Slice of Life: NCTE Edition

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“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

 ~Muriel Rukeyser~

I arrived at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston on Thursday evening for my first NCTE Convention filled with anticipation about the upcoming three days. To say my expectations were fulfilled is an understatement! From meeting authors Jane Yolen, Gae Polisner, and Kate Messner, to having breakfast with fellow Slicers, to learning so much from all the amazing presenters, it was a weekend I will long remember.

My head is still filled with the wise words shared not only by the teachers, authors, and poets in front of the conference rooms, but with everyone I chatted with throughout the day. How to share all these thoughts swirling around my brain, like the leaves on the streets of Boston Sunday morning? As I pored over my notes, a pattern of recurring words and phrases began to emerge, and I “found” this poem:

Open the door…

welcome to this safe space.

A space to share our voices,

and tell our stories,

through poetry,


and art.

A place to explore,



and connect.

A space to find surprises,



and trust.

This place is a source of joy.

It has the power to change us; to

help us discover what’s in our heart.

It gives us the courage

to take our message

out into the world.

Thank you to Judy Blume, Nancie Atwell, Helene Coffin, Georgia Heard, Linda Rief, Tom Romano, Chris Leheman, Kate Roberts, Maggie Beattie Roberts, Joyce Sidman, Jane Yolen, Jerry Spinelli, Glenda Funk, Cherylann Schmidt, Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jo Knowles, Jen Vincent, Brian Wyzlic, Sara Egan, Brian Fizer, Sean Ruday, and Miriam Kopelow for so generously sharing these words, your experiences and your insights with teachers; for giving us the knowledge and the courage and the power to change our students’ lives.

Please visit Two Writing Teachers, where many wonderful and courageous teachers share their stories each week.