NCTE12 Reflections in the Form of 17-Word Reviews

At the first session I went to, Kelly Gallagher shared a few assignments he uses with his students. He had us try out one of them, the 17-word review. I wrote my review on Firefly: Only the best space western ever made. Too bad it was canceled after 11 episodes. Boo Fox.

I decided to use the 17-word review to collect my takeaways from each session I attended at NCTE.

Penny Kittle, “Reading Like Writers”: Readers have plans for the next book. Non-readers don’t. Most powerful words for someone struggling: me too.

Kelly Gallagher, “Write Like Them: Using Models to Improve Writing”: I go, you go. Or professional writer goes, I go, you go. Teacher writes and struggles too.

Jim Burke, “Talking about Writing”: Kids should talk before, during, and after activity. Just keep asking why: why? why? why? why? why?

Robert Probst and Kylene Beers, “Literature as a 21st-Century Skill”: The kids who keep you going back to the classroom are the ones you failed. Left early.

Sir Ken Robinson: If we customize education, most of the problems in education will disappear. Teaching is an artistic profession.

Allison Skerrett, “Part of Who I Am”: Our students have rich literate lives outside classroom. Ask students how they read and write and compose.

Katherine Bomer, “Already Composed”: Writing conferences are like improv. Say yes and. Add rather than subtract. Accept. Celebrate. Yes.

Deb Kelt, “An Appreciative Classroom”: Dreams are hanging butterflies in her classroom. Students literally reach for their dreams. Let students teach teacher.

Kelly Gallagher, “Beyond Literary Analysis”: Where is the place for reflective writing in the Common Core? See Kelly’s book for more details. 

Penny Kittle, “Writing with Passion”: Research as inquiry and discovery. Find questions as you read, follow those, revise your thinking and draft.

And a bonus from Penny Kittle: Don Murray said habit makes writing easy. That’s a lie. But habit makes blank page unintimidating.

Tom Newkirk, “It’s All About Plot”: Story is at the heart of every piece of good writing. Also, great teachers are the eccentrics.

Thor Gibbons, “Our Storied Childhoods”: Create a digital story about a childhood reading experience. Which stories were mirrors? Windows? Which were both?

Jessica DeMink-Carthew, “Blogging for Teacher Reflection”: We blog to connect; we anticipate a reader. Create the conditions for growing reflective habits of mind.

Maggie Peterson, “Learning at the Hashtag”: Use twitter to create a social and collaborative learning community outside the classroom. Think; explore outside materials.

Scott Westerfeld, ALAN Breakfast: We still have illustrated books. The illustrations just happen outside the pages of the book, produced by fans.

Amanda Graham, “Can I Keep My Facebook Account?”: Don’t friend students. [Too late!] Don’t post anything you don’t want a parent or an administrator reading.

Anthony Sedun, “Teacher Narratives in the 21st Century”: What kind of stories are we allowed to tell? Can you say what Sir Ken Robinson said?

Shekema Silveri, “Inspiring the Next Generation”: So many teachers feel disconnected because we don’t share our stories. We feel like we are the only one.

Mike Roberts, “What Your Classroom and a Weekend In Vegas Should Have in Common”: Unmotivated kids are simply looking to be inspired. Take risks. Make learning exciting. Collaborate every day. Share.

KaiLonnie Dunsmore, “Cross-Disciplinary Teams”: Reform learning: move from being the superhero teacher to being part of a supersystem. Wonder, curiosity, questions.

Sharon Roth, “Assessing the Assets”: Medicine offers interesting model for reforming our thinking about and practices of professional development. Deprivatizing our practices.

Diane Waff, “The Power of Teacher Inquiry Communities”: Teacher inquiry is a richer way of doing assessment. We must have a deeper agenda than scores.

Kevin Hodgson, “Writing: In Short”: 6-word memoirs. 25-word stories. Memes. If you could put your life in one sentence, what would it be?

Sherman Alexie, Secondary Luncheon: Writers witness. Teachers are the Somali cab drivers, making sure each kid gets to the front door.

Bruce Novak and Jeff Wilhelm, “Zen and the Art of English Teacher Maintenance”: What are you teaching for? What brings you joy in teaching? What decreases joy? Be the change.

Bud Hunt, Report from Cyberspace: Hack. Play. Make. Where do you play? What are the constraints? How to create a way through?

Sara Kajder, Report from Cyberspace: Do better things, not things better. If I’m failing, I know I’m learning. How are you connecting?

Troy Kicks, Report from Cyberspace: Destroy digital literacy by asking Googleable questions, using coolest apps, counting slides, banning digitalk, blogging without blogging.

Tiffany Sedberry, “Leaving the Classroom”: The number one problem beginning, experienced, and veteran teachers face is student apathy, disenfranchisement, and disengagement.

Liz Homan, “Authoring Our Identities”: The binary between gone digital and non-digital teaching isn’t so clearcut. Complicate the narrative. Take baby steps.

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