Bust a (Writing) Move — An NCTE17 Recap

Says she wants to dance to a different groove

Now you know what to do G bust a move

– – Young MC


Among my all-time NCTE highlights came this year as members of the Moving Writing crew gathered in real life to share some of our favorite writing moves to support writers throughout the writing process.


THANK YOU to all of you who hung around St. Louis until the bitter end with us. For those who couldn’t be with us in person, we thought we’d share a little bit about our favorite moves — along with our slides and resources — to energize your writing instruction as we head into the winter!

Sit back, crank up some ‘90s dance jams, and bust a writing move.

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Mandatory Reflection Time (or The Day After #NCTE17)

It’s hard to imagine that anything could be missing from the English teacher extravaganza that is NCTE. But if anything is missing, it is mandatory reflection time — time away from the learning and the exhibit hall (and the cheerleaders), to process. To be still. To think. To make a plan for the future.

Right now, I desperately need mandatory reflection time.

I have pages upon pages of scratchings in my notebook, but they all pretty much come down to one thing. In the immortal words of Nwanda in Dead Poets Society, here’s what I walk away with:

“Gotta do more. Gotta be more.”

Whether or not you were with us this weekend, Thanksgiving is the perfect moment in the school year to pause, figure out where we’ve been, and make a plan for where we are going to go.

So today instead of a post in which I pontificate on my own NCTE17 takeaways and instead of sharing our Moving Writers NCTE presentation with you (we promise we’ll have that ready for you December 1), I offer you some mandatory reflection time. Here are some questions that might help:

  • What’s going well in your class so far this year that you can build on (and if you were at NCTE, what strategies did you get that will help you build on it)?
  • What’s not going as well? What can you do right now that will make that element of your class 5% better? (And, NCTE participants, what tool did you find at the convention that might help you do that?)
  • Who could you partner with to help you teach 5% better. At NCTE, what relationship did you form or cultivate that can help you achieve some of your classroom goals?
  • What questions are you wrestling with? As Cornelius Minor asked teachers, what seems impossible in your classroom or in your context right now? And what questions can you ask about that impossibility? This is where classroom action research (and, I would add, professional writing) come from!

Don’t comment today. Take a nice deep breath. Do some thinking. Take the next little, tiny step toward progress.

Moving Writers at #NCTE17

It’s hard (and exhilarating!) to believe that one week from today, many of us will be traveling to St. Louis for NCTE, a.k.a. the Best Weekend of the Year.

For the first time ever, members of the Moving Writers team (Karla, Mike, Hattie, Tricia, Stefanie, Megan, and Rebekah) are presenting TOGETHER! A grab bag of writing strategies to move writers from planning to publication!

We’d LOVE to see you while we are there!

To help you plan is a guide to where to find members of the Moving Writers family during #NCTE17.

Where to Find Moving Writersat NCTE17


We hope to connect with you as we learn together!