97th Saturday Reunion

Peter Reynolds, award-winning author of Ish and The Dot, spoke to teachers about his life as a writer, including the inspiration for the stories he writes and illustrates. He spoke about the amazing students he has met at various school visits, author events, and even his own bookstore in Massachusetts, The Blue Bunny. Reynolds shared how reading and writing played pivitol roles in his childhood, and he urged teachers to continue working to help each child find their own voice in both writing and reading.

Emily Strang Campbell, a staff developer at the Reading and Writing Project, spoke to upper grade and middle school teachers. In her heartwarming keynote, What Can We Learn from BeyoncĂ©, BrenĂ© Brown, and Mr. Rogers about Weaving Intimacy and Honesty into Our Conferring with Teens, Campbell captivated the audience with her epiphanies about these leaders and provided insightful parallels to writing workshop. She shared stories of motherhood and the ways that watching and listening to these leaders on sleepless nights, while caring for her infant daughter, opened up spaces to rehearse new thinking in her work with students. Campbell’s presentation left educators with lessons they, too, could carry back into the classroom.

The day was filled with over 120 workshops on the teaching of reading, writing, content area studies, and phonics. Rooms were bursting with enthusiasm, and educators left with fresh new energy and ideas to try out in their own schools. Throughout the day, as teachers crouched onto the floors of classrooms and poured into hallways of the college, a spirit of optimism and learning was palpable.

Shana Frazin led the closing for the reunion, sharing insights about the importance of classroom libraries. Perhaps, most importantly, she highlighted that, “Our classrooms need to support all the different ways to be readers in the world, and there isn’t just one right way.” She spoke about the importance of giving students a well-stocked and organized library filled with current and diverse authors, topics, and genres. She talked about the importance of teams of teachers and principals working together to reassess and redesign what is in their libraries and the importance of curating them with and for students. In this way, educators can identify the titles and topics students most want and need to read.

As the day ended, teams of teachers and leaders, streamed on to the city block, chatting and discussing new books, plans for small group instruction, and new ideas they were excited to try out and bring back to their school communities.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the next reunion: March 21, 2020 from 9AM to 2PM. Grace Lin will be our keynote speaker! If you cannot attend, you can participate by following the hashtag #TCRWP. We look forward to seeing and connecting with you!