Elementary ELA Newsletter February 2021

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ELAOK: Elementary

February 2021

In this issue:

Awareness to Action: Creating Trauma-Informed Schools Through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Join the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) on February 15th, 2021, from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., for Awareness to Action: Creating Trauma-Informed Schools Through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, a one-day, all-virtual summit. This free professional development event will expand upon OSDE's previous trauma summits by offering educators a framework for action.

The conference will unpack the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and illustrate how this equitable framework can address the academic, behavioral, and mental health needs of all students.  Click here to register for this event.

Awareness to Action

Library Lovers' Month

Library Lovers' Month

I have always loved libraries.  I frequented them as a child, young adult, and college student.  I even worked at a public library before I began my teaching career.  And since February is Library Lovers' Month, and it gives me the perfect excuse to sing their praises!

Libraries are incredible resources for teachers, students, and families.  Whether you walk to your local library or visit it online, a wealth of education and entertainment is waiting to be discovered.  

Despite the fact that the pandemic has limited exposure to printed materials and in-person visits, libraries still have ways for all of us to enjoy access to all kinds of materials.  There are eight Oklahoma library systems serving different parts of our state, each with regular updates on how best to serve their patrons.  They are:

Check out the map below for which system or local library serves your area and click on the appropriate link above to see what is offered.  

Map of Oklahoma Libraries

February 3: World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day

February is not only Library Lovers' Month, it is also when we have the chance to celebrate World Read Aloud Day.  Although the official day is February 3, the resources below make it possible for you to celebrate when it works for you and your students.  

LitWorld has a hub with numerous resources for World Read Aloud Day.  Scholastic, who sponsors the event, has information on how to receive a virtual kit, complete with reading materials, activities, educational guides, virtual events, discounts, and more to build opportunities for connection among students, families, educators and communities through the power of storytelling!  

10 Tips for Reading Aloud with Children

New York Public Library

As I was looking for information about World Read Aloud Day, I found this resource from the New York Public Library.  Although it was written as a resource for one particular event, I believe these tips are applicable for any read aloud on any day.  Here are the highlights from the article:

  1. All reading is good reading.
  2. Find a comfortable space to read together.
  3. Slow down.
  4. Ask and answer questions together.
  5. Be yourself.
  6. Read ahead!
  7. Embrace wordless picture books.
  8. Don't worry about age or grade level.
  9. You don't have to finish a book.
  10. Make reading aloud part of your routine.

 For more details about each tip, read the full article on the New York Public Library website.

Metropolitan Library System's DIY Storytime

Metro Library DIY Storytime

The Metropolitan Library System is one of the eight Oklahoma library systems mentioned earlier in this newsletter.  They are offering a service that ties in beautifully with both Library Lovers' Month and World Read Aloud Day:  DIY Storytime.  

Grouped into relevant topics, each DIY Storytime unit is downloadable and includes several books (with titles that are always available online) as well as related songs, videos, and activities.  Everything in the unit is designed for participants to learn together.  Although this service was created for at-home use by parents and caregivers, teachers might also be able to incorporate these resources and practices into the classroom as well.

Oklahoma Literacy Association Annual Conference: Saturday, March 6

Mark your calendars for a great learning opportunity!  On Saturday, March 6, the Oklahoma Literacy Association invites people to join their virtual conference: "The Power of a Literate Life:  What We Do to Create Empowered Readers". 

The keynote speakers are Kylene Beers and Bob Probst.  Beers and Probst have co-authored several books together, including their most recent book, Forged by Reading:  The Power of a Literate Life.  

Click here to register for this conference.

Oklahoma Literacy Association Annual Conference

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt of the Month

Library of Congress

I recently attended a webinar on poetry presented by the Library of Congress.  The presenter shared several ways that students can regularly read and write poetry.  One of them was entitled "A Place to Love". 

In this exercise, students think of a favorite physical space and make a list of words to describe that place (the number of words would be determined by the teacher). Students would then use the descriptive words to write a line or more of poetry using a specific type of figurative language (simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, personification, or other figurative language). After the first line is complete, ask them to write another line using a different kind of figurative language. Allow students time to read the lines to a partner or the class who will try to guess the place.

For more poetry resources, visit the Library of Congress poetry website.

Reading Quote of the Month

Megan McDonald

Children's author Megan McDonald is celebrating her birthday on February 28th.  McDonald is best known for her books about Judy Moody and her little brother "Stink".

McDonald shared these thoughts during an interview, "I would say the best thing I can tell you to do is just to read, read, read. If you go to the library and borrow books, or go to the bookstore, read during the summer, when you're not in school — anything you can do to just keep reading.  Find the books that you really love, and read them over and over."

For more information about Megan McDonald and her books, click here.