NCTE Takeaways - National Council of Teachers of English
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NCTE Takeaways

This post by NCTE member Carol Varsalona is reprinted with permission from her blog Beyond Literacy Link. 


Why should you attend the NCTE Convention this year? We’re sharing a series of reflections from teachers who attended the 2017 NCTE Annual Convention to help you answer this very question! 


It has been one week since I returned from NCTE 17 and that special city with a catchy song, Meet Me In St. Louis. Memories vividly remain in my memory bank but for visibility sake, I captured them in a photo story, An Unforgettable NCTE 17 Convention Experience, that can be accessed here. The photo log illustrates the best moments of four days worth of learning, connecting, and having fun.

Before leaving for St. Louis, I created the following [graphic] with Dr. Seuss in mind for my pre-conference blog.



While at NCTE 17, I not only had time to learn but to enjoy St. Louis. I may not have seen the arch up close, but I did get a beautiful view of the Mississippi River at night.


Now for some of my best picks of quotes from NCTE 17:


Jimmy Santiago Baca

True poetry happens in the mistake of life, when the mistake lets us step forward.

Teachers are the dream makers. Reading is your magic.

Tips to write a good poem / story: JUST write! If you want to write, WRITE!

Mary Howard

We all have a common denominator: books are the heart and soul of what we do and talk is intertwined in this experience.

Dialogue is informal, conversational, and invitational.

Ellen Keene

We need to make major revisions in the way we speak about ourselves and our students-re-think our language.

We must amend our deficit-based language to an asset-based language.

Kara Pranikoff

Turn the conversation back to your students. Developing student voice requires teachers to learn how to listen.

Justin Dolci

Create safe spaces in your classroom. Be visible to all. Technology can augment social identity and social justice.

Sam Fremin, #bowtieboys

Constraining students’ creativity puts the emphasis on vetting knowledge, rather than expanding it.


We need to arm our students with more stories to create a wider definition of who people are.

Kylene Beers

Choice never, never starts with “What’s your level?”

Pernille Ripp

We, as teachers, are on the frontline of change. We must teach all stories.

Lucy Calkins

Community is about diversity. Let’s make listening instruction something that brings people together.

Katherine Bomer sums up the #NCTE experience: “It was a night to remember, sharing food and laughter (and even some tears) with my dearest old friends and stunning new friends. Just one of the joyous, meaningful perks of #NCTE17 & every year.”

I always say that NCTE is the literacy educators’ red carpet gala event, a time for literacy luminaries to light up the stage, educators to mingle, and enough books to make an educator’s heart throb. The NCTE Convention memories not only fill the pages of my photo story but provide a “grateful living” and learning experience and a nice entry into Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday.


Carol Varsalona is an ELA consultant, moderator of #NYEDChat, and lifelong learner. Find her on Twitter @cvarsalona.

Be sure to flip through the 2018 NCTE Convention Preview to get a peek at what’s in store for you in Houston in November.

Convinced? Go Register Now!