Member News - National Council of Teachers of English

Biweekly Member News Updates

Twice a month INBOX, the newsletter of NCTE, celebrates stories of members in the news. These stories are archived here.


In Memorium: Megumi Yamamoto


“One of the greatest benefits of being a member of NCTE is the family we create. A smile. A nod of recognition. A feeling of welcome. All of these are parts of being in this family. I met Megumi Yamamoto at Annual Convention, and she had all of these: a welcoming smile, a positive quip, a way about her that said ‘I’ve got this.’ The Secondary Section Steering Committee sends its condolences. Meg will be missed.” —Tiffany Rehbein, Secondary Chair






Rethinking the Literary Canon for Today’s Learners by member Jacqueline Stallworth


Media literacy educator Frank Baker was invited to participate in an August conference to introduce educators to a new (free) curriculum from Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation – Portraits of America: Democracy on Film. Here’s his report.


An endowment from Kathy and Jerry Short will support the children’s literature collection at University of Arizona. Worlds of Words, housed in the UA College of Education, is the nation’s largest collection of global literature for children and young adults. Kathy Short is a member and Past NCTE President.

Classroom Libraries Can Plant the Seed for a Lifelong Love of Learning

NCTE President-Elect Franki Sibberson reminds us, “The classroom library should invite readers to find books they may already love and it should also invite them to stretch and to grow as readers and as human beings.”


Member Valentina Gonzalez offers tips on ways to support English Language Learners as you head back to school.


In this interview, member Donalyn Miller shares insights on everything from reading logs to modeling a reading life and more.


It’s Time to Transform Our Schools, and Teachers Should Lead It by member Anna Baldwin

All Hands on Books: The Power of Print by member Penny Kittle

The Robots are Coming to Class, a Poetry Foundation podcast featuring past president Carol Jago

While most educators identify literacy centers with K-3 classrooms, member Katherine McKnight gives tips on how to use a Literacy & Learning Center model for grades 4–12.
Member Lesley Roessing shares how to get all students to participate in class discussion by taking advantage of the fun of writing and passing notes.

Stop Boring Nonfiction Writing. Save the World. by Angie Miller

Making the Most of In-Class Book Clubs by Beth Pandolpho

Life Lessons From Fictional Characters by Robert Ward

Author Interview With Ellin Oliver Keene: ‘Engaging Children’ by Larry Ferlazzo

In Memoriam
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Connie (Constance) Weaver who passed away this month. She was among those who formed the Whole Language Umbrella and is known for her writing and teaching on the reading process and the importance of learning grammar in context. She was an activist and served in various leadership roles within NCTE. Ken and Yetta Goodman said of her in a Facebook post, “[She] was such an amazing and productive scholar and firebrand for progressive education. She has made a huge impact on so many teachers and students through her teaching, writing and professional activity.”


Members Talk Books

Article from the Chicago Tribune featuring members Tricia Ebarvia, Lorena German, Kimberly N. Parker, and Julia E. Torres
Article from The Educator’s Room by Katie Sluiter


More News

Assigned Reading Works as well as Assigned Flossing by Amber Counts

Use the Emmy Awards as a Versatile Teaching Tool by Frank Baker 

Listen to Dean Valerie Kinloch‘s keynote address at the University of Pittsburgh’s 2018 CUE Summer Educator Forum

Why and How Reading Is in Crisis by Carol Jago

Erin L. Berry-McCrea, Andy Chen, Sarah Cole, Janelle Jennings-Alexander, America Moreno Jimenez, and Kia Turner
Recipients are pictured above at the ECEOC Institute which took place last week. Also pictured are mentors Jeffrey Arellano Cabusao and Anna J. Roseboro.


In a 44 minute radio broadcast, Chadwick and other Twain scholars discuss the controversies and ever evolving-interpretations of the author’s books. “Teachers and schools must be allowed to have these texts and allow students to explore them in protected environments and to discuss them,” Chadwick said. You can read more about her reflections on Huck Finn in this English Journal article.


Lee is an English Language Arts teacher at Hinckley Big-Rock Middle School in Illinois. She is also researching about educational policy and practice as a doctoral student at University of Illinois. Through this fellowship, she will work with NCTE to support our policy and advocacy efforts throughout the 2018-19 school year.



sj Miller has just been announced as  a featured speaker at TEDMED2018 this November. sj will be talking about creating greater understanding of gender identity through education and open dialogue.

