Monday, February 10, 2014

Reading Conference - Rewards Plentiful

               Thanks to those writers at Two Writing Teachers for hosting those of us who are slicing about their lives!  And thanks to Betsy for this beautiful new graphic.  It seems like it'll be a boost for fresh looks at our lives.

                I just returned from our state reading conference, CCIRA, and what an immersion in all things focusing on students and teachers, teaching and literacy!  I experienced both kinds of exercise from Thursday on, walking for my body while listening, talking and reading for my brain!  I had the pleasure of seeing authors and talking with different exhibitors about books and about reading ideas they promoted through their materials.  This time, I want to focus on a couple of emotional highs that connected to the blogging community too, because I believe after reading your words for many months that you are these kinds of teachers I write about below. 



               Patricia Polacco spoke about life journeys, particularly her journey. 



 Her original “keeping quilt” is now displayed in a museum, but some in her family researched for vintage fabric, and re-created that exact quilt for her for a recent birthday gift.  She showed this new quilt and wore it while reading some parts of her books!  She had much love to offer to teachers everywhere who take good care of those students who need "noticing". Of course, she was thinking of Mr. Falker, wasn't she?


     And, I saw Lynda Mullaly Hunt, a marvelous presenter who spoke of ‘hiding’ in school, not wanting teachers to know she couldn’t read and that she had such a miserable homelife.  (Sadly, I was so mesmerized I forgot a photo.) But-she found she could read, was very smart, and until a 6th grade teacher came to her and gave her a book (The Cay by Theodore Taylor), she felt she was lost.  Lynda emphasized the love and respect she has for teachers (she has been a teacher, too), and reminded us of the impact one small gesture a teacher makes.  She remembers a teacher in her younger years asking to hold her hand on the way to lunch, and felt “finally” that someone had noticed her.  A quote she gave us toward the end of her session: “It’s not who you think you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”  In her generosity, she shared, and gave away, tons of business cards that she has used as a teacher, for writing quick little notes to students. Here’s a photo of a few.  Isn’t that a terrific idea!

       I was so inspired by Lynda's talk that at the end I raced to the bookstore to purchase another One For The Murphy's (I gave my first copy to our library) so I could ask her to autograph it!  If you haven't read the book, you must!  


         I was going to write a post full of short notes from all those sessions I attended, and I will certainly share more in the future, but then I arrived home Saturday night, and read my blogger friend Carrie Gelson's post that day.  Carrie writes at There's A Book for That and probably has boosted my book expenditures a hundred fold, but through the months I've been reading her posts, I also have come to know she's a wonderful teacher.  She is the teacher that Patricia Polacco and Lynda Mullaly Hunt spoke about last week.  You can read Carrie's words here, and they are so important, if I may borrow her words, "The Part That Is True".
         My excitement in anticipating this conference was well-founded, don't you agree?

36 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing experience. I'm off to check out Carrie's post.

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  2. What a memorable and inspiring experience! It's what helps us breathe teaching again.

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    1. Thank you Donna. It was just terrific!

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  3. What a great celebration of reading and how we get to reading in different ways and at different times. I'm looking forward to your future posts. Thanks for the link to Carrie's post.

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    1. Thanks Julieanne. I hope you love Carrie's post as I did.

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  4. Linda - Thank you for sharing and focusing on that one or two special moments that touched you. They touch us as well. I love the business card idea for writing student notes that Lynda shared. Isn't she wonderful?

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    1. I loved Lynda's session Alyson, and then later was able to talk a few minutes at Starbucks-gracious and fun there too! And yes, I think the business card idea is terrific! Thank you!

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  5. You just never know what will stay with a child for their life, both of these women demonstrated that. What a conference you had!

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    1. Thanks, Elsie, I still remember a few important events from teachers.

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  6. I am so hungry for the experience you just described at the conference. Thank you for posting. You have reminded me to keep my eyes out for events such as this.

