25 Nov NCTE 2013 – Teacher Matter, Kids Count!
NCTE13 was amazing. It is great to have time to think, reflect, connect and learn with so many people. We are exhausted and invigorated at the same time! We could never put into writing everything we learned, but here are some the things we plan to think about, pursue and play with:
1) Social media made this conference better than ever! Our professional network grew so much since we began “pinning, tweeting, blogging and friending” this July. It was great to meet so many “tweeps” in person at the conference.
2) Bill Bass, Franki Sibberson, and Ann Marie Corgill left us thinking about using technology to build community in our classrooms. Technology is often viewed as something that is causing our students to not communicate or interact. This session pushed our thinking and reminded us that “we need to keep shifting our thinking when we are thinking digitally.” (Bill Bass) Ann Marie and Franki showed us how they are intentionally teaching their students to think, talk and listen to each other while they are using these digital tools. Technology is a part of our world and the world of our students. We need to teach them how to use it within a literate community. Ann Marie’s quote struck us, “You can’t create the future by clinging to the past.”
3) Karen Terlecky hosted a session on Digital Kidwatching with Cathy Mere, Katie Keier, Susan Dee, Mary Bellevance, and Deb Frazier. We realize we need to think more about how we can use technology to collect formative assessment and make students part of this process. Each tool they shared made the collection and analysis so easy. Listening and observing our students in the process of learning is the most powerful data we have to help us understand what our students need to become engaged readers and writers. We are looking forward to trying lots of tools they shared and even thinking about getting iPads! Here is the link to the tools that were shared in this session: https://www.smore.com/3sxe-kidwatching-in-a-digital-world
4) Justin Stygles hosted a session on reinventing reading by connecting song lyrics and books to engage readers in deep thinking. Songs are short texts that have universal themes, life lessons, various perspectives, historical connections and responses to important events. Students love music. Justin showed us how he takes this excitement to get his students talking and thinking about songs and books.
5) Donalyn Miller along with Colby Sharp, Jenni Holm, Teri Lesesne, Kellee Moye, Cindy Minnich and Katherine Sokolowski led a session on fostering reading engagement. They reminded us that as our lives change, our reading habits also change. Therefore, we need to teach our students what to do when they fall out of the habit of reading. Instead of being the sole source for book recommendations our students need to learn how to use online resources (Goodreads, Twitter, Blogs, Author webpages, etc.) as well as other readers to help them choose texts. They emphasized the importance of teaching students to set their own reading goals and to develop their own action plans. Here is a link to the Nerdy Book Club post that includes all of their presentations: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/nerdy-book-club-session-at-ncte/
6) Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts, and Maggie Roberts inspired us in their presentation on close reading. There was so much they shared, but the quote that summed it up for us was “Engagement is not just a thing, it is the only thing.”
7) Jarrett Krosoczka explained his process for how he comes up with his ideas and how he creates his characters. He also shared how this passion for art and comics was alive when he was a child. He had so much to say about how specific teachers and his grandfather encouraged these passions. Here is his TED talk about how he became an artist and a writer. http://www.ted.com/talks/jarrett_j_krosoczka_how_a_boy_became_an_artist.html
8) Jeff Anderson, Kathy Collins and Matt Glover talked about assessing in the now. They reminded us that listening to our students is the most important thing we can do for them. Here are a few quotes about assessment that we LOVED:
“The most important data is right in front of us.”
“We need to give feedback. How we give it is essential.”
“We need to recognize what takes us out of the NOW and focus on the things that take us into the NOW.”
So much to digest, think about and learn. We love being part of a professional community that loves learning. We left this conference confident that we need to stay focused on our students and remember that the moments we have in classrooms provide the most powerful data. In a time when assessment has become such a heated topic we were thrilled to hear so many talking about the importance of watching our students and using formative data every day. Formative data is about teachers and students. In the past year we have found ourselves repeating the same words again and again when we are collaborating with teachers — it has become somewhat of a slogan for us. The messages we heard at NCTE 2013 validated the importance of these words –
Teachers Matter, Kids Count!