Secondary English Weekly #8

VOLUME THREE, ISSUE EIGHT /October 26-30, 2020


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ODE Performance Standards Confirmation Committee for English Language Arts-APPLICATIONS DUE THIS MONDAY

The Ohio Department of Education is conducting a performance standards confirmation process to evaluate the appropriateness of the performance levels adopted for each of Ohio’s State Tests in English language arts. Committees will meet only one time to confirm that the performance levels (“cut scores”) for each test were set appropriately or determine they need to be revisited. The performance standards confirmation committees will consist of Ohio educators from across the state who have expertise and considerable knowledge of the learning standards in the content and grade levels for which they apply. Note that this process will examine performance levels, such as Proficient, rather than Ohio’s content learning standards. The standards confirmation workshop will be conducted remotely with each grade and subject area committee operating independently of the other committees. Training will be provided for all committee members who will use internet-based tools to review range performance level descriptors (PLDs), develop threshold PLDs, review ordered item books, and evaluate the performance standards. All committee members must have a private location in which to work since participants will be working with secure materials and will need to have secure discussions about the materials. Nondisclosure agreements will be signed and submitted at the meeting in order to maintain test security.

These meetings will be held virtually on November 17-18, 2020 from 8:30am – 4:30pm. For all eligible meeting participants, costs for substitute teachers will be reimbursed directly to school districts. More information about the meeting logistics will be sent to participants once they have been selected. If you are interested in participating on one of these performance standards confirmation committees, you may complete the online application located at Applications for Performance Standards Confirmation Committees must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020. Applicants selected to participate will be notified by the end of October. Please be sure to include an active email address for notifications.


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There will be a free (online) Q&A on Thursday, Nov 5 2:30-3:30pm for all teachers that are interested in registering their high school for the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition. Since this year's competition will happen virtually, this session can clarify the parameters for holding your competition in this format. Email Lydia Simon, Poetry Out Loud Central Ohio Regional Coordinator, to get the Zoom link.

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition for high school students organized by the National Endowment for the Arts. For the past 15 years, high school students from Columbus City Schools have participated in this free and dynamic program.

Why Poetry Out Loud?

  • POL encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.

  • Helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

  • POL is easy to implement. POL materials are completely free of charge, the program does not require full class periods and can be folded into an existing curriculum, and meets NCTE and Common Core Standards

  • POL Teacher's Guide I POL Virtual Competition Specifics.

How to get Involved?

  • Register your school with The Ohio Arts Council here.

  • Once you’ve registered, invite other classrooms and teachers at your school to participate and plan to host a school wide competition.

  • Create a simple timeline that outlines your schools POL program, include deadlines, and competition dates, and then get started.
  • You can see more about Poetry Out Loud in the "Student Opportunities" section of this newsletter.
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Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions I have been asked via email/survey that you may also have been asking. Answers are included:) If you do not see a topic you want to know more on, check the other sections of this newsletter (e.g. StudySync).

-Where can I find the recordings for sessions I wanted to attend but could not during the October 16th PD Day?

They are in this newsletter in the "Secondary English Resources" section under the resource the session addressed and in your Course Folders on the ELA 6-12 Webpage inside the Trainings/Tutorial Folder.

-I assigned a test/assessment in StudySync but my students don't see it when they log in. Where is it?

When you create an assessment, the calendar feature in the creation wizard automatically schedules it for the following day. Be sure to adjust the date to have the test show up when you want it to.

-Sometimes StudySync won't launch for a student. What could be causing that?

It could be blocked from launching because of a pop-up blocker. On the Chromebook, go to Settings. In the search bar, type "Pop." Follow the highlight flags: Privacy and Security/Site Settings, Content/Pop-ups and redirects. Then, turn off the toggle. Or, when the 'pop-up blocked' icon shows in the search bar, click allow and refresh the page. That should allow popups from that original site and add it to the Allow list. Also, it could be that the student needs to clear the cache for the browser he/she is using.

