Day Two Sessions

Friday General Session Keynote

7:45am – 9:00am

“The Good Ones: How Language Marginalizes and Literature Empowers”
Kwame Alexander, Author

During this lively keynote address, Kwame will discuss equity in education and share stories and poems that speak to the power of books as mirrors and windows.  He concludes with a set of creative tools and strategies that will help teachers help ALL students imagine a better world through accessible and meaningful literature.


Friday Sessions Round B

9:15 am – 10:30 am

5. “Interactive Writing as a Classroom Reading Intervention”
Lori Wertz and Leigh Anne Patrick, Springfield R-12 School District
Grades K-3

How can teachers use interactive writing as a classroom reading intervention?  In this session, Lori and Leigh Anne will share how interactive writing can be used with students from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  You will examine frameworks with specific procedures for increasing reading achievement through writing.  Join Lori and Leigh Anne to learn more about how to boost reading through writing, beyond the traditional way of starting with books.

7. “Reading Engaged: Connecting Home and School to Motivate Readers”
Katie Ritter, Warrensburg R-6 School District
Grades K-5

Are you looking for ways to engage families in your students’ reading process?  Are you stuck doing the same old thing?  This session will introduce you to the 500 Book Challenge, a fun and engaging at-home reading challenge that builds a lifelong love of reading.  You will also learn how to use the parent communication tool SeeSaw to empower parents as they help their children read at home, and you will hear from students and parents about how the Book Challenge and SeeSaw have increased their love of reading!

9. “Leeches, Lobotomies and Lice—Oh My!
Stephanie Bearce, Author
Grades 3-8

What better way to get kids writing than to give them something disgusting and true to research?  Author Stephanie Bearce will lead you in hands-on experiments and writing activities guaranteed to get your students excited about writing and reading nonfiction.  Learn the truth about how George Washington died (his doctors killed him) and what really caused bubonic plague.  And if that doesn’t get your students interested in writing, the fake snot definitely will!

11. “From I to We, Empathy in Me”
Betsy McQueen and Kellsey Bradley, Branson Public Schools
Grades 4-8

In a world where kindness sometimes seems rare, we must intentionally teach our students empathy in ways they can internalize. In this session, Betsy and Kellsey will show you how they developed a comprehensive immersion focusing on empathy using a workshop framework along with multiple texts, writing, and discussion tools.

13. “Creator-Teachers: Imagining the Ideal and Making It a Reality”
Zachary Hamby, Ava R-1 Schools and Rachel Hamby, Mountain Grove Schools
Grades 6-12

Merely mentioning creativity elicits a reaction. “I’m not creative” is a frequent response. The truth is, creativity is not some secret skill that some have and others don’t. As one author said, “Creativity is simply a sustained effort toward an ideal.” First, creative teachers imagine their ideal classroom. Then through trial and error, they discover ways to turn that ideal into a reality. Whatever doesn’t work gets thrown out. What does work gets duplicated and perfected. Keeping this process in mind, you can see that creativity is not some magical, lightning-strike moment with immediate results. It’s hard work! Yet, through this ongoing creative effort, teachers become active agents of change—creator-teachers who shape every facet of the learning experience. As esoteric as all this may sound, in this session you will hear many practical strategies you can use to shape your classroom into a more creative environment for you and your students. Zachary is the author of both the Mythology for Teens and the Reaching Olympus textbook series, and the creator of two websites, and

15. “Building Communities, Building Literacies: Identifying Possibilities in Your School”
Keri Franklin, Missouri State University
Grades 6-College

This workshop is based on work from a consortium of centers at universities serving rural America, specifically the Ozarks, Delta, Appalachia, and I-95 Corridor. In essence, these centers seek to position teachers and students as local actors for the betterment of their school communities through place-based oral history work. In this session, Keri will provide protocols for you to use with students, faculty, and community members to identify possible projects, participants, and funding sources. You will leave with oral history techniques relevant in every classroom and a simultaneous call to action—and support for making it happen—to begin an oral history project of your own.

