Recent Blog Posts

Voices Visible Student Writing Contest!!!

Once again, the BCTELA student writing contest is open for entries!! Please spread the word to your colleagues!

Selected winners will have their writing published in Voices Visible and will receive a copy. It is an exciting way for B.C. learners to have an authentic experience with writing and being published!

The submission deadline is April 30, 2018.

You must be a BCTELA member to have your students entries qualify. You can join online through this website, or go to the BCTF website and choose BCTELA as a your PSA for only $35 for the year (payment is through BCTF).

Two options for submitting:

  1. Paper copy
  2. Or go to this URL:

Download (PDF, 458KB)

BCTELA Fall 2018 Conference – Call for Presenters!

We are getting excited about our upcoming conference in the fall!!

“Inquiry, Identity and Inclusion: Inspiring learners into action”

Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Wilhelm

If you are interested in presenting, please download the presenter form, fill it out and then email it to to the contact person below.  We know this will be another rich, engaging and inspiring conference and this year it will be back in the lower mainland (Port Moody), an easy skytrain ride to Moody Middle School.

Download (PDF, 174KB)

Deadline to submit program proposals is March 15th, 2018. Email as an attachment to Kate Campbell,

Can’t wait to see you there!! 🙂


Ivan Coyote sent along some helpful resources

Hundreds of BC Teachers were lucky to hear Ivan Coyote’s keynote address at the recent BCTELA regional conference in October. Some of them also took advantage of Ivan’s workshops over the day. Ivan has also generously supplied us with a great list of resources, below. We are so grateful for their work with BC Teachers.

To start, here’s Ivan’s TEDX Vancouver Talk, We all need a safe place to pee:


Ivan’s descriptions and links:

1. This is a very interesting manifesto that a Jewish reform group put together about how they could support the rights of transgender people in their temple:

Making Our Priorities Clear: The Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People – Union for Reform Judaism

2. This is a very practical guide put together by a union on how to support it’s members throughout transition:

Workers in Transition: A Practical Guide about Gender Transition for Union Representatives – Canadian Labour Congress

3. This is a very comprehensive guide to the issues around implementing and fighting for gender neutral bathrooms:

Toilet Training Companion Guide for Activists and Educators – Sylvia Rivera Law Project

4. The Silvia Rivera Law project has many other valuable resources which you can access here. They are US-based, but a lot of the material is still very relevant:

Resources -Sylvia Rivera Law Project

5. Here is a link to a great guide to trans and gender variant terminology:

Glossary of Terms-Trangender – GLAAD

6. This is a very helpful reference guide put together for journalists and media people when speaking or writing about trans people. Contains great information for everybody.

Media Reference Guide – The 519/Rainbow Health Ontario

7. Here is a link to an article about the singular they pronoun:

How using ‘they’ as a singular pronoun can change the world -Feministing

8. Here is a link to a campus pride index that rates colleges and universities across the US based on criteria about how safe they are for GLBTQ students. I would really like to see us start to frame our discussions about our school districts in a similar fashion, and make working for a safer school a bit of a competition. What an amazing difference re-framing the conversation could make:

Campus Pride Index 

9. And here is another link with a decent comprehensive overview of the main issues re: making campuses safer for trans people. (Canadian based):

Universities for all genders – University Affairs

Feel free to add your favourites in the comments!

What a week for BCTELA!

Our annual fall conference is coming this week, and what a line-up! You can register at the door, although the online conference registration is open until October 17th, at 11:59 pm. Don’t forget the wine and cheese on Thursday night!

The Fall 2017 issue of English Practice, our peer-reviewed journal, is hot off the presses!



If you are inspired to contribute to English Practice, you can follow this link to the 2018 Call For Articles.





Our Voices Visible writing contest information is ready to go for this school year!

Important documents:

Voices Visible Poster 2017-18 – Put up at your school!

Voices Visible 2017 2018 Writing Contest Entry Form-BCTELA

What a great team working hard for you at your Professional Specialist Association! See you in Kelowna!

Fall Conference Registration is Live!

Enriching Community Through Story: Strengthening voice and choice

BCTELA’s annual conference brings together educators who are committed to teaching practices that respect and engage all learners. This year’s sessions will focus on topics such as exploring story and ourselves; fostering community and engagement through connections, reading, and writing; connecting ELA to the core competencies; considering gender identities; Aboriginal perspectives and principles of learning; exploring ELA 10–12 possibilities; voice and choice; inclusive practices; and a special panel tribute to the work and in influence of Richard Wagamese.


October 20, 2017 

George Elliot Secondary School 

10241 Bottom Wood Lake Rd, 

Lake Country, BC 

8:30 a.m.–3:45 p.m. 

