NCTE 2009 – Back from Philly (Part 2)

This post is long overdue! Here are the final highlights of my trip to The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE’s) annual convention.

Critical and Inclusive Classrooms for All Students: Reflections from Two Educators, by Mary Cowhey and Sonia Nieto: I am a fan of Sonia Nieto’s work, so I made sure to attend this presentation and had the opportunity to talk to her and take a picture! (Geeky moment over, I promise.) They talked about creating multicultural learning communities at all academic levels. Ms. Nieto stated that multicultural education should be anti-biased, anti-racist and pervasive. Educators should think of multicultural education as basic education for all, creating multicultural learning communities with dialog, collaboration, negotiation, and willingness to rethink ideas and practices. Mary Cowhey then provided an example from her classroom. She talked about beginning a conversation with something as simple as your clothes tags to see where they were made. She stated that learning through activism confronts privilege and challenges the status quo. They then suggested a free article that offers a different spin on the question: how to close the achievement gap? It’s titled “Learning to Roar”, which can be found at

Books for Children Luncheon: Brian Selznick: I couldn’t attend the “lunch” part of this luncheon, but I managed to sit in the back and watch Mr. Selznick speak. His presentation was funny, thoughtful and he did the best reading of “Where the Wild Things Are” that I have ever heard.

Middle Level mosaic Workshop: Be The Book!: There were quite a few presenters here, my favorite being Jeffrey Wilhelm, author of “You Gotta BE the Book” (check it out and you’ll see what I mean).

Between each presentation we were treated to short chats with different authors, where they spoke about their books, their writing lives and some times their personal lives. I was lucky enough to chat further with Kathleen Duey, (we’d started chatting earlier in the day in the halls of the convention center when she commented on how my “Spanglish” reminded her of home), author of “Skin Hunger“; the awesome T.A. Barron, author of  the Merlin series, who stated his mother was his favorite English teacher; and Kate Messner, author of “The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.”

Other highlights: As always, NCTE conventions are full of booths where you can get teaching resources, new children and YA books, meet authors and much more.

Some of my favorite booths included:

  1. World of Words: They are interested in building bridges between cultures and provide many opportunities for educators to find authentic international and multicultural children and young adult literature. Check out their site for more information. You can also follow them on twitter.
  2. Classical Comics: Anyone who knows me knows that I love incorporating visual literacy in my classroom. I jump at the chance to use comic books, manga and graphic novels. When I found this booth I was utterly delighted. Like other companies, they adapt classical literature into graphic novel form. Unlike other companies, they create three versions of the novel, using the same images, but changing the reading level! I wanted to get my hands on many of the titles but, alas, it was not meant to be. Check out their website for more information. You can also follow them on twitter.

That’s it for the NCTE highlights. Thanks for reading!


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2 Responses to NCTE 2009 – Back from Philly (Part 2)

  1. Ms Yingling says:

    I loved Gianna Z., and T.A.Barron would be so much fun to hear. Sounds like you had a great conference.

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