Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The first weekend in February.
One of my favorites of the year.
Our state reading conference.

I have been attending
since the year I started teaching.
When I slept on the floor
in my teacher mother's hotel room.

Thirty years later
I have been to at least 25
CCIRA conferences.
And the night before
I am as excited
as a child
waiting for Santa Claus.

I love CCIRA.
That time of getting my bucket refilled.
Richard Arlington
"Only one out of every 24 fifth grade teachers
reads aloud to kids.
Kids need read aloud."
Franki Sibberson.
"We need to rethink our images of reading
to include our digital lives."
Donalyn Miller.
"I have a goal that every one of my students
will read 40 novels.
Last year the child who read the fewest read 18.
But the year before he only read two."
Penny Kittle,
sharing title after title after title,
as I jot madly,
wishing that we lived in New Hampshire
and my sons could have Penny
for their high school
English teacher.
And Sharon Taberski,
"Most of the time when kids don't comprehend
it's not an issue of strategy instruction
it's an issue of background knowledge.
When we take content instruction
out of the picture
we make reading
even harder for kids
from homes with low SES."

I love the speakers.
Love getting my bucket refilled.
My theory confirmed
And stretched
and reshaped.

I love hearing from these speakers.
Remembering what I believe
Remembering why I do
what I do
Tweaking my theory
and rethinking what I will do Monday morning.

I love
the informal hallway
professional development
just as much.
The two minute conversation in the bookstore
with a stranger
"Have you read OPENING MINDS? It's a must have…"
The hugs from CCIRA friends that I see once a year.
"How are your boys?
I saw the article in the paper.
I remember when…"
Glasses of wine
and dinners
and teaching stories
and titles shared.
"If your kids have finished WIMPY KID
"What do YOU do when…"
"This is how I'm keeping track of the data…"

It is four weeks
until my state's blessed event
and I am struggling
to believe in myself
as a teacher.
I am struggling
to believe
in my kids
as readers
and writers
and thinkers.

I am so thankful
to have had
this weekend
of renewal.


Katherine Sokolowski said...

I love this slice of life - and how I wish I could have gone to this conference. Unfortunately Illinois is so far from Colorado. I totally understand this type of conference for affirming what you do. (And am horrified more 5th grade teachers don't read aloud.)

Thank you for sharing!

Franki said...

Love this!

elsie said...

You have caught the essence of a powerful conference experience! I miss attending and getting caught in that web of learning. Love the snippets you shared. Please share when you return!

Linda B said...

I'm sorry I missed all of those wonderful speakers, but did manage a few. Happy for you, Carol. How wonderful that you've gotten to go to so many! Happy rest of February!

Michelle said...

For not having time, you whipped up this greatness to share! Loved the pointedly selected quotes you shared. So much learning and sharing with great minds -- and "getting your bucked refilled."

Don't give up the fight. Your students will make you proud because you have taught them to be readers, thinkers and writers!

Thanks for sharing! Wish I could have been there too!

Annie said...

So rich! Thanks for your renewing words on a cold February morning. The quotes add power; the Sharon Taberski quote is something I've been trying to say. Now I can quote her (and you).

Betsy Hubbard said...

I too love to hear speakers. Penny Kittle is something special. I remember seeing her at a conference and the photos she showed of her students beaming with their piles of books brought a tear to everyone's eyes. It was very inspiring.

Ruth Ayres said... do you do that? Weave other's words with your own to create something incredibly inspiring? Awesome. I'm so glad you shared, Ruth