Secondary English Monthly #10

VOLUME FIVE, ISSUE TEN /October 31-November 26, 2022

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Encourage your Sophomores to apply to be part of Columbus Journalists in Training, a six-session opportunity to work with print/digital and broadcast journalists in central Ohio as they learn about journalism and create stories for CCS and


  • 30 CCS Sophomores

  • 6 Saturday Training Sessions (January 28-May 6)

  • Media Professional Mentors (print/digital and broadcast)

  • Final Projects for CCS/


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CCS Poetry Slam

It's never too early to begin forming your CCS Poetry Slam teams. This year, there will be a chance to attend two field trips to Spruce Run with your team (December 8 and February 28) to prepare for the District Slam which will happen on April 29th at Eastmoor Academy (5-9pm). Think about having some school slams to form your team and/or having writing gatherings for interested students.

OCTELA Call for Proposals

Proposals for sessions for OCTELA's 2023 conference are being accepted.

Our lives have endured many changes the past few years. We’ve had to think “outside the box” for countless situations. Our students have been resilient through it all. They’ve encountered challenges, but are ready to begin a fresh, new chapter, embracing redesigned ways of learning! It’s our commitment as educators to help all students find what works best to help foster their learning. We must seek creative outlets to amplify their voices, and provide opportunities for choice. Consider the following:

“In what ways are your students expressing voice and choice in and out of the classroom? "How has it been modeled, fostered, and expressed?”

“How have you embraced changes to help the needs of your learners, or yourself?”

“How can one provide ample opportunities to spark creativity?”

Want to submit a proposal? The proposal form is now open! Proposals are due by 11:59 PM on December 9, 2022.


Academic Services wants to streamline the communication from all of their divisions into one monthly newsletter. Thus, the Secondary English Weekly Newsletter has become the Secondary English Monthly Newsletter and it will be linked in the Academic Services Newsletter. I will still update the "What's New" section each week and highlight weekly events from the monthly newsletter via email.
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The 2022 OST DATA REPORT WITH RECOMMENDED ACTIONS can be found on the Standardized Testing Quick Link on the English 6-12 Webpage. This yearly report details how the District is performing on the ELA II and Grade 6-8 ELA State Tests. A peak at the Writing data and recommendations follow. Click on the 2022 OST DATA REPORT WITH RECOMMENDED ACTIONS to see all of the Writing and Reading data and recommendations.

The weakest area in the writing section of the 2022 OST for all grade levels was EVIDENCE/ ELABORATION (worth 4 points on both the Argument and Informational Essay Rubrics). Below are some recommendations to improve in this area.


  • Use the THINK Questions: The THINK questions in StudySync First Reads ask students to write paragraphs that inherently call for Evidence and Elaboration. Asking your student to do one or more of these with every text they read will give them ample practice with using textual evidence to back up ideas that support their answer and being able to elaborate on how the text connects the answer to the prompt using their own words. These smaller writings allow students to practice EVIDENCE/ELABORATION routinely.
  • Use the WRITE and EXTENDED WRITING Questions: The WRITE questions in StudySync Close Reads/Independent Reads and EXTENDED WRITING PROJECTS ask students to write fully developed essays that inherently call for Evidence and Elaboration in the body paragraphs. These mirror the essays on the OST, many of which call for using multiple texts for textual evidence.


-If the Scope and Sequence section of the Curriculum Maps for the tested grades were followed with fidelity, students would encounter an average of 104 StudySync THINK, WRITE, and EXTENDED WRITING PROJECT questions that focus on Argument and Informative/Explanatory writing* prior to the OST in Units 1 through 5.5.

  • Grade 6: Averages 20 WRITINGS per Unit that call for Evidence/Elaboration, and includes 26 FULLY-DEVELOPED ESSAYS before the OST.
  • Grade 7: Averages 23 WRITINGS per Unit that call for Evidence/Elaboration, and includes 31 FULLY-DEVELOPED ESSAYS before the OST.
  • Grade 8: Averages 20 WRITINGS per Unit that call for Evidence/Elaboration, and includes 27 FULLY-DEVELOPED ESSAYS before the OST.
  • Grade 10: Averages 18 WRITINGS per Unit that call for Evidence/Elaboration, and includes 31 FULLY-DEVELOPED ESSAYS before the OST.

*Numbers do not include narrative, personal narrative, personal response, poetry, vocabulary, research, report, or letter writing, which students also encounter in the Scope and Sequence in Units 1-5.5.


