Secondary English Weekly #16

VOLUME THREE, ISSUE SIXTEEN /January 25-29, 2021

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Sunday, January 24th

  • Jason Reynolds Virtual Author Talk 4-5pm Register

Monday, January 25th

Tuesday, January 26th

  • StudySync Webinar: Make the Most of StudySync and Google Integration 4-4:30 PM — Register
  • Crucial Conversations Book Study (CCS TOSA, Johari Mitchell) 4:00 - 5:00PM--Zoom Link (Meeting ID: 860 1446 9811; Passcode: 630837)

Wednesday, January 27th
  • StudySync Webinar: How Administrators Can Best Utilize StudySync 1-1:45PM — Register
Thursday, January 28th
  • STUDYSYNC ASK-AN-EXPERT CCS-ONLY SESSION: 3:30-4:00 PM Zoom Link (ID: 985 4912 8122; Passcode: 399075)
  • StudySync Webinar: Refresh Your Routines-Diversity & Reteach Any Skills with Spotlight Skills 4-4:30 PM — Register

Friday, January 29th

Saturday, January 30th

  • Engaging Students Remotely (CCS Teacher, Valarie Cummings) 9-11am Zoom Link (Meeting ID: 884 3198 0206; Passcode: 649541)
  • NCTE Mindfulness Writing Series Session 11am-12:15pm Register HERE
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library Winter Reading Challenge Ends
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With the advent of semesterization this school year, there will be some transitioning required. Inside StudySync, you should now see your second semester classes and will likely see your first semester classes disappear/become inactive. For full-year courses, the second semester will be noted by the inclusion of a "Y" in its naming protocol. (First semester classes contained an "X".) Just like you did first semester, you can rename these classes to help you determine which class is which period when assigning items from StudySync. If you want to change the names of your classes in StudySync, follow this guide: StudySync-How to Change Course Names. If during the transition, your Y classes are not connected to your Google Classroom, here is information about linking StudySync to Google Classroom.

If you have noticed your Launchpad courses disappearing, know that Tim Wangler is currently working on correcting the issue. If you have questions concerning StudySync or Launchpad courses/students syncing with Infinite Campus/Clever, reach out to Tim Wangler.


If you are a CCS English Teacher and you are a published author, we would like to acknowledge you and your works. It does not matter if your work was published yesterday or 30 years ago, we want to celebrate you. Please fill out this CCS AUTHORS form by Friday, January 29th to let us know what books you have had published so that we can tell our CCS family about your accomplishment and increase your readership. Your accolades will be featured in this weekly newsletter and shared with CCS Communications department for wider exposure.


A District-wide PD Day is happening next week, February 3rd. This week, the District/your principal will send out a link to the site that lists all of the Sessions for the February 3rd PD Day. HERE is that link. Below are the sessions that are included on that site that are specifically targeted for Secondary English based upon the survey you filled out a few weeks ago. Some sessions are repeated for ease of planning your day. In addition to the sessions listed below, there will be a few on-demand videos available for you to peruse during the PD Day in lieu of or in addition to possible sessions.
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Andy Chow with Ohio Public Radio/TV would like to start a speaking/outreach program where he and his colleague talk to high school students about the career possibilities in journalism and broadcasting. They would visit your classes (virtually) to talk about the careers and answer any questions. If you are interested in this, please reach out to Andy at


Current users of Bedford, Freeman, and Worth's (BFW) textbooks and LaunchPad are invited to apply to become a BFW Teacher Advocate. BFW Teacher Advocates:

  • Share their personal experiences using BFW products with other educators who may be considering BFW products for their classes.
  • Are featured in a special community group dedicated to sharing best practices and teaching tips for BFW materials.
  • Conduct presentations (virtual and, in the future, in-person) on BFW course resources.
  • Earn extra income.

If you are interested in becoming a BFW Teacher Advocate, please complete this short application form no later than 12:00 ET on Monday, January 25, 2021. Those selected to become Teacher Advocates will be notified by Friday, February 1, 2021.If you have any questions about the BFW Teacher Advocate Program, please contact


Columbus City Schools students and staff - and readers throughout our city of all ages - can get customized book lists created just for them, based on the books they like to read.

