Monday, March 3, 2014

4/31 My finale post of the CCIRA Conference

It's Day Four of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!  


        Need a little extra charge. Here's a quote I like about writing during this month: The truth of the matter is there is plenty of time to accomplish the things that need done. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

          I posted about the Colorado Chapter of The International Reading Association (The CCIRA) here and here, and this wraps it up, more goodness even on the final day and a half! These special sessions are filled with reading, which of course you know, writers read!

How could anyone turn down a luncheon with the Fonz from Happy Days? I've seen Henry Winkler's name appear more than once in the education feeds and wondered why, but I admit I never pursued finding out. Now I know. Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver (the co-founder of the SCBWI, with her life-long friend Steve Mooser, and the organization's Executive Director) have co-written two book series which are written with struggling readers in mind. You'll need to look the names up to discover more about these series. 








Henry spoke of his constant struggles in school, never succeeding, reading poorly, and his mission today is to help those children who have reading disabilities. The books are the Ghost Buddy series and the Hank Zipzer series, the World's Greatest Underachiever. Both Lin and Henry entertained, spoke about teachers who inspire, and pushed hard for all of us to find books for every kid!

        I've had the pleasure of meeting Donalyn Miller three times now, but this is the first time I had the chance to be in one of her presentations. Wow, it was terrific. I filled more than a few pages with notes. Here are a few tasty takeaways I hope you like. And then you should read one of her books, or both if you're lucky: The Book Whisperer, and Reading In The Wild.  

      *One bulletin board shares a book list where every book that is shared in class is listed. She, or a student, does quickie book commercials, never missing a day doing at least one.
      *Always, always her students are making book resolutions, at the beginning of the year, after breaks, any time there has been a lull, and it's time to get back to it! 
      *A main goal is to build capacity, and that means both teachers and kids knowing authors and titles. Self-selecting successfully must be taught. 
           What do Wild Readers do?
Always have a book, in the car, at the dentist, etc.
Have the capacity for choice and favorite authors.
#1 reason they choose is a friend's recommendation.
Spend time reading.
Plan for breaks, are never without a book on vacation either.
Teachers give time to talk about books. 

          After all the 'other' books, Sharon Draper told  that things took off when she wrote Out of My Mind. She also said often to please consider that her books are not books just for African-Americans, but books for kids! I noticed such energy and enthusiasm for her writing, her books. She would love to visit via Skype with classrooms, mentioned Kate Messner's author Skype list.
    Former teacher, she shared that a student said to her one time, "Why don't you write like you make us do?" He actually gave her a contest entry blank; she wrote a book and won! Her first book, Tears of A Tiger, is nearing its twentieth anniversary. She spoke so avidly about her books, and I've only read a couple, that I feel the need to read more. She too, like those above, was inspiring.  And she's written for several ages, fourth grade and up.

       I had a fabulous time at this conference, so good that it took me three posts to share, and each time, it made me excited all over again. I hope you are able to go to at least a day of sessions with wonderful presenters this year. It is renewing, motivating, and of course, educational! 

38 comments:

  1. I attended this conference and loved it. There were high quality presenters… I loved it! I want to go every year and just soak everything in!

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    1. It was wonderful, I agree! Thanks Vanessa!

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  2. I love that book, Out of My Mind. I would love to SKYPE with you.

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    1. Thanks Jone, it is one of the good books to recommend, isn't it?

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  3. The quotes are inspirational. No more time excuses allowed. You saw so many of my favorite authors. I loved Reading in the Wild. It really helped me see my readers as powerful. Sharon Draper is amazing -- we read Out of My Mind and watched her skype with Pernille Ripp. Great authors. Great teachers. Henry Winkler as a struggler -- I can just see it.Too much energy to sit still. Such an important model for all of us. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Julieanne. That's great that you saw Sharon while Skyping. She really emphasized that she loved doing it!

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  4. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful time of learning, Linda! So glad that you got to see Donalyn present - everyone raves about her sessions, and you've given us a glimpse as to why. I'll have to figure out how to Skype with Sharon Draper, too - my kids would love that!

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    1. Thanks Tara, as I've written every time, the sessions continued to be so good. Hope you do connect with Sharon.

