March 2021 Secondary ELAOK Newsletter

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English Language Arts

March 2021

In this issue:

I Dream of Greenwood Dance & Talkback

On Friday, April 9, from 10-11am, I Dream of Greenwood—a dance inspired by personal accounts of survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre—will premiere on Zoom, followed by a talkback with the choreographers/dancers and recent U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith. High school students, librarians, and teachers around the state are invited to participate remotely during the live talkback event—click here to register. A curriculum packet that includes readings and discussion questions is available on the OU centennial website under the Special Projects menu. For more information, email

I Dream of Greenwood

Oklahoma Excel Survey

Oklahoma Excel is a research organization within the Oklahoma State Department of Education. They are currently gathering data on student needs in ELA for the upcoming school year. They thank you for answering this short survey to help them understand teachers' viewpoints and the biggest challenges facing students in the 2021-2022 school year.

Take the survey.

Invitational Summer Institutes

classroom teacher student

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a network of teachers, university faculty, researchers, writers, and community educators working to advance writing and the teaching of writing. Educators connect to NWP through local Writing Project sites and online networks. Currently, 175 local Writing Project sites are housed on college campuses across the nation. Oklahoma has two Writing Project sites: the Oklahoma Writing Project at OU and the Oklahoma State Writing Project at OSU. Both of these sites are hosting summer institutes for teachers this summer. Read on to learn more.

Oklahoma Writing Project

Teachers of all subject areas and levels- kindergarten through university- who are interested in incorporating writing into their regular instructional routine should apply for the Oklahoma Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute.  

During the Summer Institute, participants will learn ready-to-use strategies  and best classroom practices from group members, experience the writing process and writing groups first-hand, and develop a literacy presentation to share with their home schools and other Oklahoma educators.  

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 10.  Click on this link to submit your application or to see more information on dates, location, and other specifics.

OSU Writing Project

Teachers of all subjects and grade levels are invited to collaborate and learn about the teaching of writing as well as develop their own skills as a writer.  This year's Summer Institute will be held in Tulsa during the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

The theme for this year is "Let It Be Written," and during the Institute the focus will be on how participants can use writing for themselves and their students that will "illuminate the past, amplify the voices of the present and bring justice in the future".  

Applications are due by April 1, 2021.  The application form, as well as more information on the Summer Institute, may be found at the Oklahoma State Writing Project site.

teacher workshop

“You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge

Dear Evan Hansen

“Now, more than ever, we realize how the past year has impacted the educational experience for students across the country—and how those students have responded with incredible resilience and adaptability.” -Stacey Mindich, Dear Evan Hansen lead producer

11th and 12th-grade students are invited to share their experiences for the chance to win a $10,000 college scholarship. The 2021 National “You Will Be Found” essay contest is presented by the Broadway Education Alliance, Gotham Writers, OKC Broadway, and Dear Evan Hansen.

Learn more and submit student essays here:

Sijo Contest

That sweater, so warm and soft – yet full of holes, hangs unworn.
“Let’s toss it!” Downsizing means tough decisions. “No one wears it.”
“Wait!” I cry. “Grandma made that when I was young. It still fits.” *

What you just read is a Korean form of poetry called a sijo, and this one happens to have been awarded 1st place in the 2020 Sejong Writing Competition. Like a haiku, a sijo has three lines, but it has more syllables (14-16 per line). You can read more about how to write this Korean form of poetry here. Adults, middle school, and high school students can compete in the 2021 Sejong Writing Competition, which has an April 30 deadline.

*written by Alice Davidson


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt

Write a sijo, as described in the section above.

Reading Quote

GRRM quote