Notes from the NCTE Ignite Session

Ignite Collage
I had the great honor and pleasure to take part in a fast-paced Ignite Session at NCTE in Boston. Ignites are quick presentations, where the 20 slides move on a synced delay and you need be concise and in focus. Five minutes and you are done. My own Ignite presentation was about using video game design in the writing classroom. But to share the stage with Penny Kittle, Sara Kajder, Donalyn Miller, David Finkle, Sandy Hayes and others was a blast.

Here are a few notes that I scratched out on paper as I listened to the others on the stage (videos will be forthcoming from NCTE in the near future):

Sandy Hayes (who facilitated the Ignite session with the theme of Core Standards: Minding the Gaps)

  • We need more vigor instead of just rigor
  • There is room for many kinds of explorations of texts
  • “We want kids to make a difference … we want them to be doing significant things (in their lives) …”

David Finkle (Igniting Insight and Interest)

  • Using comics to define rigor, and asking students to define what that means
  • Great metaphor strategy: The Human  Mind is …
  • David loved that one of his students termed school “as the gymnasium of the mind.”
  • Many defined school as prison, box, etc.

Penny Kittle (Book Love: Building Reading Lives that Last)

  • “The difference between readers and non-readers is that readers have plans.”
  • Put more books into the hands of students
  • Build stamina as readers, and then depth and complexity will follow
  • Literature “is a powerful force about life.”
  • Talked about her Book Love Foundation — which raises money and creates libraries for classrooms

Kevin Hodgson (that’s me!) — (More Than a Game)

  • Gaming has taken over all our devices
  • Moving young people away from just consumers (players) and into the role of creators of video games
  • Connections to writing process and design process (iteration)
  • Engagement and audience — publish for other gamers to play
  • Gamestar Mechanic — teaches game design and provides space to play, build, publish

Troy Hicks (To Produce and To Publish Writing: Infusing Digital Writing through the Common Core)

  • Student writing has not circulated very far in the past (teacher’s desk, trash can, refrigerator)
  • Digital writing opens up audience and modality
  • References to technology in Common Core, but very limiting in nature
  • Create, Share, Repeat
  • “It’s not about the technology. It’s about the audience and purpose.”

Andrea Finkle (It Could Be Verse: The Lack of Poetry in the CCSS)

  • Common Core provides “teacher discretion” around poetry
  • Poetry is getting lost in new standards
  • “Words and play” — the heart of poetry
  • “Rhyme can enhance understanding”
  • Uses pop culture — commercial jingles, etc. — for seeing poetry in the world

Scott Filkins (Performance Assessment: Making the Reading Process Visible)

  • Notes the “four corners” idea of the Common Core — limiting
  • Annotating text, and using personal experiences, allows students to be “co-stars” of the text
  • Visible thinking strategies
  • Annotations “give us something to dig into.”

Zenatta Robinson (Make it Pop!)

  • Use pop culture (television, movies, music) to spur student interest
  • “Where’s the opportunity for creativity?” in the Common Core
  • Non-fiction, high-interest news websites about pop culture “hook students”
  • “Give students an opportunity to use pop culture” in schools

Sara Kjader (Pedagogies of the Possible)

  • Longtime tech adapter/ still learning
  • It’s not the tools that are important
  • Emergent technology use provides “ways for us to do our work better. That’s the pedagogy of the possible.”
  • Curate/Reflect/Annotate/Share
  • “My students read and write the world.”

Sarah Brown Wessling (Reading in Liminal Spaces)

  • Liminal spaces are the “thresholds” in between (ambiguity)
  • “We live in these places because we believe in books … we believe in the stories of our learners, the stories of our schools.”
  • These gaps provide opportunity for scaffolding
  • Where students struggle is where the learning takes place
  • “Where we see a gap, I often see a space” for growth

Donalyn Miller (Dead Presidents and Whales: Engaging Students with Nonfiction Texts)

  • Non-fiction is often “not the books that students often read.”
  • Genre avoidance
  • But non-fiction is “rich text that engages kids.”
  • Use good non-fiction for book talks, read-alouds, mentor texts and paired up with fiction
  • “Kids need lots of opportunities … so we need to weave non-fiction into their reading lives.”

I’ve linked as many Twitter accounts as I could find to presenters, and suggest you might want to follow them.

Peace (in the ignition),
Kevin

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7 Comments
  1. Kevin,
    I attended the ignite session. Thank you for creating and sharing the notes! Sorry I was not able to meet you in person at NCTE13! I agree that all of these speakers were very inspiring in what they shared. Also glad the ignite session had turn and talks!

  2. Kevin,

    Your notes whet a learner’s appetite, making me wish I caught at least some of these presenters. The logistics of getting in to “high demand” classes was my chief frustration as a first-timer at NCTE. Clearly I have a thing or two to learn, but the “solution” of skipping a class to secure a seat at an upcoming, sure-to-be-overfilled room doesn’t seem perfect, either. Ah, well. A year to mull….

  3. Hi Kevin! Thanks for the great recap. It was my great pleasure to share the stage with you and the other fantastic presenters.

    We simply must do it again. 🙂

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