Monday, November 21, 2016

Slice of Life: Top Ten Quotes from my NCTE notes

Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 

Attending NCTE definitely poses a challenge. This year, my flight left Hartford at 6am. I had to leave my husband with not only daughter responsibilities, leaf raking, grocery shopping, and house cleaning, but also with the challenges of a 9 week-old puppy. (He's really cute, but needs a 3 am potty break!)

But the hardest part of NCTE is the loneliness I feel on Monday. Anyone else feeling bereft? In order to gather my thoughts and re-experience some of my highlights, I have collected the top ten quotes in my notes. (are you appreciating the poetry?) While they do not even remotely capture the experience, it feels good to share some.

  • When you don’t know the language, you don’t realize how important it is to have language. -Shana Frazin
  • Successful readers revise their thinking, and there is a huge chasm between those kids and the kids who grab a thought and then just hold on to it. -Elin Keene
  • You probably don’t know adults’ DRA, you don’t know what level book they are reading. You might not even know what their community values. We acknowledge their habits and behaviors. -Matt Glover
  • I am a writer. I can write. The proof is on the page. -Jen Vincent

  • If you don’t struggle in front of students, they think you have a writing gene they don’t.-Kelly Bowell
  • When I’m not writing I notice a huge difference in my teaching. I need to be writing. -Beth Moore
  • Yes, we need to listen to the stories of others, BUT too often we’re doing one or the other: listening or telling -Jason Griffith
  • We all need writing as a survival tool in a complex world. -Sarah Gross
  • The critical piece is to stop looking at what’s wrong about the piece and first search for the beauty- Lisa Eckholdt
  • Write from the heart never worrying about what anyone else might think. -Margarita Engle
  • Give writers concrete tasks that are tiny. Take the scary out of writing. -Linda Sue Park
  • The skills we have to have to change the world are the same ones we need to pass the test. -Kate Messner
If you were counting, you might have found more than ten in this list. I tried to wean out two, and I just couldn't. In fact, there are many more I'd like to add. Maybe someone else will share some favorite lines--feel free to add some in the comments if you were there. You could also join the conversation if you had some favorites tweets coming out of #ncte16. 

As always, happy writing!


  1. Thank You Melanie. Made me feel like I attended.

  2. NCTE is such a large event we need to clone ourselves to get to all the good. This post got me to those sessions I didn't attend ( and missed you ). Thank you, Melanie!

  3. So happy we were able to pass each other like ships in the night. These quotes are great and sum up your experience. I am realizing that each experience is different, but they are all valuable. We each take away what we most need. My soul is full. Get some puppy kisses for me.

  4. What a great list!!! Thank you for sharing your top ten -- it was great to see you and connect. Hopefully we will connect again soon -- enjoy the holiday with your family.

  5. Oh, these are great! I especially love two: If you don’t struggle in front of students, they think you have a writing gene they don’t.-Kelly Bowell; Give writers concrete tasks that are tiny. Take the scary out of writing. -Linda Sue Park
    Linda Sue Park's quote might keep me writing! I get so overwhelmed sometimes...better to think small and concrete. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!