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NCTE Buzzwords

Live from the National Council of Teachers of English's annual convention, Orlando.

In between catching up with teacher friends here on what feels a bit like Gilligan's Island (kind of couldn't figure out how to get off the compound if you wanted to), I scoured the 370-page NCTE program last night. (By the time I arrived at the convention site and checked in, sessions had ended.)

This year marks the 100th annual convention (although NCTE's centennial celebration is in 2011) and the theme is "Teachers and Students Together: Living Literate Lives." But the buzzwords are 21st century and multiculturalism.

I am seeing a big focus on the use of technology in the classroom (everything from iPads to blogging to a session this morning titled, "'Dear Internet: The Composition of a Teacher's Life on Facebook").

In terms of the multicultural angle, there are many presentations on cultural ownership—how teachers can help their students in this process. One session I am hoping to attend this morning is called "Schooling and Native Americans." It's for grade-school level classroom educators on both teaching about American Indian culture and teaching American Indian students. Having taught in an American Indian community and worked with American Indian students in a family literacy program, I am particularly interested in this session.

And, of course, there are dozens of sessions on reading and writing. The convention has huge offerings and the one thing that I can always count on when I attend is the desire to be in two places at once. Just too many choices! In fact, as I write this, I'm missing Erin Gruwell. And yet, I know I'll catch up with someone later who will fill me in.

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