17. “Empowering Writers To Blend Genres Intentionally and Strategically”
Candy Holloway, Ft. Zumwalt R-II School District, and Dana Humphrey, Educational Consultant
Grades 9-12

Think of the most powerful pieces of real world nonfiction you’ve read. Most likely, those pieces speak to you on more than one level: pulling at your heartstrings, stimulating your intellect, pushing you to question and engage with the author. How do authors achieve all of these things at once? They’re blending genres, moving from narrative to expository to argument in a carefully choreographed dance. In today’s ELA classrooms, our goal is to give students the authentic experience of writing like a writer, so we must give them the opportunity to blend genres. In this workshop, not only will Candy and Dana give you the chance to dabble in this trick of the trade, but they’ll introduce a scenario in which students can tackle problems that are relevant and critical in their worlds and practice the art and skill of blending genres to reach and move their audiences.

6. “Teachers Are Researchers: Using Lesson Study to Deepen Our Practices”
Debbie Lacy-Anderson, The Collaborative Classroom
Grades K-5

Attend this session and learn how to empower your teaching with lesson study!  Lesson study is a professional development practice in which teams of teacher researchers work together to plan, teach, observe, and analyze writing lessons.  This model of professional development is carried out by teachers right in their own classrooms, with their own students and colleagues.  In this session, you will experience a mini-model lesson study of a writing lesson and return to your school with materials to begin the process of making lesson study a part of your own school’s culture.

8. “Empowering Students to Use PBL and Communication Skills to Solve Real-World Issues”
Melinda Odom and Victoria Daniels, Hollister R-V School District
Grades 3-6

Come and see how your students can be empowered to take on real-world problems and learn essential reading and writing skills while working toward a solution.  Through the PBL experience, students can be highly engaged in learning the necessary language arts concepts and applying them to authentic situations.  Using PBL, you will engage in hands-on activities involving technology and cooperative learning strategies that you can take back to your classroom and begin implementing immediately.  Videos of how this can look in your classroom will give you an idea of what will work to make this a great learning experience for your students.

10. “Cultivating Connected Readers: Creating Community Within and Beyond the Reading Workshop”
Sarah Valter, Lindbergh School District
Grades 3-8

Our classrooms may all look different, but our goal as teachers is the same: to create lifelong readers. Join Sarah to learn about her “top 10 list” of ready-to-implement strategies that will engage your students in developing a love for reading. This interactive session will focus on connecting readers in and out of the classroom through a variety of approaches. You will explore online tools such as Padlet and Flipgrid that will help you empower readers to share their reading voice and will learn about initiatives such as #ClassroomBookaDay and Booksnaps to promote the value of reading in your classroom. This fast-paced session will emphasize how creating a community of connected readers is critical for increasing engagement, empathy, and energy in our reading workshops.

12. “Connecting Teachers, Young Writers, and Classes with Published Authors: Explore a Partnership with Mid-Missouri’s Unbound Book Festival”
Alex George, Festival Director, Unbound Book Festival
Grades 6-12

As students’ attention spans decrease, one way to recapture interest and focus in reading is to invite published authors into your classroom. Their presence gives stories depth and background and reveals a real person behind the words. The Unbound Book Festival brings nationally renowned authors to mid-Missouri each April and can arrange visits with students while the authors are in the area. Local authors may also be available for book talks and writing craft workshops throughout the year. Come exchange ideas with Festival Director Alex George and explore how you can best put Unbound’s resources to use in your classroom.

14. “From Grammar Police to Language Detectives: Using Descriptive Grammar to Increase Language Knowledge”
Mike Metz, University of Missouri-Columbia
Grades 6-12

English teachers hold (often rightfully) a feared reputation as “the grammar police.” The historical approach to grammar has turned many students away from writing, while making English teachers pariahs at parties. Luckily, a new day is upon us. Armed with linguistic knowledge instead of grammar myths, English teachers can form new reputations as investigators of language. By taking a descriptive—rather than prescriptive—approach, we can build students’ interest in grammar instead of instilling fear or shame. Prescriptive grammar, the historical approach, holds a narrow view of “correct” grammar and focuses on telling people how they should use language. Descriptive grammar, in contrast, focuses on explaining how people actually use language. It turns out that there are many correct English grammars. In fact, most grammar “errors” aren’t errors at all; they are dialect differences that follow clear grammatical rules. By teaching students how their own English is correct, we open them up to learning more about language. And by emphasizing inquiry over rule following, we can rebrand English teachers from grammar police to language detectives.

