SOL Day 24

I spent most of my day at the NJCTE Spring Conference at Montclair State University.  NJCTE is the local affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English; we have a small fall conference each year, but the big conference is always in the spring.  I did not present this year, so it was nice to be able to go and learn for the day.  There were about 200 people registered and a great group of authors on the speaking schedule.

I woke up bright and early to arrive at Montclair by 9am. I ended up skipping the first session of workshops to catch up with some friends and talk about books and teaching, but I learned a ton at the second and third session.  In the second session, I had the opportunity to learn about some amazing, new-to-me contemporary poets and ways to bring them into the curriculum.  I’ve already ordered books by Ocean Vuong, Rachel McKibbens. and Clint Smith.  I left the workshop feeling inspired to integrate more poetry into my curriculum.

During the third session I was able to attend my friend Oona’s workshop.  Oona is my fellow #nerdcampNJ organizer and we are always running around at Nerdcamp or presenting at the same time, so it was great to have the opportunity to learn from her.  I walked out of her session about reading workshop in secondary school with a ton of great ideas.

The day ended with a keynote by author Jason Reynolds and he was as inspiring as he always is.  I’ve had the pleasure of learning from Jason a number of times and he always forces his audience to think and then pushes them to think even more critically about their relationship with their students.  He’s an inspiration  (and his books are pretty awesome, too).

I didn’t get home until almost 6:30pm because we had a board meeting immediately following the conference; I left my house again at 7:30 to drive to my parents for a birthday celebration.  Needless to say, I’m exhausted!  But I’m looking forward to decompressing a bit tomorrow and ordering some new poetry books!

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