-I have assigned something to a students on StudySync, but they don't see it on their sign-in page. What could be causing that?

Some students are aligned to more than one school and they need to select their current school to be able to see the correct homepage. This may need to be done in two places. First, when they click on McGraw Hill SSO and before they launch StudySync, they may need to select their school at the top by their name. Then, once they have launched StudySync, they may need to select their school again above their name.

-Now that I am back in the classroom, I have found novels that need to be returned to the curriculum office. Where should those be sent?

Send those to Carla Mae Phillips, Suite 125 at Southland Center, 3700 South High Street, Columbus, OH 43207 or email her to arrange a pick-up.

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Monday, October 26th
  • StudySync Webinar: 4-4:30 PM 5 Tips for Remote & Hybrid Lesson Planning Register
  • TeachingBooks Webinar: Promote Titles to Engage Readers 4pm Register

Tuesday, October 27th

Wednesday, October 28thThursday, October 29th
  • StudySync Webinar: 4-4:30 PM Diversity and Representation in the StudySync Library Register Now
  • StudySync Ask-an-Expert ADMINISTRATOR Session: 3:15-3:45PM Register Now
  • Bedford Webinar: Relevance & Relatability: Using this Year's 'Elephants in the Room' to Deepen Student Learning and Engagement in AP® English 6:00 PM Register
  • StudySync Webinar: 7-7:30 PM Using HS Novel Studies to Teach Standards-Based Instruction Register Now

Friday, October 30th

  • StudySync Webinar: 1-2 PM How Administrators Can Best Use StudySync Register Now
  • R.L. Stine Author Book Launch 7PM Get Ticket

Sunday, November 1st

  • Thurber House Pen and Tell It (GRADES 6-8) : 3:30-4:30 PM What is NaNoWriMo? Register Here

All Week

  • ILA (INTERNATIONAL LITERACY ASSOCIATION) NEXT ILA Next (October 3–29) is a new professional learning experience for literacy educators across the globe. REGISTER HERE

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What are the secondary english curriculum resources?

CCS Adopted, Supplemental, and Intervention Resources List

  • Tier I Instructional Resources are StudySync (English 6-12) and the Bedford Texts/Launchpad (Honors and AP English)
  • Tier II Intervention Resource is Achieve3000
  • Supplemental Resources (in general) are TeachingBooks and DBQ

ELA 6-12 Webpage

NOTE: To access many curricular and district, you must be logged into Google using your CCS credentials and not a personal account.

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StudySync: Tier One Instructional Resource for English


-You AND your students access StudySync via the Clever icon or Click on the McGraw Hill icon. Then, launch the StudySync App.

-Your classes are marked with X and Y. The X classes are for first semester and are the ones you should be using now. The Y classes are for second semester. If you want to change the names of your classes in StudySync, follow this guide: StudySync-How to Change Course Names

-Here is information about liking StudySync to Google Classroom.

Webinar: StudySync Google Integrations

Teachers: Linking Your Account with Google Classroom

Students: Linking Your Account with Google Classroom

-Here is the demo code for StudySync in case you have a co-teacher, building coach, or admin that wants to see the platform and they do not have a class aligned in Clever/IC.


UN: StudySync2021

PW: study2021



Teacher Resources from StudySync:

Administration Resources from StudySync:

Help Center

Finding the Help Center in StudySync (video)

-If you scroll down, you will see many options for help in the categories of Training, Resources, and Q & A. Of special note is the Resources section with its Teaching Labs that explain and then show lessons happening in the classroom for both middle and high school.

-You may also do a keyword search at the top of the Help Center page by typing in what you want to know about and allowing it to populate the tutorials and documents around that topic. -The speech icon in the lower, right gets you access to a live help desk during office hours.

-Remember, if you have a question that deals with CCS infrastructure as it relates to StudySync (Clever, rostering, IC, etc.), those questions would be for Tim Wangler and would not be answered by someone from McGraw Hill who will be manning the newly-created phone line and email.