Imagine how prepared our students would be for the Writing portion of the OST in general and specifically for the EVIDENCE/ELABORATION needed in the essays if they were getting all or even most of the practice from StudySync's THINK, WRITE, and EXTENDED WRITING questions detailed in the Curriculum Maps. Research has shown that increasing the quantity of writing is a common way to increase results on standardized tests.

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October 30-November 5

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Friday, November 4, 2022

  • StudySync Webinar: 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT Social Studies and Science Educators: Discover SyncBlasts Register Now

November 6-12

Sunday, November 6, 2022

  • Thurber House: Pen & Tell It (MS) Larger Than Life, Sunday, 1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Character Creation INFO HERE, REGISTER HERE

Monday, November 7, 2022

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

  • Author Visit: Moriel Rothman-Zecher 7:00pm Gramercy Books Bexley

Thursday, November 10

  • StudySync Webinar: 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Engagement Party: Ways to Keep Students Interacting Online and Off Register Now
  • Ohio Middle Level Association: Conference Nov 10-11

Friday, November 11, 2022

November 13-19

Sunday, November 13, 2022

  • Thurber House: Pen and Tell It! Crazy Creatures and Weird Worlds,1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Sci-fi Creatures INFO HERE. REGISTER HERE.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

  • StudySync Webinar: 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Spotlight Skills: Reteach Opportunities in Any Standard Register Now
  • Author Visit: Saeed Jones 7:00pm Gramercy Books Bexley

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

  • StudySync Webinar: 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM Basic Training: How to Navigate Your New StudySync Account Register Now

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Friday, November 18, 2022

November 20-26

Sunday, November 20, 2022

  • Thurber House: Pen & Tell It! (MS) Fanfiction For All, 1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Plots, Worlds, and Art INFO HERE. REGISTER HERE.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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Saving Teacher Annotations

Did you know that when you access a text in the Library and make annotations in that text, the annotations will be saved in your account for the life of your subscription?

Saving Teacher Annotations for Later

Most teachers tend to model annotating StudySync texts, Blasts, or lessons from the assignment Preview screen. This works well if you are modeling annotations for the same reading with multiple classes because each time it will allow you to start from scratch. However, if a teacher would like to create annotations to project that will save for when they return to the lesson, that can be done through the Library. Simply click on the Library tab, search for the text you’ll be annotating, and go to the Read section to create annotations that will remain in your teacher account.

-See THIS DOCUMENT for more tips on using the Annotation Tool.


Below are the StudySync webinar offerings for the month. If you register and cannot attend, you will be sent a recording. StudySync is the core Tier 1 Resources for Secondary English. The CORE ELA Units are used in English 6-12. Items from the StudySync Library are used in all alternative English courses (Humanities Language Arts 8, Humanities English 9 & 10, African American Literature, Major British Writers Seminar, Shakespeare's Literature, and Women's Literature) and many of the elective courses (e.g., Essay Writing 6, 7, and 8).


-Here are the offerings this month:

Friday, November 4, 2022

  • 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT Social Studies and Science Educators: Discover SyncBlasts Register Now

Monday, November 7, 2022

  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM EDT Customize and Create Assessments to Fit Your Classroom Needs Register Now

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Thursday, November 10, 2022
  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Engagement Party: Ways to Keep Students Interacting Online and Off Register Now

Friday, November 11, 2022

  • 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM EDT How to Create Reports and Respond to Data in StudySync Register Now

Monday, November 14, 2022

  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM EDT *NEW* Word Study Lessons Register Now
  • 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDT Explore the StudySync Library Register Now

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Spotlight Skills: Reteach Opportunities in Any Standard Register Now

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

  • 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDTBasic Training: How to Navigate Your New StudySync Account Register Now

Monday, November 21, 2022

  • 4:00 AM - 4:30 AM EDT Deeper Dive: Backwards Planning with Close Reading Register Now

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

  • 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM ASSESS 101: Monitor Student Progress Throughout the Year Register Now

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

  • 6:00 PM - 6:00 PM Basic Training: Create and Grade Assignments Register Now
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The video above gives you an overview for Secondary English Curriculum. Use the Quick Links on the landing page of the ELA 6-12 Webpage for easy navigation to English Curriculum items (Curriculum/Instructional Resources 6-8 Quick Link; Curriculum/Instructional Resources 9-12 Quick Link). To access many curricular and district items, you must be logged into Google using your CCS credentials and not a personal account.

