroom around books is why authors do the work they do. They love hearing the stories of what we are doing with their babies (books).

Allow students to explore what they are passionate about.  Real authors like Kate Messner, Laura Purdie Salas, Laurel Snyder, and more are driven by their endless curiosity.  We need to allow wondering and wandering to ignite passionate research for our students.

Kate DiCamillo says to give young writers the gift to be themselves. “Break the rules and find yourself.”

Sharon Draper says, “Words are Power!”  We need love–connections–peace, and books are how we do that.

The books authors write are their babies, and when you love their babies, you love them.  I watched author after author brighten up when I talked to them about how their books affected me and my students.

“Literature can empower young people. Books are like amusement parks.  Sometimes you have to let the kids choose the ride.” Kwame Alexander.

Schools should be scavenger hunts, places where students can feel safe to wonder, wander, and discover. Georgia Heard, Wonderopolis breakfast

When I look through my notes, I notice that most of what I heard affirmed my teaching philosophy: Open the door.  Be safe. Be curious.  Expand the horizon. Reach for the stars. 

At the Children's Literature Awards Lunch with Julianne Harmatz, me, Laura Purdie Salas, Catherine Flynn, and Heidi Mordhorst.

At the Children’s Literature Awards Lunch with Julianne Harmatz, me, Laura Purdie Salas, Catherine Flynn, and Heidi Mordhorst.

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

NCTE 2015 is only a few short days away, and I am beyond excited. This year I am participating in two presentations. I will be on a round table session on Friday at 4:00 #E20: Igniting Wonder in Students and Teachers: Fueling the Fires of Creativity and Independence in the Classroom. Here I will be talking about DigiLit Sunday and digital literacy. I created an Emaze to show. In it I show how my students present their various “Wonders” to the class. Last week I wrote about how I assign and assess these weekly research endeavors.

NCTE flyer

J.02 Write Beside Them (Donald GravesAwards Winners)101CSponsored by the Elementary SectionSteering CommitteeThe presentation will feature three recipientsof NCTE’s Donald H. Graves Award for Excellencein the Teaching of Writing. This awa copy

The second session is a panel of Donald Graves Award winners from 2013, 2014, and 2015. I’m a little intimidated by this one because I am beside some amazing teachers as well as on of my all time favorite mentors, Katie Wood Ray. J02: Write Beside Them Saturday, 2:45.

For this panel, I have made a Google Slide Show about blogging with students. I made a card with the major reasons for student blogging.

Kidblog card

I would like to start a Voxer chat for NCTE 15. If you are going and would like to chat, let me know. Even if you are not going, and you would like to hear and comment on what we are learning and sharing, you can join in. Contact me by Voxer, email, Twitter, or in the comments.

And as always, if you are writing about digital literacy, please leave a link.

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