Tutorials, Trainings, and Webinars

Here are the finalized/updated support emails/numbers for McGraw Hill.

Teacher Support McGraw Hill

Administrator Support McGraw Hill

Student/Parent Support McGraw Hill
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Bedford/Launchpad: Tier One Instructional Resource for Honors and AP English

BEDFORD access and support


To get to Launchpad through Clever, click the Launchpad icon and click on the name of class/textbook. Student texts were sent to the buildings. All students have a hardback text, Honors students should also have a workbook.


Bedford Overviews, Slideshows, Trainings, and Tutorials




  • Relevance & Relatability: Using this Year's 'Elephants in the Room' to Deepen Student Learning and Engagement in AP® English

Thurs, October 29 at 6:00 PM ET

Presented by Robin Aufses, Megan Pankiewicz, Renée Shea, & Larry Scanlon

As a future-shaping election, youth-led climate change protests, dynamic social justice movements, and virtual learning become common topics of discussion, the 'new normal' challenges student attention. This webinar demonstrates how to use these opportunities to introduce relevant content into your AP® English course in ways that encourage students to develop skills to read and write at the college level.


  • American Literature & Rhetoric: Engaging with the Past, Framing the Present

Thurs, November 12 at 6:00 PM ET

Presented by Robin Aufses, Kate Cordes, Renée Shea, & Larry Scanlon

Whether through remote learning or in-person classes in 2021, this generation of students will need to be prepared to address critical social, economic, and cultural issues, as well as define their role as active citizens who shape them. In this webinar, BFW English authors Renée Shea, Robin Aufses, Kate Cordes, and Larry Scanlon will discuss how American Literature & Rhetoric offers opportunities to engage with the past in order to frame—and more deeply understand—the present.


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TeachingBooks: Supplemental Resource



You AND your students access TeachingBooks via the Clever icon or Click on the TeachingBooks icon.


Virtual and Blending Learning Recording


-TeachingBooks is the tool that houses the lists of books we have in the warehouse and in the Secondary English Curriculum Office. Use this TeachingBooks Tutorial to learn how to access the CCS book lists.

- TeachingBooks also is a place to get additional novel and author resources. These Overview videos/trainings from TeachingBooks can help you understand the resources: Introduction video I Slide Presentation and Training Script.


  • 10/26 TeachingBooks Webinar: Promote Titles to Engage Readers 4pm Register


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ILA Next (October 3–29) is a new professional learning experience for literacy educators across the globe. Digital by design, ILA Next offers a blend of live and on-demand learning anchored by a weekly workshop series. You bring the device; they'll bring the PD!
They've zeroed in on the most important issues in literacy instruction, recognizing the challenges facing teachers right now, such as the following:

  • Distance and hybrid learning
  • Equity and access
  • Social-emotional development
  • Trauma responsive instruction

Each week, you'll have access to multiple hours of live presentations plus additional hours of on-demand content. Informal Office Hours sessions give you the chance to interact with select speakers and fellow participants. REGISTER NOW


Now, more than ever, educators need to connect and support one another on how to navigate unprecedented challenges due to covid-19. Don't miss the opportunity to join your higher ed and K–12 colleagues at the College Board Virtual Forum, October 26–28.

Attend keynote and panel discussions, colloquia, breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and networking events, and participate in the annual Forum College Fair. Conference topics will include: Trends in higher education in 2020, Keeping students on track, Addressing the digital divide, Best practices for leaders during covid-19, and Realizing social justice in our work. Register Now I View the Preliminary Program


In partnership with the National Association for Media Literacy Education and in honor of Media Literacy Week, Renee Hobbs will speak about her new book, Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age October 27, 2020, 4 p.m. REGISTER HERE.


