Conference 2018

Check out our most up to date draft of the schedule to see all of the amazing presenters and authors attending the 2018 Exploring Literacy - Growing Creative Minds Conference!


OCTOBER 28 & 29, 2018



Enrique Feldman

Enrique Feldman is a speaker, artist and educator whose influence is worldwide. He is known for his innovation in using literacy with both the human body and music to create multiple perspectives for the learner. These research-based, play-based, and joy-filled approaches lead to learners who have an increased desire to learn, to read, and to explore their own curiosity. Enrique is the Founder and Director of Education for the Global Learning Foundation, creator of the Intellectual Brainwave Games, author of Living Like a Child and co-author of Sam the Ant. Additionally, he has composed and produced music for children, which earned him two Grammy nominations. Since 2001, he has been a content creator and performing artist who presents keynotes workshops and coaching strategies for organization of all types, with a special focus on learning.


Gravity Goldberg 

Dr. Gravity Goldberg is an educational consultant, author and founder of Gravity Goldberg, LLC. While based in the New York / New Jersey metro area, Gravity supports school districts across the country. She specializes in literacy, special education, curriculum, assessment, and learning with technology. Her work ranges from demonstrating lessons and leading workshops on balanced literacy to working with administrators developing curriculum and customizing professional development programs. She works in classrooms from pre-kindergarten through college and in a variety of settings, both urban and suburban.

Dr. Goldberg’s most recent books, What Do I Teach Readers Tomorrow? Fiction & Nonfiction (Corwin) and Mindsets & Moves: Strategies That Help Readers Take Charge (Corwin) have been met with great enthusiasm. They have allowed many teachers to make shifts in their practice creating positive impacts for their students. Gravity is co-author of the book, Conferring With Readers: Supporting Each Student’s Growth and Independence (Heinemann). These books show Gravity’s commitment to creating learning environments that are responsive and supportive of students, teachers and leaders alike.

Commissioner Elia

MaryEllen Elia is the New York State Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY). In this role, she oversees the work of more than 700 school districts with 3.2 million students; 7,000 libraries; 900 museums; and 52 professions encompassing more than 850,000 licensees. A native New Yorker, Commissioner Elia has 45 years of experience as an educator.

In her first year serving as New York’s Education Commissioner, Ms. Elia visited more than 30 counties, dozens of school districts, and well over 100 different schools in an effort to learn how New York’s schools can be improved and how the State can help drive and support those improvements. She spoke with parents, students, teachers, and school and district leaders to hear what they had to say about the State’s learning standards, curriculum, assessments, and teacher and principal evaluations. As a result of the input received from those conversations, Commissioner Elia, together with the Board of Regents, implemented a number of significant actions in her first year.


Featured Speakers & Authors:

Jason Chin

Jason Chin is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed books Gravity, Island: A Story of the GalapagosRedwoods and Coral Reefs and many more. Most recently, he illustrated Water is Water, by Miranda Paul and wrote Grand Canyon which earned many awards including 2018 Caldecott Medal Honor.

Jason grew up in a small town in New Hampshire, and studied illustration at Syracuse University.  In 2001 he moved to New York City and found a job at a children’s bookstore in Manhattan.  It was through co-workers at the store that Jason found his way to his current publisher, Roaring Brook Press.

Jason’s latest book, Water is Water has just been published, and has earned multiple starred reviews.  His previous book, Gravity was a 2014 Gryphon Honor Book (from the Center for Children’s Books) and Island: A Story of the Galapagos, won the 2013 Gryphon Award.

Kate Roberts

Dr. Marcelle Haddix

Dr. Marcelle Haddix is a Dean’s Associate Professor and Chair of the Reading and Language Arts Center in the School of Education at Syracuse University. Her presentation will focus on how to connect Yoga and Literacy.

Amy VanDerwater

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is author of children’s books including Forest Has a Song, Every Day Birds, Read! Read! Read!, Dreaming of You, and With My Hands.  She is a former fifth grade teacher, a twenty-year writing staff developer, and author of the new Heinemann title Poems Are Teachers: How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres. Amy lives in Holland, NY with her family, blogs for young writers at The Poem Farm and Sharing Our Notebooks, and posts on Twitter and Instagram @amylvpoemfarm.

Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville is a children’s author. He has been writing stories for kids for over 40 years. In that time he has published over 100 books, including My Teacher is an Alien, Into the Land of Unicorns, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher.

Bryony Williams Sheppard & Gina Gascon

Gina Cascone and Bryony Williams Sheppard are a mother-daughter powerhouse team that co-authored the picture book Around the World Right Now, a multicultural adventure through our world’s 24 time zones.

Jan Cheripko, Kim Briggs, Lindsay George, & Alison Green Myers

Whether it’s Pigeon’s desire to drive that bus or Eleanor’s reluctant, yet inevitable, falling in love, readers experience – Oh, that’s me!—when a character’s voice echoes their own.  Our panel of authors, teachers, illustrator, and school director will dissect characters’ voices and share ways student-writers can discover their own.

iNK Think Tank - Roxie Munro, Vicki Cobb, & Julie Gribble

Julie Gribble/Roxie Munro:  Online Resources in the Classroom. We curate and discuss student-friendly children's literature resources. We cover a lot of rich online materials, from content on science, history, and art (university, museum, educational sites), to video producing and sharing sites, to author/illustrator pages with free downloadables and activities, to publisher Lesson Plan/Educator materials, to KidLit TV with author/illustrator content, how-tos and demos, read alouds, and more.

Vicki Cobb/Roxie Munro:  iNK Think Tank (Vicki Cobb is the Founder) and The Nonfiction Minute have gone through some changes and are expanding - how that has evolved and what it has to offer now, including: print editions of the Nonfiction Minutes by theme; a T2T section (Transfer to Teaching) with great content for teachers on how to use the minutes working with standards and with classroom activities; AOC (Authors on Call) interactive videoconferencing; the ACTS programs for school curriculums (; and a new iNK publishing project for nonfiction books. 

Julie Gribble: KidLit TV (Julie Gribble is the Founder) is an online resource for all things about children's literature. Contributors include authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, academics, and literature specialists. The site has programs on everything from interviews with the above professionals, to hands-on activities and step-by-step demos, book read-out loud videos (by the author), book trailers, kidlit radio, live-streaming children's literature events, podcasts, contributions from children, and much more.
Vicki Cobb: Authors on Call/Class Acts: Distance learning, using interactive video conferencing (IVC) for communication between a teacher and students has been around for more than 20 years. What happens when an award-winning author + his/her books is added to the mix as authors work with teachers and students over a period of time? Authors are like professors at large for children; they know content and speak child.  Teachers know their students.  iNK is pioneering the use of IVC to create powerful learning experiences over a period of time.

Roxie Munro: The Gamification of Children's Media. Using simple games, interactivity, and play in children's nonfiction and concept trade print picture books, book apps, and other media to engage and teach. Why visuals are so important to children (40% of whom are "visual learners"). How using gamification techniques in picture books helps children concentrate, problem-solve, persevere, set and achieve goals, and collaborate, while they are learning. Examples from my work and that of other authors.
Highlighted Events:
Exclusive Exhibit Hall Time
10:35am - 11:15am Come visit the vendors, have a morning snack, and play a game.
Author Luncheon (Paid Event - See Registration form)
12:30pm - 1:30pm Enrique Feldman, Jason Chin, and Bruce Coville will be speaking.  More information coming soon!
Charlotte Award Dinner  (Paid Event - See Registration form)
5:30pm - 7:00pm Find out who the 2018 Charlotte Award winners are. More information coming soon!
Trivia Night (Cash Bar Available)
7:30pm Grab a friend and come test your random trivia knowledge.
7:00am - 7:30am Start your day off with an open mind and relaxed body.
Yoga and Literacy
7:00am - 8:00am Bring a Yoga mat and find out how you can connect Yoga with literacy in your classroom.
Exclusive Exhibit Hall Time
10:15am - 11:00am Come visit the vendors, have a morning snack, and play a game.
Lunch with Commissioner Elia (Free to all Monday Participants)
12:00pm - 2:00pm Enjoy lunch with colleagues and new friends.