Elementary ELA Newsletter September 2020

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ELAOK: Elementary

September 2020

In this issue:

Return to Learn Guidance Documents

Return to Learn guidance documents

In August, the Curriculum and Instruction team held virtual meetings to debut the Return to Learn guidance documents for different grade bands and content areas.

If you were unable to attend the sessions, you can access the Covid-19 Instruction Support page here.  The page has categorized the documents by elementary, secondary, or all grades, and each document contains several sections that give resources and ideas for how to safely and creatively plan and implement instruction, both in-person and virtually.   

For quicker access, links to each of the elementary guidance documents may be found here:

Regardless of whether your instruction is in-person or virtual, I encourage you to check out the Return to Learn:  Launching Instruction with Digital Tools,  It provides helpful information on different digital tools to use in different settings, as well as a strong focus on each component of the Universal Design for Learning.  

Community Building with Families

Establishing a positive relationship with families and caregivers has always been an integral part of helping students feel comfortable and confident in their learning.  With so many caregivers now helping with instruction, it is important to take time to inform and encourage them alongside their students.  The Return to Learn guidance documents referenced above all provide ways to connect with families, but you can also find some great insight in the Engaging Families in Reopening Our Schools guidance document, as well as the Oklahoma Family Guides for Pre-K through 6th Grade (available in both English and Spanish).

Monthly Virtual Meetings for Elementary Educators

The monthly meetings that began back in April are going to continue throughout the 2020-2021 school year.  We hope to use the next few meetings to take a closer look at some of the resources provided in the Return to Learn guidance documents, but our goal with every meeting is to provide time for collaboration, affirmation, and discussion.  The schedule for elementary meetings, and the order in which they occur each month, is listed below.  A reminder newsletter with the link and passcode will be sent out closer to the meeting date.

Group Meeting Day Time
Reading Sufficiency Every 2nd Tuesday 2:00-3:00
Pre-K and Kindergarten Every 2nd Thursday 3:30-4:30
Grades 3-5 Every 3rd Tuesday 4:30-5:30
Grades 1-2 Every 4th Tuesday 4:30-5:30


Webinar Series on Teaching Reading Online

University of Florida Literacy Institute

The University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI) has a series of free webinars for teaching reading online.  Check out their Virtual Teaching Resource Hub or just go directly to one of the webinars listed below:



There is also a Parent Resource Hub that provides resources for caregivers and activities for students.  

Whether you are teaching in person or virtually, this is a great resource!

International Dot Day: September 15

International Dot Day

International Dot Day, observed on September 15, is a day for people all around the world to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration.  It began in 2009 when teacher Terry Shay introduced his students to the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who encourages a frustrated student to trust her abilities and make her mark.  As the story unfolds, the student's confidence and courage soars, so much so that she is able to pass the same encouragement she received on to another student.

This story has become an inspiration to children and adults around the globe, and International Dot Day is an opportunity for the inspiration to continue.  Click on the following link to join in the Dot Day celebration and download the free Educator's Handbook.

Monthly Features

Reading Quote of the Month

Olivia by Ian Falconer



"Reading never wears me out."

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Writing Prompt of the Month

Daily writing prompts

The Teacher's Corner has daily writing prompts for every month.  They may be based on a general monthly observance or focus on something that happened on a particular day.  The prompts also include all three writing modes, so students have opportunities to practice writing stories, opinions, or informational texts. Some examples for the month of September:

  • September is National Honey Month.  Using resources in your classroom or at home, learn how honey is produced by bees and what steps are taken to put it on your kitchen table.  You may even want to draw and label a diagram to go with your writing.
  • On September 13, 1916, author Roald Dahl was born.  One of his more popular books, James and the Giant Peach, was made into a movie.  There is always a debate about which to do first – read the book or see the movie.  Which do you think is the right choice?  Has there been a time when your choice was wrong?  Explain. 

Each prompt has a PDF that can be downloaded for use during in-person or virtual instruction.