Well, now that I have had a chance to digest all that I saw and learned from
NCTE, I am happy to share.  Below are a bunch of things I got from the
sessions that I sat in on:

Richard Allington:

There are no proven programs.  What works on average doesn't work for
everyone.  To think that any one thing could work for every kid is
ludicrous!  If there's one thing we've learned over the past 100 years is
that kids are different.  Educational research is contingent, the way that
medical research is contingent.  Treatments differ depending on the patient.

Donald Graves:

Don has a new book out called Sea of Faces.  He challenged everyone to get
to know their kids by coming up with 3 nouns for each child in our class.
"Your kids need to see in your eyes that you know everything there is to
know about them."

The one quote that I got from Don that I felt was the most important:

"Emotion is the engine of the intellect."  Kids have to get into their heart
to get to the good stuff!  Administrators are asking kids to bypass the
heart and go right to the head.  It doesn't work!

Jeff Wilhelm:

Jeff said that your purpose drives your motivation.  He challenged teachers
to ask an essential question.  It frames what we are learning as being
socially acceptable.  For example, when reading Romeo and Juliet, rather
that say to kids, "Today we are going to start reading Romeo and Juliet,"
you might introduce the book in a way that tells kids that we are gong to
explore relationships and what screws them up!  The book is socially
meaningful for today.  It explores relationships, gangs, religion and social
class.  

Jeff challenged us to ask the essential questions in our classrooms.  Some
that the teachers at our table came up with include, (for rules of grammar)
who decides the rules?  How do people discriminate?

Teri Lesesne:

Teri talked about motivating reluctant readers.  Before a reader picks up a
book, they first look at the title, then the cover art, author, inside flap,
and finally the opening paragraph.  After fourth grade the only genre that
kids can agree on is mystery.  Teri talked about reading levels and that
they mean nothing!  It's the experience level.  For example, Speak and Night
John are both on a 3rd/4th grade reading level.  However, you wouldn't have
your third grade kids read Speak -- it's way too much for their experience.
Make Way for Ducklings and Fallen Angels are both on a 4.2 reading level.

Finally,

Cyrene Wells, Joanne Portalupi and Martha Horn talked about learning and
what we all need to learn.  

Joanne shared her true assessments of learning as being:

1.  Do students see themselves as writers?
2.  Do they talk a long view of learning to write?
3.  Does experimentation arise from a "what if" attitude?
4.  Do they learn from multiple sources?
5.  Do they understand the important and complex relationship between
process and product?

Cyrene said, "Writing workshop is a reflection of how we learn.  We often
get caught up in the jargon we use, but what it boils down to is that we
have to use the words in ways to help our kids learn.  Kids can learn when
they see themselves as literate people."  About learning, Cyrene says:

1.  Not all learning is directly taught
2.  Language structures transfer from one medium to another
3.  A sense of audience is innate
4.  Peer motivation sometimes trumps adult intervention
5.  Peripheral learning happens

There are certain conditions for learning:  motivation, purpose, audience,
affirmation and self-monitoring.

If you've never read Cyrene Wells' book, Literacy Lost, read it.  She
followed 6 kids from a progressive middle school to a traditional high
school, and documented their thoughts, feelings, and everything else they
went through during their first year in high school.  It's a very powerful
book.

Finally, Martha Horn talked about learning on the college level.  She
started by saying that some kids have certain assumptions about writing.
Writing means words, writers write quietly, and writing means lots of pages.
She asks her college students to look at their kids differently.  Focus on
their strengths rather than their weaknesses, and listen to what your kids
are saying.

NCTE was a wonderful experience!  It will be in NYC next year!  I encourage
you to go.

Kim Richard
University of Connecticut

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill IVEY [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] 
Sent: Sunday, November 19, 2006 10:01 AM
To: lit@literacyworkshop.org
Subject: [LIT] NCTE

Hi!

I know NCTE is about to start - I'm jealous of all of you who can attend!
Would you be willing to share what you're learning at the conference so we
can all virtually be there? Thanks!

Take care,
Bill Ivey
Stoneleigh-Burnham School


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