Elementary ELA Newsletter May 2022

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ELAOK: Elementary

May 2022

In this issue:

Teacher Appreciation

We appreciate you

In this newsletter I often highlight national observances and special days that I hope will help teachers and students celebrate literacy in their classrooms.  But this month provides an opportunity to celebrate one of the most important elements of a successful classroom:  YOU!  

As the 2021-2022 school year draws to a close, please know that you are appreciated for all you've done to better the lives of your students.  Your hard work, dedication, patience, and wisdom have undoubtedly planted seeds in your students that will continue to grow in the years ahead.

Someone once said, "One great teacher can make all the difference."  How fortunate we are in Oklahoma to have so many of you making a difference each and every day!  

Engaging Humanities Through the Art: Grant Opportunity for Teachers of Grades 4 & 5

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center

The Oklahoma Writing Project (OWP) announces the awarding of a grant through the National Writing Project’s Building a More Perfect Union, a grant program for humanities organizations across the United States to assist in recovering from interruptions to operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Engaging Humanities Through the Art is the grant created by OWP to benefit Oklahomans.  This grant is a partnership with the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center located in Duncan, Oklahoma.  It features the Garis Gallery of the American West and contemporary Indigenous art.  Students will respond to art and history using various literacy structures such as poetry, narrative, essays.  This grant will increase the visibility of these collections by allowing more students to visit the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. The grant will also provide for more instructors, entrance fees, supplies and training opportunities for teachers on how to use this center to meet state teaching standards.  

The Oklahoma Writing Project is partnering with Chisholm Trail Heritage Center for this summer professional development.  This summer summit will focus on the Oklahoma Academic Standards and engaging humanities through art.  The summit will be hosted at the center in Duncan, with the exhibits being the focus.  This opportunity is open to teachers of grades 4-6.  Only 20 participants will be chosen.

Who:  Teachers of grades 4-6

Dates: June 13-17, 2022 8:30 am-- 4:00 pm breakfast/lunch provided

Stipend: Up to $1000 for those who complete all components of the summit 

Deadline to Apply:  May 18, 2022

Learn more about this opportunity in the link below:  

Building a More Perfect Union Grant

Join Oklahoma Excel for ELA!

Oklahoma Excel

Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance but by design.  Join Oklahoma Excel to learn how using principles of Improvement Science can help iron out your classroom headaches!

In the upcoming school year, the teachers in the ELA Network Improvement Community (NIC) will be focusing on strategies for building nonfiction comprehension and tier 2 vocabulary. Teachers who join this free, year-long professional learning experience will have access to:

  • 45-60 hours of sustained, job-embedded, data-driven, classroom-focused professional learning
  • Instructional coaching
  • Networking opportunities with other educators from across the state
  • Practice implementing evidence-based, high-leverage instructional strategies
  • Ongoing opportunities to collect and analyze data related to instructional practices

Stipends are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are depleted.

If you have questions please email Andrea Chrisman, the Oklahoma Excel ELA Instructional Specialist, at andrea.chrisman@sde.ok.gov.

Learn more and apply: https://bit.ly/OKExcel22-23

Meet Andrea Chrisman

Andrea Chrisman

In an effort to provide even more helpful and relevant resources to Oklahoma educators, Andrea Chrisman will be joining as a regular contributor to the newsletter.  Read the letter below to learn more about Andrea:

Hello ELA Teachers and Leaders,

I am Andrea Chrisman,  the Oklahoma Excel ELA Instructional Specialist at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. I work with teachers in the field to support them in implementing research-based best practices, data analysis, and next steps to improve their practice.

I am originally from Oklahoma and attended the University of Oklahoma. After graduating, I moved to San Jose, California, and began teaching students in an urban, Title 1 school. My students came from an area with low socioeconomic status and a lack of resources, where a majority of the community was made up of Spanish- or Vietnamese-speaking people, migrant workers, English Language Learners (ELLs), and first-generation immigrants. Later, I moved to San Francisco and began working in a similar community. From serving those schools in California, and my experience working on the south side of Oklahoma City, I have a heart to serve students from communities like these and have honed my skills to do so. 

I will be joining as a regular contributor to the ELA newsletter to share successful strategies for teaching ELLs, instructional best practices from my Excel research, and experiences from teachers across Oklahoma. 

As the article above explained, I am also looking for teachers who are interested in working with an amazing team of teachers that are a part of Oklahoma Excel. We offer year-long professional learning in the structure of a Network Improvement Community (NIC), in which teacher teams from across the state partner with Oklahoma Excel. Throughout the year, members learn about and investigate high-leverage strategies for the ELA classroom. This year, we will work with teachers to build student nonfiction comprehension. If you are interested in joining this nationally recognized program, you can email me at andrea.chrisman@sde.ok.gov.

You can find the application here bit.ly/OKExcel22-23 or visit our website https://sde.ok.gov/oklahoma-excel

Save the Dates for EngageOK on the Road!

EngageOK, the Oklahoma State Department of Education's annual summer professional development, is back on the road in July!

The dates and locations are listed below; sessions and registration links will be coming soon.

  • Monday, July 11:  Woodward High School
  • Tuesday, July 12:  Elk City High School
  • Wednesday, July 13:  Lawton High School
  • Thursday, July 14:  Southmoore High School
  • Monday, July 18:  Jenks High School
  • Tuesday, July 19:   McAlester High School
  • Wednesday, July 20: Durant High School

Monthly Features

Writing Prompt of the Month:  Thank a Teacher

Usually my writing prompts are intended for teachers to use in their instruction, but this is a prompt for teachers and students alike:  thank a teacher.  Make cards, send e-messages, draw pictures, or write letters and let those teachers who made a positive difference know how special they are.  The Reading Rockets site has some great examples of affirming messages from teachers, parents, and students about educators who made a difference in their lives.  

Reading Quote of the Month

reading quote May 2022