Secondary ELA & Library Media News
Dear Secondary ELA and Library Media Colleagues:
Please know that I'm always an email or phone call away to provide you with support. And thank you for all that you do to support ELA teachers and librarians in the state.
My Current Reads:
* Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement & Rigor Among Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta Hammond<https://crtandthebrain.com/book/>
* Finish the Fight: The Brave & Revolutionary Women Who Fought For the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers & the Staff of The New York Times<https://www.hmhbooks.com/shop/books/Finish-the-Fight/9780358407829> (targeted to upper elementary/secondary students)
My Current Music Listen: Taylor Swift's Folklore
My Current Podcast Listen: And Nothing Less: The Untold Stories of Women's Fight for the Vote<https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/and-nothing-less-podcast.htm> (a production of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Park Service, and PRX) with lesson plans
My Current Watch: My Octopus Teacher<https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12888462/> (documentary): A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.
What are you currently reading, listening to, and watching?
Heather Fitzgerald Jorgensen, Ph.D.
Itineris Early College High School
I think I started teaching when I was in the third grade. I lined up all of my dolls (and one little sister) in front of a small blackboard and told them about letters and words. My mother was a teacher and she had all sorts of things around the house from her teaching days. I loved to look through those boxes. As I grew older, my love of books grew stronger and I thought I would go into publishing; however, when my husband suggested I enroll in a teaching program, I found a new avenue for exploring my love of all things literary. I felt like a fish to water. I found my first teaching job at a middle school in 1997 and have been teaching ever since! My current teaching position is as an English Language Arts teacher and Concurrent Enrollment instructor at Itineris Early College High School in addition to teaching writing courses as an adjunct at Salt Lake Community College. My favorite class to teach is Science Fiction and Fantasy in Literature and Film for seniors.
My inspiration for teaching came from an ELA teacher. She had a way of making words and books come alive. The characters in stories were the embodiment of ideas. It was interesting to see how those ideas played out in various situations as characters acted on their beliefs and values. The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me now is watching students explore ideas and systems of thinking in ways that heighten their perception and their ability to recognize diverse perspectives.
When I am not teaching or with my family, my favorite way to pass the time is writing. The last years have been too busy, but stories have grown inside me that want to find a voice on the page. I have finally found moments to let those words out and I am always surprised by what the characters say and do. Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, said in his MasterClass that being a writer is very much like being the first reader. I have taken that to heart and am approaching writing as a reader--I am never sure what a character will say or what will happen next. I hope to finish my first novel by the end of the summer.
I think the most important thing about teaching English Language Arts is allowing students to explore ideas and shape their understanding. Perception is so diverse, which is illustrated in my favorite picture book, They All Saw a Cat, by award-winner author Brendan Wenzel. In the picture book, everyone sees the cat in a different way. My hope is that my students will develop the ability to shift between perspectives as easily as readers moving through Wenzel's brilliant book about diversity. Each page is a lesson in understanding "one thing" from a new perspective.
My favorite author, currently, is Jonathon Stroud for his Lockwood & Co. series about young people tasked with eliminating the problem of ghosts in London.
Timothy Shanahan explores a recent study on text difficulty and adolescent literacy: "Teachers ask me all the time how they can be expected to use high school level texts when so few kids in their classes are reading at grade level.
And, yet, high school students often tell me that they hate being placed in what they refer to as the 'stupid books.'
That's where this new study comes in."
Read more here<https://www.shanahanonliteracy.com/blog/cool-new-study-on-text-difficulty-a…>.
Look for more information soon about how to register for an account with Scrible<https://www.scrible.com/>, the most advanced research/writing platform ever built. We'll also be sharing information for training opportunities.
[Banner graphic promoting the 2020 National Book Festival]
2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity
The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate its 20th birthday this year! And, for the first time in its history, the event will be completely virtual. Join us next weekend for an interactive, online celebration of American Ingenuity featuring more than 120 authors, poets and illustrators. The festivities will culminate with a PBS television special "The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity," hosted by Hoda Kotb on Sunday, Sept. 27, 6-8 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings).
Create your FREE account now at loc.gov/bookfest<https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDAsInVy…> to access on-demand videos, live author chats and discussions during the Festival weekend, Sept. 25 - 27. You'll have options to personalize your own festival journey with timely topics, and to explore book buying possibilities through the festival's official bookseller, Politics & Prose.
The 2020 Utah Humanities Book Festival!
Happening NOW through October 22
Our 2020 Utah Humanities Book Festival marks 23 years of improving Utah communities through reading, literature, and conversations with authors and each other.
The 2020 festival will be entirely virtual and feature scores of authors, events, and virtual conversations in six categories.
