About Write to Learn

The Write to Learn Conference

“Voice and Choice”

Willy Wood

Hello!  My name is Willy Wood, and it’s my pleasure to serve as the Conference Coordinator for the Write to Learn Conference. I want to thank you for visiting our website and congratulate you on finding one of the best annual professional development opportunities in the country for K-college language arts teachers!

The theme for this year’s conference is “Voice and Choice,” and there’s no better way to empower students to be everything they can be than to give them a platform and options through which to share their voices.  This year, we offer you a variety of renowned speakers on this topic–from master teachers who empower their students to voice their opinions like Shanna Peeples, 2015 National Teacher of the Year; to authors of professional books who show you how to strengthen your students’ voices in their writing, like Jeff Anderson and Barry Lane; to best-selling authors who have touched the lives of tens of thousands of young people with their own voices, like Laurie Halse Anderson.

At Write to Learn, you get to hear national-level speakers–in fact, the very same national-level speakers you would get at the big national conferences.  In addition, we offer full-day workshops with recognized experts in the teaching of reading, writing, literature, media literacy, and educational technology; four keynote addresses; over 70 breakout sessions; post-conference workshops; and other events like our Late Night Open Mic, our Magnetic Poetry Contest, and the Missouri Writing Projects Network’s reception for student writers who have been selected as winners of this year’s Scholastic Writing Awards.

And Write to Learn comes at just the right time each year, when the adrenaline rush of the holidays is behind you and you’re into that long winter slog through weeks on end without a break.  Come and join us at the conference to recharge your batteries, network with colleagues, and get a good dose of inspiration and a boatload of new, effective teaching strategies to help you be even more effective at what you do.

I guarantee you won’t want to miss our keynote speakers at this year’s conference!  You’ll be energized by 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeple’s vision of what students are capable of–even students who speak English as a second language or come from a background of poverty–when we give them an authentic voice; you’ll pick up some of the latest tricks of the trade from master teacher Jeff Anderson, who will share with you how your students can develop their own voices by examining how published authors use theirs; you’ll be touched when award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson shares how she voices the powerful messages in her YA novels; and you’ll laugh while you learn from author/expert/musician/comedian Barry Lane as he shares in his own inimitable style his unique strategies for teaching voice.

Those attending Day One will have the choice of attending full-day sessions by award-winning storyteller Sherry Norfolk on why students so often hate to write–and what to do about it (grades K-3); writing expert and author Gretchen Bernabei on using simple text structures and models to improve your students’ writing almost effortlessly (grades 3-8); and best-selling graphic novelist Gareth Hinds on showing your students how to expand their conception of writing by teaching them how to create comics and graphic novels (grades 6-12).

img_0115-2In addition to the great speakers above, you won’t want to miss our featured breakout session presenters.  America’s leading expert on oral communication, author Erik Palmer will present two breakout sessions on teaching speaking skills and a post-conference session on argumentation for secondary teachers; National Writing Project Senior Research Associate Sherry Swain will present sessions on using assessment of student writing to strengthen students’ writing skills; and Deborah MacPhee, professor of reading and literacy at Illinois State University, will present sessions on how to integrate literacy into content area instruction and on how to support readers in a workshop setting.

All of that, plus more than 70 informative breakout sessions on a wide variety of teaching topics, contests and door prizes, exhibits and book sales, autographing sessions, and refreshments!

All in all, there really is no better K-to-college language arts professional development opportunity out there–and no better value for your PD dollar.  We hope to see you at this year’s conference!

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator