Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.
* * *
Last year, I came home from NCTE in Boston with hope in my heart. I believed so strongly in myself and my writing life. With that motivation, I invested a lot of time into writing - making the time to write, carving out minutes and moments, seeking out other writers, joining SCBWI, believing each word was a baby step. Today I started another round of Write Daily 30 with Linda Urban and an amazing group of writers. I'm already so in love with writing all over again. I'm happy to be back at work on a draft I started in June. I added almost 500 words in 20 minutes of free writing. Not too shabby.
I love NCTE as a sort of barometer for where I am in my life in terms of being an educator, a blogger, a reader, and a writer. Two years ago, when NCTE was in Vegas, I was looking for ideas to support new teachers and their mentors. This was my second year zoning in on digital literacy but also thinking about what nourishes my soul as an educator who believes we need to remember that literacy is more than reading and that reading and writing go hand in hand. I look at my writing life now and I see how much I have grown thanks to Teachers Write and blogging and Write Daily 30. I'm a different writer today than I was last year. I've reflected on habits that work for me and surrounded myself with others who motivate me. Some of those people, I have pictures of to celebrate here today but I didn't get nearly enough pictures and there are so many people I cherish and loved catching up with who I missed out on taking pictures with. I did try...but I'll always want to do better next year.
The focus of the conference this year was storytelling and I was invited to share how what happens outside of the classroom influences what happens in the classroom. The idea that literacy is everyone's job really resonates with me. We all have to be invested in making reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing something fun and engaging for students. The pictures below show all sorts of different people who share a love of literacy - teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators - and what it all boils down to is inevitably, our passion for literacy shines through in everything we do and spreads to students. Each of these people here have influenced me professionally and personally and I'm happy to celebrate them here as I share a bit of my story at NCTE this year.
CeCe Bell - author of El Deafo who I had to tell my whole career path story to...and she listened!
I had to take a picture with George at the Candlewick booth. Little Bean has been enamored with all of Chris Haughton's books lately thanks to the Hat Monkey app!
The One and Only Gae Polisner of Teachers Write Friday Feedback fame!
Franki is always so busy at NCTE that I worry I won't see her...but I did!
Seymour Simon - I loved telling him about Peanut, my forever, non-fiction fan.
Mr. Maquizga himself, all shiny and newly married, Brian Wyzlic!
Margaret Simon! Meeting Teachers Write friends in real life is always amazing!
JoEllen McCarthy is such fun and always full of energy and knowledge!
I snuck into Sunday morning breakfast to sit in the back and her Jon Klassen talk about his books. I can never get enough of hearing about all the thought that goes into his books. Ever fascinating.
This was one of the huge highlights of the exhibit hall...seeing the Kate Messner's 59 Reasons to Write will be out soon from Stenhouse! I can hardly wait!
I've had such a blast with Amy Blaine on Twitter talking books and writing and it was great to finally meet her in person. She's a blast.
All the way to DC to hang out with Ms. Michele Knott who literally lives in the town next door.
I get a little emotional about people who have had such an impact on my life...and when I saw Katie Dicesare I struggled not to cry. NCTE is like a family reunion for me. I'm so glad to have know such great people.
The sparkly, fairy-in-disguise, Laurel Snyder. I loved getting to meet her in Atlanta over the summer and it was a treat to see her again.
It just wasn't quite the same without Colby Sharp there but I loved that Donalyn paid tribute to him in her Nerdy Book Club panel introduction.
Jason Lewis is a new Nerdy friend but a Nerdy friend just the same.
I was so happy to find Kellee Moye and to visit with her. I even got to meet Ann M. Martin with her. Yes, Ann M. Martin. Babysitter's Club fan for life!
Getting out of the hotel/convention center was great. It was a short walk to little downtown-type area. Bonus, I got to visit with Melissa Thomson and gab about writing. Check out her jazzy shades!
Here I am with my side-pony and Jenny Han. How awesome is she? I love her writing.
And finally, it's me and Stephanie Perkins! She was super sweet and totally great.
I missed pictures with people like my roommate, Alyson Beecher, Cynthia Alaniz, Lisa Morris Wilkey, Candace Fleming, Donalyn Miller, Katherine Sokolowski, Jenni and Matt Holm, John Shu, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Jennifer Nielsen, Jen Bryant, Melissa Sweet, Melissa Stewart, Sarah Albee, Kate Messner, Linda Urban, Gigi McAllister, Susan Dee, Deb Frazier, Karen Terlecky, Jilian Heise, Sarah Anderson, Jeff Anderson, Terry Thompson, Heidi Stemple, Jane Yolen, Jon Klassen, Gareth Hinds, and so many others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Hugs to everyone and remind me to get a picture next time!
Looking back at these pictures makes me so happy. I'm always glad to visit with friends, learn new things, and discover some new books along the way. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to attend NCTE and I look forward to it every year because it does give me so much to take back to classrooms in my district. If you haven't been yet, I encourage you to think about adding it to your to-do list for November 2015. Maybe I'll see you there?