2018 Fall Conference

Fall 2018 Conference: Approaches to Writing, K-12

Chaired by Joe Pizzo and Denise Weintraut

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kenneth R. Olson Middle School, Tabernacle, NJ



9:00-9:10 Welcome
9:10-9:30 Keynote: Dr. Jocelyn Chadwick, NCTE President 9:30-9:40 Break & Networking with Old and New Friends 9:40-10:40 Session 1
10:40-10:50 Break & Networking with Old and New Friends 10:50-11:50 Session 2

11:50-12:00 Grab Included Lunch for either Collegial Conversations or Session 3

12:00-12:45 Lunch & Collegial Conversations/Session 3 12:45-1:00 Prizes and Farewell



Registration Information

Non-member (Includes pro-rated NJCTE membership)

$25 Early registration (discounted)
$30 Regular registration
$20 Early registration - pre-service teacher $25 Regular registration - pre-service teacher



$10 Early registration (discounted)
$15 Regular registration
Early registration deadline - Wednesday, September 19, 2018

NJCTE Fall Conference 2018 Call for Prop
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Thank you for joining us at our Spring 2018 Conference at Montclair State University: You helped make it a huge success!

featuring our three superior headliners

New York Times bestselling author, Jason Reynolds

literary giant John Freeman

and author/journalist Dale Russakoff

who opened our eyes to the politics of education in New Jersey

We are delighted to introduce to the teachers of New Jersey,  The New York Times bestselling author of All-American Boys, Ghost, Patina, Long Way Down and Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and our

2018 Muriel Becker Award winner

Jason Reynolds

click the image to download, print and share with friends & colleagues

Our Becker Award winner Jason Reynolds

From the author's website:

So, I'm a writer. And when I say I'm a writer, I mean it in the same way a professional ball player calls himself an athlete. I practice everyday and do the best I can to be better at this writing thing, while hopefully bringing some cool stories to the world. The stories are kinda like my slam dunks. Except, I'm dunking words. In your FACE! Ha!


I graduated from the University of Maryland (where I spent about 65% of my time writing and reciting poetry all over campus...yeah, that was me) with a B.A. in English, then packed my bags and moved to Brooklyn because somebody told me they were giving away dream-come-true vouchers. And if I ever find the person who told me that... let's just say, no one was giving away anything. ANYTHING. Lucky for me I had all these crazy stories to keep me going. Ten years later, here I am, doing my best to string together an "ABOUT" section on my own website about my own books. Crazy.


Here's what I know: I know there are a lot — A LOT — of young people who hate reading. I know that many of these book haters are boys. I know that many of these book-hating boys, don't actually hate books, they hate boredom. If you are reading this, and you happen to be one of these boys, first of all, you're reading this so my master plan is already working (muahahahahahaha) and second of all, know that I feel you. I REALLY do. Because even though I'm a writer, I hate reading boring books too. 


Here's what I plan to do: NOT WRITE BORING BOOKS. 


That's it, and that's all. 


John Freeman, morning keynote speaker


John Freeman was the editor of Granta until 2013. His books include How to Read a Novelist, Tales of Two Cities, and Tales of Two Americas. Maps, his debut collection of poems, is out from Copper Canyon in fall 2017. He is the executive editor at Literary Hub and teaches at the New School and New York University. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and has been translated into twenty languages.


from jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-john-freeman-20171212-story.html

When Freeman started Freeman's, the journal might have seemed like the moment where he made his mark. As a former president of the National Book Critics Circle and editor of Granta, he had spent most of his career as a critic and a champion of writers, helping showcase a number of literary heavyweights. With Freeman's, he also introduced new voices and encouraged many authors to expand their ideas beyond the pages of the journal itself. Mohsin Hamid recalls, for instance, one party conversation where the two of them made a joke about novels being a form of self-help — "and that's where the idea for my third novel, 'How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,' came from." Publishing insiders have countless stories like this — late-night confabs, a moment of inspiration, and Freeman telling them, "Now that's a story." Laura Buccieri, one of his former students, refers to him as "John Freeman, story hunter."


