Iowa Council of Teachers of English

20 WORDS for 2020

20 WORDS for 2020

Teacher-writers share the words that will guide them in the coming year.
December 12, 2019

Iowa teacher-writers will bring 20 words to life over the next 12 months. Contributors looked ahead to 2020 and selected words to use as guides, reminders, motivators, and prayers. BREATHE is the...

Katie Voortmann perches on the big green NCTE couch in Baltimore.

Nervous…Excited…Grateful: My First Time at NCTE

A pre-service teacher experiences the wonders of the #NCTE19 convention in Baltimore
Katie Voortmann, Teacher-Writer December 9, 2019

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous as I was boarding the plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in order to go to Baltimore. After winning a travel stipend for a writing contest at Buena Vista University,...

Bill Chindlund, the poet's father

When I Picture My Father

-written with love by Jenni
Jennifer Hartwig, Teacher-Writer November 17, 2019

When I picture my father, I picture a truck, My father stepping up and climbing in, Ready to head to the field or to deliver grain to the elevator, Or proudly opening the door for his satisfied...

Rex Muston

Two Poems

Rex Muston transforms small episodes of parenting--removing a downed tree with his sons and weightlifting with his daughter--into slice-of-life poems that honor the subtle struggle of loving--and letting go of--teen children.
Rex Muston, Teacher Writer November 4, 2019

  GOOD TO SEE SCOTT   The rotten trunk of the dead oak at the home of my children’s mother lasted longer than our marriage ever could.   Last week it gave up the ghost, falling...

First-time presenter Lisa Robinson engages her audience.

Reflections of a First-Time Presenter

Lisa Robinson shares her professional growth from her experience at the 2019 ICTE Fall Conference.
Lisa Robinson, Teacher-Writer October 21, 2019

The days of ICTE are ones that I look forward to each fall, not only because I know I will feel rejuvenated and excited about my profession, but because I love seeing familiar faces and sharing my passion...

ICTE strives to use authentic photos in its posts. This photo captures a page of teacher-writer Allison Berryhill's journal.

What Teacher-Writers Want

Collected poems written during ICTE Fall Conference 2019
Allison Berryhill, ICTE Publications Co-chair October 12, 2019

Teacher-writers gathered in the Meadows Room at 2019 ICTE Fall Conference Thursday evening to put pen to the page. Again on Friday, during "Active Voice: A Teacher-Writer Round Table," we opened our time...

“Caterpillars” and “Unwavering”

Teacher-writer Candace Berkley uses the power of words to reflect on a childhood memory and her father's death.
Candace Berkley and October 2, 2019

Caterpillars The smell of parsley reminds me of late summer, when the freedom of June days is but a feeling fading fast into the routine of school. My mother always planted parsley in big clay pots,...

Poet Jan Luton's home farm.

Two Poems: “The Family Farm” and “Students”

Jan Luton shares poems inspired by her childhood and by her classroom.
Jan Luton, Teacher Writer August 15, 2019

The Family Farm A place of tranquility    cradled in the country. A nurturing nest    that houses good beginnings. A chameleon patch in a quilt   with seasonal changes. An entertainment  ...

Students' desks are transformed into whiteboards in Jennifer Hartwig's classroom. Writing on desks invites students to

Practice What You Preach: Start with Brainstorming

Are you writing? A teacher turns to the advice she gives her students to jumpstart her first contribution to ICTE Journal.
Jennifer Hartwig, Contributing Writer July 31, 2019

I try my best to practice what I preach - as a mother, a Christian, a teacher. This summer, in fact, I had every intention of practicing what I preach - or in this case teach: writing. My writing was...

Courtesy of Creative Commons

The Fifth Chair Flute

May 26, 2019

I was not a great flautist, but I loved band for the music that was attempted, for the camaraderie the attempt instilled, and for the friends that resulted. This is a story about the friend I did not...

Lauren Petri's classroom library

Do You Have Anything to Read Besides Gary Paulsen?

May 12, 2019

One of the biggest hurdles I faced in my first year of teaching in a small rural high school was finding books that reflected the lives of my students who spent most of their time farming or hunting....

Three Poems:

Three Poems: “Glowing From Within,” “She Continued,” and “The Boundary Waters”

April 28, 2019

Glowing from WithinBy Karen Kayser-Kemp Ambers glow from the warmth within.The burning light draws me inTo the secrets hidden in my soulBeneath my breast, ready to unfold. A fire’s purpose is not to...

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