16. “Engaging Readers with Gateway Nominees”
Stacey Conrad, Palmyra R-1 School District and Ethan Evans, Lathrop School District
Grades 9-12

Cassandra Clare said, “One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” In this session, Gateway committee members will share the current Gateway list and will offer ideas and tech tools to foster engagement, empathy, and empowerment in your readers.

18. “Get Your Tech On to Effectively Teach On”
Jason Johnson, Arcadia Valley R-II School District and Emily Durham, St. James R-II School District
Grades 9-12

Is your school part of the 1:1 Initiative, or do you have access to a computer lab? Are you struggling to find assignments that use technology effectively? Are you tired of going to technology sessions and getting “fluff”? Can you empathize with your students that technology should be used for more than just substitution of paper and pencil? Are you a novice to technology and have no clue where to begin? If you answered yes to any of those questions (or even if you didn’t), join Emily and Jason in this teched-out ELA session. You will learn how to capture students during a novel study using Snapchat, guide classroom discussion through Tweets, and learn how to use Blendspace to combine multiple mediums for effective teaching. In addition, you will learn about multiple engaging websites such as Padlet, Blabberize, and Quizizz that effectively lend themselves to empowering classroom experiences. You will leave with resources, assignments, scoring guides, and quizzes that will engage your students when you return on Monday. Come get your tech on to effectively teach on, or you might regret it!

Friday After Lunch Keynote

11:45 am – 1:00 pm

“Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students”
Pernille Ripp, Teacher, Author, Blogger, Founder of The Global Read Aloud

 Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?  In this session, based on her book Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students, 7th-grade teacher Pernille Ripp will help both novice and seasoned educators create a positive, interactive learning environment where students drive their own academic achievement.  You’ll discover how to make fundamental changes to your classroom so learning becomes an exciting challenge rather than a frustrating ordeal.  You’ll discover practical strategies for how to build a working relationship with your students based on mutual trust, respect, and appreciation; be attentive to your students’ needs and share ownership of the classroom with them; and break out of the vicious cycle of punishment and reward to control student behavior.  Whether you’re just beginning or well on your way in your teaching career, this session is meant to inspire you, help you take some risks, and eagerly pursue your journey toward a classroom filled with passionate learners.

Friday Sessions Round C

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

19. “Differentiation: The Key to Growing Motivated, Self-Regulated Readers and Writers”
Sam Bommarito, Co-Editor of Missouri Reader and William Kerns, Harris-Stowe State University
Grades K-4

In this session, Sam and William will show you how to implement systems of instruction and strategies that scaffold students’ learning of both reading and writing. Research clearly demonstrates that not all students learn the same way or at the same pace. In addition, what works with some or most students does not always work with every student. What can teachers do for those students who don’t seem to really “get” how words work or how to read with fluency and prosody? What about those who don’t understand how to think about, talk about, and write about what they read? How can we best tweak our instruction to serve all our students? You will leave this presentation with numerous practical ideas for helping students in all the aforementioned areas.

21. “EXPLORE Ways to Use Poetry to Enhance Instruction”
Beth Knoedelseder, St. Louis Archdiocese
Grades 2-5

Come and EXPLORE a variety ways that poetry can enhance your instruction:

E-Engagement and Enjoyment
X-eXperiential Learning
P-Poetry throughout the day, every day
L-Learning Logs for Literacy
O-Outdoor Classroom activities
R-Reading and Writing across content areas
E-Establishing a positive learning Environment of Empowered Students

23. “Engagement, Empathy, Empowerment—Oh My!”
Julie Hentges and Ann Powell-Brown, University of Central Missouri
Grades 4-6

In this session, Julie and Ann will demonstrate student engagement techniques to encourage book talks led by students in grades four through six. They will provide you with techniques that will engage and empower your students to become part of a community of learners. You will have the opportunity to try these engagement activities during the session. The techniques addressed in this session are designed to promote the genuine love of reading for the transitional learner.

