Conference Registration is now LIVE!

Cultivating Passionate Learners is the title and theme of this year’s BCTELA provincial conference. You can register now by following this link!

In an effort to make our conference as accessible to all teachers as possible, we have reduced this year’s conference fees: regular BCTF members will pay $125.  For special fee pricing, please refer to our official brochure (coming SOON)!

“What are sessions this year?” you may be asking. Our beautiful brochure will be out any moment, but for now here are the session titles:

A1: Re-Framing Curriculum and Instruction as Inquiry with Dr. Jeff Wilhelm (K-12)
A2: Cultivating Passion (K-5)
A3: Literacy Development in a Play-based Classroom (K-12)
A6: It’s a Text-based, Online, Self-publishing World: Let’s teach our students to write like pros (4-9)
A7: “She Only Gave Me a C!” Effective strategies in formative assessment to help students improve (4-12)
A8: Watching Women Die: Gender & violence in the media (5-12)
A9: Collaborative Lesson Study (K-12)
A10: A Collaborative Approach to Understanding by Design (UbD) in Order to Meet Students’ Individual Needs in the English Classroom (5-12)
A11: Happiness is… Passionate, Personal Inquiry(9-12)
A12: Game On! (9-12)
A13: Can You Guide for the Side and Still Accomplish the Learning that is Intended? Engaging and supporting diverse learners using inquiry (4-7)

B1: Inquiry in the Primary Grades: A space for students to be creative (k-5)
B2: Getting the Word Out: English Practice writer’s workshop
B3: Exploring Core Competencies: Communication, thinking, and, personal and social competence in BC schools (K-12)
B4: Middle Mosaic (4-9)
B5: Texts that Talk to Each Other: Conversations between diverse and essential questions (5-12)
B6: Cultivating Compassionate Learners (5-12)
B7: Non-Fiction Literacy: Whose job is it anyway? (9-12)
B9: Self Identity in the Global Village (9-12)
B10: “Help!” : Engaging Strategies that Support Inclusion (4-12)
B11: Reading Strategy Instruction: Moving from assessment to instruction (K-12)
B12: Integrating Diverse Texts into the Clssroom to Increase Engagement and Learning (9-12)

*gaps in the session numbers indicate cancellations

Conference information coming SOON!

The unusual start to the school year has impacted our provincial conference a bit but NEVER FEAR: the conference is still on!

Cultivating Passionate Learners: the 2014 BCTELA provincial conference will be on Friday, October 24th (PSA Day) at Terry Fox Secondary in Port Coquitlam.

Our keynote is none other than Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm!  If that’s not enough, after the keynote address we have an amazing line-up of workshops from which to choose. It’s going to feel so good to connect with colleagues from across BC and beyond to share our passions for language arts after this hectic and emotional September.

We have shortened this year’s conference to one day (Friday) and have reduced the fees.  I strongly encourage you to talk to your colleagues and come as a group so you can continue to explore the ideas and insights you’re sure to have.

If you’re on Twitter, follow us (@BCTELA) and watch this website for the details about specific sessions and the registration link.  Both will be coming soon, likely within the week.

2014 Book Club – Let’s Chat!

So, What’s the Story?

BCTELA is excited that Jeffrey Wilhelm will be our keynote at the 2014 provincial conference in October.  In honour of his visit we will be reading So, What’s the Story? So, What’s the Story? discusses the power of narrative in understanding ourselves and the world around us.  It includes ideas for understanding and  teaching many different forms of narrative.  We’re looking forward to reading it!

Ways to participate:

Twitter Chats:

  • July 25th, 9 am – Chapters 1-4
  • August 26th, 2 pm – Chapters 5-6
  • September 20th, 9 am – Chapters 7-9
  • Use the hashtag #bctelabook

Join us at the conference, October 24-26 in Coquitlam, BC.

Looking forward to chatting with you all!




The 2014 BCTELA Book Club

Last year we held our inaugural province-wide professional book club.  The book club was successful in bringing BCTELA educators together in conversation about the work of Cris Tovani, who was our keynote speaker at the 2013 October BCTELA conference.  This year we are excited to do it again!

BCTELA is excited to announce that Jeffrey Wilhelm will be our keynote at the 2014 provincial conference in October.  In honour of his visit we will be reading So, What’s the Story?
So, What’s the Story? discusses the power of narrative in understanding ourselves and the world around us.  It includes ideas for understanding and  teaching many different forms of narrative.  We’re looking forward to reading it!

We invite current BCTELA members across the province to join us in reading this text in preparation for the October PSA professional day. Participants will receive a copy of  So, What’s the Story? to read over the next few months. Members of the BCTELA executive will host a  twitterchat for all participants in mid August with the possibility of an additional virtual discussion in late September or early October, prior to the conference.

Space is limited to 30 people. Beyond the first 30 applications we will be unable to provide a complementary book but anyone who has read the text will be welcome to participate in the discussions.

The application deadline is June 15th.   Please note, you must be a current member of BCTELA to be eligible for a complementary book. To check your membership status, visit the BCTF portal here.

If you are interested, please complete the BCTELA Book Club Application 2014 and email to Celia Brogan ( with the subject heading “BCTELA book club.”

Poetry Month: day 20

Well, this April has been pretty good, poetry-wise.  I will finish this series by telling you about a poetry month initiative I run in my school.  The idea was shared with me by a colleague and I’ve modified it a bit.  I wouldn’t be surprised if other schools do it too.  It’s called Poem in my Pocket and my version is simple:
To participate in Poem in my Pocket students must

  1. find a poem they like (in a book, online, on a bus, anywhere!), or write one of their own
  2. copy that poem onto a piece of paper.
  3. carry that piece of paper in their pocket a while.
  4. bring the poem to me and read it aloud to me.
  5. repeat.

I then take their poem and post it on my “poetry wall” until the end of the month, at which time I put all the poems in a bin and draw a winner for a poetry-related prize.  Students may carry/read/enter as many poems as they like.  This year I have a grade three student who has entered approximately twelve poems–she shows up every few days with two or three new ones to read to me; a few years ago I had a student who entered between 20-30 poems, all authored by her.  I love how this ‘event’ brings out the poetry bugs in my students.

This year the prize is two tickets to the Poetry in Voice finals.  I thought it would be the perfect prize to go hear older students reciting poetry when that’s what these students have been doing for me.

Thank you for celebrating Poetry Month with us here at BCTELA.
I will leave you with a simile one of my grade five students wrote today:

The apple blossoms sway like swings carrying the wind.



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