Curriculum Maps & Folders:

Adopted Curriculum Resources:

You can see all courses with core resources for English 6-12 in the items linked below:

The TIER 1 Instructional Resources

  • StudySync: English 6-12, Alternate English courses, and some Electives
  • StudySync Info Page (access, tutorials, trainings, and more)
  • Bedford Texts/Launchpad: Honors and AP English
  • Bedford/Launchpad Info Page (access, tutorials, trainings, and more)
  • Some Elective Courses will have single resource adoptions.

Intervention Resources and Courses
  • Achieve3000 (6-9) The contact person for this resource is Sonja Dill.
  • Achieve3000 Info Page (access, tutorials, trainings, and more)
  • Progress to Success (9-12) You can request copies by emailing Carla Mae Phillips.
  • Core Enrichment (6-8) This course can be used for Tiers II/III Intervention.
  • College/Career Ready Literacy (6-12) This course can be used for Tiers II/III Intervention.

Supplemental Resource
  • TeachingBooks is the where the lists of novels available for teacher use from the warehouse, the curriculum office, in StudySync, and in Course Folders, are found.
  • TeachingBooks Info Page (access, tutorials, trainings, and more)

Secondary Literacy Plan

  • The CCS Secondary Literacy Plan provides teaching strategies/PD (how to teach) that can be used with the texts/lessons from your adopted resources (what to teach) to address these components of the plan: Academic Language, Reading Comprehension, Writing Competency, and Classroom Discussion. It is rooted in Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement and guided by the Adolescent Simple View of Reading. The plan spans from intermediate literacy that crosses curricular areas to disciplinary literacy that reflects the demands of specific disciplines while allowing for individualized intensive interventions, as needed. Inherent in the plan is that students are reading, writing, and discussing every day in classrooms.
  • CCS Secondary Literacy Plan Info Page


NEW TEACHERS: If you are new to teaching a secondary English course and did not attend the new teacher orientation sessions, here are some links for you to the items you may have missed.

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A Fun Shakespeare Blog

Birds of Shakespeare Read the Blog Post

Shakespeare deploys the cormorant as a symbol of insatiable hunger and gluttony, drawing also on the bird’s reputation as a portent of doom and evil, as artist Missy Dunaway explores.


If you were unable to attend the Ohio Poetry Out Loud High School Teacher Workshop and still want to get your students involved, you can watch the video from the November 2nd meeting and see the handouts. The deadline to enter your school is December 1st.

Recording/Passcode: @Z9quX!d

The video is not edited; it is just a recording of the conversation and notes from the November 2nd Teacher Workshop. The chats on the side have helpful questions and links.

Ohio Poetry Out Loud Handout with Dates

Read more about the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in the Student Contest and Opportunities section of this newsletter.

Folger Shakespeare Library Book Club: Black Cake

Words, Words, Words, the Folger Shakespeare Library Book Club, is pleased to announce the next book discussion – Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson on Thursday, December 1 at 6:30pm. Participation is free. Click below to reserve your spot. All discussions will be held in Zoom and we will also share the discussion questions, supplemental materials, and suggestions for sips and snacks in advance. Register for the discussion

more outings, classes, contests, grants, and additional pd


Community of Practice Writing Discussion for Grades 6-12, Nov. 3, 4-5pm

Join the Ohio Department of Education for a community of practice (CoP) discussion based on The Writing Revolution summer 2022 book study. This community of practice discussion is an opportunity for educators to share implementation ideas to support students in writing.

Information and materials from the summer book study can be found on the Resources for English Language Arts webpage. Attendance certificates will be available for participants who attend the live, virtual sessions. Registration is required to receive the meeting link.

Registration will close on Nov. 1 at 10:00 a.m.


Here is the Fall Writing Workshop Schedule.


Get tickets for any of the following author talks/literary events here:

  • November 1, Hanif Abdurraqib, 7-8pm


Moriel Rothman-Zecher Wednesday, November 9th, 7:00pm Gramercy Books Bexley

Saeed Jones Tuesday, November 15th, 7:00pm Gramercy Books Bexley

Ross Gay/Hanif Abdurraqib Tuesday, November 29, 7:00pm Gramercy Books Bexley


The AMLE conference happens from November 3-5 in Orlando, Florida. Conference Site, Register HERE.