Our partners at the Columbus Metropolitan Library have launched a new service called “My Next Read” which offers suggestions on books to read, individualized to the reader’s likes and interest. An online survey asks a series of questions, starting with the types of book readers often read and the names of books they’ve read recently. An individualized book list is then sent directly to the readers within 2-3 days. You need to have a CML library card to try the My Next Read service. Then go to

LIVE CONVERSATION: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era (THURSDAY)

A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era

Thursday, January 28, 2021, 2-3PM

America is more divided than ever—and dangerously so. We need not look any further than the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol while Congress was certifying the results of the presidential election. The denial of objective truth by those in power—be it sowing doubt about the results of the national election, the severity of COVID-19, racism, or the work of journalists—continues to erode public trust and threatens our democracy. And while there are renewed calls for the teaching of civics, media literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, there is no clear path ahead on what that instruction should look like to reach all corners of a divided nation, or if these skills inoculate the nation against a future crisis.
How do educators, some of whom may be contributing to the misinformation unknowingly, break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth—even when they themselves struggle to separate fact from fiction? And what does this new form of “trutherism” or “post-truth” reality mean for our students? Researcher Jennifer Kavanagh, one of the authors of the Rand Corp.’s study Truth Decay, and her research colleague Alice Huguet join Education Week opinion blogger and educator Peter DeWitt for a conversation about what’s on the line. REGISTER HERE



The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is sponsoring its annual high school poetry contest, offering prizes and publication to winners in nine categories. A grand prize-winning poem will be published in Common Threads, OPA’s annual poetry journal. Winning poems will be sent to the Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. The OPA contest is open to any student in grades 9–12 in public schools, private and faith-based schools, and to home-schooled students in Ohio. There is no entry fee. Rules are set out below. To avoid disqualification, all of the following guidelines must be followed.

Submission Guidelines

  • All poems must be the original work of the student and must be unpublished (in print or online, including social media) and not accepted for publication.
  • Each poem must be titled. There may be only one entry per student in any category, and no poem may be entered in more than one category. There is no limit on the number of categories to which a student may submit. NOTE: For Manningham eligibility, there is a limit of 30 lines for any poem; only one poem per student can be sent.
  • All poems must be typed or computer-generated in a plain font no larger than 12-point. Times New Roman is the suggested font.
  • All poems must be in English, single-spaced, printed on one side of the page only, and all category requirements must be observed. No illustrations or decorations.
  • Two copies of each poem must be submitted. Each copy must contain the name Senior Division and the category (number only) in the upper left-hand corner. On the second copy only, the name of the student, name of the school (or if home-schooled, your mailing address), grade level, and language arts/English teacher (or parent-teacher for home-schoolers) must appear in the upper right-hand corner.
    At the bottom of the page with the student name and school address identification, the following statement must be typed and signed by the student. This can be signed electronically if poems are emailed.

    “I certify that this poem is my original work and has not been copied in whole
    or in part from any author’s poems in print or posted on the Internet."
    Signed: ___________________________________________

  • All entries from the same school should be mailed together, flat in one envelope, with the name of the teacher or parent-teacher on a note inside or marked clearly on the envelope. Alternatively, poems can be emailed. Teachers should compile all their student entries into one WORD document file. See below for email and mailing information.

Special Note for Teachers: Teachers are strongly encouraged to read all student poems for appropriateness. No personal names of friends or family members should appear in poems. No poems will be returned.

