Elementary ELA Newsletter April 2021

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ELAOK: Elementary

April 2021

In this issue:

2020-2021 ELA Survey

Jason Stephenson, the Director of Secondary ELA, and I are asking teachers who teach English language arts at any grade level to participate in a survey.  We plan to use the survey results to drive the supports and resources provided through our newsletters, webpage, online modules, professional development, and more.  The survey takes about ten minutes, and teachers can remain anonymous.  Thank you in advance for your help!

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and I think the timing is perfect.  The arrival of spring tends to evoke excitement and enthusiasm in our students, and our natural world is full of possibilities for creating poems of all kinds.  

Visit poets.org for information on National Poetry Month, 30 ways to celebrate both online and at home, an opportunity for your students to contact a poet, and instructions on how to receive a poem a day.  

Reading Rockets also has multiple sources to help teachers recognize National Poetry Month.  A few that caught my eye are:

I hope you find some new ways to use poetry in your classroom!

Metro Library Youth Poetry Contest

Metro Library Youth Poetry Contest
  • Entries Accepted March 15 - April 15
  • Must be a 4th - 12th grader during the entry period AND must live in or attend school in Oklahoma County.

Eligible participants may submit a maximum of 2 works. A completed online entry form must accompany each submission. Ineligible or incomplete forms and/or entries will not be judged. Check the contest page for submission details and more.


The library also enlisted the help of some local writers/poets who created six video lessons about the following topics:


The following categories are open to elementary students.  There will be 1 prize winner in each category:

Grades 4-6

  • Wireless Headphones
  • Prize Pack with a journal, pen and poetry books

Best in Show

  • iPad
  • Wireless Headphones
  • Prize Pack with a journal, pen and poetry books

Read Across Oklahoma, April 13

On April 13, 2021, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and partner organizations invite classrooms and families to attend Read Across Oklahoma.  This annual Oklahoma event celebrates the joy of reading and the importance of books.  This year Read Across Oklahoma will be virtual, with activities geared for Pre-K through 2nd grade students.  Children will be able to watch Oklahoma author Tammi Sauer read her book Wordy Birdy and dance along with the musical duo Spaghetti Eddie.  Games, bookmarks, and activities to celebrate the day may be found at the link above.  

The Oklahoma City Zoo is one of the partners (and usually the location) of Read Across Oklahoma.  The zoo will be open on April 13th, and the first 1,500 children through the gates will receive a free book!  

This is a wonderful way for our younger learners to celebrate reading!  Check out the Read Across Oklahoma link for more information and access to the virtual event.

Read Across Oklahoma

Upcoming Literacy Webinars

The How and Why of Implementing a Sound Wall, Wednesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Mary Dahlgren will present on the "how" and "why" of sound walls on Wednesday, April 14, at 2:00 p.m.  To register for this free event, click here

If you are unable to attend the webinar at that time, register anyway!  Your registration allows you to access the recording of the event so that you may view it at your convenience.

Mary Dahlgren

Oral Language in the Classroom, Thursday, April 15, 7:00 p.m.

The Reading League Oklahoma

The Reading League Oklahoma is presenting a free webinar on Thursday,  April 15 at 7:00 p.m.  This month's speaker is Melody Aufill, and she will be sharing tips on how to improve the oral language ability of the students in your classroom.  To register for the event, please see the flyer below.  

The Reading League Oklahoma April Webinar

Monthly Features

Upcoming Dates & Deadlines

  • April 13:  Read Across Oklahoma
  • April 14:  Mary Dahlgren's Webinar on Sound Walls, 2:00 p.m.
  • April 15:  The Reading League Oklahoma's Webinar on Oral Language, 7:00 p.m.
  • April 15:  Deadline for the Metro Library's Youth Poetry Contest

Writing Prompt of the Month - Golden Shovel Poem

In honor of National Poetry Month, I felt that I had to choose a poem style as my prompt.  Until recently, I had never heard of a golden shovel poem- one that is inspired by a line of poetry or a quote.  The poem is written so that the ending word of each line, reading from top to bottom, composes the borrowed/quoted text.  In Dictionary for a Better World, there is a golden shovel poem entitled "Exercise" by Irene Latham.  It is based on the quote, "Nothing will work unless you do" by Maya Angelou:

If you ignore this vessel, if you learn nothing

about how to love your body, how will

your bones, muscles, organs know to work

as one?  Your cells will forget themselves unless

you move, shake, stretch, sail.  Hey, you:

celebrate what carries you across currents.  It's the least you can do.

Try to find a quote that is meaningful to you and your students and create a golden shovel poem of your own!

Reading Quote of the Month

beverly cleary

Beverly Cleary, author of many popular books, including Beezus and Ramona, Henry Huggins, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Ribsy, would have celebrated her 105th birthday on April 12.  When asked in a past interview about her thoughts on children and reading she said,

"[Parents need to] read aloud to your children and let them see you enjoying books.  Children want to do what the grownups do.  Children should learn that reading is pleasure."