Thursday, March 27, 2014

North Carolina Reading Association Conference 2014

On March 18th, I led a workshop at NCRA called, "A Writer's Toolbox and How to Apply It In the Classroom." Here's the official description:

See inside author Shannon Hitchcock's Writer's Toolbox. Learn how to use an idea folder, writing prompts, and even an egg timer to engage your students. Shannon will touch on all parts of the writing process: idea generation, first drafts, revision, fact checking, proofreading, and how to be a successful critique partner. She will share how professional writers approach these tasks and how those strategies can be adapted for the classroom.

I also used NCRA as a learning and networking opportunity. I attended a workshop taught by Tammy Powell, an educational/historical consultant, titled "Brown Bagging History: Not Your Typical Lunch." Tammy gave each participant a brown lunch bag. Inside were items linked to NC history: a picture of the Shackleford wild horses, carrots, representing Carrot Island, seashells etc. Tammy shared how these brown bags pique students curiosity and get them interested in researching and writing about history. I have since corresponded with Tammy and sent her a copy of The Ballad of Jessie Pearl. Maybe there is some synergy between my historical fiction set in North Carolina and Tammy's work. Only time will tell.

Another favorite workshop was "Exploring Untold Stories of WWII through Text Sets," taught by grad student, Emily Roderique and Dr. Jeanne Swafford both from UNC Wilmington. A text set is a collection of resources, (articles, photographs, brochures, websites etc), focused on a common topic, theme, or anchor text. Emily says text sets have some great advantages:
  1. They give reluctant readers access to a variety of interesting texts and texts of varying levels of difficulty.
  2. Text sets foster collaboration among teachers, (cross-disciplinary projects).
Emily has developed text sets using Between Shades of Gray and Bomb as anchor texts. I introduced myself to Emily afterward and she agreed to help me develop a text set for The Ballad of Jessie Pearl. That should be a great learning experience for me and hopefully a marketing tool to use with teachers as well.

I had a wonderful time at NCRA: presenting, learning, and networking. An author can glean lots of useful information hanging out with teachers and librarians. I hope to participate again next year. 


  1. Shannon, I look forward to hearing how you create your text set!

  2. Joyce, I'll be happy to share and you might want to develop them for your novels too. I bet you have most of the information already at your fingertips.

  3. It was well worth the trip. I would definitely recommend it.