See the NCTE website for details on submitting proposals for the 2015 Annual Convention!
News & Ideas  

This is the last issue of INBOX for 2014.
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To close out the year, please find your favorite reads of 2014.

. . . Losing Icons Hits Educators Hard

Walter Dean Myers Dies at 76; Wrote of Black Youth for the Young

The New York Times, July 3, 2014 

How High School Changed Robin Williams's Life
The Answer Sheet blog, The Washington Post, August 11, 2014 

Robin Williams -- a Teacher, a Genie, and a Nanny -- Dead at 63
Note the excerpts from Dead Poets Society.  Teaching Now blog, Education Week Teacher, August 11, 2014

. . . We Wonder about Our College Students

20 Things Incoming College Freshmen Will Never Understand, August 19, 2014  

Are American Students Grossly Unprepared for College?
The Answer Sheet blog, The Washington Post, March 17, 2014

. . . We've Been Thinking and Learning about Formative Assessment

How to Know If Your Students Are Learning from Day to Day
Sign up for NCTE's Facilitated Course -- Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning (6-12). A summer participant noted after taking the course, "When it's working, formative assessment in particular creates a process by which teachers can get to really know each student, a task I struggle with each year. I want to be that teacher, and I now have tools by which I can work towards the goal."  Sign up for the Spring 2015 course today.

#nctechat February 16:  Formative Assessment That Truly Informs Instruction
In the archive of the February 16, 2014, Twitter chat, hosts Franki Sibberson (@frankisibberson) and Antero Garcia (@anterobot) and members of the NCTE Task Force on Formative Assessment answer questions and share information from the position statement their group worked on late last year.

. . . We Value the Teaching of Reading 

Close Reading of Literary Texts  

360 Degrees of Text

Teaching Idea: In 360 Degrees of Text: Using Poetry to Teach Close Reading and Powerful Writing, author Eileen Murphy Buckley challenges us to "rebrand poetry as a really good academic writing activity as opposed to a fun thing to do after testing in the spring." In this chapter, she demonstrates how poetry offers an opportunity to model the move from a close reading to compelling conversations that then lead to academic writing. Of particular interest are the student handouts to help in both summarizing and making claims

Getting Started with Questions of Text Complexity
Literacy in Learning Exchange

. . . Challenges to Texts Fascinate and Amaze Us -- We Want to Be Prepared

Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, tells us "Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood."

Download the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Banned Books Week Handbook.

High School Literary List Causes Kerfuffle with Parents
The challenged books are The Art of Racing in the Rain; The Working Poor: Invisible in America; Siddhartha; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; An Abundance of Katherines; The Glass Castle; and Song of Solomon. NCTE is working on this challenge. CBS-DFW, September 9, 2014

. . . We Like to Read What Our Colleagues Write

The Best-Kept Secret in English Education
"The best-kept secret in English education is the daily genius in our classrooms that we sit on top of because we don't know that it's there." Read and listen to this excerpt from NCTE Past President Ernest Morrell's Presidential Speech.  Literacy & NCTE blog, November 27, 2014 

Teaching with Our Doors Open: Professional Transparency as Acts of Resistance
NCTE member Paul Thomas writes.  The Becoming Radical blog, November 24, 2014 

Sarcasm, Scarlett Johansson, and Why Machines Should Never Grade Student Writing
NCTE member Maja Wilson writes.  The Answer Sheet blog, The Washington Post, June 18, 2014

Another Great Georgia Teacher: Her Classroom Hums with Activity
NCTE member Peter Smagorinsky writes.  Get Schooled blog, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 1, 2014


Voting on NCTE's 2014 Resolutions Begins This Week

Members attending the Annual Business Meeting during the NCTE Convention in November approved three resolutions:

  • Resolution on the Need for Diverse Children’s and Young Adult Books,
  • Resolution on Mandatory Grade Retention and High-Stakes Testing, and
  • Resolution on the Dignity and Education of Immigrant, Undocumented, and Unaccompanied Youth

Later this week the NCTE membership will have the opportunity to decide if these resolutions should become official Council policies by participating in a ratification vote. Watch your email for the ballot and cast your votes!

Free Web Seminar Dec. 10: Game Design for Literacy Learning

What do game-based learning strategies look like when applied to literacy teaching and learning? The National Center for Literacy Education and the Institute of Play are teaming up to find out! Join a free Web seminar on December 10, 4:30-5:30 p.m. EST, to explore the power of games and game design in literacy education. 


What's on Your Reading List?

If you're looking for things to read over the holidays, see select articles from the December issues of Voices from the Middle, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and College Composition and Communication journals from NCTE. Members also have access to all NCTE journals two years old and older.

Submit a Petition to Add Candidates to the 2015 Ballot

January 10 is the deadline for submitting a petition to add candidates to the 2015 NCTE ballot. The NCTE Constitution states that additional names for trustees of the NCTE Research Foundation, representatives-at-large, members of the next NCTE Nominating Committee, and Section Steering and Nominating Committee members may be added.

Help Shape the Future Leadership of CCCC

CCCC logo

The 2015 CCCC Nominating Committee would like to invite you to submit nominations for the posts of Assistant Chair, Secretary, the Executive Committee, and the 2016 Nominating Committee. Further information about the CCCC elections process and responsibilities associated with each position is available on the CCCC website. The deadline for submitting nominations is February 20. Questions?

High School Teachers of Excellence Honored at 2014 Convention

Nineteen classroom teachers were named High School Teachers of Excellence by their state NCTE affiliates in 2014 and presented with their awards during the Annual Convention in November. The complete list of honorees can be found on the NCTE website. May 1 is the deadline for affiliates to submit names of their 2015 winners.

Wheadon Scholarship Provides Postgraduate Training
for Public School Teachers

English/language arts teachers working in public educational institutions are eligible for Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarships. Wheadon Scholarships support postgraduate training to enhance teaching skills and/or career development in teaching. To qualify, the recipient's degree or non-degree course must be provided by an accredited, degree-granting public or private two-year junior or community college, four-year college or university, or graduate or professional school. The application deadline for this $500 award is January 31.

Featured Career

Career Opportunities

Check out this featured position from NCTE's Career Opportunities page! Anyone can browse, and posting open positions is free to NCTE members.

Teachers of English in Tokyo
University graduates needed to teach English in Tokyo to corporations, government agencies, and schools (elementary and junior high). Annual contracts include paid vacations and medical insurance, with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $40,000 annually. All classes are taught with texts and learning materials in English. Assistance with housing. Immediate openings available throughout 2015 (send resume).

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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts