Elementary Curriculum Newsletter

November 2020

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The purpose of Open Office Hours is for teachers to receive support regarding content and resources. The curriculum coordinator will be available via Zoom to answer questions. You do not need to stay the entire time. You can join the session using the Zoom link, ask your question, and leave or remain to collaborate with other teachers. Throughout the year, the office hours may focus on a specific resource or topic question instead of just open for general content questions.

Below are the current dates and times for the office hours.

This Smores Newsletter will be updated if the office hour time frames change throughout the month.

English Language Arts

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

3:30 - 4:30 pm

The HMH Into Reading Professional Learning Manager will join us during office hours to help answer questions.



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

3:30-4:30 pm

Open Topics including questions about the Math Framework and Curriculum Resources



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

3:30-4:30 pm

This will be an open forum for asking questions about science.


Social Studies

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

4:00-5:00 pm

This will be an open forum for asking questions about social studies.


Library Services & Instructional Technology

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

4:00- 5:00 pm

This will be an open forum for asking questions and receiving support with instructional tech.


Spruce Run Resources/field trips with Geri Granger

Every Thursday from 3:30-5:30 pm


Meeting ID: 396 325 2269

Passcode: 3SsAit

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RIMP Clinic

November RIMP Clinic

Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2020 ***DATE CHANGE***

Time: 4:00-5:30 pm

Are you working on your RIMPs but still have some questions?

Join us at the next RIMP Clinic. There will be members of the Curriculum Office, Testing and Accountability, and Infinite Campus available to review important information and answer any questions you have.

Join Zoom Meeting



Meeting ID: 838 6681 5858

Passcode: 173665

One tap mobile +1 312 626 6799 US

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Library Services - Video Conferencing

Columbus City Schools provides students, staff, and administrators with access to educational opportunities, information resources, and programming from anywhere in the world through interactive video conferencing. We can provide support to staff utilizing web-based products such as Adobe Connect, Zoom, and Skype.

Using video conferencing allows for experts and specialists to be brought into the classroom to enhance classroom learning. Video conferences can provide more interactive synchronous learning.

Please visit the library services website for more information.

You can sign-up for free or paid video conferencing to do with your students.

CCS Video Conference Information

Click here to be directed to the Video Conferencing information on the CCS website

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Math - Productive Struggle

Productive Struggle

Students need to be given time to think and engage with tasks and questions that are posed before they are supported by the teacher or other students. Questions and problems that meet the DOK level of the standard, can prove to be challenging for students. Allowing students to engage in productive struggle helps to develop strong habits such as perseverance and flexible thinking. Students should not have the expectation that they will know how to solve a problem immediately. Productive struggle is the process of learning that develops a growth mindset and creative problem solving. Questions and problems need to be at just the right level of challenge so students have an opportunity for meaningful struggle.

Engaging in challenging questions or problems helps students gain meaning and understanding

beyond the correct answer. Students might feel stuck and lack the initiative to persevere. Teachers need to resist the feeling that they have to step in and help support students. Students need to engage in the hard work. Teachers can provide a better approach by posing pointed questions that enable students to engage in the struggle that leads to real understanding. (Hintz, Gibbons, and Knapp, Beyond the Right Answer, 2015) Questions can help students make connections with what they already know or understand. Teachers need to pose questions that help make mathematical connections so mathematical concepts are more visible to students. When teachers facilitate mathematical discourse between students, they are encouraging students to question and build on student ideas.

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Math - Digital Binder Update

Ohio’s Math Learning Standards differ slightly from Common Core Standards. The timelines identify when Ohio specific lessons are to be used to meet the required learning of the standards. These lessons are now available in the Digital Binder. When the Curriculum Guide indicates that an Ohio Lesson is used, the lesson resources may be found in the Digital Binder under the red header titled, OHIO SPECIFIC LESSONS.

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Math - Talk Moves

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Using Rigby Readers to Record Student Reading With Kami

Thank you to Rachel Concitis, 3rd grade teacher from Winterset Elementary for creating and sharing the Using Rigby Readers to Record Student Reading With Kami Google Slides and YouTube video!!!

Rachel has generously allowed us to share her Google Slides presentation link and her YouTube video.

Link to Google Slides Presentation - Using Rigby Readers to Record Student Reading With Kami by Rachel Concitis

Using Rigby Readers to Record Student Reading With Kami
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Do you want to do something a little fun, but still educational with your students? Try a virtual scavenger hunt!

You can do virtual scavenger hunts with any grade level for any subject.


An online scavenger hunt is similar to any other scavenger hunt. The difference is each student is searching for items in their own space or searching the internet and sharing their findings virtually.

Here are a few first steps for doing a virtual scavenger hunt:

  • Tell students what to find or give students a clue.
  • Set a timer (30 to 60 seconds recommended.)
  • Students get up to look for an item to go with the clue. (Students may use the internet to search for items.)
  • Students must be sitting in their seats with their items when the timer goes off or they are disqualified from the round. This prevents the game from lasting forever and having the rest of the class waiting for one student.
  • Students share their findings.
  • Another option is to give students a list of items and set the timer for a longer period of time. Then, students search for as many items from the list as possible within the given amount of time.

