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NCTE Recognizes ICTE for Outstanding Achievements

We are pleased to announce that our revitalized affiliate was recently honored with two awards of distinction from the National Council of Teachers of English. 

ICTE was awarded the Kent D. Williamson Affiliate Membership Award, which recognizes affiliates that have "substantially increased their memberships or that have recruited new members for NCTE." 

In addition, we were honored to receive the NCTE Affiliate Website of Excellence Award. This award not only recognizes the hard work and dedication put into the site but establishes the ICTE website as a "model for affiliate websites to emulate." 

Lead a #BestBook Discussion at the ICTE Conference

Which books bring joy to you and your students? In this new roundtable, presenters will share a brief summary of a middle grade or young adult book they love and/or love teaching. They will also present some ideas for teaching the book. Roubdtables will allow for a robust discussion around these #BestBooks, with the goal of inroducing each other to new books and new ideas for teaching these books! 
If you would like to serve as a presenter or respondent for this session, please complete this google form.

September's Two Minute Tip: Comprehension Role Play

This month, Dan O'Reilly explains how he uses role play with his students to foster lively, memorable discussions in the ELA classroom.  
Are you ready to share your great ideas and classroom strategies? Submit a "Two Minute Tip" or "Two Minute Teaching Tale" that will be featured in a future newsletter. Videos should be 2-3 minutes long and should feature you explaining or enacting a practice for your peers or describing how something you use in your classroom might work for others. Please send finished videos to

Empowering Students Through Choice Seating

Leigh Anne Eck, George Rogers Clark Middle School

Flexible seating has become a common discussion among teachers. Many teachers consider flexible seating as different types of seats such as crates, beanbag chairs, high-top desks, floor cushions, wobble seats, and balance balls. Some teachers do not have these options available, and instead, consider flexible seating as student choice. 

A recent informal Twitter poll asked teachers to say who decided on seating arrangements, students or teachers. Almost 60% of the teachers polled said that students determine the seating chart, while 40% said the teachers created the seating chart.

A concern of student choice was the anxiety that students may feel when choosing their own seat, especially middle schoolers. “What if no one wants to sit by me?”  “What if I have to sit by myself?” “What if I don’t like the person I’m sitting by?” All of these are common concerns and causes of anxiety for middle school students.

Many teachers are not comfortable giving up that control of creating a seating chart. What if teachers combined teacher and student input to make seating decisions? What if teachers gave students a sense of ownership in the decisions made in the classroom like seating charts?

You may want to consider these combined alternatives when determining your seating charts this year.

  1. Students list 3 or 4 friends they would like to sit by, and teachers use this information to create a seating chart. Students could also include one student they would prefer not to sit by.

  2. Assign students to a group or pod of desks. Then students have the choice of where they sit within that group.

  3. Use seating choice as a reward or use choice as a “Free Seat Friday”.

  4. Give students parameters within their choice. For example, groups must have a mix of boys and girls, students cannot sit beside or across from the same person they are currently sitting with, or students must sit on a different side of the room. 

  5. Start with a teacher-created seating chart and gradually give them control of their seating options while teaching good decision-making skills.

  6. Use “home” seating for structured instructional times and allow for student choice during other times.

This is the first year I created my seating chart with student input, and I recently asked them about their thoughts on this decision. I received the expected comments about how great it was being able to sit with their friends. But I also received a few surprises. Several of them mentioned trust. For example, when I asked them to turn and talk, they trusted the people sitting next to them enough to be honest about how they really felt. They felt safe in discussing their thoughts because they knew their friends wouldn’t laugh at them. Because they were sitting by friends, they felt more comfortable participating in class discussions.

So far, giving them a voice in their choice of seats has more positive results than negative ones. I am anxious to see how these feelings of trust and being safe play out and lead to deeper discussions and learning as we continue our year. 

Submit a Proposal to Present at the ICTE Conference

What practice has been the most joyful for your teaching? What classroom activities spark joy in your students? What keeps you joyful and excited about teaching or about being a literacy educator? Consider drafting a conference proposal that showcases your favorite resource, practice, or curricula to support other teachers in making literacy learning a joyful experience for students.

As you draft your proposal, please choose one of the following formats:

  • Panel Presentation: 50-minute session featuring two or more speakers who will engage the audience around a common theme or question, leaving at least 10 minutes for audience questions and responses.

  • Workshop: 50-minute interactive session led by one or more speakers who will engage attendees in activities around a central topic, question, or theme.

  • Individual Presentation: 20-minute presentation led by one speaker; individual presentations will be paired by level, topic, or theme to make up one 50-minute session.

All proposals should include some element of interaction with session attendees. Please submit your proposal that identifies which type of session you are proposing and that clearly explains its relation to the theme Sparking Joy in Teaching. Proposals will be blinded and reviewed by the Proposal Review Committee.  
Proposal Deadline: December 1, 2019 (11:59 p.m. EST)

Presenters are required to register for the conference and are encouraged to participate in all conference activities. Representatives from the Indiana Department of Education will be on hand to distribute educator PGPs to participants.
Ready to Submit? Access the proposal form here.

Interested in Getting More Involved with the Planning of the ICTE 2020 State Conference?

If you are interested in helping to organize the conference and working with a team to promote literacy in Indiana, please consider volunteering to assist with the planning and execution of the 2020 conference. 
Volunteer to Help with the ICTE State Conference


Wisdom for Teaching Difficult Texts

Students greatly benefit from reading texts that involve difficult topics, but educators often struggle to know how best to include those texts in the classroom. NCTE member Mollie Blackburn shares some tips and suggestions in this brief piece
Hook Students on Reading with a "Book Tasting" 

Book tastings are growing in popularity in the ELA classroom. Various NCTE members share their ideas for how to make your next classroom book tasting a success. 

Become a Member of ICTE

Did a supportive friend or colleague forward this email to you? Would you like to learn more about the benefits of being a member of ICTE?

Indiana Council of Teachers of English welcomes all literacy teachers and advocates at all levels.  If you would like to join ICTE and receive encouragement, support, and information about literacy, instruction, and policy, click the button below and sign up.  It's free!
Copyright © 2019 ICTE, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
ICTE/Terri Suico
Saint Mary's College Education Department
23 Madeleva Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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Indiana Council of Teachers of English · Saint Mary's College · 6 Madeleva Hall · Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 · USA

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