-Relevance & Relatability: Using this Year's 'Elephants in the Room' to Deepen Student Learning and Engagement in AP® English

Thurs, October 29 at 6:00 PM ET

Presented by Robin Aufses, Megan Pankiewicz, Renée Shea, & Larry Scanlon

As a future-shaping election, youth-led climate change protests, dynamic social justice movements, and virtual learning become common topics of discussion, the 'new normal' challenges student attention. This webinar demonstrates how to use these opportunities to introduce relevant content into your AP® English course in ways that encourage students to develop skills to read and write at the college level.


-American Literature & Rhetoric: Engaging with the Past, Framing the Present

Thurs, November 12 at 6:00 PM ET

Presented by Robin Aufses, Kate Cordes, Renée Shea, & Larry Scanlon

Whether through remote learning or in-person classes in 2021, this generation of students will need to be prepared to address critical social, economic, and cultural issues, as well as define their role as active citizens who shape them. In this webinar, BFW English authors Renée Shea, Robin Aufses, Kate Cordes, and Larry Scanlon will discuss how American Literature & Rhetoric offers opportunities to engage with the past in order to frame—and more deeply understand—the present.



At Gramercy Books on Main Street in Bexley, they share our love of books and the arts through a broad range of programming and events that bring the community together. There’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out Gramercy's calendar of events, and discover something new. This month features the following:

  • OCTOBER 30TH at 7PM R.L. Stine, the worldwide bestselling author of Goosebumps and the master of scary stories for young readers, has written the third book in his new middle grade graphic novel series, Just Beyond: Welcome to Beast Island. To celebrate the publication of this supernatural horror tale, Gramercy Books is hosting the national Halloween book launch for Stine, live streamed on Zoom Webinar, where he will be in conversation with two middle school students. The audience will get to ask questions as well. Get Tickets


Registration is open for Achieve the Core Tackling the Text: Techniques to Help All Students Grow (Grades 3-12) fall virtual learning 12-hour course. The self-paced course can be taken anytime between October 6—November 16, 2020 and has a $20 enrollment fee. You'll receive a certificate showing 12 hours of professional learning upon successful completion.


This summer librarians from four of our high schools (Africentric, Eastmoor, Fort Hayes, and Whetstone) received a Teacher's Dream Grant for the book Stamped by Jason Reynolds. Their work around this book in coordination with OSU and Otterbein faculty has culminated in a series of four educator sessions through NExT Hub at Otterbein on October 22nd, November 12, November 19, and December 10th. This network is for teachers who are going to teach/are teaching Stamped this year and have read the book. The sessions and conversation will focus on addressing teacher posionality in the classroom and address student needs in regards to the text. Through four sessions, educators will connect with each other, hear from Otterbein faculty, and work together to create materials for their classrooms.

More Information Here I Registration Here


Novel Conversations, a fan-favorite podcast about classic literature, is returning for its seventh season! And they are kicking it off with a dystopian theme. Get ready for Big Brother, battles with Morlocks, and some apprehensive book burning. Join them every other Tuesday for eight brand new episodes, featuring titles like Fahrenheit 541 and 1984. See below for all eight books and release dates, or follow us for updates on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Enjoy! Listen Now

Older Episodes: LISTEN NOW

Ep 5: The Tenth Man by Graham Greene (1985) Nov 3

Ep 6: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Sterne (1759) Nov 17

Ep 7: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Twain (1889) Dec 1

Ep 8: 1984 by George Orwell (1949) Dec 15


Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for the fourth annual LibraryCon Live! They're excited to offer a day-long celebration of fandom-beloved stories and characters, featuring the creators behind mind-bending speculative fiction, innovative comics, and fan-favorite graphic novels. Plus, network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you'll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. Whether you're a public or school librarian, an educator of teens and young adults, or a superfan of graphic novels and sf/fantasy, don't miss this chance to meet and interact with some of your favorite stars across these genres.They are anticipating an unprecedented number of library and education professionals to attend this event, so you may find the environment or live sessions become full during the day. But fear not! All sessions and author chats will be available for viewing on-demand within an hour of their initial broadcast, and the entire event will be available on-demand until February 5, 2021.

