Speaker and Presenter Session Information


Friday Night Reception

Ralph Fletcher: Power and Possibility for the Reading and Writing Classroom

Saturday Keynote

Tom Newkirk: Still Holding On To Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones

We live in time of many reforms and agendas–often imposed top-down. We need to ask ourselves what are the ideas worth fighting for, the teaching practices that should be non-negotiable. In this keynote Tom will revisit some of the ones he would fight for–including the centrality of story, the importance of choice, and the role of exploratory talk. He will also have things to say about a few bad ideas floating around. Come hear from Tom about power and possibility.

Saturday Morning Breakout Sessions

Jeff Anderson: Patterns of Power: Invitational Grammar and Editing Instruction

Jeff will guide conference participants to invite elementary and middle school students into recognizing the conventions of language with mentor texts and other low-threat, high-payoff strategies. Steeped in the research of Writing Next (2007), Jeff will share what worked with his students when he moved from editing practice to editing instruction. Make grammar instruction an inviting concept with editing invitations and other strategies from Jeff’s books Everyday Editing and Mechanically Inclined.

Mary Cowhey: Authentic Family Partnerships for Literacy

In this workshop Mary and her colleague will discuss the possibilities and benefits, the challenges and successes of schools engaging families and communities in literacy experience that are powerful and authentic. They will explore the popular education approach taken by Families With Power/Familias con Poder to build authentic community partnerships and develop grass roots leadership among parents and guardians.

Dan Feigelson: Reading Projects, Reimagined: Student-Driven Conferences to Deepen Critical Thinking 

Traditionally, reading instruction in upper elementary and middle school has largely consisted of students answering clever comprehension questions made up by well meaning teachers. We are reminded by notables such as Ellin Keene, Richard Allington, and others that this is assessment, not instruction. Sadly, once students leave school they will not have adults telling them what to think about when they encounter a complex text.

It is important to spend time teaching students to come up with their own lines of thinking about text, how to extend them, and how to back them up with evidence. This is best done through individualized, project-based reading conferences.

In this session, Dan will suggest a practical, step-by-step approach to conducting individual reading conferences that develop student agency and deepen comprehension.

Franki Sibberson: Authenticity in the Digital Literacy Workshop

What does it mean to be literate today? As our own literacy changes, so do our literacy workshops. In this session, Franki will take a close look at the ways in which our own literacy has changed and what that means for our classrooms. Embedding digital tools in authentic ways is critical, and powerful, to planning possibilities for any literacy workshop.

Saturday Panel Discussion

The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning, and Teaching

Featuring Matt Glover, Kathy Collins, Renee Dinnerstein, Thomas Newkirk, Vicki Vinton, and Katie Wood Ray.

This esteemed panel will reflect on their personal insights about how as educators we might envision ways to empower our students to actively engage in their learning.

Saturday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Douglas Kaufman: Let’s Take Our Teaching Back from the Commercial Programs

In this presentation Doug provides us with a call to action in response to the flourishing use of commercial writing and literacy programs in schools, which often (perhaps inadvertently) return us to an era of prescriptive and formulaic instruction. This session is for those who resist teaching by formula but who sometimes struggle to work creatively and independently in the midst of large-scale testing, standardized curricula, and outside political pressures. Doug will speak to how even the most popular and well-respected programs can lead to prescriptive teaching, and discuss solutions for eliminating prescription through an approach that centers entirely on student need.

Vicki Vinton: Beyond Book Choice: What Student-Center Reading Instruction Can Look Like

According to the educator John Holt, “Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” And in this interactive session, Vicki Vinton will share ways of ensuring that the activity of students and their thinking—versus curriculum and standards—are at the center of your reading instruction, whether you’re working with a whole class, a small group or one-on-one conference. You’ll see how to become a creator of learning opportunities, rather than a teacher of strategies and skills, which in turn will help students become powerful and insightful meaning makers, thinkers and readers.

Kathy Collins & Matt Glover: Supporting Young Readers Before (and After) They are Reading Conventionally

Reading development doesn’t start with decoding words. Young children create meaning from a text long before they can read it conventionally. Even after children start to decode we should support their reading of texts they can’t read conventionally. As adults we can nurture children’s identities as readers by recognizing the language that children use as they interact with familiar and unfamiliar books. Once we see what children can do on their own, we can nudge them forward towards more sophisticated thinking and comprehension.

Franki Sibberson: Planning Minilesson Cycles for Fiction and Nonfiction

In this workshop, Franki will discuss the importance of intentional planning in the Reading Workshop.   She will focus on planning minilesson cycles to help students grow as readers of both fiction and nonfiction. The connection between minilessons and the rest of the Reading Workshop will also be explored. Booklists that support minilessons will be shared.

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