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ICTE Earns Affiliate Recognitions from NCTE

We are so honored to share with you that ICTE has been recognized by the NCTE Standing Committee on Affiliates and has been awarded the 2020 Kent D. Williamson Affiliate Membership Award, 2020 NCTE Affiliate Website of Excellence Award, and 2020 NCTE Affiliate Newsletter of Excellence Award 

ICTE will be honored at the NCTE Annual Convention during the Affiliate Roundtable Breakfast on Sunday, November 22

Teacher to Teacher Tip:
Using Google Forms to Create a Virtual Escape Room

by Dr. Terri Suico, St. Mary's College
ICTE Executive Treasurer
A challenge teachers are facing is adapting their classroom practice. Many activities are now virtual to allow participation in online or socially-distanced learning spaces. I faced this issue when thinking about how to teach about banned books. In my pre-Covid classroom, Banned Books Week meant a trivia hunt, with students working together to look at copies of books.

The pandemic left me with the question: How could students uncover information about these texts in a way that would be interactive and fun?

Enter Google Forms. Earlier this year, I read about teachers and librarians creating virtual escape rooms using this free tool.. More searching uncovered additional information, including excellent directions from Bespoke Classroom. After some trial and error, I had a virtual escape room prepared to introduce banned and challenged books.

Rather than reproduce Bespoke Classroom’s directions, here are additional  tips and resources to consider. 

  1. Consider how the escape room will be used and plan accordingly. I wanted to use it as an opening activity for a larger discussion on censorship. Since this would be new information for the students, I used multiple choice questions. I also wrote the narrative to give hints as to the correct answer. 

  2. Use pictures and graphics. A plain Google Form will get the job done, but including pictures can help create a more inviting experience. You can find free images and royalty free pictures online. I used Pixabay for the graphics in my escape room.

  3. Have someone else test the escape room. When I was finished with my escape room, I had no idea how long completing it would take. My student worker offered to complete the escape room for me and time herself. This also helped me find issues the questions and entry points.

Ready to Share Your Best Practice in a Future Newsletter?
We Invite You to Share Your Helpful Tips

The 2020-2021 school year is sure to be very different from previous years. ICTE is committed to helping to support and empower you as you navigate the challenges and uncertainty that we are all facing.

Our newsletter team would like to feature a "Teacher to Teacher Tips" segment in future newsletters. We would like to feature your great tips, techniques, ideas, assignments, favorite apps, or anything else that may be helpful to teachers. Specifically, we would like to feature your best eLearning/virtual ideas, as we know many educators will be navigating virtual or hybrid classroom formats. You could share your ideas through a short video (2-3 minutes) or in a short narrative (2-3 paragraphs). Photographs could also be submitted, if useful. If interested in contributing to this feature, please email newsletter editor Jennifer Swisher-Carroll at

September's Featured Teacher - Steve Toy 

“Mr. Toy is an exceptional teacher who never failed to incorporate thoughtful discussions, witty comments, and real-world examples in a 50-minute class period. He pushed us to do our very best every single day to prepare us for college-level classes and to be the best students we could be.” 
                                     - Alli Donovan, Class of 2015

"The first source of my energy is my students. I believe every person is an opportunity, so that belief allows me to see my students as the most interesting part of my job."
                                                                   - Steve Toy

by Leigh Anne Eck, George Rogers Clark Middle School

Vincennes Lincoln Educator of the Year, 2019, 2012
Knox County Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year, 2018
Teacher of the Year, 2003, presented by Knox County, Indiana, Farm Bureau

Current School and Position:
English/Language Arts Teacher and English Department Chair, Vincennes Lincoln High School

Teaching History:
I currently teach freshman and senior honors (dual credit) English classes and Core 40 freshman English classes. I have taught English classes ranging from special needs to Advanced Placement classes since 1983. I currently serve as an iCoach (instructional coach) for faculty and the English department chairperson. I have been both the high school yearbook and newspaper sponsor and have taught English Composition classes at Vincennes University.

How and when did you know you wanted to become an English teacher?

I knew early in high school (freshman-sophomore year or so) that I wanted to be an English teacher, but an excess of teachers at the time caused me to consider different options during my senior year and my first year of college; however, by the end of my freshman year of college, I was back to a secondary education English major.

How would you describe your teaching career in one sentence?

My teaching career has been both incredibly rewarding and incredibly humbling.

Share what advice you would give to new teachers or students who are thinking about teaching as a career.

 First, accept people (specifically, your students) where they are but push them as far as you can, and secondly, remember that teaching is about the people first and the content next.

What was an adjustment you had to make in your teaching practices for virtual learning during the pandemic?

As a rule, I don't generally give out my phone number, however, doing so became necessary in some cases. Trying to explain a somewhat tedious research process through texting or email would have been inefficient. Having the student on speaker phone, so that we both could be on our computers while I explained how he or she should go about a process was far more effective. I fully believe virtual learning was as much a learning experience for me as it was for my students.

To learn more about Steve and read Leigh Anne's full interview with him, visit the ICTE website

Share your favorite books with #ICTEreads

September's #ICTEreads focuses on celebrating Banned Books week (September 27 - October 3). Through your social media account, please share your favorite banned or challenged book and don't forget to include #ICTEreads in your response. Let's celebrate our shared love of those banned and challenged texts! 

Indiana Department of Education Update

The most recent edition of IDOE's newsletter is available here. It includes suggestions for instilling the joy of reading for students and various opportunities for professional development. 


In this inspiring post, NCTE award winners from 2019 and 2020 reflect on how the current pandemic is affecting their teaching lives. The respondents share their thoughts on challenges, concerns about their students, surprises and discoveries, strategies that help them cope, and things that give them hope.
In a post titled "A Snapshot of Tips for Teaching Shakespeare Online," NCTE member Laura Amble shares her ideas for how to make Shakespeare come alive for students - even when engaging with the Bard's texts through remote or virtual learning. Her tips are classroom-tested and ready to implement now. Read the full post and view her ideas here.

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 © 2020 ICTE, All rights reserved.

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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, IN 46556 · USA

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