NCTE 14: The Story of a First-Timer

So, I did it! I finally went to NCTE, and it. was. amazing. My kids survived without me for two days. The house was still standing when I returned home. And I would say that my first trip away from my family in thirteen years went off without any major hitches.

Well, that’s if you don’t count me leaving my Ipad at home, my phone dying first thing in the morning, and oh, wait…leaving my charger behind as well. So, some small hitches I guess. I felt a little disconnected, not being able to tweet during sessions or use the convention app with my intricately planned itinerary.  But, none of that really mattered, because I MET:



The wonderful Rules author, Cynthia Lord


National Book Award winner, Jacqueline Woodson


GRA 14 author, Lynda Mullaly Hunt


It’s Kylene Beers! Kylene Beers, people!


Author of Rump, The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, Liesl Shurtliff


Crazy Mac Barnett (and Twitter friend, Jamie Palmer)



And… Book Whisperer author, the lovely Donalyn Miller. But, sadly I have crazy fan eyes in that picture, and I can’t post it.

Incidently, a friend of mine was poking fun of my photos on Facebook, saying I looked so excited…like I was meeting movie stars. Well, umm…yes. Actually, much better. And, I’m pretty sure that Tom Cruise could have walked into the exhibit hall, and NO ONE would have moved an inch from their spot in line to meet Jackie Woodson. That’s just how we book nerds roll.

Speaking of book nerds, it was so fun to see lots of Nerdy Book Club members over the weekend.  More than anything, it was surreal to pass all the faces of people I “know” from Twitter in the hallway.  Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming, and it didn’t matter that we hadn’t met before, because our love of books, and teaching, and students provided all the common ground we needed to jump into conversation after conversation.

Ok, so, there is no way that I can post about every session and every bit of genius that came from all of the presenters this weekend.  I’m thinking one sentence summaries for just a few of my workshops, but many many future posts are brewing as I reflect on NCTE 14.

Revising the Story: Reluctant Readers Overcoming Shame

Teachers: our words and actions have unbelievable power in the stories of our students’ lives.

Thanks to Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Liesl Shurtliff for sharing their stories of shame and the teachers who gave them hope. 

The Nerdy Book Club: Shaping Reading Identity through Community, Story, and Choice

Had to go. They were preaching to the choir here. Nerdies unite. Awesome Sauce.

(PS: Jonathan Auxier is TALL)

It’s Not Just for the Kids: Stories of What Can Happen When Teachers Embrace Curiousity, Openess, Creativity, and Wonder in the Teaching of Reading

Vicki Vinton chaired a wonderful panel of educators who shared some of their journeys as educators. I have to say more than one sentence here. I was happy I got to see this session, because a Twitter friend of mine, Julieanne Harmatz was part of the panel. She shared her ongoing wondering about the role of read aloud with her students. I always feel like she and I are following the same threads in our classrooms, and read aloud is something that I have been devoting a lot of thought to as well.  I love that she has devoted so much time to interviewing her students on the subject, which will really ground her teaching decisions in authentic student data.

Stories of Reading: Rethinking Instruction in a Digital Age

As teachers, we need to understand what it means to be a reader in today’s digital world, and then teach into that reality, helping our students encounter, evaluate, and engage with success.

Apps I’m looking into this month:

Pixie, Flipboard, and Pocket

Engagement: Taking an Active Stance with Informational Text

“Engagement: The need to know is so deep, they can’t help themselves.”  ~ Ellin Keene (Please rush to her next workshop)

Book I now need to read:


Minds Made for Stories by Tom Newkirk


So many more great sessions with smart, smart people.

Oh, and, this kind of happened along the way…


What? You still want to see my Donalyn Miller picture? Really? Ok, well… who doesn’t have crazy fan eyes when they meet Donalyn for the first time?


And really, she had the perfect words to sum it all up with this tweet:

Thanks NCTE 14 for an unforgettable experience!



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4 responses to “NCTE 14: The Story of a First-Timer

  1. Michele Bauers

    I so enjoy reading your posts! I couldn’t stop smiling through this one! You were so clearly awestruck by your favorite authors! And you DID NOT have crazy fan eyes! Lol thanks for sharing!

  2. Mrs. Tucker

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! Worthwhile trip!

  3. Justin Stygles

    Thanks for checking out the shame session. Next time well have to meet. Best wishes. Until next year!

  4. I was a first-timer at NCTE this year too! I got to see some amazing workshops and am already looking forward to going back again some day.

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