The Keynote Speakers are Jerry Craft and John Jennings. REGISTER HERE.

  • Jerry Craft is a New York Times bestselling author-illustrator who has worked on numerous books for young readers, including the Newbery medal-winning graphic novel New Kid. Jerry is the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning syndicated comic strip. He has won five African American Literary Awards and is a cofounder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and now lives in Connecticut. Class Act, the companion novel to New Kid, will be published in October 2020. Visit him online at
  • John Jennings is the curator of the Megascope list and illustrator of the graphic novel adaptations of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred and Parable of the Sower. He is a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside.


*ONLINE* | Until I Could Be Sure: How I Stopped the Death Penalty in Illinois with Former Governor George Ryan NOV 9, 2020 7-8pm

Today, the push to reform the criminal justice system has never been stronger in America—a nation that incarcerates more men and women than any other country in the world and also wrongfully convicts hundreds of men and women. Although the number of executions carried out every year continues to drop in the U.S., the death penalty still exists in 31 states. Until I Could Be Sure: How I Stopped the Death Penalty in Illinois is the memoir of former Illinois governor George Ryan’s journey from death penalty proponent to death penalty opponent. He defied the political winds and endured the fury and agony of the families of the victims and the condemned, as well as politicians, prosecutors, and law enforcement. In January 2000, George Ryan declared a moratorium on executions—the first such action by any governor in the history of the United States. Despite a long history as a death penalty proponent, Ryan was emotionally moved after allowing an execution in 1999. He was also profoundly disturbed by the state’s history—12 men had been executed and 13 had been exonerated since the return of the death penalty in Illinois in 1977. More had been proven innocent than had been executed. Three years later, in 2003, Ryan pardoned four death row inmates based on their actual innocence and then commuted the death sentences of 167 men and women—the largest death row commutation in U.S. history. Ryan’s actions breathed new life into the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States.

*ONLINE* | Historian Phillip Goodrich DEC 1, 2020 7-8pm

Toss all common beliefs aside that unfair taxation was the sole impetus for the American Revolution. Phillip Goodrich’s Somersett: Or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution pieces together the methods and motivations of unlikely leaders who beat the odds against Great Britain by turning the practice of slavery into the call for revolution. The book advances the theory that Benjamin Franklin, using the freeing of a British slave as the catalyst, orchestrated a little-known yet elaborate scheme to spark revolt throughout the colonies and impassion America’s fight for independence from England.

In 1772, the British legal case of Somersett v. Steuart resulted in the first court-ordered freeing of a British slave, James Somersett. Goodrich’s book argues that Benjamin Franklin used Britain’s stance on the abolition of slavery—and his contacts, political acumen, and renown as a publisher and man of science—to work behind the scenes with his “inner circle” of confidantes to manipulate the American colonies into a fight for independence from Great Britain. In Somersett, Goodrich makes the case that Benjamin Franklin wrote letters to prominent colonists to spur the American colonies to fight for freedom to protect their own self-interest—both the northern colonies that supported abolition and the southern colonies that didn’t. By March 1773, colonial leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry, determined that the livelihood and security of the South would be threatened if enslaved Africans were freed en masse. Independence from Britain, Goodrich asserts, was the only way to protect the American colonies from ruin.


NCTE’s Convention is the most historic annual literacy convening for teachers and educators. Now celebrating its 110th consecutive year, the historic event connects educators to the most passionate and energetic minds in literacy. Attendees can expect to hear from leading education voices as well as nearly 300 national authors, all engaging together around the pressing topics of the field. Join them to establish new allies in the work of excellent teaching, new connections with luminaries and authors, and enough new books to fill entire shelves in classroom libraries. INFORMATION HERE I REGISTRATION HERE


The 250-word Microfiction Challenge 2020 kicks off November 20th and registration is now open! The 2nd annual competition challenges writers around the world to create short stories no longer than 250 words based on genre, action, and word assignments in 24 hours. Feedback from the judges is provided for every submission and there are thousands in cash and prizes for the winners. Learn more about the competition, register, and read winning stories from previous competitions at Good luck and stay safe writers!