Establish some rules and review those rules with the students:

  • Students cannot get out of their seats until the timer starts.
  • Students must be back in their seats when the timer goes off.
  • Students should not take or touch anything that they are not supposed to.
  • Students should always practice safety when looking around their homes.

ELA & Math ideas taken from Vestal's 21st Century Classroom


Measurement: Have students look for items that describe different measurements. You can have students search for an item that is about one inch in length or an item that could hold about two cups of liquid. You can also use metric measurement.

Geometry: Have students search for examples of polygons, three-dimensional shapes, and angles.

Money: For this scavenger hunt game, have each student bring a bag of coins to the online classroom meeting. Call out different amounts of money (such as $2.11) and have students use their coins to create the amount you call out.

Even and odd numbers: Tell students to find an even or odd number of the same item.

Factors: Give students a number (such as 20) and have students search for something that represents a factor of the number you call out.

Sample Math Scavenger Hunt LINK


Genre: Call out a literary genre. Then, students should look for an example of the genre. They can find a book, magazine, newspaper article, or online article.

Vocabulary: Call out a vocabulary word. Then, students should look through reading materials to find the word. Have students share how the word is used in the sentence they find.

Book Scavenger Hunt: Link to the Google Doc for the premade scavenger hunt https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wn8aFYUFqtvBf-7-EnGKqTXIwnibW-DI9G9SM7CbfbE/edit

Nonfiction Book or Article: Find a title, a diagram or map, a border that relates to the topic,

and Illustrations that relate to the topic.

Simile or metaphor: Have students search for an item to represent a simile or a metaphor.

Rhyming: Say a random word and have students search for an item that rhymes with that word.

Sensory words: Have each student find a random item. Tell students not to show their items to the class. Then, have each student describe their item using only sensory words. As the student describes their item, the other students should try to guess what it is.

Alphabet: Call out letters of the alphabet. Students must search for items that start with the letter you call out. To make this virtual scavenger hunt more exciting, call the letters out of order so that students do not know what to expect next.


Importance of Scientists and Engineers: Find something in your house that was created by a scientist or engineer. Have students share the item and why the item was created. Students will notice that everything around them was created or invented to solve a problem. It is almost impossible to find something that doesn't relate to science in some way!

Inventive: Give students a problem scenario and a few minutes to solve the problem.

E.g. You’ve lost your hairbrush. Which item could you use to brush your hair?

Grade Level Specific Hunts:

Kindergarten - Find 2 or 3 objects that you can compare; one is heavier than the other, bigger than the other, different color, etc.

1st grade - Find an object from around the house that you can use to demonstrate how to make it move in a straight line, zigzag, or backward.

2nd grade - Find something in your house that uses a magnet to make it move.

3rd grade - Find something around the house you can recycle. What is it and why is it recyclable?

4th grade - Find a toy that uses batteries. Explain how you make the toy work (move, light up, make sound, or make noise).

Internet Scavenger Hunt - Thomas Edison's Light Bulb https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V6H64hDgqtJ_N0pcDdGKK6q0QUt1QBpZ/view?usp=sharing

5th grade - Find something around the house that is biotic or abiotic. What is it and why is it abiotic or biotic?


All About You: Ask each student to find and share an item that describes them, where they are from, or something about their family.

Photo Scavenger Hunt: Have each student find a photo that tells about them. You can have students find photos that express different things such as a favorite family member, a happy memory, or a favorite birthday. This could be turned into a timeline - photos of them through the years.

Studies Weekly Scavenger Hunt: Have students read all of the articles in a week for one Studies Weekly newspaper to prepare for this scavenger hunt. While on the virtual meeting with students have all students open the same week for Studies Weekly. Ask questions about any of the articles that week and have students race to find the answer within the articles and share the screen to show where they found the answer. (Consider having students highlight the information within the Studies Weekly platform or use the Zoom annotation features to show the answer.)

Primary and Secondary Sources: Have students find primary and secondary sources around their house or allow them to use the internet to share a source. Students will need to say whether the item is a primary or secondary source and how they know.

Family and Culture: Allow students the opportunity to share something from their culture or their family history. This could be a picture, clothing, a song, or they could show a picture of a food item from their culture and describe it.

Geography Scavenger Hunt: Use a map of the United States to find locations on a scavenger hunt. https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/united-states-geography-scavenger-hunt-activities/

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Publish A Class Book

Student Treasures Publishing

Publish a book for FREE with your class - it’s easy and perfect for students in grades Pre K-6.

The project is adaptable for in-person or distance learning settings. Motivate your students to do their best work, build upon their reading and writing skills and create a treasured keepsake.

