Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Who Gives You the Gifts of Roots and Wings Professionally? #SOL18 #MRAC2018
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Slice of Life: Who Gives You the Gifts of Roots and Wings Professionally? #SOL18 #MRAC2018

The MRA (Massachusetts Reading Association) conference is one we never miss.  They say there are two gifts in life to be given, roots and wings.  MRA gives us both.  This conference feels like a memory book as we walk down the hallways – seeing faces from the past, sharing snippets of what is happening classrooms with those who are present, and shaking hands with some we hope to learn with in the future.  MRA represents the foundation of our beliefs – these are our people.  We feel at home here.

Yesterday we were inspired by the messages we heard from presenters.  Again and again, themes of joy, purpose, story, choice, engagement, community, and connection filled the conference. Our literacy heroes – Kathy Collins, Penny Kittle, Pam Allyn, and Ralph Fletcher – inspired and challenged us to keep these themes alive in our classrooms.  To teach – teach our butts off – and keep these themes alive.  It filled our hearts to hear others – those we look to for guidance – advocate for schools that value both proficiency and passion.  Our children deserve both.

Pam Allyn reminded us that at the heart of literacy is story.  She believes literacy is the ultimate innovation.  Literacy is twenty-first-century innovation.  Teaching every child to read in a joyous manner is true equity.  “Every child has the right to that opportunity.  Every child no matter their zip code, gender, location or cultural background.”  She shared how she is bringing this to life.  How she is developing and inspiring Super Readers around the world.  In her book (and this presentation) she shared 7 Strengths to Open a World of Possible:

  • Belonging
  • Curiosity
  • Friendship
  • Kindness
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Hope

Then she talked about how to bring this to life – what is essential to inspiring a super reader … (drumroll)

BOOKS!!!

Teachers need the tools to teach literacy.  Literacy is the ultimate innovation.  We may not know what the world will be in the future, but in the words of Pam Allyn – literacy will always be relevant, and it is a civic human right to learn how to read. “Hope is a basic human need. When we lose our hope, we lose our humanity. Reading and books are hope.” – Pam Allyn, MRAC2018

To learn more about Pam Allyn and her book, Every Child a Super Reader, check out our blog post about it.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.

Clare and Tammy

7 Comments
  • Franmcveigh
    Posted at 11:46h, 10 April Reply

    Yes, “Literacy will always be relevant” – what a great reminder! So much great learning being shared via #mrac2018. What a great community!

  • Diane Esolen Dougherty
    Posted at 11:50h, 10 April Reply

    “Literacy is the ultimate innovation.” There is so much wisdom in that statement. Children (all of us really) deserve to have time and space to explore our literacy lives.

  • Stacey Shubitz
    Posted at 18:14h, 10 April Reply

    I have been seeing a lot of tweets come out of that conference and it sounds like a really good one. I hope to attend someday. Thanks for sharing your learning with us, Clare.

  • Patricia Palmer
    Posted at 22:00h, 10 April Reply

    It was great shaking hands with you and Tammy yesterday! I love this line:

    “This conference feels like a memory book as we walk down the hallways – seeing faces from the past, sharing snippets of what is happening classrooms with those who are present, and shaking hands with some we hope to learn with in the future.”

    The memory book image is so powerful and relevant. Looking forward to working and learning alongside both of you in the future!

  • Christie Wyman
    Posted at 22:50h, 10 April Reply

    This is terrible, but can you believe I just learned about MRA and the conference? How did this happen? I’ve been reading about it and it sounds fantastic. Isn’t Kathy the best? I took a class with her at UNH last summer and she is not only wise, but hilarious. I also have to add that after listening to your Heinemann podcast I made plans to redo my book tubs in my K class and have ordered extra GR books not for our book closet, but for our K team to have in our rooms. Thank you for all you do!

  • Jen
    Posted at 02:11h, 11 April Reply

    Thank your for sharing about the conference! It sounds wonderful! I had the opportunity to hear Pam Allyn speak at the Shenandoah University Children’s Literature conference last year and was so inspired by her message!

  • Michelle Nero
    Posted at 02:30h, 11 April Reply

    I love hearing messages like this … one of hope and inspiration! We need to keep hearing these messages to keep us pushing forward in this uphill fight. There is still so much to do, still so much work to be done. Thanks for the uplifting reminder!!

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