Two Curly Girls in Corpus Christi

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
brought to you by Lori...from a land of sun and palm trees...

This past weekend we found ourselves at the highly anticipated TCTELA conference in Corpus Christi (Texas Convention of Teachers of English Language Arts). We flew in late Thursday evening. Suzanne has got to learn how to travel. How this woman got through TSA with two [TWO] larger than quart size--and definitely not plastic bags--is entirely beyond me. I forgot a Dr. Pepper in my purse on the way back home and had to toss it and have my purse re-scanned. Whatever, Suz. Whatever. 

Our weekend brought incredibly full days, but we enjoyed every bit of it. We started off the greatness by listening to some interesting testing updates from Victoria Young, who we were happy see and hear for the first time. We got some affirmation that the type of Curly instruction that we offer is exactly what our kids need!
Don't be fooled. It looks sunny and beautiful, but true to Texas, by the time we left, it was rainy and cold.
The highlights of our weekend included a nice chat with our respected mentor and friend, Gretchen Bernabei. Again, this weekend did much to affirm what we've got going on in our classrooms and our goals as teacher leaders. Lunch on Friday with keynote speakers Christopher Meyers, and father Walter Dean Myers inspired us to connect students to books so that they can find their own stories within those pages. 

Saturday brought some pretty cool reading strategies that you know I'll totally share with you, but that's a whole other post. Our favorite presenter from Saturday was Dr. Lori Assaf from Texas State University. She has sparked an amazing writing initiative with equally amazing teachers at Chapa middle school in Hays CISD. Their session inspired the research project that I will conduct with my students in the spring. Again...don't worry...I'll share everything. 

We finished the conference at a fun, yet purposeful session with Jeff Anderson and Terry Thompson entitled Focus Pocus: How Instructional Phrases Work Magic. Essentially, it's a spin on administrative demands to post learning objectives. Instructional phrases are statements that the student owns and internalizes because you refer to them often. It is common language during instruction, conferring, revising...essentially every stage of the writing process that both you and your students use. We didn't get much time with it in training, but we're definitely excited to learn more and we'll certainly keep our eyes and ears out for instructional phrases.

Well...Dallas awaits. We're currently at our gate waiting to board, feverishly blogging in our matching coats. It's been a great trip, but I am ready to hug my girl and give her her new blank books from the convention that she will undoubtedly fill with literary magic. I'm ready to see my son who will scream and run toward me and not want me to let him go. [Sorry...I miss them, and I had to go there.]

Wherever you are, we encourage you to join your local professional organization. Coming together with a group of like-minded teachers is empowering, encouraging, and re-energizing. Corpus has been great, and now it's time to go home and continue to grow.

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