Saturday, October 3, 2015

Waging WAR

How many teachers experience this on a daily, maybe an hourly, basis? Kids sneaking their phones out to text during class? I am a huge proponent of 1:1 computing, but I have to say I do get irritated with the incessant texting. Instead of a phone, can we replace it with a book to read or a pen to write? Wouldn't it be great if students would set down their phones, pick up books, and enter new worlds and meet new people? Well, not people really, but characters who feel real. Nothing would thrill me more than to see students spend as much time with their nose in a book as it is in their phone. So what's the solution? Teachers in my district might be onto something.

Logo designed by Eller Bonafacio
A group of us, four to be exact, are working on creating the inaugural Waging WAR for Literacy Conference for Teens to be held in April. This student-driven, student-directed conference is surveying students to see what they'd like to have in a conference on writing and reading (WAR) that focuses on them. We are pretty pumped about this.

Beyond the breakout sessions, we've been able to secure (through his generous reduction in speaking fee) Chris Crutcher, a notable YA author and recipient of numerous awards. Yet even with as good a writer as Chris Crutcher is, we still want this conference to be about the kids. We want them to choose what they want to learn about and how they want to learn.

The support for this endeavor has blown me away. As my co-leader Jodi says,"Amazeballs!" That pretty much sums it up. We've approached local organizations who have freely and generously supported our cause, not least of which is the Altru Alliance  group and our local Kiwanis. Both groups did more than we could have hoped financially. We appreciate their gifts and the level of trust they are placing in us.

So keep on the lookout for more postings about this conference. I try not to talk about it too much, but honestly, I'm freaking excited for it. And the best thing? We're already planning for 2017! Wait 'til you see who we have booked for that conference! I can only say one thing: Amazeballs!

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