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  5. Sharon Draper's going to be flooded with Skype requests after people read this, Linda! Out of My Mind is such a powerful book, but like you, I haven't read too many of her other books. Thank you so much for sharing all the insights and wisdom you gained at these sessions!

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    1. You're welcome, Catherine, it was too good an experience to not share all of it.

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  6. I think I need to begin reading Donalyn Miller's book. It is on my bookshelf in the kitchen (just to make sure I can see it often)! Linda, you inspired me this morning. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Jaana, so glad you enjoyed the bits I shared.

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  7. I've totally enjoyed reading your posts about the conference, kind of like reliving it through a whole new lens. I went to one of Donalyn's presentations- she really is wonderful! I didn't get to see Sharon Draper, but I sure would like to do a book club and skype with her.

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    1. It really was a good one, wasn't it, Carol? I hope you do connect with Sharon.

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  8. Wow - your post is full of great ideas! I love the ideas of "quickie book commercials" and "wild readers;" loved hearing what The Fonz is doing now, and I am moved by how one child's challenge ["why don't you write like you make us do?"] resulted in a published author! Thank you for this. Glad you took another opportunity to share from the conference!

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    1. Very wonderful how a small encounter can change one's life, isn't it? You're welcome, Maureen.

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  9. I am inspired by reading Donalyn's words, so I can't imagine how it would be in person. I hope ;to experience that some day soon. Great wrap up of all you learned! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Elsie. It was a long session too, and she filled every minute beautifully!

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  10. Our State Reading Conference brought Henry Winkler here to Billings last October - I was surprised and he now has a new fan in me.

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    1. I was surprised too, and enjoyed his enthusiasm very much. Thanks for telling me!

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  11. Next year, my friend. Sounds so great!

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    1. Woo Hoo-Bonnie. Will be so exciting!

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  12. Scheduling regular student book talks as opposed to when they happen occasionally - something for me to think about. I have read Donalyn's first book, so her name was familiar. The others were all new to me.

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    1. She is "fervent" about book talking, Terje. And I do think it works, at least for most students. Knowing books helps a lot too!

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  13. Loved the quote! Conferences have got to be the best place to be recharged! Loved the Book Whisperer!

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    1. Thanks Beverley, the quote stops us in our tracks, doesn't it?

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  14. This is just like what I have come to understand about you, Linda you are always learning and then sharing what you learn. That is a wonderful quality that inspires me to do the same.

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    1. Thank you Kim. I don't think I could do it any other way.

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  15. The moment, you know you are a teacher geek: I read that you met Donnalyn Miller and I was awe struck! This is such a great quote: " I had a fabulous time at this conference, so good that it took me three posts to share, and each time, it made me excited all over again. I hope you are able to go to at least a day of sessions with wonderful presenters this year. It is renewing, motivating, and of course, educational! " That's when you know you learned, are renewed and refreshed. This type of experience is so important for educators! I hope to get to an IRA conference one day. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yep, I know I'm a teacher geek, won't stop until someone tells me too, I guess. I met more than one retired educator at this conference. They said they just couldn't stay away! Thanks Latisha. I hope you do get to go to an IRA sometime. I know that you teach with Maureen, & NCTE is in your area next fall, right? Maybe then?

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  16. I love Donalyn and Sharon too, but I have to tell a Fonz story. When I was in elementary school my Mom would attend every function from PTA to the school play. Inevitabely she would give me and my bestfriend, Kathleen, two thumbs up and say " Ayyeee." The Fonz-Mom. We were mortified, but oh I love the memory

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    1. So funny, Lee Ann. If you ever see Henry in person, you'll have to tell him the story. He seemed so friendly and happy, very fun to see!

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  17. Thank you for sharing. I now have more books on my to read list. Great presenters help re-fuel me. IT recharges me in ways that I have a hard time articulating.

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    1. As the 'library dragon', I hope you love these books, Ruth. They fit you, especially Donalyn's books!

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  18. What a terrific wrap up to a wonderful conference!

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  19. I love the Wild Readers guide and list, Linda. I am so glad you went to this conference and I am so glad we got to learn so much from your going. Thanks!

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    1. You are welcome! I need to find Donalyn's online lists now too!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!