Gretchen Oltman, Johnna L. Graff, and Cynthia Wood Maddux will be publishing The Times That Bind Us, Simplifying Supreme Court Cases for the Social Studies Classroom this August. Gretchen has served as NCTE’s P12 policy analyst for Nebraska the past four years and Cyndy will replace her this July.

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English recognizes Susan Reese and Millie Davis as emeritus members.

Professors Michelle Devereaux and Darren Crovitz, authors of Grammar to Get Things Done, explain strategies for teaching grammar effectively on The Suggestion Box podcast.

NCTE Lead Ambassador Nicole Mirra has a new book, Educating for Empathy: Literacy Learning and Civic Engagement.

Steven Alvarez was interviewed by Trevor Mattea of New Books Network about his book, Community Literacies en Confianza: Learning From Bilingual After-School Programs.


How Telling Students My Most Difficult Story Made Me a Better Writing Teacher by David Rockower published.

Rethinking Revision: The Real Work of Writing by Ruth Culham

Summer Reading Opportunities by Christine Zandstra

Leila Christenbury and Ken Lindblom Reflect on Why We Must Continue the Journey
In a recent Education Talk Radio interview Leila and Ken talk about their Continuing the Journey book series and the pressures and realities teachers face today. Read excerpts from their conversation and listen to a recording here. Like what your’e hearing? You can spend three days with these exceptional educators in Providence, Rhode Island July 9-11 at NCTE’s Summer Institute. Registration deadline: June 9


Mark A. Sulzer, Renita Schmidt and Amanda Haertling-Thein published What is Adapted in Youth Adaptations?: A Critical Comparative Content Analysis of Military Memoirs Repackaged as Young Adult Literature. Listen to their interview on the JoLLE podcast.


Using Pop Culture to Teach Media Literacy by Frank Baker

Why We Play: Purposeful Play in the Classroom by Karla Hilliard

Putting Students in Charge of Their Learning by Beth Pandolpho
Giving students choices and the means to assess their progress fosters metacognition and independence.

7 Things to Do NOW for Our ELL Writers by Valentina Gonzalez

Learn How to Entice the Hard-to-Reach Writers in Your Classroom
How do we, as educators, positively impact children who’ve experienced trauma in their lives? Member Stacey Shubitz interviews member Ruth Ayres.

A Standardized Test for School Taxpayers by Allen Berger

Congratulations to NCTE Vice President, Leah Zuidema of Dordt College
Leah was just selected for a 2018–19 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant for the International Education Administrators (IAE) seminar. As part of the grant she will learn about higher education in Europe in addition to networking with other college and university leaders from the United States.


Blog Posts and Other Articles 



Scholar’s View: To Understand the Present, Dig into the Past with Texts like Huck Finn

In this commentary in the Duluth News Tribune, NCTE president Jocelyn A. Chadwick writes, “to understand, navigate, analyze, and change our present, we must consciously drill into and examine with eyes wide open our past, our individual and collective past. This is what texts like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provide our children.”

Q & A with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas: Why children need more diverse books

In this interview from the Penn GSE Newsroom, Ebony explains “It’s not just kids of color, kids from the margins who need diverse literature and media. It’s all kids who need all stories about all kinds of people.”

Melissa Smith and four of her students talk about the power of teaching living poets in this Education Talk Radio interview.

“Once I started teaching more living poets in my classroom, I saw the impact that it had on my students. I saw how inspired they were, so it became a mission of mine to share that passion with other teachers. Now there are so many teachers on this hashtag. . . . It’s become a movement, in a way.”

Congratulations to Chris Knoblaugh of Castillero Middle School in San Jose, CA, for publishing her first novel, Tribute.

Congratulations to Nicole Juanita Da Silva of Boston International High School
Nicole was named one of the 2018 Boston Public Schools Educators of the Year. In her statement she says, “my students are a part of my extended family (some of them even call me their second mom or aunt in this country), and I expect nothing but the best for them.”
8 Essay-Free Ways to Share Student Research by Angie Miller
In this Middleweb article, Angie urges readers, “Don’t get bogged down by the research essay! While it’s the most traditional student research product, there are other great ways for students to practice and incorporate their research skills.”