The LifeChanger of the Year Award, sponsored by the National Life Group and the National Life Group Foundation, seeks to honor K-12 educators, teachers, administrators or school staff members who make a positive difference in the lives of students. LifeChanger awardees and their schools or districts receive prizes valued between $50 and $10,000. To be considered for a LifeChanger of the Year award, nominees must:

  • Make a positive impact in the lives of students;
  • Enhance the school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride;
  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level;
  • Possess a proven record of professional excellence;
  • Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning;
  • Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards.

Learn more about this award and submit nominations here.


Recognizing the extraordinary challenges teachers face in the upcoming academic year 2020-21, a one-time $5,000.00 grant will be awarded to purchase books for K-6 students in an Ohio public school building. This Bonnie Chambers Grant is designed to help teachers who strongly promote the use of quality literature in their classrooms. Teachers will use the grant money to select and purchase their own book choices (fiction or non-fiction) dealing with understanding and coping with COVID, racism and equality issues, and/or mental health issues for children and their families.

Application Criteria

  • This grant is open to any* Ohio public school teacher(s) in grades K-6 who demonstrates a need for money in the purchasing of classroom books for their elementary building.
  • If a group of teachers apply, one teacher will apply on behalf of the building and serve as the contact teacher.
  • Need can be demonstrated through free-lunch ratios, recent school-levy results, extraordinary events, etc.

Applications are available and due by December 31, 2020.

Online Application I Print Application

Visit the Bonnie Chambers Grant page for more information:


Due to the current pandemic, OCTELA 2021: Equity will be held virtually on February 20-27th. They hope that this format will satisfy your need for top-notch professional development while also being able to accommodate the various schedules that teachers have this year. This year’s OCTELA virtual conference will include four keynote sessions (Laurie Halse Anderson, David Bowles, Dr. Jocelyn A. Chadwick, and Dr. Peggy O'Brien) that will be live streamed on Saturdays. There will be a mixture of live breakout and pre-recorded sessions available to attendees throughout the week. Virtual seats in live breakout sessions are limited; however, recordings of live sessions will be available for a minimum of thirty (30) days after the conference. All pre-recorded sessions will be available for on-demand viewing for up to one (1) year after the conference. As always, CEUs and graduate credit will be available.

Go to for more information.

2021 Registration Prices: Standard Registration: $73; Undergraduate registration $33

Submit a Proposal to Present

During the conference, they would like to highlight the work teachers are doing across the state to be inclusive, address social justice, ensure access, and center equity for all.

  • What best practices can be employed to be inclusive, center equity, ensure access, and address social justice?
  • In what ways are teachers utilizing texts and resources to increase access and equity in the classroom and beyond?
  • How can teachers reflect on curricula, teaching practices, and instructional contexts through the lens of equity?
  • How can assessments be developed and used to support equitable practices?
  • How can technology be leveraged to address issues of access, equity, social justice, and inclusivity?

Want to submit a proposal? You can find the form here! Submission Deadline: November 30, 2020 @ 11:59pm (EST)


HERE is the contest to win $500 in Books.


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways for October 2020.


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways.

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MLK Breakfast Speaker Contest


CCS will select one student speaker to represent the district at the 2021 Martin Luther King Breakfast, held virtually on January 18, 2021. The competition to become that speaker is open to all students in Grades 6-12. The CCS Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon will introduce our student speaker at the event. Once chosen, our student will be professionally photographed and recorded during the week of December 7th for the event.


Students should write their speeches, then send/share/message a recording (link to the recording) of themselves delivering the speech to Carla Mae Phillips (740-228-1509 or Students/teachers may alternatively make a request for Carla Mae Phillips to record the speeches via her Zoom room and that will be scheduled.