"I think of John as one of the preeminent book people of our time," said Dave Eggers. "He seems to know everyone, and has read every book, and reviewed most of them too. And meanwhile, he edits his magazine, and writes poetry, and apparently is some kind of semi-pro runner too. He would appear to be a hyperactive, high-intensity guy, but instead he does it all while being very low-key and unassuming. And his positivity and decency is so crucial to the health of the literary community, it's impossible to overstate how important it is to have someone as generous and upstanding as John at the center of it all."

Dale Russakoff, featured presenter



When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, NJ, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children.

Dale Russakoff delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities. As Cory Booker navigates between his status as “rock star mayor” on Oprah’s stage and object of considerable distrust at home, the tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grass-roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders.  The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark’s school superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city’s schools—a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America.

Russakoff provides a close up view of 26-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and his wife as they decide to give the immense sum of money to Newark and then experience an education of their own amid the fall-out of the reforms. Most moving are Russakoff’s portraits from inside classrooms, as homegrown teachers and principals battle heroically to reach students damaged by extreme poverty and violence.

The Prize is an absorbing portrait of a titanic struggle, indispensable for anyone who cares about the future of public education and the nation’s children.

We are excited to bring you more new ideas & great speakers!

  • We are as excited about this year's conference as we ever have been!
  • Please tell as many people as you can, and bring a friend! Each year it becomes increasingly challenging to provide the kind of top-notch conference we do at the price we do it. In an era where conferences and organizations are shrinking, we are alive and well, and doing our best to increase our visibility for you. This can only happen if our conference attendance continues to grow! Please help spread the word!
  • And thank you for all you do!

Register for the Conference at the desk

SEVEN PD hours!

at the Student Center Ballrooms at Montclair State University

parking available at the Red Hawk Deck at the Normal Avenue entrance, then use the fifth floor exit and follow the signs to the Student Center (white building)

Your 2018 Slate of Scheduled Presentations

Our featured presenter:

Dale Russakoff Shares the Inside Story of The Prize


Dale Russakoff, author, The Prize     





Connecting/Reading in Today’s Classrooms

Digital reading is connected reading. Students must learn to read digital texts effectively. Whether you are struggling with increasing complex text in your classroom or helping your most challenged students learn, digital text can be your biggest obstacle. Come learn effective practices and digital tools to support learning in upper elementary through HS.

Tina Monteleone. Point Pleasant Tech Literacy Specialist                                   


Two Words

Every Story begins with two words: What if? Explore how to use these two words to find stories in anything. Participants will work collaboratively to create multiple story ideas from a single image and discuss how to guide students to turn ideas into full stories. Tools for helping students become more creative, imaginative writers will be shared.

David Neilsen, Middle Grade Author, Tarrytown, NY          


Censure, Don’t Censor


Censoring speech is a hot topic in academia. Attendees will discuss the importance of open discourse in schools in a functioning democracy and learn how to handle unwanted or offensive speech. They will participate in activities leading to an understanding of First Amendment rights and limits in schools and receive access to free curricular materials. 

Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Phila.  


Share Your Ideas and Experiences: Write for the New Jersey English Journal


The editors will discuss the value of teachers writing for publication, especially about classroom-based research and practice, encourage participants to brainstorm and respond to the 2019 theme of NJEJ and discuss how to find other journals' calls for mss.  

Liz DeBeer and Pat Bender, editors, NJ English Journal                      


Stop Blaming the iPhone: 10 Ways to Turn Schools into Chat Hubs for Lifelong Readers

This presentation will engage the audience in practical and user-friendly ways to nurture a joyful and social reading experience in our middle and high school classrooms, including ten easy-to-use strategies to encourage choice and create a culture of reading.