Keep your students engaged, with a publishing project - it’s hands-on-fun and guides your students through the writing process. It can be as easy as distributing pages to students in their take-home folders or publishing online (great for distance learning).

Order your free publishing kit today!

CLICK HERE for the website

It's Easy to Publish a Book with Studentreasures!
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Connect LIVE with Columbus Zoo educators via Zoom as they highlight habitats, animals, and science concepts from all regions of the globe. Topics address Ohio Learning Standards and are designed to allow students an opportunity to visit the Zoo without ever leaving your classroom!

Programming is $100 BUT if you contact Becky Nellis at the zoo, you can apply for a programming scholarship which would reduce the cost of programming to $25. Becky can be emailed at becky.nellis@columbuszoo.org

Apply soon as scholarships are limited!

View links below for sample programs!

Backyard Detectives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmkKccnz4dU&feature=youtu.be

Food Chains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO-bz_AOm4Y&feature=youtu.be

Animal Adaptations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Guk8yPZQhE&feature=youtu.be

Looking for more opportunities?

Visit http://www.columbuszoo.org and click on Discover to find information about how our School Assembly Outreach or Classroom Outreach programs can also connect with you virtually.

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Spruce Run 2nd 9 weeks Newsletter

Check out the Spruce Run Environmental Center Newsletter.

There are great ideas to check out for your virtual classroom!

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on taking care of youth who have diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. Regardless of their age, sometimes youth who have diabetes need support with their diabetes care. That’s why it’s important to help your child or teen develop a plan to manage diabetes, and work with their health care team to adjust the diabetes self-care plan as needed.

Please check out the link below for a Google Slides show, called Diabetes in School from Nurse Adriana Castellanos from Ecole Kenwood. Thank you Nurse Castellanos for putting the presentation together, Tracy Ramey for the parent perspective video, and Christine Williams for the teacher's perspective.

Other resources you may find informative:

How teachers can support students with type 1 diabetes (PDF)

Grace's Story video and Diabetes information for parents, kids, and teens from Akron Hospital

Videos from KidsHealth.org - What happens in Type 1 Diabetes?; What happens in Type 2 Diabetes?; How your body gets energy; How insulin is made and works

Diabetes in School - Google Slides with videos

Thank you to Nurse Adriana Castellanos, Tracy Ramey, and Christine Williams from Ecole Kenwood for the information and videos from different perspectives.

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American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. The event culminated an effort by Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation who rode across the nation on horseback seeking approval from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. More than seven decades later, then-President George H.W. Bush in 1990 signed a joint congressional resolution designating the month of November “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994 to recognize what is now called "American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month."

Resources to check out:

Children's Literature:

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NOVEMBER 3 - Building PD Day

The elementary curriculum team will have on-demand professional development webinars available on November 3, 2020.

The on-demand PD videos and facilitation guides will be in the Digital Binder under Professional Development Resources.


Grades K-1 Foundational Skills Instruction with Fundations and Into Reading

Grades 2-3 Vocabulary Instruction in Grades 2 and 3

Grades 4-5 Writing for Grades 4 and 5


What does Mathematical Discourse look like?


Ideas for the Virtual Science Classroom

Social Studies:

Increasing Online Engagement in Social Studies

Remote Learning & Tech Integration:

Turning PDFs into Google Slides

Flipped Classroom with Google Interactive Slides

Next Level with HyperDocs

Using Kami in the Classroom

November 3 - Election Day

“Democracy is the ability of the people to decide how and by whom they are governed. It creates a government that is for the betterment of the citizens of the country rather than a government run by an elite few.” -- Boston, High School Senior

Our students will likely remember this year’s elections process for years to come, even just for its role in the ever-memorable year of 2020. Here are a few resources you can use to equip them to learn and think about voting and their future.

Children's Literature Read Alouds:

November 11 - Veteran's Day

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Veteran's Day resources:

Veteran's Day Poems for the Classroom

Veteran's Day Songs

Veteran's Day Thank You video by Scholastic (2:02 min)

Veterans Day for Kids Cartoon! Learn Fun Facts about Veterans Day for Elem Students (3 min)

H Is For Honor: Veterans Day Video from #BISDwired (also a book) (5:09 min)

Children's Literature read alouds:

Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood by Valerie Pfundstein

Veterans Day Bullfrog Books by Rebecca Pettiford

H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian

The Wall by Eve Bunting

My Military Mom by Claudia Harrington

Veterans Day - How it started and why we honor it - KID HISTORY

November 26 - Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day, an annual national holiday in the United States celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

Thanksgiving resources

What really happened at the First Thanksgiving? Become a history detective and find out!

In this fun, award-winning activity, you take on the role of a “history detective” to investigate what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration. (Hint: It was a lot more than just a feast!) Along the way, you will read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home. As a final activity, you can design and print your own Thanksgiving exhibit panel.

Recorded Children's Read Alouds

Other Thanksgiving videos:

Thanksgiving Songs for Children - A Turkey Dance - Dance Songs for Kids by The Learning Station