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.
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, February 16 in Windgate Hall (5th floor).
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, February 16. 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 (MCTE) and the Missouri Writing Projects Network (MWPN).
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 Melissa Fite Johnson, of Pittsburg High School in Kansas. Here’s her entry:
Embrace a small library to your breast.
Dance in your summer dress,
A whisper of mist on your skin.
Kiss him hard. Speak every hurt,
raw and enormous. Escape your apartment
for city dazzle. Scale the blue world.
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!
Here’s last year’s winning entry, from Alexandria West of East Carter R-II School District:
It’s Crucial to Nurture Students’ Creative Spirits Because…
Instant regurgitated social media posts fill our students’ constantly streaming newsfeeds, leaving room for little originality. Catching a small flicker of creativity can fan true flames of original thought and spread like wildfire in our schools. We are the flamekeepers in an increasingly low-lit world.
Play the Game in the Write to Learn App
Our conference app has a built-in game that awards points for each action you take. Fill out your schedule…points! Post in the activity feed…points! Like or comment on others’ posts…points! So let your inner social butterfly soar, and get rewarded for it. We will monitor the leader board through Saturday morning and give prizes to the top scorers before the Saturday keynote.