25. “Writing to Heal: Writing about Loss and Trauma”
Colleen Appel, Ozarks Writing Project, and Keri Franklin, Missouri State University
Grades 5-12

Students want to share their whole lives in their writing, and all too often, they tell tales of loss and sadness. How do we help them write about the grandparent who died, the storm that damaged a house, the divorce that fractured the family? Colleen will offer text structures that support the writing of tributes and memories and some tips on how to handle the sharing of sensitive topics. To teach this session, she draws on her studies of the power of writing to heal, her classroom experience with students who revealed trauma in poetry, her time spent supporting writers in twelve step groups, and the loss of her own daughter by suicide.

27. “Learning and the Teenage Mind: Brain Friendly Strategies for the Literacy Classroom”
Rebecca Groves and Chris Blanke, Clayton School District
Grades 6-8

Have you ever asked yourself, “What on earth were they thinking?” Come learn the answer and a little bit of the science behind what is going on in students’ brains. You will learn how to make a classroom brain friendly, based on the five main criteria of a brain-friendly classroom. In this session, Rebecca and Chris will use Jensen’s Teach With The Brain In Mind, Armstrong’s The Power of the Adolescent Brain, and systems thinking strategies to help you create the optimum atmosphere for learning! You’ll leave this session with things that you can try in your classroom immediately and with minimum preparation.

29. “Don’t Poke Your Eye Out! Teaching The Odyssey in Middle School”
Judy Mohan, St. Louis Priory
Grades 7-9

Middle school students inhale Greek mythology. They revel in the anguish of the Cyclops Polyphemus and the wily schemes of Odysseus. This workshop will capitalize on that interest and provide you with resources to teach The Odyssey using three types of texts: a graphic novel, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, and Richard Larrimore’s The Odyssey. The unit is paced to move seamlessly among the three texts, focusing on narrative style. You will leave the workshop with ready-to-use plans and links to online resources. Part of the fun, of course, is to create one’s own contemporary Odyssey and to reenact the final battle in the home of Odysseus’ Ithaca.

31. “Horror Literature for the At Risk Population”
Woods Prael, Warrensburg School District
Grades 8-12

Come and learn how Woods applies the Carnegie-sponsored Reading Next program to high interest content for an at risk population to create his Horror Literature class. From reading a variety of short applicable horror stories, to exploring the apocalyptic landscape of Matheson’s I Am Legend, to writing flash fiction and responding to Edgar Lee Master’s cemetery poems, the students have no idea that the class is anything but a novelty course which gives them an extra Comm. Arts credit. Using applicable materials, videos, handouts, and plenty of interaction, you will be immersed in the environment, performing the same tasks which Woods might ask of his students, including the justification and research for each element.

20. “Bubble Gum Brain or Brick Brain? Ready, Get Mindset…GROW!”
Tracy Kerth and Tiffany Seaman, Blue Valley School District
Grades K-5

Most young children are full of hope and optimism! They think and truly believe they can do anything. But as children get older, they begin to realize that life gets harder. Throughout life, both children and adults tend to cover up their thinking strategies with a wrapper, inviting a fixed mindset to dominate. As a result, society then tends to deflate optimism, and people end up searching for praise instead of progress. In this session, Tracy and Tiffany will introduce you to Bubble Gum Brain and Brick Brain—two kids with two very different mindsets. Come learn about Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset and powerful strategies you can use to help equip your students with the knowledge and tools needed to maintain their growth mindsets. Help your students discover the power of making great mistakes, the power of “yet,” and the power of resiliency.

22. “Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child”
Pernille Ripp, Teacher, Author, Blogger, Founder of The Global Read Aloud
Grades 3-12

With 28% of adults reporting that they have not read a book in the last 12 months, we are facing a mounting reading crisis. So, what can we, as the educators who teach this future generation of readers, do to create more engaging reading experiences? In this session, based on her book Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, 7th grade teacher Pernille Ripp will help you rediscover the keys to creating a community of readers, no matter the challenges facing your time. Focusing on teacher and student reading identities, classroom environment, and library, this is a session sure to inspire. From re-thinking major literacy decisions to all of the small decisions we make daily, this session is meant to offer you practical ideas you can implement the very next day.

24. “Going Paperless for Essays, From Drafting to Grading”
Melissa Duckett, Blair Oaks R-II School District
Grades 5-12

Never hit the print button again. Take the essay process from brainstorming to grading completely digital using the Google Suite. Using the Google Suite and classroom technology, students can create brainstorming webs and outlines for prewriting. Open up the revision and editing process to a wider audience and seek expert help using free editing apps. Finally, use add-ons for digital rubrics customizable to the Missouri Learning Standards so students can find all their feedback and assignment information in one place. With Google Docs, Slides, Classroom, and an array of apps, students can take their writing process beyond substitution and transform the process to modification and redefinition.

26. “Flash Fiction Inspired by Gallagher…and a Bum!”
Barri Bumgarner, Westminster College
Grades 5-College

Flash Fiction can be the perfect way to engage and empower student writers. From the 6 word memoir craze to short-shorts, this session will be an interactive workshop. You will explore, engage, create, and come away with ideas to use in your classroom to inspire your students to write.

28. “Creating Meaningful and Engaging Lessons that Maximize Time for Differentiation of Student Feedback”
Leslie Goodwin, North Kansas City School District
Grades 6-12

For this session, you’ll need to bring in a lesson plan or be able to brainstorm a lesson plan that you plan to teach. Leslie will examine strategies to maximize student-centered learning to increase time for more frequent, individual, differentiated verbal feedback. At the end of the session, you will work on transforming your lesson so that it uses the strategies and tools discussed, including brainstorming meaningful, real-world products to engage your learners.

30. “Engaging Place, Empowering Writers: The Writing Marathon”
Susan Martens, Missouri Western State University, and Josie Clark, St. Joseph School District
Grades 7-College

When we invite students to write directly from their experience of place and read that writing in rounds of low-stakes small group sharing, something magical happens. They become curious about people and places. They become listeners—to the world, to each other, and to themselves. Most importantly, they become writers. Join Susan and Josie for an overview of the place-based writing technique called the Writing Marathon and experience it for yourself so that you can bring it back to your school, classroom, and community. This session will provide background about the Writing Marathon’s evolution in National Writing Project sites across the country, provide guidelines and examples about how the presenters have used it in their K-12 and college classrooms, and engage you in a mini writing marathon around the Tan-Tar-A Conference Center to get a feel for how the activity works. The Writing Marathon is a simple but powerful idea, adaptable for a wide range of ages, settings, and instructional goals.

32. “MoCTE Connecting with Beginning and Pre-Service Teachers”
Lisa Inniss, Columbia Public Schools and Wycla Bratton, Ewing Marion Kauffman School
ELA Pre-Service and Early Career Teachers, All Grade Levels

As pre-service teachers or beginning teachers, engagement, empathy, and empowerment are just the beginning of where your questions may lie. Join Lisa and Wycla as they discuss issues surrounding the experiences of beginning teachers. They will share some strategies to help you succeed this school year and beyond. Then, you will have the opportunity to share different strategies that have worked for you. The session will end with some Q&A time. All pre-service and early career teachers are encouraged to attend.

Friday Sessions Round D

3:15 pm – 4:30 pm

33. “Defining Literacy: A Literary Journey”
Dawnavyn James and Lindsey Clifton, The Children’s School at Stephens College
Grades Pre-K to 5

It started with a bucket of Legos and ended with six confident young writers. In this hands-on session, you will experience the journey of a group of young writers as they challenge the traditional writing process. Dawnavyn and Lindsey will tell their story and demonstrate the teacher’s role in a multi-age classroom as their students create a story without paper and pencil. Through role playing, you will explore the messiness of the writing process and how to nurture writing in your own classroom. They will share the professional resources that inspired them, tools you can implement in your classroom, and a new perspective of what the writing process can be for any writer. Are you ready for the challenge?

35. “Added Value of Writing ‘I Am’ Poetry for Improved Math Performance”
Betty Porter Walls, Harris-Stowe State University
Grades K-5

For an engaging and informative learning experience, join Betty to hear, see, and write poetry with mathematics as the theme. Learn how poetry can be used to improve math literacy, vocabulary, and creativity. For the reluctant writer, this session will provide strategies to enhance receptive and productive language arts skills. Using principles from the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), you’ll enjoy an interactive, standards-based journey of ideas, materials, and problem solving. Various poetry structures, including formulaic and portrait poetry, will be employed. Come write and examine pertinent poetry that has rhythm, (sometimes) rhyme, and (always) ideas for learning. The use of poetic math for social-emotional growth will also be explored.

