Join me at NCTE!

On Thursday morning I leave for my fifth annual National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) trip. This year it’s in Washington DC (National Harbor) and I’m both excited and a little nervous, too. I’m nervous about leaving Jack for a few days, but I know he’ll be in good hands while I’m gone. I’m mostly excited, however, because I love being surrounded by passionate English teachers and authors. Usually at this point in the school year I need a pick-me-up. Since I’m returning to work after NCTE, I think it will be a great way to make me even more excited about coming back to work.

This year I’ll be presenting for the third time. Both of my sessions are on Friday. It will be nice to get them over with in one day so I can relax and enjoy the rest of my trip. I’m really looking forward to the session I’m co-chairing with Jillian Heise. Here’s the information from the program; we’d love to see you there!

C.02 How Story Comes to Be: Author/Editor Relationships
Maryland A

In rotating roundtables, authors and their editors share methods of working together in drafting and revising to create stories (in middle
grade, young adult, and professional books). As they work with student writers, teachers can model interactions after these author/editor
relationships to provide guidance and support in communicating their stories.

Co-chairs: Jillian Heise, Indian Community School of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sarah Andersen, Fenton Area Public Schools, Michigan

Tradebook Authors:

Miranda Kenneally, Sourcebooks, New York, New York
Karen Harrington, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, New York, New York
Jennifer Rush, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, New York, New York
Jason Reynolds, Simon and Schuster, New York, New York
Atia Abawi, Penguin Young Readers Group, New York, New York
Kevin Emerson, Walden Pond Press, New York, New York
Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Disney Book Group, New York, New York
Trish Doller, Bloomsbury Publishing, New York, New York
Wendelin Van Draanen, Random House Children’s Books, New York, New York
J. A. White, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, New York
Christopher Lehman, Christopher Lehman Consulting, New York, New York
Kate Roberts, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York
Christopher Paul Curtis, Scholastic, Inc., New York, New York

After this session I’m presenting again in a research strand. I’m working with Luke Rodesiler, Meenoo Rami, Gary Anderson, Brian Kelley, and Cindy Minnich. We originally wrote the session to be an individual one, but NCTE changed it and made it part of a large research strand roundtable session. Here’s the information about the overall session and our roundtable.

D.42 Research Roundtable 3–Research about Teacher Education
Woodrow Wilson A

The roundtables in this session showcase research about teacher learning spanning the career. From pre-service education to professional development and beyond, the roundtables offer complex and varied studies centered on how teachers learn to teach for and across a range of contexts.

Roundtable 3: “It Makes My Practice Deeper”: Stories of Teachers’ Professionally-Oriented Participation Online
Luke Rodesiler, University of South Florida, Tampa
Sarah Andersen, Fenton Area Public Schools, Michigan
Meenoo Rami, Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cindy Minnich, Upper Dauphin Area High School, Elizabethville, Pennsylvania
Brian Kelley, Patton Middle School, Pennsylvania
Gary Anderson, EMC Publishing, LLC, St. Paul, Minnesota

Luke interviewed each of us for his dissertation and together we wrote an article for the English Journal based on pieces of his dissertation. I greatly admire this group of teachers and am honored to present with them. Our group has much to offer, so I hope to see some of you at our roundtable if you’re attending NCTE. 🙂

This is going to be a great annual convention! I’d love to know if you’ll be attending as well, so let me know in the comments.


  1. Any tips for a first-timer? This will be my first trip to NCTE, and I am so excited. My problem now is trying to choose which sessions to attend because I want to see everything.

    I hope you have a great trip–I imagine this will be a inspiring transition back to the classroom as mom 🙂

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I’m really excited for you! My first NCTE was in Orlando and I was all by myself. Some tips:
      *Don’t be afraid to hang out with new people. I’ve met some really great friends through NCTE.
      *Plan backup sessions just in case you go to one and it isn’t what you expected, it’s too full, etc. And don’t feel bad about walking out of one.
      *The exhibit hall can be really overwhelming. Take your time. Talk to the publishers about the books they’re offering and what you’re looking for. They’d much rather make a connection with you and help you then deal with the greedy teachers (unfortunately they exist) who grab whatever they see.
      *Take breaks! It’s easy to just go,go,go but it will wipe you out fast.

      I hope that helps! 🙂 Let me know if you have more questions.

  2. I’m an NCTE newbie too, so this advice is very helpful. I’ll pop into your sessions and am looking forward to some inspiring ideas. Good luck!

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Yay! Another newbie 🙂 Jillian and I held this session last year with a slightly different focus and it went really well. The pairs had so many great writing ideas.

  3. Dear Sarah Andersen,
    As a retired teacher, and at age 90, I no longer attend national conventions, but how I wish I could be at your workshop on How Story Comes to be. It sounds most interesting.

    What I want to ask is whether or not you’d be willing to review my recently released (by Fire&Ice YA Publisher) YA noveL, A DOOR JUST OPENED. It is available as a POD paperback or on Kindle. It may not exactly fit the categories you indicate you are interested in, but as a story with an historical setting, on a farm in 1910, it has some of the feeling of the Anne of Green Gables series and adds diversity to the current YA literature. The main character,13-year-old Anna, has a burning desire to go to high school, to move beyond the confines of her tiny rural community and escape the life of a farmer’s wife. But her needs and aspirations are overshadowed when her 16-year-old sister is the victim of a sexual assault. Anna must stay at home and help her family, meanwhile dealing with the mystery of a missing ring and becoming involved in preventing another sexual assault. The climax comes when some unexpected developments change the course of Anna’s life.

    As a freelance writer, my work has appeared over the past thirty years in numerous national magazines, newspapers, and journals. I was a finalist for the 1996 Bakeless Prize in Nonfiction and a Scholar at the 1997 Bread Loaf Writers Conference. My memoir, Kwa Heri Means Goodbye; Memories of Kenya 1957-1959, was published in 2005.

    If this book is of interest to you, I will be happy to mail you a copy. Meanwhile, best of luck with your presentations at the NCTE conference.

    Dorothy Stephens

  4. Thanks so much for the tips. There is so much I want to see while I’m there…it doesn’t seem like four days will be long enough.

  5. I’m attending for the first time with a group of teachers — I hope to meet you, as I’ve been reading your blog for a while and have been building my classroom library with your suggestions 🙂 Can’t wait!

I love comments!

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