Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jen's NCTE/ALAN 12 Recap!

I'm still recovering from the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention that was in Las Vegas this year. Last year I went Friday night and Saturday because it was in Chicago. This year, I flew in on Thursday morning and stayed through NCTE and for the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents post conference. That means I didn't get home until super late on Tuesday night. It was a great trip...but it was long. I was excited to be home and to catch up on much needed sleep. In the pictures, I look more and more tired as the days go by! I made sure to take lots of pictures so I could share all the NCTE/ALAN fun!
Thursday, we made it over to the MGM Grand to see the first breakout session with Donalyn Miller, Terri Lesesne, Franki Sibberson, and Sarah Kajder. They talked about building reading communities online and offline. I was excited to hear their ideas because this has been a main focus for me this year.

Friday, Sir Ken Robinson started off truly making me rethink education in general and educational reform. I attended a breakout session about using Pecha Kuchas. I was so excited for this breakout and it did not disappoint. I love going to sessions and instantly having a million ideas to put to use. It gets me so excited to get back to school and share my ideas. I was excited to go to Kellee's presentation about helping struggling readers with Katherine, JennAnn, Beck, and Lynne (and a high school teacher, I didn't know). Their stories were very inspiring!

Saturday morning, we started early at a presentation that included Anita Silvey, Kate Messner and Lindsey Leavitt. They shared great insight into writing and about how important it is for teachers to actively write. Kate even shared Teachers Write!
I saw Ralph Fletcher speak about encouraging boys to read and RJ Palacio and two other authors talk about characters with special needs in their books. I also attended an Ignite session where speakers shared their ideas in regards to collaboration and inquiry. 

On Sunday, we were up early again to attend Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts' breakout on research and note-taking in a classroom. I loved their ideas and it made me think about how fostering a reading and writing community lends itself to fostering a community of readers and writers who research and share their findings. 
I was also able to attend the Scholastic brunch on Sunday and to hear about lots of great books coming soon from Scholastic. There were so many I am excited about! 

Overall, the breakout sessions were great and I found great authors in the exhibit hall and then at ALAN, but the company and networking was amazing. It feels like spending time with family to be with my Nerdy Book Club friends. Even people I had never met before but have talked with on Twitter are like family. It's amazing the connections we can make online and how that transfers to in person. 
I learned about the idea of a back channel and using Today's Meet as a back channel. I chatted with one of the co-founders of EdCamp and am excited to plan one now! I talked with Meenoo about supporting new teachers and asked Chris about Teachers College and how they support teachers. I am eager to change the idea of professional development as sit and get. It was a treat to meet Heather Radar from Choice Literacy and to get to know more about her work. The learning and ideas that this conference has sparked is awesome. The best part is that I can continue conversations and friendships thanks to Twitter and e-mail. I love it! It's great to know that I am part of such an awesome community that continues to learn and share with each other. 

Speaking of community, it's pretty crazy to think that I could convince 30 people to put on a ridiculous, red, pointy hat and say, "This is not my hat," but I did because these people are part of this amazing community that celebrates books and reading. I'm so glad to know everyone in this video and look forward to hopefully seeing them again at next year's NCTE - but on Twitter or over at Nerdy Book Club before that!

If you haven't read Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back or This Is Not My Hat,
I suggest you head to your favorite bookish establishment and read these books! 

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