Oh, sweet Washington, DC. That was a great conference.
While the sessions and the learning were inspiring, most inspiring of all were the connections.
On Friday, To Make a Prairie blogger and co-author of What Readers Really Do, Vicki Vinton, gathered together some of our favorite teachers/thinkers/fellow bloggers to present a session titled It’s Not Just for The Kids: Stories of What Can Happen When Teachers Embrace Curiosity, Openness, Creativity, and Wonder in the Teaching of Reading. This was hands-down our favorite session not only because it was a privilege to listen to the stories of teaching and learning told by such gifted and dedicated teachers, but also because the way it exemplified synergy was sublime. Stephen Covey says that “if you put two pieces of wood together, they will hold much more than the total of the weight held by each separately. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” We are all better when we come together to learn and this session was a humbling reminder of this important point. If you don’t know the blogs written by Steve Peterson, Fran McVeigh, Julianne Harmatz, and Mary Lee Hahn, and of course, Vicki Vinton, you should. These are outstanding thinkers!
The synergy continued on Friday night with AMAZING impromptu, one-on-one conversations with other bloggers, authors, and educators in the lounge at the Aloft Hotel. We honestly find these conversations as stimulating (if not more so) than planned conference sessions. We are so grateful to our community and feel honored to have had the chance to meet so many of you!
As is the case with all busy conferences, we weren’t able to “synergize” as much as we would have liked with everyone, however, we are grateful to our friend Chris Lehman for organizing a professional book exchange. We’re as excited to read the notes in the margins of the books we took home as we are to read the books themselves!
And in the spirit of saving the best for last, a very special thank you to Barry Lane who happened by the Stenhouse booth while we were signing copies of Reading Wellness. His songs and jokes and joie de vivre reminded us that learning feels best when complemented with heaping piles of joy!