Kellee and Ricki’s NCTE and ALAN Annual Convention Reflection 2018


Kellee’s Reflection

I am sure you can tell from our countdown that this is one of our favorite events of the year. It is like a really big book club that only meets once a year mixed with the best professional development you could ask for. 

During NCTE, my presentations went so well! If you are interested, you can view my resources:

But what I want to focus on in this post are the revitalizing sessions I attended. My goal for NCTE18 was to make sure to attend more sessions to fill my educator heart, and I definitely met that goal! Here are some highlights from four favorite sessions/talks:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie opened up NCTE, and I was blown away by her!

  • “Be courageous enough to say I don’t know.”
  • We need “STEM AND the language arts. It’s not an or, it’s an and.”
  • “To be a good teacher is not just about curriculum, it is about things that can’t be quantified.”
  • Narrow view of intelligence = not valuing arts
  • “The world is not full people like you, so diverse literature is not needed just for the diverse.”
  • “When telling stories well, we’re appealing to what it means to be human.”

The session Latinx Experiences in Classrooms and Communities with educators, Dr. Carla España, Dr. Luz Herrera, and R. Joseph Rodriguez, and authors, Daniel José Older, MoNieqa Ramos, Matt de la Peña, Meg Medina, and Lilliam Rivera.

  • Our Latinx students “move through the world as many identities.” (Medina)
  • Bilingual students “have language resources we should use.” No more English Language Learners, they are “emergent bilinguals.” (España)
  • “Kids have more going on than we want to talk about.” (Ramos)
  • “Acceptance feels like a hug. It is that feeling when you are home because you don’t have to translate yourself.” (Older)
  • “Books are tools to help people save themselves.” (de la Peña)

Kylene Beers, Kelly Gallagher, and Penny Kittle are brilliant. I wish I could do a full day PD with them!

  • “You cannot improve confidence without improving confidence.” (Beers)
  • “No models of good conversation in media. Our democracy needs to have better conversations.” (Beers)
  • “Meaningful talk will not happen without meaningful reading.” (Gallagher)
  • “We are making too many decisions for our students. Turn over the control.” (Kittle)

Peter and Paul Reynolds stand for everything I believe in!

  • “Great teachers breath kindness and love.”
  • We “need to remind humans about the best humanity can do.”
  • “Picture books are efficient. They are a big idea in a small book.”
  • “Everyone is an artist. You’re only not identifying as one because someone told you you weren’t, and you believed them.”
  • “Noticing a kid is the most powerful gift we can give.”
  • “Your brain is beautiful! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

And the ALAN workshop was amazing as always. The ALAN workshop is 1.5 days of authors sharing. It is so much book love and author love and teacher love and kindness love and just love in general. If you ever have the chance to get to this workshop, it is a must!

Some of my favorite author talks/panels/conversations were:

  • Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Bill Konigsberg
  • Kierstin White, Ibi Zoboi, Elana K. Arnold
  • Neal Shusterman
  • Tomi Adeyemi
  • Sara Farizan and Mark Oshiro
  • Jarrett Krosozcka
  • Sharon Flake and Renee Watson
  • Gae Polisner and Chris Crutcher

This was just a SMALL sampling of the amazing authors at the workshop. Check out the schedule to see others who spoke!

Ricki’s Reflection

I had a wonderful time at the NCTE convention and ALAN Workshop. I was sad that I wasn’t able to go to many sessions because I signed on to participate in six sessions and introductions. I won’t be doing that again next year!

One of the highlights for me was sitting with Ibi Zoboi during the YA Lit is Complex session. She’s absolutely brilliant, and her voice added so much to the conversation. The participants at my roundtable asked her thoughtful questions. She talked about the many complex elements within her texts—the ways in which she adapts classic poetry, includes cultural pantheon for readers, etc. I am blown away by her brilliance, and she is among my favorite authors today. Quite frankly, she is a living legend.

The YA Lit is Complex session is my favorite each year. Jennifer Buehler and Cathy Fleischer bring in eight YA authors to talk about text complexity. If you missed this session, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I always leave feeling invigorated.

I also loved presenting with my colleague, Pamela K. Coke. We shared three approaches for using Genius Hour in the classroom to promote equity. The crowd for this presentation was amazing, and a few audience members have stayed in touch with us. There might be a potential research project on the horizon for this session!

Some of the most exciting talks that I saw were from:

  • Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Bill Konigsberg
  • Ibi Zoboi
  • Sara Farizan and Mark Oshiro
  • Tomi Adeyemi
  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Emily X. R. Pan
  • David Arnold
  • Sharon Draper
  • David Levithan
  • Randy Ribay




If you attended, how was your conference?
We look forward to next year 🙂


We Are Away at the NCTE Convention and ALAN Workshop!


Hello, dear friends! We are both away at the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention and ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop! We can’t wait to see many of you there and those who aren’t, we’ll miss you! We will be sure to put up an IMWAYR post next Monday for folks to link up, and then we will return on Monday, November 26! See you then!

Countdown to NCTE/ALAN: One Day! Our Favorite Thing about NCTE/ALAN….


In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE Convention and ALAN Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there!

Our Favorite Thing about NCTE/ALAN….

Seeing Our NCTE/ALAN family and friends! We can’t wait to see many of you!




And most importantly: We get to see each other!!!!!!!


Countdown to NCTE/ALAN: Six authors Ricki’s Excited to See at ALAN Who She’s Never Seen or Met Before


In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention followed by the ALAN (Assembly on Literature of Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there! If you can’t be there, make sure to follow #ncte18 and #alan18 on Twitter and other social media to participate in this amazing PD from your home.

1. Cynthia Leitich Smith

Admittedly, I have seen her speak a few times. I am very fortunate to be introducing her, and I can’t wait to meet her!

2. Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi is a powerful force. I am really looking forward to hearing her speak.

3. Emily X. R. Pan

I regularly recommend The Astonishing Color of After. My students loved this book. I am really looking forward to listening to her panel!

4. Mark Oshiro

Yes! I can’t wait to hear Mark Oshiro speak. My students just finished Anger is a Gift!

5. Elizabeth Acevedo

This woman is an idol in my class. I can’t wait to listen to her!

6. Amy Reed

I am 3/4 of the way through The Nowhere Girls. Whew. This book is great!

It was difficult to limit my list to just six authors. The ALAN Workshop is going to be wonderful! I can’t wait!
Who are you excited to hear?

Countdown to NCTE/ALAN: Seven Authors Kellee is Excited to See at ALAN Who She’s Never Met Before


In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention followed by the ALAN (Assembly on Literature of Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there! If you can’t be there, make sure to follow #ncte18 and #alan18 on Twitter and other social media to participate in this amazing PD from your home.

1. Gayle Forman

2. Ibi Zoboi

3. Don Brown

4. Sharon Flake

5. Guadalupe Garcia McCall

6. Deborah Hopkinson

7. Renee Watson

I’m so excited to see these authors speak and to hopefully be able to tell them how much I love their writing. There are also so many new to me authors I look forward to seeing also–I can’t wait to share all of the amazingness that is ALAN afterwards. 

Countdown to NCTE/ALAN: Nine Presentations We Are Involved In at #NCTE18


In honor of our favorite conferences—the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Annual Convention followed by the ALAN (Assembly on Literature of Adolescents of NCTE) Workshop, we are doing a countdown over the next two weeks. Each day, we will feature a list that reflects the number of days left until the conference! We can’t wait to see many of you there! If you can’t be there, make sure to follow #ncte18 and #alan18 on Twitter and other social media to participate in this amazing PD from your home.


C.34 Honoring Student Passions: Using Genius Hour to (Re)Find Voice and Address Equity

Raising student voices requires time, space, and place for individualized, passion-based learning. Through interactive learning activities participants can use in their own classrooms, presenters will define Genius Hour and show how it can be implemented to facilitate equitable learning environments. They will share authentic student work from conception to completion.

