professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The HUNGER, not games

Awkward title to be sure. Chalk it up to jet lag. I flew back to Texas on a pre-dawn flight today. It is lovely to be back in the land of the humid. I even merited a nice thunderstorms this afternoon (thanks for holding off while I was in the air). While I am still a bit tired from the journey, I wanted to make certain to note the incredible energy that was part of the Iowa Council of Teachers of English conference on Thursday and Friday. Here is what I learned:

1. There is still a real hunger out there for information of all sorts for the classroom. I sat and watched Penny Kittle hold an audience transfixed as she spelled out the pieces of Book Love: books, book talks, choice, community, talk. One day earlier I had talked about the "kindling" (part of the conference theme was kindling) being books, community, time, talk, models. I swear I had not talked to Penny about what she would say; that confluence is natural. It is why I love BOOK LOVE and why I was so grateful to have the chance to sit and listen to Penny talk about her kids, her readers.

2. The teachers at the conference enjoyed sharing ideas with one another. Part of the energy for me was seeing how willing everyone was to talk about ideas, to help one another.

3. Books and technology could exist nicely side by side without an either-or situation.

4. Veterans and new teachers were there, both groups eager for information to take back to their colleagues.

5. One overriding observation was that teachers wished their administrators had been in attendance as well. They were hearing about how to transform the lives of students, and they believed it was information their supervisors and administrators also needed to hear.

While I look forward to NCTE, I think these state conferences offer food for those who are starved for ideas, answers, and alternatives.
Tags: conferences, iowa, penny kittle
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