Join NJCTE for Wild Writing on October 13!

New Jersey Council of Teachers of EnGlish

As the days get (slightly) cooler and the leaves start to change colors, we hope you will look to spend more time outside as a writer and teacher. On Sunday, October 13th, we invite you to join us as we celebrate #writeout and the National Day on Writing and get acquainted with the Pine Barrens National Reserve, part of the National Park System right here in NJ!

What is #writeout? A collaboration between The National Writing Project and the National Park Service, the project encourages students and teachers to analyze nature, natural resources, and cultural experiences to develop an awareness of place and use it to inspire writing.

Beginning October 13, 2019, Write Out will be a free two-week series of activities where educators, National Park Service Rangers, Writing Project TCs, parents, writers and youth are invited to:

  • explore national parks and other public spaces, including rural and urban settings, whether on-site or online
  • create using a variety of media, including text, image, video and others
  • connect to learn about using place-based learning as a critical cultural and environmental lens

Bookending the October 20th National Day on Writing, Write Out consists of activity cycles that include prompts that invite participants to write across a variety of media and curricular areas, facilitated online meet-ups, curated resources, and Twitter chats. Participants take part in as many or as few activities as fit their schedule. Additionally, through collaborative online possibilities, participants will be invited to share their creations, write, learn, and connect with the larger community.

NJCTE members and friends will meet on October 13th from 1:30-3:30pm at the Forest Education Resource Center in Jackson, NJ. We hope that this informal event will help you kick off the National Day on Writing in your classroom. Attendees will learn about the Pine Barrens National Reserve, read some nature writing samples together, and then spend time writing and sharing. Attendees will leave with resources to help bring nature and nature writing into the classroom.

Even spending just a few minutes outside each day has positive effects on children and adults.  According to the Children and Nature Network, learning in nature results in improved relationship skills; reduced stress, anger and aggression; performance boosts in reading, writing, science, and social studies; enhanced creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving; and increased enthusiasm and engagement.

We suggest you dress for walking in a wooded area. Bring any snacks/water you may need.  Bring a notebook or journal and your favorite writing implement.  Sign up today! The event is free for NJCTE members and $5 for non-members, so bring a colleague!

Join NJCTE for Wild Writing on October 13!

Saturday — NJCTE Fall 2019 Conference; NCTE Affiliate Excellence Award


NJCTE Fall 2019 Conference, September 21 – Register Now and Join Us this Saturday!

Join us this Saturday for A Vision for the Future – Practices Designed for Success: September 21, 2019, at Kenneth R. Olson Middle School in Tabernacle, NJ. As usual, we will have 3 dynamic sessions with presentations from a wide range of teacher educators sharing best practices. You will also hear from keynote speaker, Dr. Kristen Turner.

Check out the full conference program and schedule of events.

And new this year: Join us for an authors’ breakfast (extra fee required). Start the day off right with breakfast with over 20 authors!

Registration is open! On-site registration is available the day of the conference but costs a bit extra. Please register in advance, if possible.

NJCTE Wins 2019 NCTE Affiliate Excellence Award!

The New Jersey Council of Teachers of English has been named as one of five recipients of the 2019 NCTE Affiliate Excellence Award, given by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The affiliate has won the award seven times.

The Affiliate Excellence Award was established in 1996 to honor NCTE affiliates that meet high standards of performance for programming and promote improvement in English language arts teaching.

Qualifications for the award represent standards of excellence to which all NCTE affiliates should aspire. Award winners fulfilled at least eight different criteria for excellent affiliate programming during the school year of application. The required criteria include:

  • increasing membership in the affiliate or NCTE;
  • publishing an affiliate communications instrument at least twice a year;
  • conducting at least one professional development program for members;
  • completing the annual affiliate report to NCTE by the deadline;
  • achieving accomplishments such as implementing and maintaining a cultural diversity plan;
  • developing a program to encourage new teachers into the profession;
  • participating in an NCTE Affiliate Leadership Meeting;
  • participating in at least three affiliate-sponsored activities at the NCTE Annual Convention.
Saturday — NJCTE Fall 2019 Conference; NCTE Affiliate Excellence Award

Join Us for Banned Books Week Sept. 22-28!

Banned Books Week LogoBanned Books Week is September 22-28 and NJCTE is joining NCTE in the celebration of this annual event with a Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign. Join students, teachers, and all readers in New Jersey by participating in a Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign.

The idea for this activity comes from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. NCTE, as a member of the Banned Books Week Coalition, is a sponsor of this annual event. The New Jersey affiliate NJCTE joins with ALA and NCTE in celebrating and affirming the freedom to read. 

Dear Banned Author

Readers are encouraged to write (or tweet) to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goals of the campaign are: to raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship, to offer public and private support of authors, and to encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries.

Here are some of the resources we can use in and out of the classroom:

  • Write a letter to a banned and challenged author, telling them about a favorite title or how their words have impacted you. Use these Banned & Challenged Author Addresses.
  • Host a letter-writing program at your library or school, bringing writing supplies and a list of author addresses. Use these Tips for Hosting Programs
  • Reach out to a favorite banned or challenged author by tagging them on Twitter and sharing your story using #DearBannedAuthor. Use these Tips for Tweeting.

If you or your students’ tweet an author, tag our Twitter account, @NJCTENews, so we can retweet your posts! If you would like to share a blog about your experience with this activity and/or feature your students’ work (with their permission, of course), let us know at

And if you, your students, or your school celebrate Banned Books Week in a different way, share that with us as well. Let us know what you (and your classes) are doing, so that we can, if you (and your students would like), amplify your work. We would love to feature your work on our blog or in our email newsletter. 

Let’s raise our voices together to celebrate authors who speak truth to power and who have bravely faced the threat of censorship.

One caution: We do live in difficult times. If you or a colleague has faced or is facing a book challenge, remember that NCTE has resources to help. The NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center offers advice, helpful documents, and other support to teachers faced with challenges to texts (e.g. literary works, films and videos, drama productions), to student writing, or to teaching methods used in their classrooms and schools.

Join Us for Banned Books Week Sept. 22-28!