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Thank You for ALL You Do!

While we are always thankful for the stellar and hard work our Indiana teachers do on a regular basis, we are particularly grateful for you all this year as you continue to navigate the ups and downs of 2020! Your resilience, perseverance, and dedication to your students is inspiring! Thank you!

Quick Writes and Self Care:
Suggestions for Life In and Out of the Classroom

We are so proud to support and work beside you as you navigate the challenges of the 2020-2021 school year. This month's featured "Teacher Tip" videos focus on ways to support you, both in and out of the classroom. ICTE Second President-Elect Kathy Higgs-Coulthard shares her tips for conducting "quick writes" in the ELA classroom. ICTE Secretary Theresa Wampler encourages us to find time for ourselves and practice self-care.  

The ICTE newsletter team is so grateful for the incredible videos that have been shared by ICTE leaders. If you have a great tip to share, please reach out to ICTE newsletter editor, Jennifer Swisher-Carroll at
Kathy Higgs-Coulthard explains how "quick writes" can be used in the classroom to engage students and help them to think critically about a text. 
Theresa Wampler outlines five ways teachers can engage in self-care during this challenging time. 

Teacher Feature: Meet Dianna Christopher

Interview conducted by Corinne Gries, Saint Mary's College

Dianna’s classroom is often described by her students as positive, encouraging, and accepting. Her teaching is focused on seeing her students as other souls who are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, who also laugh, cry, love and hurt. Her biggest advice to new teachers is to always see their students as people. Dianna has been teaching for 20 years and had the opportunity to have both of her sons as students! It was an experience she embraced as their teacher and their mom. 

Current City: "I have lived in South Bend, Indiana, for over 25 years."

College/Degree: "I have a BA in both English and Accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois; I also have an MA in English from Indiana University South Bend in South Bend, Indiana."

Current school and position: "I teach senior-level English at Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana: ACP, AP Lit, and English 12."

Years in teaching: "This year marks my 10th at Clay High School; I also taught for about 10 years at Granger Christian School in Granger, Indiana."

Describe your school in one sentence: "Clay is like a family with some of the brightest, liveliest, most talented students and staff; I always feel blessed to be a part of it!"

Share what gives you energy in your classroom: "This response will sound cliche, but it’s true: my students give me energy! At heart, I am a good-natured teaser and my students pick up on this right away. Many enter my room more relaxed due to this setting. I always inform them up front that we have lots of work to do, but we may as well have some fun doing it. I love when students begin to feel comfortable enough to 'give it right back' - and I am impressed that they know this repartee is a fun way to create an environment where students feel welcome. I find students will do more of what a person asks if they sincerely like the person doing the asking. (I also share that if anyone doesn’t want to be teased to let me know; in twenty years of teaching, I have never had any student ask me not to tease him or her.)"

Your go to activities to recharge: "Usually when I feel the need to recharge or to get my mind off of school, I will hop in the car, turn up the music, stop at McDonald’s to get a large Diet Coke, and drive. I never know where I’m going, but I eventually make my way back home. If the weather doesn’t permit a relaxing drive, I most likely will stay home and clean, belting out the lyrics to favorite songs I ask Alexa to play."  

The students at Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana, are fortunate to have Dianna Christopher as their teacher; her dedication to the profession and students is an asset to the community. Read Corinne's full interview with Dianna here

While we can't replace the wonder and excitement of browsing through the NCTE exhibit hall, we wanted to give our members the opportunity to get some books for their classroom and help their students connect with an author. That is why we are holding a final drawing for 2020. Enter to win either a virtual class visit with author Chris Crutcher (plus some of his books) or a book bundle from the ICTE

Winners will be selected at random from all of the eligible entries received until 11:59 pm on December 10, 2020, and will be contacted by email on December 11, 2020. Visit our website to learn more. 

Letters about Literature Writing Contest

This is a great opportunity for students in grades 4-12, who are learning remotely or in person. 

Letters About Literature is a letter writing contest for students in Indiana in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem, or speech and write to the author (living or deceased) about how the book affected how they see themselves or how they see the world. Indiana students in grades 4-12 are eligible to enter the Indiana Letters About Literature reading and writing contest. 

Cash prizes are available for both students and teachers. There are three competition levels: grades 4-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12. 

Learn more by reviewing the information on the Call for Entries and by visiting this website
Learn more about the Letters About Literature writing competition by viewing this promotional video. 

Share your favorite books with #ICTEreads

It's the season of giving "thanks" for the gifts in our lives. It's been a challenging year, but there are still reasons to be joyful. November's  #ICTEreads focuses on giving thanks for the wonderful texts in our lives. Through your social media account, we invite you to share titles of books that you are thankful for this year. As always, don't forget to include #ICTEreads in your response. 

Indiana Department of Education: #INspirEDlit

We are so grateful to our friends at the Indiana Department of Education for keeping us "in the know." The most recent edition of IDOE's #INspirEDlit newsletter is available here. This month's newsletter offers ideas for incorporating music in the elementary and secondary ELA classroom, information about the "Read to the Final Four" third grade state-wide reading program, registration information for a poetry out loud competition for high school students, and a list of great professional development opportunities.  


In "What the Canon Means Now," NCTE member Jason D. DeHart challenges ELA educators to reflect and "think beyond the restrictive and traditionalist approaches to what counts as meaningful texts in literacy instruction." In a world that often feels divided, "there are difficult questions we have to ask - and sometimes we must ask ourselves those questions first." 

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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