Saturday, November 28, 2015

Celebrating NCTE and More

Well, that was an unplanned break! I hadn't planned on taking two weeks off, but during the NCTE/ Thanksgiving season, these things happen. That makes me especially grateful to join Ruth Ayres and her celebration community today. You can find Ruth's blog and more celebrations linked up HERE

This week I am celebrating...

My friend, Donalyn, calls NCTE "plaque removal." Many friends remarked that they wouldn't be teaching anymore without this conference. I think both comments are a testament to the power of this conference. I travel to NCTE and am immediately surrounded by friends who are as passionate about teaching as me. I am beyond grateful for a district and husband who support me attending this conference each year. What a blessing it is to listen to so many presenters and friends inspire me and want me to return to the classroom that minute and teach? A powerful experience. 
A photo for my students with Melissa.
Our classes have connected this year from Maine to Illinois. 

I love that so many authors attend NCTE. I imagine writing to be a lonely job at times. Being able to share the impact their writing has had on my students (and myself) is important to me. To me, authors are part of a partnership with teachers and librarians. We work together to hook children into reading. Getting to know authors, hearing their stories, gives me an added conversation to share with students. I was grateful to celebrate books, authors, illustrators, and publishers with my students when I returned from NCTE. We did some "speed dating" with many of the ARCs I brought back. To see the excitement in the room while the kids previewed books was exhilarating. 
My students are crazy over Phil Bildner's A Whole New Ballgame.

Nerdy Book Club
I've long been a member of the Nerdy Book Club, even before there was a club. I think anyone who grew up as I did with an addiction to books was too. I love that Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp took this concept of loving books and created a blog. Along with those two and Cindy Minnich, I now help run that blog by scheduling posts. It is a great resource. But NCTE each year reminds me that Nerdy is more than a blog, it is this entire community that we are a part of. Presenting with the Nerdy panel this year was powerful. My students know that presenting stresses me out, but this one didn't. I felt good about it. Attending the Nerdy party on Saturday made me smile. All of these teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, etc gathered together - what an amazing community! Long live Nerdy! 
Our fabulous Nerdy Book Club panel for NCTE.

My Students
Man alive, my students rock. I've known this, of course, but traveling away from them reinforced it. I created a Padlet for them to comment on, if they wanted, when I was gone. For my part, I promised to add photos. Many had never been on a plane, so I said I'd take a photo out of the window. I also promised I'd take a photo with some authors for them and post them there. I had no idea that it would be my students posting comment to me that would move me to tears. They knew that flying and presenting made me nervous and felt compelled to write me notes. Such cool kids. I think I will set up a Padlet for us to communicate over Christmas break as well. It was an awesome experience. 

NCTE takes me away from not only my students, but my amazing family. I am grateful they understand why I feel compelled to go to these conferences and not only tell me to go, but encourage it. That also makes coming home all the sweeter. Spending time together this week over Thanksgiving break is a blessing I don't take lightly. My boys are growing far too fast, Chris and I try to step back and simply enjoy it on a regular basis. 

Hoping you all had a wonderful week!