Come rhyme with Betty
and you will see
that adding 1 and 2 makes 3.
And then a poet you will be!

37. “From Reluctant to Engaged: Secrets to End Fake Reading”
Kelli Westmoreland, Educational Consultant
Grades 3-8

Fake readers. They are real, and they are contagious. Since reading is learned through actual reading, fake reading is a detriment to student success, no matter how well they perform in class. In this session, Kelli will examine four key principles to combat those reluctant readers: culture, accountability, access to the right books, and the addition of multimodal resources.

39. “Capturing Curiosity: Practical Ways to Foster Students’ Natural Engagement”
Casey Daugherty, Republic R-III School District
Grades 4-12

With good reason, “Wisdom begins in wonder” is one of Socrates’ most famous quotations. Fortunately, our students are naturals at wondering, and so are you. Join Casey to practice strategies that tap into students’ curiosity and nurture deeper thinking and sustained engagement. These activities support lessons at the beginning stages for mini-inquiries, project-based learning units, and/or reading/literature circles. Let’s put both your wonder and wisdom to work in this session so you can better switch on the wonder and wisdom of your students.

41. “Putting Students in Charge: Genius Hour Comes to Language Arts Class”
Lynn Hagen, Columbia Public Schools
Grades 6-12

Companies like Apple and Google provide their employees with time to work on creative projects of their own choosing. The result? Increased motivation, energized employees, and fantastic ideas. 20% time, Genius Hour, and Maker Spaces have entered some schools with much success. What about English class? Could it work there, too? In this session, Lynn will take the concept of Genius Hour and apply it specifically to language arts. Get ready for student engagement and creativity like you’ve never seen before!

43. “Empowering Writers and Engaging Readers through Performance”
Lara Dieckmann and Laura Gholson, Harrisburg R-VIII School District
Grades 7-12

In this session, Lara and Laura will facilitate an interactive workshop focused on teaching student writers how to present their work to an audience in a professional, engaging way. Borrowing from their experience in drama, public speaking, and competitive speech coaching, the presenters will apply fun, yet rigorous games to the presentation process. Too often, the speaking and listening standards for ELA are undervalued or underdeveloped. In this session, you will learn how to remedy that by focusing on how we speak and listen to developing writers’ works.

45. “Being DiCaprio: Hands-On Gatsby through Short Film”
Shawn LaSota and Courtenay Slinkard, USD 234, Fort Scott, Kansas
Grades 9-12

Would your students rather flip their water bottles or play with fidget spinners than read your favorite classic novel? Do you hear the sound of childhood dreams being crushed every time you mention Fitzgerald’s name? Every English teacher has students who would rather work with their hands and create than read and analyze a book left by an author long dead. However, the standards clearly point to the need for students to analyze all types of information, literature included. This session was created with those students in mind. In the Being DiCaprio assignment, students are able to take the literature outside of the classroom and create their own short films capturing a scene from The Great Gatsby or other fictional literature. Not only will they demonstrate analysis of the novel, but students will also try their hands at screenwriting, costume design, and film editing. Students will learn life skills such as time management, planning, and organization, and grow a fond appreciation for the craft of film-making. The final product is a short film published to the Internet.

34. “Using Shared Writing to Extend Thinking and Learning with Emergent Readers”
Debra Crouch, Educational Consultant, Okapi Publishing
Grades K-2

Engage and empower your youngest learners by writing with them about books read in shared and guided reading. After reading texts together, shared writing about known texts deepens and strengthens comprehension and fluency. As an extension of a text, shared writing extends language development and acquisition of high-frequency words, concepts of print, and numerous other skills and strategies. Shared writing offers teachers countless opportunities to engage children throughout the writing and encoding process about ideas generated by students as they think more about a text. Talk with colleagues as you watch and discuss videos of shared writing lessons with our youngest learners–kindergarteners and first graders!

36. “Empower Your Students by Letting THEM Do the Work!”
Glenda Nugent, Missouri State Reading Council
Grades 3-5

The gradual release of responsibility model is one of the oldest ideas in learning. Reviewing this model and implementing fresh strategies that empower students to take responsibility for their own learning can pave the way to proficient, independent, lifelong learning. David Sousa tells us, “The brain that does the work is the brain that does the learning.” Explore ways we as teachers can take a step back and support students as they do more of the work of learning. You will receive a video illustrating the strategies introduced.

