June 2021 Secondary ELAOK Newsletter

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Header: ELAOK

June 2021

In this issue:

ELA 2021 cover

2021 NEW Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts (OAS for ELA)

On February 25, 2021, the Oklahoma State Board of Education unanimously approved the 2021 Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts (OAS for ELA). Now that the legislative session has concluded, these revised standards are official. The 2021 OAS for ELA are based on the 2016 OAS for ELA, and are a revision of those standards. The eight overarching standards remain the same, but various objectives have been revised to increase clarity, improve coherence, and better align to purpose.

These standards represent hours of work from Oklahoma educators who served on the writing and draft review teams. We are so grateful to these educators as well to everyone who provided feedback through public comment and focus groups.

Download your copy of the standards today.

Vertical Progressions

When the 2021 Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts were revised, one of the major shifts was to group the objectives by individual grade level rather than grade band to provide educators with an easily accessible list of skills for the learners in their charge. With this new format, educators might benefit from an additional resource that would show the progression of skills from grade to grade. These vertical progressions are available in three different groups: elementary (Grades Pre-K–5), middle grades (Grades 3–8), and secondary (Grades 6–12). This collection of documents allows educators to track when a skill is introduced, how it changes from grade to grade, and in some instances when mastery should occur.

Teachers and school districts can use these  progressions to plan vertically, to identify a student’s skill level on a continuum, and to track the evolution of a particular skill. Ideally, teachers will not only examine their own vertical progression, but will also examine the other vertical progressions. Doing so will give teachers a deeper understanding of the standards and provide a more comprehensive view of the expectations for English language arts in Oklahoma.


The 2021 Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts were revised based on the 2016 standards. Teachers and school districts can use the following crosswalk documents to compare and contrast the 2021 and 2016 standards and objectives. The documents are organized into three columns: the 2021 standards and objectives on the left, the 2016 standards and objectives in the middle, and a blank column for notes on the
right where teachers can work individually or with others in their professional learning communities to record their notes.

These crosswalk documents can be used to more deeply understand the shifts in the standards, so teachers and school districts can make the necessary changes to their lessons and units to fully educate their students in English language arts.

Professional Development

Mark your calendars for EngageOK in the Cloud on June 21-23, 2021. Registration is open. There will be a session on the 2021 ELA standards:

English Language Arts (ELA) Makeover: How to Transform Instruction to Reflect the Revised Oklahoma Academic Standards

  • After discovering cosmetic and substantial shifts in the revised English Language Arts Standards, participants will determine how classroom instruction might also shift. Participants will practice braiding standards into a lesson to accelerate student learning and leave with resources to support implementation of the standards.

A follow-up session on the 2021 ELA standards will be offered on Tuesday, July 20, with options of two different times: 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. Choose which time works best for you. The session will be 90 minutes and include an introduction to the revised Appendix. You will need to register to attend. Space is limited, so register today.

Other opportunities will also be provided in the summer and fall and will be publicized in the elementary and secondary ELAOK newsletters.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will there be an updated Appendix for the ELA standards?

Yes, it will be released in July. New components include vocabulary tiers, a mechanics progression, multimodal literacy examples,  keyboarding skills, and disciplinary literacy.

2. When can Oklahoma schools start implementing these standards?

Oklahoma schools can begin implementation during the 2021-22 school year. Teachers and PLCs can take time to understand the shifts by using the Crosswalks and planning across grade bands with the Vertical Progressions. By the end of the 2021-22 school year, school districts should have a strategic plan in how to fully implement the standards for the 2022-23 school year, which is when the OSTP will begin to reflect the revised standards.

3. When will the standards be assessed at the state level?

The new standards will begin to be assessed in spring 2023.

4. Will the English Language Arts Curriculum Framework be updated?

The Oklahoma State Department of Education will work with Oklahoma educators to revise the Oklahoma English Language Arts Curriculum Framework to support educators with the implementation of the new standards. The process will begin in the fall. The current English Language Arts Curriculum Framework can be viewed here.

