Elementary ELA Newsletter September 2021

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ELAOK: Elementary

September 2021

In this issue:

Fall Regionals for Elementary ELA

It's exciting to share that fall regionals are back this year!  The OSDE is offering free professional learning workshops on numerous topics, including ELA.  We will be presenting three-hour workshops in five different regions of the state, and there will also be a condensed virtual 90-minute workshop for those unable to attend in person.

This year's elementary ELA regional is titled, "Shifting and Accelerating Instruction with the Revised Elementary ELA Standards."  We will study the 2021 Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts, as well as the corresponding crosswalks, vertical progressions, and revised appendix. We will also determine how to braid objectives into lessons for accelerated instruction that support other content areas, social-emotional learning, and English learners.

The dates and locations for the in-person workshops are listed below.  Each of these workshops will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at noon.  To register, simply click on the workshop of your choice and select the Elementary ELA option on the Eventbrite registration.

The virtual workshop will be held on Tuesday, October 26th, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  To register for this event, click here.

Please note that added safety measures are being taken at each location to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Each session has been designed to provide ample spacing for participants, and tables and chairs will be cleaned prior to session start times. Mask wearing will be highly encouraged, and additional measures will be implemented throughout the session to allow participants to feel comfortable while engaging in professional learning activities.  As a result of these safety measures, the number of seats available at each in-person is limited, so be sure to register today!

Family Guides

Oklahoma family guides

If you are looking for a great resource to share with families at conferences or family nights, check out the Family Guides created by the OSDE.

The OSDE Family Guides are resources aligned with the Oklahoma Academic Standards and developed specifically for Oklahoma families to complement classroom learning. They illustrate what is expected of students at each grade level in different content areas along with activities families can do at home to further support children's learning experiences.

There are family guides in the content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for students in grades Pre-K through grade 6. Translations are available in either English or Spanish.  

To access the family guides for your grade, in either English or Spanish, click on the corresponding links in the table below.

Family Guides in English Family Guides in Spanish
Pre-Kindergarten Pre-Kindergarten
Kindergarten Kindergarten
Grade 1 Grade 1
Grade 2 Grade 2
Grade 3 Grade 3
Grade 4 Grade 4
Grade 5 Grade 5
Grade 6 Grade 6

Please note that the social studies guides are being updated to more accurately reflect the revised social studies standards, and the ELA guides will be updated for the 2022-2023 school year.  We will publicize the updated guides as soon as they are ready.

Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom Resources

Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

Read an Accurate Ag Book Week:  September 7-10

"Read an Accurate Ag Book" week is September 7-10, 2021. Oklahoma Ag in the
Classroom invites you to join in the celebration and help ensure young students across the state of Oklahoma understand the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.

On September 7-10, classrooms, school libraries, 4-H Clubs, and FFA Chapters across
Oklahoma will be reading accurate agriculture books to spread the message of
agriculture.  Melody Aufill, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator, has some book suggestions (see below), but she also encourages teachers to reach out to their library media specialists at school and in the community for more options.

Book Suggestions:

  • The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca
  • Grady's in the Silo by Una Belle Townsend
  • Right This Very Minute by Lisl H. Detlefsen
  • Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
  • John Deere, That's Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer

Due to Covid, some teachers may have to be creative with how they participate. Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom has lined up some wonderful readers who are ready to read to your students through Zoom. When you register using the link below, be sure to check the box at the very end of the form to sign up for Zoom sessions.  You will then be emailed a list of dates and times to attend.  

Teachers who participate in the "Read an Accurate Ag Book" event, whether in person or virtually, have a chance to win a bushel of books (approximately 20 books!).  To be eligible to win, complete these steps:

  1. Fill out the registration form to register you and your classroom.
  2. Read at least one accurate ag book between September 7 and September 10, 2021.
  3. Post your photo(s) on social media with #okagclass and #readagbooks21 by 11:59 p.m. on September 11, 2021.  See step 5 for rules about posting photos.
  4. If you are not on social media, email your photo(s) to Emily.Ague@ag.ok.gov.  See step 5 for rules about posting photos.
  5. Please make sure the students in your photographs have signed permission forms on file at the school, allowing their photographs to be shared on social media. If they do not, do not include them in the photograph. Please understand that all photos, even those emailed to Emily, will be shared on social media.

ok ag in the classroom phonological and phonemic awareness

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Around the Farm:  Monday, September 13

Do you work with beginning readers? Do your students need to develop better oral language, phonological, and phonemic awareness skills? If you answered yes to either question, you need the NEW Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Resource:  Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Around the Farm.

Three professional development sessions to introduce this resource to teachers will be offered in person on Monday, September 13, 2021.  Choose the session that works best in your schedule. 9:00-10:30 AM; 1:00-2:30 PM; or 4:30-6:00 PM.  

The in-person sessions will be held at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry at 2800 N. Lincoln Blvd OKC, OK. There will be a limit of 15 people for the in-person sessions, but a Zoom option will be available for all three sessions (Zoom links will be sent by Friday, September 10).

Attend this professional learning experience and explore all 7 of the components of the new AITC resource for Oral Language, Phonological, and Phonemic Awareness.  Components include:

  • Oral Language
  • Compound Words
  • Syllable Puzzles
  • Syllable Sorts
  • Rhyme
  • Phoneme Matching
  • Phoneme Counting

Participants who attend, either in person or virtually, will receive the complete set to use with students (Participants who attend virtually will have theirs mailed).  To register for a workshop, fill out this form.

If you have questions please email Melody Aufill at melody.aufill@ag.ok.gov

International Dot Day: September 15

International Dot Day

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration, began when a teacher introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark." What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

Each year on International Dot Day the inspiration continues. What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming teaching and learning around the world as people of all ages re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all they do.

Sign up to participate in International Dot Day and receive a free Educator's Handbook.  There is also a chance to sign up for a Flipgrid Live Event with author Peter H. Reynolds, access to free Dot Day posters and other resources.

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt of the Month:  Wordless Picture Books


This summer, I read an article in the May 2021 edition of Language Arts about three different writing activities that can be used with wordless picture books:  writing characters, writing in the gaps, and narrative mapping.  For the next three newsletters I will highlight each one of these activities, starting with writing characters.

The article introduced writing characters by stating, "As readers 'live' the narrative world, imagining the realities of characters allows them to write from the inside out."  Wordless picture books provide students with the opportunity to write what the characters are thinking and/or feeling, through inner dialogue or dialogue with other characters.

The mentor text the article referenced is the book Explorers by Matthew Cordell, but I encourage you to enlist the help of your library media specialist to find a number of wordless picture books to help your students practice writing characters.

Reading Quote of the Month:  Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl, author of the books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and James and the Giant Peach was born on September 13.  He once shared the following quote about the importance of reading:

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage."