Thursday, November 27, 2008

NCTE in Words and Pictures: Franki's Version

Mary Lee inspired me to share my NCTE convention week in words and pictures!  As did everyone else, I had a great time and learned lots.  The energy at the convention was amazing and I came home with my head spinning from all of the new learning. I mentioned earlier that I heard several sessions on 21st century literacies and am glad to have had the chance to hear Karl Fisch after having followed his blog for so long.  I loved his message. Too often I got to "tech" workshops and the focus is on the technology or the product but the actual teaching goes against what I believe about kids and learning.  But Karl Fisch is grounded in good teaching and understands learning. It was definitely a highlight.
The convention opened with speaker Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. What a great opening!  So many great things going on at Sesame Street. As always, I was amazed with their mission not only in the US but around the world. I was also happy to hear that "THE ELECTRIC COMPANY" will be returning! Wooohooo!  We saw some great clips and it was a great celebration of learning and literacy. And guess who joined Gary Knell at NCTE?  One of my favorite muppets--GROVER! What a treat!  You can see that my friend, Shari Frost, and I had our photo taken with him after the opening celebration. Check out the Sesame Street website and keep your eye out for The Electric Company that is sure to be a hit again!

Another treat was the Books for Children Luncheon featuring children's author, Tomie dePaola!  It was a great celebration with so many children's authors--one at every table. It was so fun to be in a room with so many children's authors and children's books!  I was excited to be able to sit at Tomie dePaola's table and I received a copy of his new and gorgeous pop-up book, BRAVA, STREGA NONA: A HEARTWARMING POP-UP BOOK  I LOVE this book. Growing up in a 100% Italian Family, this book is a true gift. Strega Nona gives us her secrets to a magical life and they include things like family and friends and food! The pop-up art is amazing and Tomie dePaola demonstrated how to open and close the book properly to see the gorgeous art! I had not heard dePaola speak for about 15+ years so it was such a treat. He talked a bit about some of the books he has coming out soon so we can look forward to those as well. But if you are looking for a great gift for a family member (especially an Italian one) this new pop-up book says so much!

If you don't know Nancy Johnson, she was a key person on the Elementary Section Steering Committee who organized the luncheon and she is the perfect person to do this! (You should check out her book THE WONDER OF IT ALL: WHEN LITERATURE AND LITERACY INTERSECT.) Here she is with Ralph Fletcher getting last minute details figured out before the event. Ralph announced this year's NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award winner which will be announced on the NCTE website soon!

Other highlights included Kathi Yancey's general session on Sunday, Barbara Ehrenreich's talk on her book NICKEL AND DIMED IN AMERICA, and Regie Routman's talk entitled, "Raising Expectation, Results and Enjoyment for All Learners: What Does It Take?" If you have the chance to hear any of these speakers, they were phenomenal!

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