Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Firing Up for the Fall Conference

Firing Up for the Fall Conference
April 8, 2018

By Nikki Smith and Kirstey Ewald, ICTE Fall Conference Chairs ICTE’s annual conference has always felt like coming home. It hits at the perfect time of the school year as teachers are just starting...

No One Owned the Hour: A Poem

Time Usa Stopwatch Symbol Period Pressure America
April 2, 2018

No One Owned The Hour --for Heather Heyer no one owned the hour no one saw the land turn into water or the sky offer its light to the last door of morning no one remembered when men & women forgot...

Short Story: A Seed of Hope

Short Story: A Seed of Hope
March 25, 2018

A Seed of Hope “Ruby? Is that you?” Mrs. Mertens asked as she poked her head out of the trailer next door.   “Yes, Mrs. Mertens,” Ruby replied. “Good morning.” “Them mums are sure...

Year One, Part Two

Year One, Part Two
March 18, 2018

I’m drawn back to the aromas of deli platters and the sounds of dice crawling on the table for the game. I’m reminded of the warm, parting hugs from my coworkers that became my second family. I’m...

Short Story: A Slice of Pi

Short Story: A Slice of Pi
March 4, 2018

A Slice of Pi Once again, Charles walked away from a grave site alone.  He turned one last time to view the casket, draped in the circular spray of flowers.  The last of the family and friends scattered...

Is it Soda or Pop? When Racism Isn’t Confronted

Is it Soda or Pop? When Racism Isn't Confronted
February 25, 2018

Is it Soda or Pop? Today I had a realization. My family has done nothing to stop my brother's racism. They, in fact, have let it go so often that it's not even a second thought to them. Over the...

Book Review:  “Solo” by Kwame Alexander

Book Review:  
February 12, 2018

Book Review:  Solo by Kwame Alexander Released August 1, 2017 For those teachers and readers who fell in love with Crossover and Booked, the prospect of a new book by Kwame Alexander can make their...

Seasons of Being a Literacy Educator

December 24, 2017

This year I made a career shift. After 26 years of English teaching at the high school and college levels at Iowa schools ranging from Iowa Valley High School in Marengo to Unity Christian in Orange City...

Project-Based Learning with a High School Literary Magazine

December 17, 2017

I was blessed to inherit a vibrant literary magazine extracurricular tradition at my high school. Every year that I've guided the Washington Literary Press, at least twenty students have been active...

Giving Students a Voice

December 3, 2017

In my classroom I have two large signs on the whiteboard. These signs identify two things I refuse to let my students say: “can’t” and “is this good?”. Hopefully the reasoning for the first...


November 5, 2017

I’ve lived in my apartment for almost seven months now, but everything has felt a-jumble, a little off.  Part of that, I think, is that my apartment has been a mess ever since I moved in. When I...

Illuminated by Illustrations

October 22, 2017

In the past three years, my position in the English/Language Arts department has changed quite a bit. Long story short, I am now the Reading Specialist for the middle school. I teach a variety of classes,...

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