The editor of OJELA has opted to extend the current call for submissions for a month because she has not gotten the number of submissions needed to meet the high-quality standards that have been set for the journal (the journal was once again awarded NCTE's Affiliate Journal of Excellence recognition for 2022). See this Call for Proposals for more information. New deadline: Nov. 11, 2022.


The Ohio Middle Level Association is excited to host the 2022 annual state conference at the Hyatt Regency Columbus from November 10-11, 2022. Join them in Columbus as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Keynote speakers include Jon Gordon (The Energy Bus) and Jack Berckemeyer (Deliberate Optimism). With over 100 break-out sessions focusing on middle level education you don't want to miss it! To access the 2022 annual state conference website, please visit

NCTE ANNUAL CONVENTION Anaheim, CA | November 17 – 20, 2022

Thousands of literacy and language educators, with a variety of experiences, from a number of professional contexts, will all convene together this November for the 2022 edition of the Annual Convention. This year’s timely theme "¡Sueños! Pursuing the Light" is dedicated to collectively pursuing the light in and with each other. Register Here! Here are the Keynote Speakers.


The Standards Institute™ happening February 6-10 in Anaheim, CA, is an immersive and transformative five-day in-person learning experience. Educators who attend the Standards Institute™ commit to adaptive change within themselves while enhancing equitable practices focused on GLEAM™ (grade-level, engaging, affirming, meaningful) instruction.

Register and Learn More HERE.


OCTELA 2023 will be held on February 24 and 25, 2023 at DoubleTree Hotel Columbus-Worthington. Registration Coming Soon! Featured Speakers | FAQ

If you have an idea for a session, you can read the Call for Proposals and Submit a Proposal here.


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Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Youth Oratorical Contest-Deadline Extended to November 25th

The City of Columbus Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Oratorical is taking place on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Winners of the City of Columbus Youth Oratorical Contest will have the opportunity to present at the MLK Jr. Breakfast and City of Columbus Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program. Winners will also have the opportunity to compete in the Statewide MLK Youth Oratorical Contest in April 2023.

2022 MLK Oratorical Registration

2022 MLK Oratorical Rules and Regulations


1. Electronically

2. By mail or drop off to:
City of Columbus Department of Neighborhoods c/o Gale Gray

1410 Cleveland Ave, 2nd Floor Columbus, OH 43211


Please contact Gale Gray ( or call 614-645-1950) for questions or additional information.



Every other week, local teens gather to write, create, and explore ways to get their stories on paper. Whether it's a passion, or just a hobby, Thurber House invites any student in grades 9-12 to join them for an opportunity to spend time with others who also like to write. With facilitator Frankie Diederich, they challenge students to take a different spin each week through exploratory exercises designed to inspire out-of-the box thinking. A portion of each session is set aside for young writers who would like to bring in their own writing to be reviewed and discussed by their peers in a creative and nurturing environment. Students who prefer not to bring in work take part by learning how to talk about writing in a constructive way while helping fellow writers improve their pieces.

-Sessions take place on select Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm. Young Writers' Studio is held at Thurber Center, 91 Jefferson Ave, and simultaneously Zoomed for virtual participants. Each session is $15 and can be paid in advance by registering online. We also have a limited number of scholarships available for students who would like to attend.

  • Tuesday, November 8 from 6:30–8:30 pm ET

  • Tuesday, November 22 from 6:30–8:30 pm ET


Poetry Out Loud Registration is OPEN!

-The registration is now open for the 2022-2023 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest! Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national arts education program for high school students that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for students across the country.

-Columbus City Schools has the unique distinction of being the first district to have a school enter POL in its inaugural year in Ohio, 18 years ago, and of producing the first national winner. We have sent many students to the state contest and a few to the national contest.

-This POL teacher resource page is full of information about selecting poems and organizing school competitions. It also has lesson plans and judging tools.

-Schools can register here: OHIO POL REGISTRATION. The deadline to register your school is December 1. The deadline to complete your school recitation competition is January 29th. The regional competition will be Wednesday, Feb. 8th at Thurber Center in Columbus.

Thurber House Pen and Tell It Registration Open (Grades 6-8)

Thurber House's Pen and Tell It! is back and in-person this November! Registration just opened. Classes are capped at 20 so it fills up quickly. All classes are stand-alone, one hour sessions. Tuition is $20 - $25. If students register for two or more classes, they’ll receive 10% off! Classes will take place at Thurber Center, 91 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215.There are new themes and a lot of fun packed into each afternoon. INFO HERE. REGISTER HERE.