2017 BCTELA Conference at a glance

2017 BCTELA Conference Agenda and Sessions

Click here to register! Conference fee includes a membership to British Columbia Teachers of English and Language Arts (BCTELA) provincial specialist association (PSA)


Thursday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Wine and Cheese Event at The View Winery

A Portage and Main sponsored event featuring the writing of Schnellert, Brownlie, and Moore in their upcoming book in the It’s All About Thinking series. Event included in registration.

Friday, October 20, 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome and presentations by student writers published in the BCTELA Voices Visible publication.

Friday, October 20, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Keynote: Ivan Coyote

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Sticker

Ivan Coyote is the author of 11 books, the creator of four short films, six full-length live shows, and three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last two decades has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer’s, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam and Australia.

Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work, as well as topics such as family, class, social justice, and queer liberation, but always with a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur. Ivan’s stories remind us of our own fallible and imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring us to change the world.


BCTELA Grades 2-12 Writing Contest

We are pleased to announce our annual writing contest!

BCTELA 2016-2017
Voices Visible Writing Contest Rules

  1. The Voices Visible writing contest is open to all students in British Columbia from Grades 2 to 12.
  2. This contest is free to enter.
  3. Contest entries must be submitted by a BCTELA member. To become a member, please register at
  4. All entries must be received by April 30, 2017

Here’s the VV Poster 2016 2017 for your school so you can advertise!

Download the remainder of the 2017 Writing Contest Entry Form-BCTELA

We look forward to receiving submissions from all your talented students!


Call for Articles – Share your Practice!

English Practice Call for articles: 

In line with the BCTELA 2016 conference theme, English Practice invites you to submit teaching ideas, classroom inquiries and practice-focused research, reflective and critical narratives, poems, fiction and other arts-based renderings, as well as, book reviews for our upcoming issue.

Entitled Empowering Learners; Renewing our Practice this broadly-themed issue opens a space for exploration and conversation around all that brings a sense of empowerment, vitality, agency and deeper purpose to the learning and teaching of English Language Arts.

Questions to consider might include:

What does empowerment mean and look like for students?  What role does language, literacy and/or literature have in student empowerment? How do I nurture a sense agency in my students? How might I use texts and/or literature to help students understand themes of power and agency? How do I maintain vitality and feel empowered as a teacher?

We have four sections to assist you in preparing and submitting your writing:

  • Teaching Ideas (classroom lessons and strategies)
  • Investigating our Practice (teacher inquiry)
  • Salon (Literary & arts-based pieces)
  • Check this Out (book reviews)

Deadline: March 15th, 2017. Anticipated publication Summer 2017. 

Editors: Sara Florence Davidson and Ashley Cail

More detail can be found by following this link.

Please send your queries and completed submissions to:

Please see this page for our guidelines for submission. 

See our previous journal, Fall 2016 Story and the Landscapes of Learning for inspiration!

Proposed ELA 10-12 Curriculum Structure

Proposal for English Language Arts Grades 10-12 Curriculum

via Ben Pare


As with Grades K-9, the redesigned Grades 10-12 curriculum will support both disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning, encourage locally-developed curriculum, as well as enable a variety of learning environments and school and classroom configurations. This flexibility supports teachers and students wanting to organize learning through interdisciplinary inquiries that focus on project-based learning, problem-based learning, or learning through design. Central features of the 10-12 curriculum include the following:

  • Core competencies remain central to BC’s redesigned curriculum framework and apply from Kindergarten through to graduation.
  • Curriculum in Grades 10-12 maintains the same structure as in Grades K-9, including Big Ideas, Curricular Competencies, and Content.
  • Grades 10-12 provincial curricula consist of both core curriculum (curriculum that all students are required to study) and optional curriculum (curricular options that students may choose from).

It is proposed that there be two curricula within the Graduation English program: English 10-12 and English First Peoples 10-12. These two curricula are academically equivalent, and both are accepted for entrance to post-secondary education. It is also proposed that Communications 11/12 curriculum and the Communications 12 examination be discontinued as of September 2017.

The following is a draft of the redesigned curriculum for English Language Arts (ELA) 10-12. Your feedback on this draft is encouraged.

ELA 10-12 Proposed Curriculum structure.

We welcome your feedback.

  • What do you like about the draft? Please comment on the core and optional curricula.
  • What do you think should be improved? Please comment on the core and optional curricula.
  • Does the core curriculum require anything further to meet the needs of students graduating from BC schools? Please provide details.

You can find a feedback link here on the 10-12 Draft Curriculum site.


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