October 2019 Elementary ELA Newsletter

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ELAOK: Elementary

October 2019

In this issue:



In the world of education, community is a term that can be defined several ways.  For example, we may think of it as the neighborhoods that surround our schools, our classroom and all its members, our team of fellow educators, or a combination of these and others. 

Each kind of community listed above serves a crucial role in the personal and educational growth of both students and teachers; if one community is not thriving, it can create challenges that affect the others.

With that in mind, I have included a  few links that may help if you want to strengthen some of these communities:

Look for other features and links throughout the newsletter that provide more community-building opportunities with other educators from around the state and country!

Quartz Mountain Fall Arts Institute: October 3-6 or 10-13

fall arts institute

Journey to Quartz Mountain this month for an all-inclusive, four-day workshop retreat at the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute. Taught by nationally renowned artists, workshops are offered for all skill levels and are held at the beautiful Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center in the Wichita Mountains of southwest Oklahoma. This year’s workshops include painting, drawing, writing, photography, printmaking, music, and more. Unlike other workshops, all meals and lodging are included in tuition.  These weekends are happening soon, so call right away to check on availability(405) 605-7500.

OCTE Fall Conference: October 5

This Saturday, the 2019 OCTE Fall Conference will be held at Willard Hall on the Stillwater campus of Oklahoma State University.  In union with NCTE's theme of Spirited Inquiry, participants will gather to celebrate teacher and student voices from across Oklahoma.  If you are interested in attending, you will find more information here.


OSU Writing Project - Fall Foldables 2019: October 12

osu writing project

Write Out 2019

Why I Write

Beginning October 13, 2019, Write Out will be a free two-week series of activities where educators, National Park Service Rangers, Writing Project Teacher Consultants, parents, writers and youth are invited to:

  • explore national parks and other public spaces, including rural and urban settings, whether on-site or online
  • create using a variety of media, including text, image, video and others
  • connect to learn about using place-based learning as a critical cultural and environmental lens

Bookending the October 20th National Day on Writing, Write Out consists of activity cycles that include prompts that invite participants to write across a variety of media and curricular areas, facilitated online meet-ups, curated resources, and Twitter chats. Participants take part in as many or as few activities as fit their schedule. Additionally, through collaborative online possibilities, participants will be invited to share their creations, write, learn, and connect with the larger community.

Fund for Teachers

fund for teachers

Fund for Teachers supports educators' efforts to develop skills, knowledge, and confidence that impact student achievement. By trusting teachers to design unique fellowships, Fund for Teachers grants validate teachers' professionalism and leadership as well. Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has invested $32 million in nearly 8,500 teachers, transforming grants into growth for teachers and their students.  Applications for 2020 open October 1, 2019.  Click here for more information.

OKWP Summer Institute: June 2020


Oklahoma Writing Project's

Invitational Summer Institute:  June 2020

FOR:  Classroom Teachers of All Subjects —Elementary through College— Interested in Improving Literacy Skills 

APPLICATIONS: Twelve outstanding teachers will be selected to attend the Oklahoma Writing Project 2020 Invitational Summer Institute to be held at the Moore-Norman Technology Center in Norman. Teachers of all subject areas and of all levels of instruction--kindergarten through university--interested in teaching composition or incorporating writing into their regular subject matter instruction may apply. The important consideration is a strong commitment to teaching of composition and helping students' understanding through writing.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION: Teachers who are selected should have these qualifications:

  1. Outstanding teaching record.
  2. Strong commitment to growth in teaching composition.
  3. Willingness to develop a formal presentation on topics related to writing instruction and to share those presentations with other participants at in-service workshops.
  4. Willingness to do the writing, research, and reflection that will be asked of all participants during the Summer Institute.
  5. Demonstrable success as a teacher of writing and promise as an equally successful teacher of other teachers.
  6. Willingness to be an active participant in the Oklahoma Writing Project and its professional and in-service programs.
  7. Above all, a strong and open approach to ideas.


  1. Creation and delivery of literacy presentation to be shared at your home school and with other Oklahoma teachers
  2. Portfolio of your own writings as you experience the writing process and best classroom practices
  3. Your published writing in the 2020 Summer Institute Anthology
  4. Collection of ready-to-use literacy strategies and best classroom practices aligned with Oklahoma Academic Standards
  5. Over 45 hours of professional development
  6. Become part of a network of teachers focused on improving literacy practices with Oklahoma students 

STIPEND:  Up to $1,000 stipend for each participant who completes all the required components of OKWP Summer Institute

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 11, 2020.  Applicants invited to interview will receive an appointment sign-up email by March 29, 2020.


  • Start saving your student writing samples now.  You will need student samples for your interview and during the Summer Institute.  Be sure and save high/low ability examples from your writing lessons. Originals are great but copies are fine.
  • At the interview, you will bring your professional vita and some of your student writing samples.

The online application has further details, including the dates of the summer institute, if you are interested.

Monthly Features

harris burdick

Writing Prompt of the Month

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg is a fantastic writing resource any time of year, but especially in October.  The book consists of a series of drawings, and each one has only a title and caption.  Readers are encouraged to create their own stories based on the limited text and richly detailed drawings.

I prefer the portfolio edition, which features the drawings in poster mode, making it easier to display or share.


Reading Quote of the Month

you can find magic