NCTE: The Literacy Super Bowl

NCTE: The Literacy Super Bowl

By JoEllen McCarthy

Whether you are football fan, fantasy or reality (topics many are pondering right now) you know that the NFL’s Super Bowl is a celebration like no other.  But for educators, it pales in comparison to the National Council Teachers of English annual event. I like to refer to it as the “Literacy Super Bowl.”

Now more than ever, I think we could all benefit from time spent connecting, collaborating, and committing to a celebration that comes from our learning together.  We need to celebrate differences, kindness, the world of books, teachers, and students. Gathering at events like NCTE offers us a ray of hope in the darkness.  Learning together for our students, for our families, for our communities, always brings light.

At this year’s Literacy Super Bowl the focus is on Faces of Advocacy.  Educators will come together to celebrate the passion for our profession, our students and our beliefs that support both.  And most importantly, we will celebrate what Longfellow calls “The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and the sweet serenity of books.”

When it seems as if we need to reevaluate the rules and regulations about life, we turn to our quarterbacks: educators and authors who continue to touch the hearts and minds of learners of all ages.  The teams consist of innovators and inspirational mentors in education with names more recognizable than Cruz, Odell or Manning – said a biased New Yorker & mother of three Giant fans.  How about Kwame, Donalyn, Georgia, Lester, Kylene, Penny, and Mr. Schu, just to name a few? Just a sampling of those attending “the big game”.

Our field of play extends beyond Atlanta’s convention center.  No need for refs, only replays.  Thanks to social media, participants are equipped with “tools” required for sharing and celebrating sessions.  Twitter, just might be the answer to cloning, or our version of the ESPN’s Red Zone.  The best part about Tweeps sharing the learning? You can learn from the sidelines in any location. Follow the hashtag (#NCTE16) wherever you may be.  Every participant is an eligible “receiver”. Whether you are watching the “game” from home, a season ticket holder, first timer, or a veteran returning to watch your favorite PD quarterback, learning is inescapable and the energy will be impossible to contain.

There is no pressure to have a strong offense or a strong defense; instead strength comes in “skills” around empathy, kindness, acceptance, mindfulness, adaptability, perseverance and love.  We will spend time celebrating collaboration with special attention to the social emotional well-being of all players on and off the field.

At this year’s Super Bowl, even if you don’t receive the official Playbook, may you be inspired by Kwame’s latest gift to readers of all ages: (and don’t worry you can get it Feb 2017)


The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life.

Rule #17- Kwame Alexander

Sometimes, we need
to motivate us
to help us dream
to bounce ideas off
rebound with
grow with.
A team.
A dream team.

There are no winners or losers at this Super Bowl. Only learners.  And that is definitely worth celebrating.

TheEdCollab and NBC partnership text-01

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