Berit Gordon, Literacy Consultant, Maplewood                                         



Let Them Read: A Guide to Independent Reading at the Secondary Level

By implementing an IR program, we have transformed the culture of our school; we are a school of readers! Grounded in the work of Penny Kittle & Donalyn Miller, we (teachers, subject supervisor, & students) will share a range of strategies for implementing an IR program that fosters a love of reading & allows for assessing students’ reading progress.

Christina McCabe, Heather Rocco, Stephanie Shamy, Kris Fallon, Oona Marie Abrams, students from School District of the Chathams                         


Poetry Isn’t Dead (and Neither Are the Poets)

Explore contemporary poetry and see how it can be used in your MS or HS classroom. Participants will leave this session with resources to become better poets themselves and ideas for poetry prompts that will support students in developing their voice.

Nichole Warchol. NCTE Lead Ambassador; David Brearley M/HS, Kenilworth    


Creating the Reading Culture Using Interactive Read-Alouds

Learn the research proven method to interactive read-alouds that may increase comprehension scores while creating a culture of readers and writers. Participants will practice read-alouds and learn steps to make a positive impact on student comprehension and literacy culture in their own classrooms.

Kori McKibben, K-5 Literacy Coordinator, St. Paul, Mn;

Joan Sax-Bendix, Prof. of Ed, Winona State U                                         

Finding Harmony between ELA & Technology: Tech Tools to Integrate into the Classroom

In a STEM world, how does English fit in? This session will review different technology tools that can change an ELA classroom, such as websites, apps, and Google extensions and add-ons. This interactive session will provide teachers with easy-to-integrate technology that can be implemented immediately in any classroom.

Kathryn Nieves, Special Education ELA teacher, Sparta Middle School    


Tools of Engagement

The presenters will provide research-based practices to improve literacy engagement. Topics to be addressed include: motivating students, developing literacy skills, and creating a participatory culture. Attendees will participate in discussions, games, and self-assessments they can share with students and colleagues.

Kathalyn Messano, HS teacher; Kristine Sharina, MS teacher,

Bridgewater-Raritan Public Schools, Rutgers GSE, and Raritan Valley CC    


Innovation through Imitation: Resurrecting Reading Workshop & Promoting Student Voice

High school upperclassmen need abundant choice in what they read for English class. With choice, they read more. When they’re supported by their instructor to use mentor texts and self-selected books as writing tools, they become more confident readers and writers. Join the conversation about bringing reading workshop back to the classroom.

Oona Marie Abrams. Chatham HS                         


Windows, Mirrors, and Doors: Deepening Engagement with Texts

This interactive, hands-on workshop aimed at the K-5 level will offer audience engagement, collaboration, and exploration of texts as teachers consider how this framework can help students make connections as they read.

Maureen Bates. Curriculum Coordinator, Montclair Kimberley Academy Primary 


Authors in the Classroom: A How-to Guide for Virtual Author Visits

These NJ authors will show you how to connect your students with authors via Skype or Google Hangout. Enrich your students’ literacy loves through real-world connections with authors. Practical tips on timelines, fundraising & preparing for virtual visits will be shared.

Melanie Conklin, Laura Shovan, and Karina Glaser            


Implementing Student Choice Reading in a 21st Century Classroom

“Readers need attention, encouragement, and challenge. English teachers know how to provide all three” (Kittle 2). Many students stop reading for pleasure by the time they enter high school. This session provides various strategies and lessons that demonstrate how to implement student choice reading in a 21st century classroom.

Hitisha Patel and Victoria Vanoni, Scotch Plains Fanwood HS               


Teaching the Immigrant Experience through Literature and Poetry

In a time of heated immigration rhetoric, how do you promote more thoughtful and fact-based discussion of the topic? Attendees will acquire resources to teach students about the causes and challenges of immigration and the process of having students research and write about their three-part journeys: home, crossing, new world.

Suzanne Steckert, Livingston Public Schools                                                              

Printable Map of MSU...
...for your convenience (in .pdf format).
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