Shakespeare Set Free

How on earth did I know know about Teaching A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth before this month?! I know, I know….I did not teach Shakespeare in sixth grade. But still, I try to stay up-to-date on the newest and best resources. Thanks to Dana Huff

English Companion Ning

I love the English Companion Ning. I always learn so much when I stop by and I have a great time when I follow along with their book clubs.  Right now, the Ning has almost 10,000 members so it is a great way to reach out and network with other Language Arts/English teachers.  I think of it as my own personal learning network with personalized professional development.

 

Unfamiliar with a Ning?  It works a lot like a traditional message board and is easy to navigate.  You simply register and then explore!  The English Companion Ning has forums, blogs, groups, and book clubs.  I love following the conversations in the forum, the ideas in the book clubs, and the camaraderie of the groups.  If you aren’t a member yet I highly recommend it!

NCTE 2009

Today was uplifting, inspiring, and outstanding. I regret that I did not go to all four days of NCTE and I definitely plan to go back the next time the convention is in the area. If you have not gone to NCTE you need to get there- it is unreal! (I do, however, regret having to get up at 4:30am to get into Philly by 7:45am)

My panel presented at 8:30am and I figured we would have no more than ten people, due to the early hour and the fact that it was the last day of the conference. Needless to say, I was shocked because we had close to 50 people attend! I had so much fun preaching about the merits of read alouds in the upper grades and I think I convinced a few audience members to give it a try.

For those of you who could not attend, I have attached my handouts below.

Please feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions!

Teacher’s College Saturday Reunion Notes

On Saturday, I attended the Teacher’s College Reading & Writing project Saturday Reunion.  I went to three sessions, met Richard Peck, saw Sarah Weeks, Avi, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Richard Peck perform reader’s theater, and had an amazing time.  I promised I would upload my notes, and here they are!  I’m still decompressing and reflecting on my own thoughts, but hopefully my notes will help some of you who weren’t able to attend (or who were there, but in different sessions!)

 

Session 1: Mentor Texts Can Teach Students at Every Stage of the Writing Process: Secure the Help of a Pro to Inspire & Instruct Students as They Rehearse, Draft, Revise, and Edit

     


Session II: Responding to Ten of the Most Common Issues in Student Writing (Carl Anderson)

   

Session III: It’s Not Just the Facts: Note-Taking & Idea-Making in the Content Areas   

   

*I’m using a new document server, Issuu, so let me know if there are any problems.  (Scribd kept trying to convert my handwriting to typing!)

Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project Saturday Reunion

I spent today at the Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project Saturday Reunion.  I took pages and pages of notes, at 3 different sessions.  I also met Richard Peck, who was outstanding (and looks just like a lot of his characters!)  The closing was presented by ART- Authors Readers Theater and they were phenomenal.  Pam Munoz Ryan, Sarah Weeks, Avi, and Richard Peck.  Unbelievable!  (Check out a sample of their work here).

I’m still processing everything, but expect a reflection and some uploaded notes tomorrow!  It was a great day, even if I did miss seeing a bunch of blogger friends, like Stacey from Two Writing Teachers.  Next time!

Teachers College Reading & Writing Project Saturday Reunion

This Saturday I will be attending the Teacher’s College Reading & Writing Project Saturday Reunion.  The Saturday Reunions are two of my favorite days of the year…..and the best professional development!  I know that BestbookIhavenotread will be there….will you?

 

TC Saturday Reunion- Morning Keynote Speaker James Howe

On Saturday, October 25th, I attended the 75th Saturday Reunion at Teachers College- Columbia University.  The morning keynote was given by James Howe, the author of more than 70 novels, including The Misfits, Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen, Pinky & Rex, and much more.  

Howe’s keynote was titled, “Write From the Heart” and was inspirational.  Howe was funny, touching, and relevant.  One of my favorite quotes was,

…to write from the heart is to open the doors of possibility in you and the reader…

Wow!  What a fantastic way to introduce writing to our students!  We write for our reader and we write for ourselves.  What we write opens new doors for us and for them.  When Howe shared these words I was immediately struck by them.  I plan to share this with my students tomorrow, along with bringing them up again when we work on the heart door (a la Georgia Heard) in our poetry unit.  

My notes from the keynote jump around, so please excuse the stream-of-consciousness aspect of this entry.  I want to try and share everything!

Points Made by James Howe:

  • children need teachers, teachers need teachers, writers need teachers
  • the publishing industry has become filled with concept books, tie-ins, celebrity books, rewritten best sellers.  Original, good literature for kids is becoming harder to get published.
  • if Howe could design the language arts curriculum for fourth grade, he would spend the year on poetry–> reading and writing it!
  • Jim Howe shared a poem that I plan to hang in my classroom tomorrow morning.  Short and powerful, Mary Oliver’s Instructions for Living a Life will become a mantra in my class.
Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
  • Howe also shared one of his favorite poems, by Marie Howe.  His reading brought tears to my eyes. (To read the entire poem, click here)
  • Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
    And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
    
    waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
    It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
    
    the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off.
    For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
    
    I've been thinking: This is what the living do.
    • Fantastic lead paragraph to show kids, one that really opens doors for the reader is from Barbara Park’s Mick Harte Was Here (by the way, love the new cover!)
    • first sentences/paragraphs are doors to the world
    James Howe said many other wonderful things, but I started to listen more and write less at this point.  However, if you ever have the opportunity to see him, I highly recommend it!
    Stay tuned for notes from the sessions I attended later this week!
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