Please put “MLK Breakfast” in the Subject Line when sending/sharing recording link and include the student's name, school, grade, student & parent contact information,

and the teacher’s email & phone number.


Pen and Tell It! are one day workshops that expose 6th-8th graders to different themes and topics in their writing. Below is a schedule and short description of the class offerings using the Zoom online format. For more information or to register, please visit If students register for more than one class, they get 10% off each class!

6-8 Grade options *classes are 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Zoom; $20

  • Sunday, Nov. 1: What is NaNoWriMo?!

Teacher: Jody Casella

November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) and we are here to help get you started! Young Adult author, Jody Casella, will share tons of ideas on how to get started, where to get ideas, and how to keep going for the month of November and beyond. Who knows, maybe you’ll start the next bestselling novel?

  • Sunday, Nov. 8: Classified Information

Teacher: Frankie Diederich

TOP SECRET: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help create a secret society that will change the world as we know it forever. You’ll practice collaborative storytelling as we work together to design a headquarters, write a secret code, and establish our own rules. Do you have what it takes to be a secret agent? Only one way to find out! This message will self-destruct in 3…2…1… BOOM!

  • Sunday, Nov. 15: A Questionable Activity

Teacher: Justin Martin

Can you tell a story using only questions? What if I told you that Kelly Link did, in a fantastically weird short story called “The Cannon”? What if we tried to do the same thing, tried to write a bizarre interview in which so much is asked, only a little is said, and a lot of crazy stuff is implied? Could it help a writer not only be a better storyteller, but a better journalist—and a fantastic liar?

  • Sunday, Nov. 22: Memories and Music

Teacher: Claudia Owusu

Ever wondered why certain songs bring up specific memories? We’re going to spend time writing prose poetry about our favorite songs and the memories they bring up when we hear them. This session will end with free sharing and a curated fun class playlist.



  • Tuesday, October 27
  • Tuesday, November 10
  • Tuesday, November 24

6:30–8:30 pm ET on Zoom

What is Young Writers' Studio? Students in Grades 9-12 meet every other week for two hours with author and English professor Robert Loss. They kick off the first hour with quality writing prompts and activities. They wrap up the last hour with the chance to workshop pieces that you or others share. It's a safe, low-key, fun opportunity to enjoy writing and meet others! Register HERE

-A limited number of scholarships are available for this program. Email for more information.


Poetry Out Loud (POL) encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Teachers, librarians, or administrators register their high schools each year with the Ohio Arts Council and organize contests with one class, several classes, or a whole school. Contests, workshops, and multi-media program materials, including curricula, are free. Poetry Out Loud is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.

REGISTER YOUR SCHOOL HERE. I Get more information here.

POL Teacher's Guide I POL Virtual Competition Specifics


Voting is now open for your favorite book from the nominees below. Voting ends November 10th. You can also make your nominations for the 2021 Buckeye Children's & Teens Book Awards!

For Grades 6-8

  • Supernova (Amulet book 8) by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  • Grenade by Alan Gratz
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier
  • Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

The Teen Buckeye Book Award Nominees (for grades 9-12)

  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  • Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña
  • Supernova (Renegades book 3) by Marissa Meyer
  • The Toll (Arc of a Scythe book 3) by Neal Shusterman
  • War Storm (Red Queen Book 4) by Victoria Aveyard
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Weekly Stress-Break Video

Family Force 5 - Chainsaw Official Music Video (Feat. Tedashii)

did you miss earlier issues of the secondary english weekly newsletter?

Each week, this Secondary English Weekly Newsletter will be linked in an email sent to ELA and ELA-related teachers in Grades 6-12 and posted on the CCS English Language Arts 6-12 Page ( It will contain all of the latest information that could prove useful to you and your students. If you know of anyone who needs to be added to the mailing list, please send their name(s) to cphillips3865@columbus.k12.oh. Happy Educating!

Carla Mae Phillips

Lead Secondary English Curriculum Coordinator

Southland Center, Suite 125