Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Adventures in New Orleans

I just returned from New Orleans and the International Reading Association Conference.  What a wonderful trip and a great conference. Here are ten exciting things about my trip!

10. The City Welcomed IRA!


We felt welcomed all around town…and what a great town it was!


9. Kelly Gallagher was a great speaker.


He gave the 3 Ingredients to Building a Reader. They are:
~a book you WANT to read
~a place to read, and
~the time to read.
Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it?

8. Bourbon Street - Oh, My!


It certainly didn’t disappoint. From dancers to musicians to the Poet for Hire, there were sights of all kinds.


7. Ruth Culham


Do I really need to say anymore? She is always amazing. Here’s all you have to know:
“Reading is breathing in. Writing is breathing out.”

6. The Ghost Tour in America's Most Haunted City


What fun! We went on a ghost tour with Libby, a tenth generation New Orleanian. She was a great tour guide. We heard ghost stores laced with history lessons. We heard about the Blue Witch, New Orleans Omni (the most haunted hotel in New Orleans, the sister’s who tortured their helper girls, and the Bourbon Orleans Hotel (that was the sight of the first black convent and battered wife shelter). We didn’t see any ghosts, but it was fun.


5. Jan Richardson and Maria Walther


I saw Maria present with Jan Richardson at a Scholastic Breakfast. I always love hearing Jan Richardson talk about reading. I learn something new every time. This time she talked about vocabulary…it was great to confirm what I knew about vocabulary. Maria was new to me. She published the book Month-by-Month Reading Instruction for the Differentiated Classroom and Month-by-Month Trait-Based Writing Instruction. WE were given the reading book as a gift for attending the breakfast. I was so impressed I went straight to the Exhibit Hall and bought the writing book. I can’t wait to use it. One of my favorite moments with Maria Walther was her explaining “Brave Abandonments.” She asked her veteran teachers to attempt at least one “Brave Abandonment.” Something they could let go and move forward. I’d like to try that next year.

Month-by-Month


4. The Architecture, The Artists, and the Musicians


I could go on for a while about the buildings, the porches, the windows, and the amazing St. Louis Cathedral. I loved just walking the streets and looking. The street artists represented all sorts of mediums, from paint to metals to performance. Finally, the street musicians were so good. I couldn’t believe the level of ability coming off the street. Our last morning in the city, we were treated to outdoor music as we ate our last beignet. When I put money in their box on the way by, the man on the end started singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” It was a perfect ending to the trip.


3. The conference itself. IRA put on a great conference.


It was so inspiring to be in a place where so many literacy professionals are gathered for a mutual purpose: to learn better ways to teach kids. We heard encouraging talks from Sharon Robinson (Jackie Robinson’s daughter), Mary Pope Osborne (the amazing author of Magic Tree House books), Dav Pilkey, Kelly Gallagher, Danny Brassell, Tim Rasinski, Dick Allington, Valerie Ellery, and so many more famous people. BUT, the session presented by teachers were great…opinion writing, emergent reading, and many more. It was great.


2. The Food was Amazing


We ate beignets every morning and loved it more and more each time. I pretty sure they bring you a glass of water to clean the powdered sugar off your pants…but it’s worth every bite. We ate oysters, gumbo, crab cakes, shrimp, and We ATE CRAWFISH. We went to Channing Tatem’s Sinners and Saints and the amazing staff taught us how to eat them. Pinch and twist, suck the juices from the head, peel the first layer of the layer, pinch the end and pull the meat out. Mmmmmm!


1. I presented at IRA!!!


It was so exciting. My session on vocabulary was titled, “Standing at the Precipice: Using a Variety of Texts and Strategies to Support Vocabulary Instruction for the Emergent Reader.” Holy Cow, who came up with that mouthful? Oh yeh, me. I shared 6 vocabulary techniques: List-Group-Label, Post-It © Vocabulary Posters, Concept Muraling, Anchor Charts, Text Gradients and the Frayer Model. I also shared 44 ideas for vocabulary practice. It was such a great session, probably 150 people, and I loved every minute of it. I can honestly say: I wasn’t nervous. I love sharing and teaching so much…sharing and teaching with adults is fun. I hope to do more of it again. Oh, by the way, I’ll be presenting at the Keystone State Reading Association in October!


I’m happy to include the handout from IRA. This includes the 44 ideas for vocabulary, vocabulary folder ideas, text gradient class sets, and examples.

CLICK HERE Standing at the Precipice...handouts from IRA!

Enjoy!

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