Thoughts on PCTELA 2017


I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh at the PCTELA 2017 Conference.  Wow!  Our chairs, Amy Nyeholt and Julie DiNples, put together a fantastic program.  Thank you Julie and Amy.


My job is to work the registration table.  Here it is all set up before the first people arrive.


I really enjoy doing this because it gives me a chance to greet people as they come.  It is always great seeing returning faces as well as first time attendees.

Here we have Amy and Julie welcoming everyone to the conference and then introducing our first two speakers.


Our first two featured speakers were people whom I have known for several years and consider friends.  Jennie K. Brown is a PCTELA Board member and a past PCTELA president.  She is the author of the Poppy Mayberry series, her first book which was published last year and her new one which was just recently published.  On a side note I am planning on going to her book launching party on Saturday.

Sharing the stage with her was Jason Griffith.  Jason is a Writing Project Fellow whom I met several years ago when he was going through the project and I was asked to present a lesson to the group.  He is getting his doctorate and is ABD.  His first book, From Me to We  was just published.

Jennie was the first to speak.  She focused on why she writes.  It boils down to one word: inspiration.  She writes to inspire kids to read and write.

Jason then spoke about narrative non-fiction. c6

One problem he sometimes sees in research papers is that students either have no citations on a page or else everything is cited and there is no student reaction.  To combat this he likes the one page research paper.  Students get one page to give one quote, one source, and their thoughts on the cited text.



These shots are not the best, however, Jason’s entire presentation, along with a 20% coupon for his book, can be found at his web site under PCTELA 2017.  That site is:

I think I will let our next speaker, Laurie Halse Anderson, go until next week.

One final thing I would like to say is that one of the perks of being on the PCTELA Board is that I get time to share a meal with friends and slicers I haven’t seen in a while.  Great seeing you Aileen Hower and Lynne Dorfman.



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15 responses to “Thoughts on PCTELA 2017

  1. Terje

    Learning, friends, inspiration – full pack. And a book launching party to look forward. Good times.

  2. lindabaie

    That idea for the research spiral is a good one, and seems very inviting, too.I have loved going to our state conferences, looks like a wonderful time of learning, then re-connecting, too.

  3. It was great spending time with friends that we usually interact with virtually.

  4. I love working the registration table at conferences, too. If you do it year after year you really get to know people.

  5. Sounds like a great weekend of learning and time spent with friends!

  6. I am hoping to attend next year when it is closer to our neck of the woods. Looks like it was a great conference, as always.

  7. I stopped by hoping you would explain the acronym, PCTELA, but I still have no idea. Something about Pennsylvania ELA, but I don’t know. However, seeing some of the wonderful speakers including some blogging friends made me happy. I met Aileen at my first (and only, so far NCTE in 2014). Looking forward to next week’s post about Laurie Halse Anderson.

  8. Thanks for this vicarious conference-going glimpse. I especially like Jason Griffith’s notion of the elegant one-page research paper.

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