Friday, July 22, 2016

Event Recap: ILA 2016

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to the International Literacy Association (ILA) annual conference in Boston. I teach high school English, so I love going to conferences about teaching and literacy. I went to NCTE last fall, which was absolutely fantastic, and while ILA is not one that I would normally go to, a few things lined up, and I was in a position where it was hard to say no to going to it :)

I was in Boston for about 2 and a half days and the majority of that time was spent in the convention center. I wish we could have spent more time outside though, since it was cool and in the 60's, a big difference from the hot and humid Michigan I left behind!

I spent my time either going to sessions by my favorite teaching gurus/idols or walking through the exhibit hall looking at books and talking to publishers. My top two teaching idols are Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher, both of whom were at ILA, so I went to two sessions with each of them (and where they were speaking together!), plus one with Donalyn Miller. I learned a lot, was reaffirmed in what I am doing, and am full of ideas to revamp my lessons, units, and overall classroom environment. I love when conferences make me excited to go back to work :)

I also really enjoyed walking around the exhibit hall talking to publishers and authors. I was able to meet Siobhan Vivian and get a signed copy of The Last Boy and Girl in the World. I'm excited to put that in the hands of my students this fall, especially the ones who loved her and Jenny Han's Burn for Burn series (which is very popular!). I also met Daniel Kraus, Renee Ahdieh, and Sarah Fine.

Overall I had a good time at ILA, but I still liked NCTE better in terms of the complete conference (it is much bigger). I do like that ILA is during the summer, but in terms of professional growth and number of authors to meet, I'd still rather go to NCTE in November. That said, I really enjoyed listening to Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher and am happy that I was able to attend their sessions.

I want this as a poster in my classroom!

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