Special Events!

Yes, Write to Learn is an educational conference.  Yes, you’re here to learn the latest and greatest strategies for teaching language arts.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the same time!  While you’re here, make sure to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities to celebrate, share, create, and compete.

Winners’ Ceremony for the 2018-2019 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest

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.

The reception will be held from 4:45 to 5:45 pm on Friday, March 1 in Windgate Hall (5th floor).

Late Night Open Mic

Want to unwind after a long day of learning?  Everyone is invited to stop by our Late Night Open Mic from 8:15 to 10:00 pm on Friday, March 1.  You can participate by reading some of your poetry, short fiction, or even singing an original song.  Or you can just sit back, sip a beverage or two, and enjoy and applaud the creative efforts of your peers.  The Late Night Open Mic is sponsored by the Missouri Council of Teachers of English (MoCTE) and the Missouri Writing Projects Network (MWPN).

MoCTE Book Swap

This year, we’re continuing a feature  we added last year for those of you who like to leave the conference with more goodies than you entered with: our Book Swap, sponsored by the Missouri Council of Teachers of English!

Here’s how it works: The Book Swap will be set up inside Windgate Hall, to the left (as you’re entering) of the exhibits.

We encourage you to bring books to trade at the Book Swap.  These books can be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.  They can be pleasure books, professional books, or books for classroom libraries.  Pretty much any book you have, you can swap it!

You can swap one book for one book, two for two, etc., or you can buy any book for just a dollar (or you can just make a donation of any amount).  What a great way to swap out books you’ve already read for a whole new set!

The MoCTE Book Swap will be open on Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Magnetic Poetry Contest

Each year, we place a bucket of Magnetic Poetry words and a magnetic board near the registration desk and invite all Write to Learn attendees to play around with the words and create poems to enter in our annual Magnetic Poetry contest.  Create your poem (it must be a minimum of five lines long), copy it down, and turn it in to the registration desk to enter (then either leave your poem up and gloat about how good you are, or destroy it if you’re afraid someone might be tempted to steal your masterpiece).  The contest begins on Thursday and runs through Friday afternoon at 5 pm.  Our esteemed judges will read the entries Friday night and announce the first, second, and third place winners on Saturday morning before the keynote begins.

Last year’s first place winner was Ali Veatch.  Here’s her entry:


If language could
understand a woman
bitch would have
only her poetry
and a need to write

Micro-Essay Contest

A couple of years ago, we added our Micro-Essay Contest to the list of fun and games, and it has been quite a hit.  Here’s how it works: We announce a prompt centered on the year’s conference theme.  You write a micro-essay to the prompt (no more than 100 words, not counting the title) and turn it in to the ladies at the registration desk.  That’s it!  We read all the entries on Friday night and announce the winners before the keynote on Saturday morning.  We’ll even send you an e-mail a few weeks before the conference with the prompt in case you want to get an early start and polish your work to gem-like brilliance!

Last year’s prompt was “Which (out of engagement, empathy, and empowerment) is the most important for students, and why?”  we had many good entries, and we ended up with a tie for first place .  Here’s one of the winning entries, from Michael Pulley:

Humans First

The answer is almost so obvious it’s hard to fathom it being a question.  Yes, we want our students engaged and active in the learning process; and yes, we want to empower our students to take ownership of their learning, to read and write with freedom and confidence, and to succeed without us.  But we also want them to be human.  Without empathy, there is no capacity for goodness.  Without goodness, there is potential for evil.  After all, a psychopath feels engaged and empowered in his psychopathy.   It is empathy that determines humanity; we are humans first.


Our other first place winner was submitted by Lara Dieckmann.  Here it is:

Empathy: The Perpetual Jan

Empowerment: she dons tights and cape, flying off to face a formidable challenge.
Engagement: he drops to one knee, offering to unite for a loving lifetime.
Empathy: the perpetual Jan to empowerment’s shiny Marsha and engagement’s bouncy Cindy.

Yet this overshadowed term requires neither she nor he, but rather “they”: it takes two to empathize. To bear witness…to stand in solidarity…to call and respond.

Without two, there cannot be one.

Empowerment may save the day and engagement may raise a toast, yet forget not empathy, the prerequisite to both.


Want to get in on the fun this year?  It’s simple.  Just write up your 100 word or less response to the following prompt:

“This year’s conference theme is ‘Voice and Choice.’  In your opinion, what is the most powerful way to help students develop and share their voices?”

Put your name on your entry, add a title (the title doesn’t count against your 100 words), and tell us what grade(s) you teach.  Then e-mail your entry to muconf3@missouri.edu.

We will collect all the entries, including those written and turned in at the conference (deadline: 5 p.m. on Friday, March 1).  We will then announce an elementary grades winner and a secondary grades winner and present them with prizes on Saturday morning, just prior to the Saturday morning keynote.  Good luck!

Write to Learn Crossword Puzzle

New this year!  Fill out our custom crossword puzzle for a chance to win a prize before Saturday morning’s keynote! Answers can be found online at the Write to Learn website, or by doing some sleuthing and reading of your own. Turn in your completed puzzle (don’t forget to include your name) to the registration desk prior to 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning.  We will draw a winner from the completed entries.