Don’t Forget to Download the Conference App!

We’ve built a mobile app for Write to Learn, and it has all the important information you need for the conference, as well as fun features designed to enhance your conference experience!

Here are just a few of the benefits of the app:

  • Access the event schedule, session descriptions, and customize your agenda
  • See all the speakers, read their bios, and download their handouts
  • Check out the exhibitors and locate their booths by using the interactive maps
  • Also use the interactive maps to locate the sessions you’re signed up to attend
  • Get important updates, exciting offers, and learn about opportunities to win prizes via push notifications from our exhibitors
  • Easily evaluate all your sessions digitally inside the app
  • At the end of the conference, easily give us your feedback about the conference as a whole

Here’s all you have to do:

Step One: Download the app and complete the app login prior to your arrival.  Simply click this link.  This will work for a phone or tablet.  Don’t have iOS or Android?  Maybe using a laptop?  Use the mobile web version of the app located here.

Step Two: Download your session materials.  In our efforts to go green, most presenters (but not all) have provided us their materials in advance.  You can find these materials via the app by either clicking on the Session Handouts icon on the main screen or by going to individual sessions and clicking the Documents link at the bottom of the page.  Alternatively, you can access available handouts by following this URL link.

Questions?  Contact the MU Conference Office at 573-882-4349 or e-mail

For technical questions regarding the app, call 1-888-889-3069 X 1.

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator
Posted 2/13/17

Kelly Gallagher: In the Best Interest of Students

Kelly Gallagher is a true master teacher–always innovating, always trying one more way to reach every student.  He has always had the best interests of all his students in mind, and in his most recent book, In the Best Interest of Students, he pulls all of his considerable thinking on the topic together into one must-read book for language arts teachers.

The book centers around today’s constantly-shifting educational landscape.  It seems like every time we turn around, there’s a new standards movement–and, of  course, new assessments to go with those new standards.

In his book, Kelly looks deeply at what is good in the most recent iteration of standards–the Common Core State Standards–and what is not so good, or simply left out.  He also looks very specifically at the assessments that are being developed and have been developed to assess attainment of the new standards.  In some cases, the standards themselves are solid, but the assessments developed to assess the standards drive instruction in the wrong direction.

A master teacher such as Kelly Gallagher doesn’t allow himself to be driven all over the pedagogical landscape when the wind (or standards and assessments) shift.  He knows what’s good for developing students into competent readers and writers, and he holds fast to what works.  In this book, you’ll learn how to do the same.

For a quick peek into Kelly’s reasons for writing the book, and to get an inkling of what he covers, check out this short video.  You’ll get just a taste of what you can expect when you attend Kelly’s Saturday morning keynote address.

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator
Posted 2/3/17

Getting to Know E. Lockhart…Before You Get to Know Her More at Write to Learn

E. Lockhart (Emily Jenkins) is the author of We Were Liars,  Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the Ruby Oliver quartet: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live BoyfriendsHow to Be Bad was co-written with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski.

Disreputable History was a Printz Award honor book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel. We Were Liars is a New York Times bestseller. It won the Goodreads Choice Award and was Amazon’s #1 YA novel of 2014.

Want to find out more about E. Lockhart before you hear her speak at Write to Learn?  Click this link to go to her Teacher Resources page on her website.  There you will find a number of resources and explanations of how the book can be used to satisfy a number of Common Core State Standards, including text complexity.  I recommend watching her five minute video interview with Goodreads (second video down the page).  It gives you some insight into her personality and sense of humor, in addition to information about why she constructed the book as she did.

Also, if you want to know what readers think about the book, just go to this YouTube page where you can see the results that came up when I typed in E. Lockhart Goodreads.  You will see pages and pages of reviews of the book, which just goes to show you how popular it is.

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator
Posted 1/22/17

Brilliant.  Opinionated.  Passionate.  Meet Keynote Speaker Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni, our Friday mid-day keynote speaker at Write to Learn 2017, is one of America’s best-known poets.  She rose to prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s, evolving from naive college student to civil rights activist, from daughter to mother.  Her first volumes rose out of her response to the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy and spoke of the plight of black people in a country that paid lip service to equal rights for all.

nikki-giovanniHer style is informal, even colloquial, making her work accessible to children and adults alike.  Her first volume, Black Feeling, Black Talk (1968) quickly became one of a rare breed–a best-selling book of poetry (it sold over 10,000 copies in the first year alone).  Over the years, her work has evolved from expressing a political/militant African-American viewpoint to work that has explored themes such as gospel and jazz music; motherhood, friendship, love, loneliness, and sexual desire.

She has also written extensively for children, including the poetry collections Spin a Soft Black Song (1971), Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People (1973), and Vacation Time (1980).

Giovanni has received multiple awards for her work, including many NAACP Image Awards, the Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, the Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, and over twenty honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the country.  She taught at Virginia Tech during the 2007 mass shooting and overnight composed a passionate chant-poem that she delivered at the memorial service on campus the following day.

To get a sense of Giovanni’s many interests, check out this wide-ranging interview of the poet conducted by Krista Tippet on the podcast.  In the interview, Giovanni discusses a wide range of topics, including religion, feminism, the 60s, living in the moment, being a “space junkie,” and her iconic status with a number of hip-hop artists.

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator
Posted 1/7/17

Don’t Miss Our Opening General Session Keynote Speaker, Yong Zhao!

Want to get a peek at what education in the future might look like?  Then you won’t want to miss distinguished professor and educational futurist Yong Zhao at this year’s Write to Learn Conference.
This year’s conference theme is “Nurturing the Creative Spirit,” and no one on Earth is more suited to explore this theme with us than Yong Zhao, a Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, whose works focus on the implications of globalization and technology for education.

He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes (2016); Never Send a Human to do a Machine’s Job: Correcting the Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015); and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (2012).

To get a sneak peek at some of the topics he will discuss at Write to Learn, check out his TEDx talk, “Every Child is a Rudolph” (somewhat appropriate for this time of year, right?).  In it, you’ll hear why the future of education depends on changing the existing paradigm to stop trying to fix students’ deficits and instead focus on enhancing their uniqueness.

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator
Posted 12/20/16

Welcome to the new Write to Learn Conference Website!

For years, we have put up a basic website for the conference through our partners at the University of Missouri Conference Office, but this site represents our commitment to bring you regularly updated information about the coming year’s conference.

Publicity 2016 6 SmallEach year, we will use this blog page to introduce you to speakers for the upcoming conference as we sign them.  No more waiting for an e-blast or a postcard in the mail to find out what’s in store for you (we’ll still send those out, of course, just to remind you that the conference is coming up).

We will also use this space to keep you informed about changes to the conference format, about new co-sponsoring organizations, about new Sponsors and exhibitors, and about special events taking place at the conference.

I hope you’re as excited about this new site as I am.  Please take a moment to bookmark us on your computer so you can find us with a simple click whenever you want to learn the latest about the conference.

I look forward to seeing you at the February 16-18, 2017 Write to Learn Conference!

Willy Wood
Write to Learn Conference Coordinator

Posted 9/29/16