Monday, September 29, 2008

Wednesday October 1

Hi All!

We will be meeting this Wednesday in Eddy 5. Our guest speaker will be Barbara Wallner, sharing her wealth of knowledge on teaching the Millennial Generation:

"Honoring Generational Characteristics: Millennials, how should you be taught?"

At our last meeting Anne DiPardo from the University of Colorado shared some insights on what to look for when seeking a healthy school environment in which to work. We discussed how a healthy culture is more than just the school level - certain elements (inclusion, generosity) can be found along with other more visible elements. When you go to interview at a potential school, check for these elements:

A good school environment has:

1. Good leadership - which leads to collaboration and empowers good teaching. We can find this by discussing with the teachers of the school at which we are interviewing "What is daily life like here?" or "Describe your role as a teacher" and watch to see how they respond to and refer to their leaders.

2. Unspoken norms of institutional behavior - is collaboration a usual occurrence?

3. Openness to Questions - cultivates hope and curiosity in a school.

4. Get a sense of immediate body response. Do you feel tense? Stressed? Or does the school make you feel safe and relaxed, ready to grow?

5. Ask what protection the school offers for first year teachers. Any mentoring or support systems in place to help ease your first year?

6. Quality of Professional Development Opportunities Ask: "What's going on in inservices?" Positive inservices lead to teachers who not only survive, but thrive.

and most importantly, observe:

7. Attention to Kids Are the students the focus of the school? Of the teacher's energy? Listen to the casual talk between teachers: is it caring talk focused on the kids?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Fall Meeting

Hello NCTE members!

Last Wednesday we met in Eddy 8 to discuss conferences of interest to pre-service teachers in the Colorado area. We discussed past events, the career and educational benefits of attending and participating in conferences. Pam gave us hints and suggestions for writing and submitting a proposal for presenting at either conference in the upcoming year.

If you are curious about attending a conference, but unsure of traveling far or paying big bucks, you might consider attending a regional conference. Friday and Saturday September 19th and 20th in Larimie, WY the University of Wyoming will be hosting the Literacy Education Conference. Louann Reid will be presenting on Saturday morning, and registration is relatively affordable at $50.

This year the NCTE annual conference on English Leadership will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving (November 20-25, 2008) in San Antonio, Texas. This year's theme is Leadership for Learning: Learning to Lead. There are three days of events scheduled, including workshops offered at reduced rates for NCTE members. Students can register at the reduced rate of $90 if you are a member of NCTE, and $100 if you are not yet a member.
Reasons to Attend
1. You will receive a wealth of teaching ideas. Pam tells us that if you submit one idea, you receive a stack, the teacher equivalent of gold!
2. If you are interested in researching a specific topic, you can streamline your conference attendance to speakers on your chosen field.
3. The exhibit hall is full of publishers, booksellers, and promoters of the newest educational technology, all of whom want you to use their products in your classroom.
4. There are often YA lit authors present to read from, discuss and sign copies of their latest books.
5. Opportunities for networking abound. If you are soon going to be student teaching or looking for a job there are many school districts and educators looking to meet you!
6. Events like this greatly lessen the isolation often felt by new teachers.
7. If you are considering a job in higher education, universities often interview at conventions like this!

We look forward to seeing you at upcoming meetings. We always have food, prizes, and share educational resources.

Next spring the Colorado Language Arts Society will hold their 39th Annual Regional Spring Conference at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Denver. The theme this year is Creating a Teaching Life. Registration forms are available at

Monday, September 1, 2008

Interviewing Tips

This is from the old blog, dated March 30, 2007.


At our last meeting, Joe Cuddemi (the principal at Kinard Jr. High) came in to speak with us. He gave a passionate and motivating talk about teaching, and he gave us tons of great practical interviewing tips. We took them down and they are posted below.


1. Do your research on the school and district.

2. Meet people in the school and build connections.

3. Talk about instruction; speak to how YOU can make an impact.

4. Explain your desire to contribute to a healthy, cooperative school culture.

5. Talk about student-engagement. What is engagement? How do you know when students are engaged? How can you improve student engagement?

6. Articulate your methods. Explain cooperative learning, assessment, and feedback.

7. Talk about your role as an English teacher. The English teacher has a leadership role in a school for ALL reading and writing, even across departments.

8. Think about flexible creativity. Ask yourself: can I do whatever it takes to reach students?

9. Understand that classroom management is a byproduct of relationships, instruction, and meaningfulness in school. Everything should have meaning.

10. Talk about professional learning communities. Know how to discuss these.

11. Be able to explain how you will modify your instruction to reach students. (Differentiation, ya’ll.)

12. Don’t be afraid to show your passion. It separates you from the pack as a young teacher. You may not have experience, but your passion for learning and improving can easily compensate.

13. Show your communication skills. Build trust in your professional community so that together, your school can best reach students.

14. When going into your first year, the recommendation from your cooperating teacher is supremely important. Make sure you have a good relationship in that regard.

15. Don’t be afraid to get deeply involved in your new school. It is well worth it.