38. “V is for Voice: Whose Voice and How to Let Your Student Voices Be Heard”
Tamara Rhomberg, Educational Consultant
Grades 4-8

Voice holds the reader’s attention and makes reading interesting. It reveals the writer’s personality while at the same time sharing the writer’s knowledge or passion for the topic, thus bringing the topic to life. For many teachers, voice presents the greatest challenge during writing instruction—they know it when they hear it, but they aren’t quite sure how to teach it. In this session, Tamara focuses on the what and how to incorporate voice strategies into your writing instruction. Come ready to write and to engage your voice!

40. “The Writing Process—E3 Styles”
Liz Gibbs, Catholic Schools of Chicago Archdiocese
Grades 6-12

Gain confidence, grow writers, give grades—and feel good about the process. Teachers know writers who get feedback in the middle of the writing process grow the most. Yet as teachers, we struggle to find a balance between teaching the standards and using that process. Struggle no more; help is here! Learn how to plug the standards into the modes of writing, create scoring rubrics that assess those skills in the middle of the process (not the end), and watch how you can build mini-lessons and conference topics around your unit expectations. Walk away with rubrics that will grow writers in the middle of their writing and a promise of no more hours upon hours of grading those final essays.

42. “Make it Routine: Creating a Culture for Argument Writing”
Linda Brock, Blue Springs School District; Leia Brooks, Columbia Public Schools; and LuAnn Fox, Olathe, Kansas, School District
Grades 7-12

Do your students struggle to engage with argument writing assignments? Is argument writing devoid of student voice or stories? Are students making claims without much support? In this session, teachers from the Missouri Writing Projects Network will lead you through engaging and informal writing activities designed to build a culture of argument writing that begins with students’ interests. Developing students’ abilities to write blended arguments begins with both their engagement with the writing task and familiar routines and habits of consistent reading and writing of arguments.

44. “Embracing Confusion, Empowering Learning”
Colin Flynn, School District of Washington
Grades 9-12

When students struggle during reading and writing assignments, they often quit trying rather than work through their difficulties. For too many students, “I just don’t get it” becomes, “I just won’t do it.” To overcome this phenomenon, teachers need to help students feel more comfortable admitting their confusion and provide the time and strategies for them to work through challenging texts and assignments. Formative assessments and reflective writing provide space for students to determine why they are struggling. Question development and discussion strategies build student confidence in the face of daunting tasks. Revision opportunities and development of a growth mindset empower students to continue their learning despite challenges. Students who previously refused to complete assignments or simply complied with instructions will embrace learning opportunities and work up to and beyond their potential.

46. “Empowering Students through Reading”
Brenda Steffens, MSTA Reading Circle and Lysha Thompson, Tuscumbia School District
Grades Pre-K to 12

Are you familiar with MSTA’s Reading Circle and its goal of creating lifelong readers? How many of your students have been recognized with the annual Reading Circle certificate? How do you plan to celebrate Missouri Read-In Day on March 9th with your students? Attend this session and preview the Reading Circle website, with all of its free reading resources, including an online database of annotations for the best books published each year. The committee will share the best Pre-K-12 fiction and nonfiction books (2017 and 2018 copyright) for your students, as well as how to implement these books in your classroom.

Winners’ Ceremony for 2017-2018 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest

4:45 pm – 5:45 pm

Each year, the Missouri Writing Projects Network scores student entries in the Scholastic Writing Awards Contest, then hosts the winners and their parents and/or teachers at a reception in their honor here at Write to Learn.  Everyone is welcome to stop by and applaud these exceptional young writers. img_0041

Friday Evening Keynote (Optional Fee)

7 pm – 8 pm

“Words Hard Won”
Carmen Agra Deedy, Author and Storyteller

Seldom is there one limiting element or one path to achieving literacy.  Join award-winning children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy as she carries you along the precipitous path of a young child struggling to acquire language, an elementary student’s life-changing encounter with a literary masterpiece, the rendezvous that would dispel a phobia of words, and the literacy leaders encountered along the way, who motivated and empowered her toward an acquired love of words.