Ricki is Presenting with Dr. Pamela Coke

E.18 Using Diverse Literature to Build Awareness and Empathy in Middle Schoolers

To help build awareness and empathy in middle schoolers, we must expose our readers to a wide range of diverse literature. Two middle school educators and six authors will discuss how diverse literature can help build empathy, tolerance, awareness, and an understanding of social justice.

Chair: Kellee Moye

Authors: Angela Dominguez, K.A. Holt, Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Jewell Parker Rhodes, N.H. Senzai, & Lindsey Stoddard

Respondent: Jennie Smith

F.07 Raising Student Voices by Using YA Literature to Encourage Acting Up and Speaking Out

Young adult literature changes us; it touches us and heals us. This Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN)-sponsored session will offer roundtables, led by leaders of ALAN and YAL authors, that focus on the merits of YAL, YAL as mirrors and windows, and YAL’s call to action.

Kellee’s Roundtable: YAL and the Canon, will look at using young adult literature in place of or in addition to the canon, and will include an exploration of the idea of text sets, companion texts, or replacement texts.

Ricki’s Roundtable: YAL as Mirrors, will focus on diversity in young adult literature and the need for students to see themselves in the books in their schools and libraries and shows all students that they have a voice.

Other roundtable leaders: Beth Scanlon, Lisa Schreff, Lois Stover, Mark Letcher, Daria Plumb, Wendy Glenn

G.04 Teaching for Equity and Justice with Young Adult Literature

In this conversation session, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson discusses the ability of young adult literature to address social justice and equity with adolescents. Afterward, attendees rotate through three 15-min. roundtables of their choice to discuss a rich diversity of texts, issues of social justice, and teaching methods.

Ricki’s Roundtable with Wendy J. Glenn as respondent, Piecing Me Together: Race, Class, Power, and Privilege

Chair: Victor Malo-Juvera

Other Roundtable Leaders: Many teacher educators from ELATE

H.02 Meet the NCTE Editors

Participants will have the opportunity to meet journal editors, explore the publishing possibilities available with the NCTE journals program and with assembly journals, and discuss specific article prospects with the editors. Submission guidelines will be available for all NCTE journals.

Chair: Kurt Austin

This year, this session conflicts with the ALAN Breakfast, which Ricki is helping with. Because this is her last term as an editor for The ALAN Review, it doesn’t make sense for her to attend. That said, attend this session and look to get your ideas published! All of the NCTE journals will be there!

During H.02: ALAN Breakfast

ALAN Breakfast with A.S. King! We are so looking forward to this event! We include it on this list because we will be helping to set it up. It begins at 7am, and we look forward to seeing you there!

I.36 YA Lit IS Complex! Authors and Teachers Explore the Complexity of Writing Young Adult Literature

This session brings together YA authors and classroom teachers to explore text complexity through the lens of writing craft. Keynote speeches and roundtable discussions will explore how complexity can be found and made in YA lit when we weave authors’ accounts of writing process with close analysis of texts themselves.

Kellee’s Roundtable with David Levithan, focusing on his Every Day series

Ricki’s Roundtable with Ibi Zoboi, focusing on Pride

Chairs: Jennifer Buehler, Cathy Fleischer

Other roundtable leaders: Sarah Andrew-Vaughan, Wendy Glenn, Meredith Novak, Daria Plumb, Beth Scanlon, Beth Shaum

Other authors: Elizabeth Acevedo, David Arnold, Sharon Draper, Emily X.R. Pan, Randy Ribay, Andrew Smith

J. 13 In-Class Book Clubs: Fostering Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Choice

Student-centered book clubs allow students the freedom to discuss titles they choose, thus creating positive reading experiences while utilizing two best practices: student collaboration and independent reading. Attendees will circulate through roundtables led by educators who have implemented in-class book clubs and will share book ideas, strategies, and student responses.

Kellee’s Roundtable: “Metacognition in Middle Schoolers”

Other roundtable leaders: Leigh Anne Eck, Sarah Krajewski, Amber Kuehler, Jennie Smith, Kelly Vorhis, Melinda Wallace, Sherry Williford

M.02 The Future is Now: Exploring 21st Century Teaching Ideas with the Next Generation of English Teachers

In this wide-ranging session sponsored by the ELATE Graduate Strand (ELATE-GS), undergraduate and master’s level pre-service and novice English teachers from across the nation will lead roundtables exploring 21st-century teaching ideas and research-driven pedagogical practices. Please join us to support this next generation of English teachers and NCTE members. *Student presenters are determined after the program deadline. Attendees will receive a separate program with the names of roundtable leaders and their presentation titles upon entering the session.

Ricki is Sponsoring three Master’s students to present at this session

Chair: Alan Brown

Other Roundtable Leaders: Many graduate students and teacher educators from ELATE

NCTE here we come! Hope if you are there that you will stop by!


Ten Books Kellee Can’t Wait to Read After NCTE/ALAN 2017


One of the MAJOR perks of NCTE and ALAN is the BOOKS: hearing about new books, getting advanced reading copies of books, and hearing authors talk about their books!

Here are ten books that I cannot wait to read after NCTE/ALAN 2017: 
(P.S. I didn’t overlap with Ricki’s list at all on purpose–that does not mean that I don’t want to read those! I’ve read #1 and her 9 titles could have been on my list, too!)

1. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I am actually surprised at myself that I haven’t read it yet! Anyone who read my raves about Scythe or read my gushing speech about Neal Shusterman know how much respect I have for him and how much I loved the first book. I was so lucky to get a copy of the sequel, and I have even heard it might be better! I cannot wait!

2. Knockout by K.A. Holt

House Arrest by K.A. Holt is a book that went under my radar for some reason until this year, and WOW, I fell in love with it! I raved about it at school the next day after I read it, and it got picked up immediately. Lucky me, Holt wrote a sequel, and I don’t have to wait for it since I just read House Arrest. I’m very much looking forward to hearing what happens next.

3. The Serpent’s Shadow by Sayantani DasGupta

Syantani DasGupta read us the first couple of pages of her book, and it is hilarious and adventurous and all of the things that I love in fantasy/mythology/adventure books! And on top of that, DasGupta was just one of the nicest and smartest people I’ve ever met (she studies narrative medicine and is a pediatrician, too!). Oh, and look at that BEAUTIFUL cover!

4. Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac

I think Joseph Bruchac’s talk at ALAN 2017 may have topped my favorite moment this year. It is even hard to explain, but I his talk just made me so emotional, and it made me realize that except for some of his creepy books, I haven’t read enough of his novels!

5. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

I loved Varian Johnson’s Greene books, so I am so happy to get this newest. I also loved his personal connection with this new story.

6. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I, of course, knew about Dumplin’ before NCTE/ALAN, but I just hadn’t read it, but I definitely am going to now! Julie Murphy is everything, guys! I loved her awkwardness yet confidence and her brilliance and stumbles. I can’t wait to read her words.

7. Bad Girl with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

I originally didn’t receive this one, but then my friend Beth, who had a copy at home, came to me to make sure I’d read it or gotten it. When I hadn’t, she gave me her copy. She said I must read it. An I will.

8. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

That dedication guys! And hearing Mathieu talking more about the importance of strong women in literature makes me want to pick it up!

9. The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Um, Christopher Paul Curtis. Period.

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

So, guys, I guess I am a pretty huge Holly Black fan. I was lucky enough to have dinner with her, and through the conversations we had, I realized that I have read a very large percentage of her books and loved every one. So, obviously I need to read her newest!
(Side note: My favorite Holly Black books are the Curseworker series, and it is her WORST SELLING! Fix this everyone! It is a must have for every 8th+ grade classroom! Such a wonderful trilogy!)

So many books I want to read!!! We’re lucky to live in a world where all of THIS goodness exists 🙂