Fall CUE Speaker Showcase: Laura Bradley

Picture Laura Bradley

I’m not going to lie. When I saw Laura Bradley’s name on the schedule for Fall CUE, I may have squealed. Laura introduced me to NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and she has continued to inspire me since. She will be presenting this session, along with another on growing your PLN, in less than two weeks in the Napa Valley! I kind of hope you squeal a little, too. 

Laura Bradley has been teaching middle school English in Sonoma County, California since 1988. She also developed curriculum for and teaches a design lab class and a broadcast media class, where her students produce the school’s daily news show. Laura holds an M.A. in Educational Technology, and is a Google Certified Innovator/Educator, PBS Digital Innovator All-Star, National Board Certified Teacher, Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultant, and first place winner of the Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Award.

What sessions are you presenting at Fall CUE this year?

Ignite the Writer in Every Student with the NaNoWriMo Challenge and Find Your People and Build Your PLN

What inspired you to put this session together?

Seven years ago I challenged my 8th graders to write a novel in a month with NaNoWriMo, and their responses were so incredibly enthusiastic, and the benefits to their writing, their insights as readers, their self-esteem, and their overall academic attitudes were so profound that I knew my classroom would never be the same. I’ve been a passionate advocate ever since because every student deserves to write the story that matters to them, and every teacher deserves to see what happens when students do so. In addition to being a powerful real-world writing project, NaNoWriMo also gives students lots of experience writing with digital tools, participating in an online writing community, establishing an academic digital presence, and publishing their work.

Some of us have taught so long we remember struggling to connect with and learn from other educators before the internet even existed (gasp – how did we do it?!?). But now there are so many generous teachers sharing their work online that we need never suffer alone in our classrooms again. Teachers from all across the country (and beyond) have inspired and influenced my own classroom, and I want other teachers to see how easy it is to find and build one’s own PLN with the click of a mouse (or the touch of a screen).

Why should someone attend?

Ignite the Writer in Every Student with the NaNoWriMo Challenge: Attendees will hear from students themselves how NaNoWriMo affected them as writers and readers, and they will see how they can break down the daunting task of writing a novel so that their students can be successful. They will also get a tour of the online community that supports student writers, plus tips for using the free curriculum in their classrooms, and lots of novel-writing resources. Oh, and stickers. They’ll get stickers. And buttons! 🙂

Find Your People and Build Your PLN: Attendees will learn how online communities can support, inspire and challenge them, while also giving them access to a wealth of education resources. During the session they will learn about and have the option of joining three online communities (Twitter, Edutopia and PBS) and begin exploring their resources.

What’s your CUE Story?

I attended my first Spring CUE in 2012 and I’ve been a fan ever since. In April 2017 I presented NaNoWriMo at a North Bay CUE event, and then I was thrilled to bring NaNoWriMo to Spring CUE in Palm Springs last March. I also wrote a blog post for CUE in July 2017 on the same topic.

To read more about this session and the other options for CUE’s incredible two-day conference, check out the schedule. Don’t forget to register for the conference, too! You DO NOT want to miss this year.

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Kristina Allison

Kristina Allison is currently teaching language arts and computer science at the middle school level. She holds a masters in educational technology, teaches as a Lead Learner for CUE and serves as a director on the CapCue board, the Sacramento area affiliate. Kristina is also a proud teacher consultant for the Area 3 Writing Project. Find her at http://figurativelyteaching.com

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