A media literacy focus on The Grapes of Wrath

Why do middle school students study the Great Depression? What do we want them to learn and understand about this period in American history? Media literacy expert Frank Baker offers a wealth of teaching ideas tied to the novel The Grapes of Wrath and its film treatment.

The Advantages of Being a New Teacher by Matthew M. Johnson

New teachers are frequently defined in terms of their struggles, and those are real. But we should also focus on their strengths.

How one educator teaches presentation skills

Students in one high school’s English classes use a low-stakes, impromptu speech activity to help build presentation skills. In this blog post, their teacher, Jori Krulder, explains the process, including modifications for students who may be introverts.

Shout Outs!


The March for Our Lives: What It Means for Me
An NCTE blog post by Yolanda Whitted

“The March for Our Lives—It washed over me like a tsunami, every bit of hurt and pain I should have felt, but never allowed myself to, because I had to be strong. I couldn’t get caught up in my feelings because I had to teach my students how to use their voices, and I couldn’t do that if I turned into a soft, blubbering idiot—or so I thought. . . .”

For more about the student advocacy on display this past weekend and what it might mean for your classroom, read When Student Inquiry Becomes Student Action, a Middle Web Blog post by Kevin Hodgson that features several other member voices.


The Importance of Mentoring ELA Educators
An Education Talk Radio interview with Anna J. Small Roseboro 

“Probably the thing I tell them most is to carve out and hold sacred time for yourself every week. At least one day a week do nothing having to do with teaching . . . Otherwise you get overloaded, stressed out, and feel like it’s not worth it. I can tell you it’s worth it every day if you can come fresh.”

Joanne Yatvin: The Purpose of Public Schools  
An editorial on Diane Ravitch’s Blog


Tune in to These 7 YA Lit Podcasts
Including Text Messages from!
By Kelly Jensen for the School Library Journal  


3 Essential “Rs” for Developing Writers of Argument
A Corwin Press blog post by NCTE members Michael W. Smith and Jon-Philip Imbrenda.


4 ways to teach through “think alouds”
A Middle Web blog post by NCTE member Molly Ness

“There are cognitive and academic benefits to thinking out loud, asserts Molly Ness, an associate professor of education at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. In this article, she shares four tips to help integrate this approach across the curriculum, such as offering a visual cue to students when teachers are thinking out loud.”


Ideas for creating lessons that matter
An Edutopia blog post by NCTE member Beth Pandolpho

“Designing assignments that matter can help prepare students for the real world, writes English teacher Beth Pandolpho. In this blog post, she offers three strategies to support such design and foster student independence.”

SmartBrief honors education bloggers
Matthew Johnson is among them! 

“Knowledge, Passion, and Compassion”: Urban Middle School English Language Arts Teachers—What’s Your Story?
by James Blasingame

Alexandra Greene from Bozeman High School, Bozeman, Montana is the recipient of the 2018 NCTE Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship.

CNV Fellow Marcus Croom was selected by the UIC College of Education faculty for the honor of the doctoral Dean’s Merit Award at commencement. Read his blog here.

Can 5-minute meetings boost students’ writing?
Edutopia article by Jori Krulder

Project LIT: How a Nashville educator turned a class project into a nationwide movement
Education Dive article about Jarred Amato

NCTE members took to the national stage last week as they articulated what they do to keep their students safe and what they wish they had available to assist in that effort.

Olivia Bertels and her colleague Brittany Wheaton launched an online campaign that put a spotlight on the things teachers really need to create strong, safe learning environments. Read an editorial they wrote about the project for Teen Vogue.

Paul Hankins shared the measures he’s taken to secure his classroom in this New York Times article. He also posted a blog about the connections between the work he does as a teacher and the work he did in the US Navy.

More News:

Is there still value in reading ‘Huck Finn’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’?
Minnesota Public Radio News interview with NCTE president Jocelyn Chadwick

With Celebration and Support, Teachers Can Help Retain Each Other by Tricia Ebner

Mistakes Were Made: A Classroom Confessional
by Kevin Hodgson

Orbis Pictus Honor Book – Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today
by Mary Ann Cappiello

5 Ways to Be a Good Teacher Leader
by Andrea Marshbank

Wild Horses, Black Holes, and Original Medicine
by Jessie Dorin was shared in the February 24 issue of the US Department of Education’s The Teachers Edition.

NCTE Member News

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