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    1. I don't know where you are, but hope you find a terrific event that works for you! They are treasures in our teaching lives.

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  7. What a great time of learning! I love the note inside One for the Murphys. You do, indeed, know what it takes to be a hero. You are one of mine.
    Ruth

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    1. Sweet words to hear, Ruth. Thank you. It was a marvelous conference, starting with those I wrote about today.

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  8. Wow, wow, wow! I was thinking of you and just knew that this was going to be a fabulous conference...and it was!:)

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    1. Yep, it certainly was. I'm so glad I attended, Tara! Great stuff!

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  9. Next year, I'm sharing this experience with you :)

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    1. Good times, Bonnie-I will be thrilled!

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  10. Thank you for taking the time to share with us about this amazing conference! I would have been so blown away to see /hear Patricia Polacco and her quilt! I loved Carrie's words/post - especially her line, "The truth is many people miss what is amazing about Harry because they are so worried about the box he doesn’t fit in." We all know students like Harry. Thank you for sharing her (and your!) insight!!

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    1. It was a pleasure to share, Maureen, & when they all connected in their basic messages, I knew I wanted to very much. Thank you!

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  11. I am so envious of you but thank you for sharing these great pieces of your conference. I am a huge fan of both authors. We are currently passing One for the Murphys around my classroom. I'll share your story tomorrow. Amazing how someone with such a humble beginning can write so beautifully.

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    1. She was just wonderful, Margaret. If many of you are reading One For The Murphy's, it would be lovely to write, perhaps Skype. She mentioned she was one of the authors on Kate Messner's list. Thanks for telling me!

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  12. I was so jealous when I saw your Facebook posts about this, Linda! I've been in awe of Lynda Mullaly Hunt ever since she commented on my blog post last year after I wrote about book-talking One for the Murphys! (What an awesome book, by the way!) The business cards were so cool! I have little paper certificates I write notes to students on, but those are way cooler because they're so professional looking. Looks like I have yet another new idea to try! I'd love to meet her someday. The rest of the conference sounds wonderful too! :-)

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    1. You're so right, Jennifer, I'd forgotten about your post about Lynda & her commenting. As for the cards, I was really excited to see (& have) them. You could do them in different languages too! I'm certainly going to have some made! Thanks!

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  13. I need business cards like that that I can give away to students. Encouragement cards! Thanks for sharing and inspiring us!

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    1. Aren't they great? I thought it was a 'best' idea in a while-pure teacher stuff! Thanks Jaana!

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  14. Sounds like a beautiful time was had. I always love hearing about your new learning and the conferences you are going to. So inspirational.

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    1. It was a terrific time, Betsy. Wish all the slicers had been there too! Thank you!

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  15. I agree with you! A totally fabulous conference! Since we didn't get to have coffee, we will have to do it really soon!

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    1. Yes, indeed. I loved seeing you present Carol, will write about you next! You've added to my poetry book list!

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  16. I can hear the excitement in your words and you have every right to be excited. Patricia Polacco is a delightful storyteller in person! She is one of my favorites! I love the business card idea! I can't wait to hear more about your conference.

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    1. Thanks Leigh Anne. Patricia Polacco was truly wonderful, glad to hear you liked her when you saw her too.

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  17. Linda - First thank you so much for sharing my post here and for your very kind words! I am so pleased that you had such an amazing experience at this conference! What fantastic authors/women and it sounds like the entire conference was so meaningful.

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    1. You are very welcome, Carrie. Just finished reading The Invisible Boy & thought again of your post. And yes, it was a terrific conference filled with knowledgeable and inspiring people.

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  18. Oh my goodness. I am so touched by your post here, Linda. Thanks so very much. I am happy that my words resonated with you and know that you will put the cards to good use. Also, I loved our chats in Colorado--and hope that our paths cross again. :-)

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    1. So special that you enjoyed these words, Lynda. I meant every one. It was wonderful to see you present and to talk with you a bit. Best wishes to you, and can't wait for that next book!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!