Breaking News: Gretchen Bernabei will keynote on Monday at our conference! She will also be presenting Text Structures From Poetry - the strategies that will be in her brand new book - so you will have digital copies to work with before it is released to the public! We are putting together an amazing team of presenters and adding sessions for all levels and interests in the ELA classroom!

We also will be having an optional Karaoke for Nerds Night - a Poetry Slam - on Monday night at Island Wine! Gretchen promises we will all have something to read after her session Monday - but please, those of you who write poetry, bring some of your favorites as this will be a wonderful, safe space for sharing with like-minded peeps! And if you don’t write poetry, plan to come listen and enjoy the company!

Registration is OPEN. Send your forms ASAP to secure your spot as we are expecting a full house!

Planning to attend the conference? Reserve your room now at the conference hotel, The Place hotel in Port Aransas, and receive a special discounted rate! You must CALL 361-416-1414 and ask for the Teach Rhymes With Beach Conference rate! Our overflow hotel will be Holiday Inn Express. To reserve there, call 361-749-5222 or go online at and enter rate code PAT.

In other news: Here is my “Big Picture” document with the main highlights from the new ELAR TEKS.

Big Picture Link

Many of you have asked about the session schedule for the 2019 Conference in November. Because we are accepting session proposals, the final schedule won’t be determined until September. However, I’ll soon post a document on this site with last year’s session schedule, to give newcomers an idea what to expect. Meanwhile, here’s a small sampling of what’s in the works for 2019:

PG-21: Teaching Grammar, Poetry, and Vocabulary to 21st Century Learners

The ELAR TEKS confirm it: Grammar, vocabulary, and poetry are here to stay! The “problem” has never been with those components of the ELA classroom, but with how we present them to students. In this session ELAR Teachers and Instructional Coaches explore and model short active strategies and activities, including Four Corners, Show and Tell, Parts of Speech Mania, Scavenger Hunt, I Spy, and Imitation Writing, that generate movement, boost motivation, increase engagement, and result in greater student achievement. Who knew learning could be so much fun!

“Shakespeare Sits Here: GT Instruction in the ELAR Classroom”

What’s worse than being Shakespeare’s 7th grade teacher? Being his younger brother. Jokes “aside,” the Shakespeares among us need to be consistently challenged and inspired in our classrooms through an established culture of learning that emphasizes collaboration, multi-disciplinary learning, trial and error, inquiry, creativity over consumption, and intrinsic over extrinsic motivation. Specific strategies and lessons presented include Four Corners, Four Countries; Someone Like Me: Biography and Gifted Students; The Not Your Mother’s Book Club; and If I Could Change the World.


“I Can’t Hear YOU: Voice Revival in Student Writing”

Students are loathe to write often because they are presented with loathsome topics. The new ELA TEKS - and common sense - allow us more freedom to tap into students’ interests. In this powerful session, teachers are reminded of the joy of just writing, as we model a variety of writing exercises in various modes. The result is writing that is from, and to, the heart - writing that teachers, and students, will treasure forever.

Reading and Writing for College Readiness

This session focuses on scaffolding assignments with topics in which students are personally invested to teach the skills they need to be successful in college. Includes active reading strategies; summary of, response to, and analysis of text; writing organization, research and documentation skills; and academic behaviors. 

Casting a Wider Net: A Differentiated Approach to Instruction

Fish respond to different hooks, lures, and baits; they swim in different waters. The hardest thing for the fisherman is figuring out what will bite what bait- and when, and where, on any single given day. And so it is in our vast sea of students – whether red fish, blue fish, whales, sharks, or mullet. This session (presented by an enthusiastic fisher-woman and teacher) includes a tackle box of ideas to engage, instruct, and empower all students of various learning abilities in the regular classroom.

I have just a few fall dates still available to present for you at your district. Email me if you are interested.

Check out my recent FB posts (Melanie Mayer Consulting) for some classroom ideas, thoughts, and inspiration.

Thank you! Have a great week!

Many blessings,

Melanie Mayer