5. When will school districts be able to purchase new textbooks for English language arts?

Since the state textbook adoption cycle was recently revised, schools can adopt reading and writing textbooks for elementary (Pre-K–5) in 2022-2023 and for secondary (6–12) in 2023-2024.

Oklahoma Excel

OK Excel

The OSDE is now accepting applications for Oklahoma Excel, a free, year-long professional learning experience open to all PK-12 teachers!

Come join a content-specific improvement team in either English (grades 3-12), math (PreK-12), science (PreK-12) or early childhood (PK-2). Participants will learn how to implement and refine high-leverage, evidence-based instructional strategies regardless of whether learning is face-to-face, blended, or remote!

Learn more about Oklahoma Excel: http://bit.ly/OKExcel2122

Check out the application: http://bit.ly/OKExcelApp

AP Summer Institutes

Registration for the OU AP Summer Institute is now open! Please see the information below. 

This summer, the OSDE will partner with the University of Oklahoma and Northeastern State University to offer AP Summer Institutes (APSI). The Institutes will be offered online and are tuition free to any Oklahoma educator. (Teachers will need to pay a $50 registration fee). Both universities will offer various sessions with the goal of reaching both veteran and novice AP teachers.

NSU APSI Offerings

  • AP English Language & Composition
  • AP English Literature & Composition

For more information, including session dates, registration, etc., visit the NSU Advanced Placement Summer Institute site

OU APSI Offerings

  • AP English Language & Composition
  • AP English Literature & Composition

For more information, including session dates, registration, etc., visit the OU Advanced Placement Summer Institute site.

The OSDE will not pay tuition for teachers who attend an APSI out of state. If professional learning for your course is offered out of state only, apply for an APSI scholarship through College Board. The scholarship could help lower your cost of attendance. 

Oklahoma Writing Project Summer Series

Oklahoma Writing Project will host a summer professional development series designed to rejuvenate teachers after an unprecedented year in education. Sessions will only be up to one hour and full of active discussion and applicable strategies. All sessions are located on the Zoom platform. You will be able to "zoom" on over to your comfy chair as you prepare for each session. Session leaders will share with teachers quick strategies to help meet student's needs and find academic success as you think about the upcoming school year.

Sessions are held throughout the summer. One "ticket" will allow you to visit as many "destinations" as your schedule allows. These learning "excursions" will be a perfect way to spend a few minutes of your summer. The OWP network ignite your spark for teaching!

Excursion Topics: Best Classroom Strategies, 6 Traits of Writing, Mentor Texts for Literacy Engagement, Writing Across the Curriculum, Providing Feedback, Motivating the Unmotivated, Writing with Special Learners

Over 20 excursions to choose from! Read all the session descriptions on the flyer.

  • Registration Deadline: ASAP! Sessions have already begun, but last throughout the month of June

Use this form to register.

Indigenous Youth Poetry Competition

The First Americans Museum, which will open in Oklahoma later this year, is sponsoring a poetry competition for students.

poetry contest

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt

In addition to a commitment to clear and coherent standards, the writers were guided by four fundamental purposes of English language arts education. After reading through the following four purposes, choose one that resonates with you. Write for five minutes about why that purpose resonates with you.

1. The language arts classroom is a place that is inclusive of the identities that reflect the richness and diversity of the human experience. All learners must hear the voices of their own heritage in the literature they encounter. They must also be given the opportunity to speak with the voices they choose for themselves in the writing they create.

2. All learners are supported to become independent readers in a range of disciplines. The ability to interpret literature as well as informative, highly technical, and often lengthy reading passages on one's own is paramount in achieving academic and career success. Furthermore, learners who possess the skills required to read independently have the power to choose both what they need and what they want to read.

3. All learners are supported to become independent writers for a variety of audiences and range of purposes. Independent writers are able to access multiple strategies and formats to communicate and craft their message, so it resonates with their intended audience. After students graduate high school, their writing skills remain critical, empowering them to express themselves in multiple modes and avenues, both professionally and personally.

4. A literate citizenry possesses the skills required to analyze, evaluate, act upon, and compose a wide range of communications. An ultimate goal of language arts education is the development of informed citizens who can contribute to the common good.

Reading Quote

Gary Paulsen reading quote