Contest Categories & Sponsors

  1. Voices from the Past – A persona poem in any style in the voice of someone or something from history or prehistory (e.g., a person/animal/artifact). Sponsor: Mark Hersman
  2. EthosEthos is a Greek word defined as the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution or the fundamental character or spirit of a culture. Write a poem that reflects in some way your own ethnicity or cultural heritage. Any form. 30-line limit. Sponsor: Chuck Salmons
  3. New Beginnings – Using your imagination and fresh imagery, describe how change of any kind can affect your life. 30-line limit. Sponsor: Great Expectations Writers
  4. Free Verse – A poem of no more than 10 lines on any subject. Sponsor: Jessica Bentley
  5. Humor – A poem that makes us laugh—amusing, humorous, funny (but clean enough to print) in any form. 30-line limit. Sponsor: Pat Snyder Hurley
  6. Metrical Measures – Write a poem in a form that is metrical, e.g., sonnet, villanelle, blank verse. 30-line limit. Sponsor: Betsy Hughes
  7. Ekphrastic – Choose a work of art from any art museum you visit on-site or online, and write a poem in response to that work. At the bottom of your page, note the name of the work of art; the artist; the museum where you viewed it; and a website location (URL) of the art, if available. 30-line limit. Sponsor: The Pentapoets
  8. A Sense of Place – A poem that captures a memorable landscape, cityscape, seascape, building, or interior. Any form. 30-line limit. Sponsor: William R. Reyer
  9. “There’s One Who Doesn’t Know We’re Twins” – Maybe or maybe not separated at birth or in a dream or somewhere else in the universe. Write about a “possible twin” you may have. 30-line limit. Sponsor: Springfield Writers Club

Prizes & Publication

Awards for each category are $25, $15, and $10, with the possibility of honorable mentions. All judges reserve the right not to award a prize in a category if entries do not meet the category criteria and/or judge’s requirements. Chapbooks with winning poems will be sent to each school by mid-April. Please email or mail all poetry submissions by January 25, 2021.



Regular mail: Send submissions in one envelope to:

Sharon Fish Mooney, OPA Student Contests
86545 Cramblett Road
Scio, Ohio 43988

For further inquiries or questions send an email to:


Institute 1: Introduction to Reading Like a Historian Curriculum and Beyond the Bubble Assessments

Dates: February 24, March 10, and March 24, 2021
Time: 6-8pm ET
Homework: 4 hours total
Location: Online with Zoom
Cost: $375

During this interactive institute, participants will learn about the Stanford History Education Group’s Reading Like a Historian lessons and Beyond the Bubble assessments. This three-session institute will address the following topics:

  • Overview of Reading Like a Historian design principles & historical thinking
  • Modeling historical thinking
  • Introduction to Beyond the Bubble assessments
  • Formative assessment as part of inquiry-based history instruction
  • Facilitating historical discussions

Participants who complete the course and assigned homework will be eligible for 1 CEU, issued by the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

Registration opens January 28th, and space is limited. Click here to register.

A limited number of scholarships are available for teachers who can verify current employment at a Title I school in the United States. Visit this form for more information. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 24th. LEARN MORE

Institute 2: Designing and Adapting Reading Like a Historian Curriculum

Dates: March 3, March 17, and March 31, 2021
Time: 6-8pm ET
Homework: 4 hours total
Location: Online with Zoom
Cost: $375

During this interactive institute, participants will explore how to develop and adapt Reading Like a Historian lessons. This three-session institute will address the following topics:

  • Overview of Reading Like a Historian design principles
  • Scaffolding documents for different reading levels
  • Developing central historical questions for inquiry-based lessons
  • Building accessible, engaging document sets
  • Creating Opening Up the Textbook (OUT) and Structured Academic Controversy lessons

Please note: This institute is designed for educators of grades 5-12 who have experience with the Reading Like a Historian curriculum or who have attended previous Stanford History Education Group professional development. Participants will receive a digital record of completion. Participants who complete the course and assigned homework will be eligible for 1 CEU, issued by the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

Registration opens January 28th, and space is limited. Click here to register.

A limited number of scholarships are available for teachers who can verify current employment at a Title I school in the United States. Visit this form for more information. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 24th. LEARN MORE

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What are the secondary english curriculum resources?

Here is the CCS Adopted, Supplemental, and Intervention Resources List that contains all of the resources available to secondary English teachers.

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

You can see more about StudySync, Bedford, TeachingBooks, and DBQ below in this same section of the newsletter. This information will remain here all year for your convenience.