As our annual statewide celebration of literature, we work with partners in many Utah communities. Organizations across the state will again host book festival events featuring both national and local authors, all in a virtual format. As always, participants will engage with authors in new, creative, and meaningful ways that are designed to connect readers, authors, and communities.
You can browse through our Book Festival Calendar<https://www.utahhumanities.org/index.php/book-festival-calendar>.
Banned Books Week<http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned>, September 27 - October 3, 2020
Banned Books Week has been shining a light on censorship since it was founded in 1982, and the fight for free expression is as urgent as ever. NCTE is a co-sponsor of this year's celebration and invites its members to: Find Our Freedom to Read.
BBWC is here to support the community of readers, including students, educators, libraries, and booksellers, in the United States and abroad. Please join us during Banned Books Week, September 27-October 3, 2020!
BBWC has released programming materials and resources<http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/freedo…>. Be sure to visit bannedbooksweek.org<http://bannedbooksweek.org/> or follow us on Twitter<https://twitter.com/ncte> to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.
Learn more about the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019<http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10> and the challenges facing America's libraries<http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2020>.
ILA Next Professional Learning Opportunities
ILA Next<https://ila.digitellinc.com/ila/live/56/page/251> provides a professional learning experience designed to expand your knowledge on what makes for high-quality literacy instruction through the lenses of
* Distance and hybrid learning
* Equity and access
* Social-emotional development
* Trauma responsiveness
Select from four learning pathways, organized by age of literacy learner. This determines your Pathway Workshop<https://www.literacyworldwide.org/ila-next/program/pathway-workshops> series and allows for a deeper, richer PD experience.
Save the Dates
The month-long event kicks off October 3, 2020, with the first Saturday Main Stage Session<https://www.literacyworldwide.org/ila-next/program/main-stage-sessions>, two Learning Labs, and an hour of dedicated, interactive Exhibitor Showcase Time. Pathway Workshops<https://www.literacyworldwide.org/ila-next/program/pathway-workshops> take place every Tuesday; Office Hours follow on Thursdays. See the Schedule at a Glance<https://www.literacyworldwide.org/ila-next/program/schedule-at-a-glance> for a complete listing of dates and times.
UCTE Fall Conference
Friday, November 13
Save the date for this fall's Utah Council for Teachers of English (UCTE)<http://ucte.info/new/> Conference! Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell, authors of Writing with Mentors and the popular blog Moving Writers<https://movingwriters.org/>, will be the keynote speakers! This year's conference will be offered at a reduced price, and we will offer professional development points for participating. Please note that we will not be accepting breakout session proposals this year due to the change in format. We look forward to your proposals for next year's conference and appreciate your willingness to share your great ideas with the UCTE community!
Latinx KidLit Book Festival
The first ever Latinx KidLit Book Festival<https://www.latinxkidlitbookfestival.com/> will be held virtually on Friday, December 4th and Saturday, December 5th, organized by members of Las Musas Books<https://www.lasmusasbooks.com/> and a dedicated team of volunteers.
This unique and free event will bring together Latinx kidlit authors and illustrators and engage readers and educators from all over the U.S. and beyond. This festival is for everyone-not just members of the Latinx community. All lovers of kidlit are welcome!
They are attempting to reach as many teachers and librarians as possible so students far and wide can tune into this amazing event. Personal invitations will be sent to librarians and educators in October. This invite will include links to educator materials to use with students before, during, and after the festival, as well as instructions on how to enter to win a class set of books by authors featured in the festival.
If you'd like this information delivered to your inbox, please fill out one of these forms:
Form for schools<https://latinxkidlitbookfestival.wufoo.com/forms/k1qcaf1h117l7gc/>
Form for libraries<https://slack-redir.net/link?url=https%3A%2F%2Flatinxkidlitbookfestival.wuf…>
Secondary Literacy Director Meeting Dates, 2020-2021
Mark your calendars! To receive a meeting invite, contact Brenda McMurtrey at brenda.mcmurtrey(a)schools.utah.gov<mailto:email@example.com>
* November 17, 2020
* January 20, 2021
* March 24, 2021
Join the Listservs
Want to stay in the loop of future newsletters? Join the Secondary ELA ListServ at https://lists.uen.org/mailman/listinfo/secondaryela or the Library Media ListServ at https://lists.uen.org/mailman/listinfo/library-media
UEN's Learn @ Home Resources
Find many learn at home resources for educators, students, and families at https://www.uen.org/learnathome/
Have an item for the monthly Secondary ELA & Library Media newsletter, a research or teaching tip, or an educator spotlight nomination? Email brenda.mcmurtrey(a)schools.utah.gov<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> by the first of the month.
Naomi Watkins, Ph.D.
Secondary ELA and Library Media Specialist
Utah State Board of Education