6th/7th/8th Grade Workshops

  • Larger Than Life, Sunday, November 6, 1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Character Creation
  • Crazy Creatures and Weird Worlds, Sunday, November 13, 1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Sci-fi Creatures
  • Fanfiction For All, Sunday, November 20, 1:00-3:00 pm, Focus: Plots, Worlds, and Art


Wellspring of Imagination is an intensive poetry experience for high school students. Students will work with nationally known poets for 3 days, writing, editing, and practicing performance skills. The culmination of the program is an evening performance for families, friends and the community by the students/poets and the teachers at a private lodge in the Hocking Hills. Following the intensive workshop, the teachers will mentor the students for the next year. A book of their poems will then be published. The dates for Wellspring 2022 are November 3rd, 4th and 5th. Overnight accommodations and meals are provided.

If a student is interested, have them fill out this CONTACT FORM and use "Wellspring" as the Subject. In the Message section, they should include their interest in Wellspring, their grade, their school, and contact information. Please call or email Alan Cohen at 740 385 3918 or if you have any questions. You can visit the Wellspring site to lean more.

Upon acceptance, students will be sent a packet of materials including a list of what to bring, suggested poets/poems to read, a daily schedule, and a list of the rules. Students will be expected to find their own transportation to and from the event. The cost of this program is more than $700 per student, but generous supporters allow us to allow students to come for a nominal fee. All of the funding comes from donations. They ask each student to earn money to help defray the cost and demonstrate their desire to attend. They ask for $100 per student, but they will turn no one away for financial reasons. Some full scholarships are available. All participating students also will receive gifts of poetry books.


Flip the Page: Central Ohio's Teen Literary Journal

Flip the Page is written, staffed, and produced by Central Ohio teens. The mission is to provide a showcase for the work of young local writers and offer opportunities to learn about submission, critique, editorial design, and publication. All accepted writers and artists receive a complimentary copy of the journal, which is sold on Amazon. Submissions are juried by a committee of teen writers from Thurber House's Young Writers' Studio (see above). Learn more and submit here: Flip the Page Site.

Writing Submission Guidelines

  • Must be a resident of Central Ohio (Franklin, Delaware, Union, Madison, Pickaway, Fairfield, or Licking counties)
  • Open to teens ages 13 to 19 years old
  • They are interested in short stories, poems, songs, essays, play excerpts, and especially humor pieces
  • Maximum of 800 words per piece
  • Limit of two entries per person
  • Accepted formats are Word documents and shareable Google documents


Prompts are now available for the 2023 Achievement Awards in Writing and Promising Young Writers contests! NCTE encourages educators to share information on these school-based writing awards across the middle and secondary levels. The 2023 contests feature key changes to contest guidelines, eligibility, and scoring designations. Details are available on each contest’s webpage, and a breakdown of the changes can be found here.

Here are key dates for the 2023 contests:

  • November 2022: contest opens for submissions.
  • February 15, 2023: submission window closes.
  • May 2023: winners are announced.

Learn more about the Student Writing Awards today!

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: Midwest Region Writing Deadline is December 1

Students in Grades 7-12 (age 13 and up) can watch this video and see the steps below for how to enter the Scholastic Writing Awards. The Midwest Region deadline is December 1st. Visit HERE for more information.


Both students and educators can create an account using our online registration system. This is where you’ll find your school and enter your work.


Don’t forget to seek feedback from educators, family, and friends and edit your work.

Be sure to select the category that best represents your work. VIEW CATEGORIES


Entry fees are $10 per individual entry and $30 per portfolio. If the entry fee is a barrier to your participation in the Awards, we will waive the fee when you submit a Fee Waiver Form.

The Scholastic Awards open for entries in September and deadlines vary between December and January, depending on your region. Curious about your region’s deadline? FIND YOUR REGION

Visit our online galleries to see works from past National Medalists. VISIT THE GALLERY

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Song for This MONTH! Hope your students are shining like jewels!

Taylor Swift - Bejeweled (Official Lyric Video)
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Carla Mae Phillips

English 6-12 Curriculum Coordinator

Southland Center, Suite 125

Previous Newsletters are available on the CCS ELA 6-12 Webpage.