ELAOK Elementary Newsletter January 2018

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ELAOK: Elementary

January 2019

In this issue:

Getting Back From Winter Break

Back from winter break

We all know that when students return from winter break, the excitement, fear, and uncertainty of the first day of school begins all over, especially for our little ones. Miss DeCarbo shares five tips that she uses the first day back with her first grade students. Many of you have been back in the classroom for at least a week, if not a few days, but these tips will help as your students begin to ease back into the routine of school. Visit Teacher Tips for the First Day Back from Winter Break on Miss DeCarbo's blog to learn about these fabulous and practical tips. 

Depth of Knowledge

There is a lot of talk about Depth of Knowledge (DOK) in the education realm, especially in relation to assessments and the types of questioning we should be using in our conversations and instruction with our students. It is important to consider that the level of understanding that we require of students happens more than in assessment settings. The types of tasks and responses students are asked to demonstrate their depth of understanding support them in their development of critical thinking abilities. ThoughtCo. has a brief article providing keywords, descriptions, and activities for each of the four Depth of Knowledge levels. Also, Jason Stephenson and Danielle Calvin are providing sessions on DOK at the regional meetings being held around the state (see information below). 

OSDE logo

Multi-Content Area Regional Workshops

The Curriculum and Instruction Office of the State Department of Education has been conducting regional professional development around the state to extend the courses offered during Summer 2018 through the Engage OK on the Road sessions. The regional workshops include a variety of content areas and topics, including Gifted and Talented, Fine Arts, and Early Reading Intervention. Visit this link for information on dates, sites, and content areas. 

Upcoming ELA Regional Dates and Locations
February 6, 2019 -  Chickasha
February 19, 2019 -  Woodward

Thunder Black Heritage Creative Contest

OKC Thunder Writing Contest

The annual Black Heritage Creative Contest, held by the OKC Thunder, is now underway. The registration deadline is February 11, 2019. This contest is open to Oklahoma students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students are invited to submit an essay, poem, or visual art in recognition of an influential African American in their life. This contest gives students the opportunity to share their talent in various modalities, including photography, music, video, art, or writing. Entries may be submitted online, hand-delivered, or mailed by the February 11th deadline. For more information, including an entry form, visit okcthunder.com/blackheritage

EngineerGirl Writing Contest

EngineerGirl Writing Contest2

Write a story that celebrates engineering design and problem solving.

The EngineerGirl writing contest is asking students to submit works of creative fiction.

They are seeking stories about women and girls saving the day with their wits, skill, and whatever resources they can find to solve the problem. Maybe they are working alone, maybe they are part of an elite team. Perhaps they have found themselves in an unusual situation that requires some innovative thinking.

The  stories should inspire EngineerGirl readers to think, “I want to be able to do that” or “I can do that.”

There is not much time; the online submission date is February 1, 2019 by 11:59 PM. For more details, visit the National Academy of Sciences' EngineerGirl contest page at this link

Monthly Writing Prompt

Writing prompts assist writers in sparking imagination, emotions, and creativity. Writing prompts come in various forms, including words, sentence starters, music and images. Even our youngest students enjoy the opportunity to have thought-provoking questions and discussions around interesting and common themes. 

Using the picture and sentence starter below, create an interesting story. Email me some of the work of your students or even the stories you create. I would love to share with our ELA community.

Writing Prompt


One day my friend used his science experiment to shrink us...

Reading Quote of the Month

Dr. Suess

ELA Framework Upgrades and Survey

ELA Framework

ELA Framework

The ELA Framework has a new look! The Literacy Team has been working diligently to ensure that the ELA Framework site is user- and teacher-friendly. There are lots of resources, information, and guidance to assist you as you are implementing your instruction in relation to the Oklahoma Academic Standards for ELA. Go check it out today!

ELA Survey

Calling all ELA teachers in Oklahoma! We want to hear your thoughts on the ELA Curriculum Framework, the resource website developed by Oklahoma teachers for help with implementing the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Whether you use the Framework or not, your feedback is valuable to us. Please take this brief survey by the end of the month.

SDE Literacy Team

kids in tree

The Literacy Team at the Oklahoma State Department of Education in the Office of Curriculum and Instruction is here to support you as you navigate through the world of literacy instruction. Contact us at any time with questions, professional development opportunity inquiries, or instructional guidance requests.

Main Office:

Kida Upshaw, kida.upshaw@sde.ok.gov, 405. 521.4096

The Team:                                                                         

  • Melissa Ahlgrim,Director of RSA, melissa.ahlgrim@sde.ok.gov
  • Danielle Calvin, Director of Elementary ELA, danielle.calvin@sde.ok.gov
  • Jennifer McKay, Senior Director of Early Childhood, jennifer.mckay@sde.ok.gov
  • Brook Meiller, Striving Readers Grant Program Manager, brook.meiller@sde.ok.gov
  • Sharon Morgan, Striving Readers Grant Specialist , sharon.morgan@sde.ok.gov 
  • Michelle Seybolt, Striving Readers Grant Specialist, michelle.seybolt@sde.ok.gov
  • Timmie Spangler, Director of Instructional Materials & Library, timmie.spangler@sde.ok.gov
  • Jason Stephenson, Director of Secondary ELA, jason.stephenson@sde.ok.gov


Contact Information

Danielle Calvin, Director of Elementary ELA

Oklahoma State Department of Education




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