I went to nErDcampMI on Tuesday, it’s Friday Monday (Yeah, life got in the way of this. Sigh.), and I feel like everyone has already said everything I could say or want to say. Yet I still feel the need to blog about it.

I guess I’ll start out with how I initially felt about it last year. I was skeptical. The idea of going to a conference and not knowing what I was going to get out of it (not knowing what sessions would be offered) made me hesitant. It was going to be almost a two hour drive, plus on that day I had two job interviews. But quite a few of my friends were going to be there, so I asked my best friend Lindsay (@LMGrady)  to come along and see what it was all about. It ended up being a really cool experience and for that reason I attended again this year.

This year was better. Despite getting up pretty early to drive to Parma, MI, I was excited to attend the entire day. It’s been a crazy summer so I skipped day one which had planned sessions and speakers. I really liked the un-conference approach to nErDcamp (teachers deciding on the spot what they want to present and which sessions they want to attend), so I knew Tuesday was the day to go.

Lindsay came with me again and we spent a lot of time hanging out with Jessica (@JCrawford728). I’ll admit that meeting up with friends I don’t see very often is a pretty big influence to attend these conferences. Spending some time with Lea (@leakelley), Cindy (@CBethM), Erica (@B10LovesBooks), and Jessica made for an excellent day. Even better? I had the pleasure of presenting with Cindy on Diverse Lit for Diverse YA Readers (session notes). I also saw Lindsay break out of her presentation comfort zone and present with Jessica on What Does Reading and Writing Workshop Look Like in High School (session notes).

The highlight of my day was presenting with Cindy. She and I are working on ideas to get YA Lit 101 started again this summer with a focus on the need for diverse lit. This was an opportunity for us to flesh out ideas, and more importantly, see what other teachers are looking for and reading. It was a full room and almost every single teacher had a title to offer or praise. We furiously wrote down titles and categories on the board and quickly ran out of room. I left the session excited, rejuvenated, and really wanting to read some diverse titles! And since it’s now Monday, almost a week later, I’m going to shorten this post up and leave with you some tweets/pictures about the session to wrap it up. I completely lost my momentum after sitting on this for so many days.

Celebration of books


Diverse readers tweet

Session Board


Session tweets


Session tweet favorite



  1. I wish we had something like this here in Alabama. This sounds like it was amazing.

  2. Kara Davis says:

    Love a small world — There were many a Sundays last year when I couldn’t think of my next best book to highlight with my 7th graders and to YA Love I went for inspiration. When I saw you were at nErd Camp, I chuckled — no wonder I like your blog so much — you are a fellow nerd! I wish I could have connected with you in person to tell you how much I appreciate what you do within this blog, alas my nerdiness took me in a different direction. I did look at your YA Lit 101 when you announced your session last week as I’m looking to get my readers more connected. We are going to be participating in the Global RA this year, but I also like how YA Lit 101 incorporates students’ choice reading. Thoughts on how 7th graders might fit your YA Lit 101 vision?

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Sorry for the late reply, Kara! I wish we could have connected in person as well.

      I’m not as familiar with how a structure might work in middle school, but I think you could try a few different options. Simply allowing time for SSR that involves students picking their own books is a start. I have that daily in my classroom. In my YA elective I had the class read a book together that fit an essential question. We read three different books together during our 12 week class. Also during that time, they were working on their trimester project which was all student choice. They chose the project based on the options provided and found books to read that fit that project. Most of my students ended up reading more than six books during those 12 weeks. You could also set up a unit based on a theme and either have students pick their own books or create a list of books for them to choose from based on that theme.

      Do you think any of those options would fit your goal? Your classroom?

I love comments!

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