Wednesday, April 13, 2011

There is No Place Like It In the World

If you live in North Carolina then you know that twin jewels bedeck its geographic crown: the mountains and the sea.

What you might now know is that each coast also hosts a unique educational treasure: The North Carolina for the Advancement of Teaching.

Begun in 1985 by the state legislature, NCCAT is a leader in providing professional development for North Carolina's teachers. Both locations (Cullowhee and Ocracoke Island) provide renewal seminars on topics related to the sciences, arts, humanities, technology, communication, leadership health and wellness. 

Joyce and I enjoy spring outside our seminar room.
For four years Joyce Hostetter  and I have had the honor to teach "Is There a Children's Book in You?" We both enjoy meeting teachers, librarians, and guidance counselors who love books and want to explore the possibility of writing a children's book themselves. Joyce shares her expertise as a published author of historical fiction, and I teach about creating a character, setting, plot, and share information on getting published.

Teachers write

wherever they want to!

This year we added three new components to an already packed week. Joyce taught them how to make a book out of a paper bag, which is an easy and fun activity for adults and kids.


I set up a wiki so that Joyce and I could provide more information about writing and publishing, and the teachers could upload their writing as well as receive comments and critiques.

Little Chicken's Big Day
The third addition was a fun Skype visit with author-illustrator Katie Davis. She shared the story behind her new book, Little Chicken's Big Day, as well as the process of writing the book and creating the illustrations.

In her honor, we recorded this video. We are each holding her book Kindergarten Rocks (courtesy of NCCAT):

It's always a sad time when we say goodbye. The moment is commemorated by a "pinning" celebration. Each participant receives a NCCAT pin, reminding them of the great week of renewal which they just received.  

The teachers appreciated the opportunity to explore ideas which would ultimately invigorate their teaching. As one teacher wrote in her evaluation, "I have learned the importance of writing as a craft, not just as part of a teacher's schedule. I learned that writing can be and should be presented and experienced as a means of enjoyment."

It was a privilege to be a part of an organization that is devoted to enriching the lives and skills of North Carolina educators.  


Becky Levine said...

This sounds absolutely wonderful. You guys ARE lucky, and so are those teachers. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

You are right, Becky. This is an amazing place and I love being a part of it!

Nichole said...

I love this blog post!! Not only is it a great week full of fun... but full of friendship too! I can't wait to go back someday!

Linda Phillips said...

From a teacher who has enjoyed both a weekend climbing Mt. LeConte and a weeklong teacher/scholar venture with writing poetry for children....I thank you for singing the praises of NCCAT. I'm so glad you and Joyce have become return presenters at this wonderful institute.

Carol Baldwin said...

Linda and Nichole- It is teachers like you who are the reason every state should have its own "NCCAT!"!

Write2ignite said...

Sounds fascinating!


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