Visit the ELA 6-12 Webpage for all Secondary English Curriculum/Resources. You will find your COURSE FOLDERS on the Curriculum/Instructional Resources Quick Links for your Grade Level. The COURSE FOLDERS have everything you need for your courses including Curriculum Maps, Standard docs, digital novels, adopted resource trainings/tutorials, Course Intros, etc.

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

Content Priorities-What Matters Most in English Under the Constraints of Remote/Pandemic Teaching and Learning

We all know that remote teaching during a global pandemic inherently leads to a slower teaching and learning pace. The director of Secondary Curriculum asked me to put together some slides for how to adapt to the slower pace by showing what the three main priorities would be for teaching English in our new normal. The priorities are not much different than what they would be in a face-to-face situation, but they are narrowed and more focused.

Priority I: Essential Practice

  • significant instructional time with ELA disciplines: reading, writing, discussion

  • strategies/scaffolds for comprehension and composition that transfer across texts/contexts

Priority 2: Standard Alignment

  • questioning/activities/lessons/assessments that apply standard knowledge and skills to ELA disciplines: reading, writing, discussion

  • heavier focus on targeted standards from OST
  • awareness of PreAP/AP standards (Honors & AP)

Priority 3: Adopted Resource

  • use of StudySync (English 6-12) for integrated, on-grade-level, scaffolded lessons that inherently include Priorities 1 and 2

  • use of Bedford texts/Launchpad (Honors & AP) for foundational, skill, and theme/topic lessons that that inherently include Priorities 1 and 2

-In general, the first priority focuses on the essential practices for your classroom time. The second priority lists the standards that you should focus on the most for questions, activities, lessons, and assessments using the grade-level, complex texts from your essential practice in priority one. It may be that those priority standards become your narrowed focus for the rest of the year. The third priority shows you how the adopted resources inherently meet priorities one and two. It should be noted that in StudySync, you teach all of the standards listed in priority two in the first four CORE ELA units for your grade level. It may be that you try to do just those four units instead of six this school year due to our slower pace caused by remote learning.

-Below are the slides with the priorities detailed including which standards are the most important for preparing a student to be college and career ready and to do well on the OST. You will find resource links from the CCS ELA 6-12 Webpage and our adopted resources for meeting the priorities. You will find research behind each of the priorities and why they are the most important for a narrowed focus. You will want to read through each carefully as they each contain several items of information.


Content Priorities ELA 6-8

Content Priorities English 9-12

Content Priorities Honors 9-10/AP 11-12

-You can also find the Content Priority Slides on the ELA 6-12 Webpage in the "CCS ELA GUIDING DOCUMENTS" section of the Curriculum/Instructional Resources 6-8 and the Curriculum/Instructional Resources 9-12 Quick Link pages.


-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 were for first semester and 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 linking StudySync to Google Classroom.

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

  • DEMO:
  • UN: studysync2021
  • PW: MHEela21


Help Center

Finding the Help Center in StudySync (video)

-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.

Tutorials, Trainings, and Webinars

Ask-an-Expert Sessions

Remote Teaching Documents

Resources/ Links from StudySync Training Presenters

Teacher Resources from StudySync:

Administration Resources from StudySync:

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

Teacher Support McGraw Hill

Administrator Support McGraw Hill

Student/Parent Support McGraw Hill

studysync usage

StudySync should be used in the same manner as any adopted "textbook." It is the place where the CORE ELA Units for Grades 6-12 are housed (print-student consumable; digital-StudySync online). It is where students access grade-level, complex texts that they will read, write about, and have discussions around. It is the resource that offers scaffolding at point of use for students to access complex texts. It is the place where standards are mastered using reading, writing, and skill lessons. It is the place where you have a up-to-date information on how your students are mastering standards because the StudySync grade book has a Standards view that allows you to see every assignment a student has done aligned to a standard and offers ideas for remediation (StudySync Gradebook & Data Analysis). It is NOT a literacy intervention tool like Achieve3000 that has programmatic goals for students. It is important to make this distinction because teachers need to take ownership of using StudySync as their Tier 1 Instructional resource. The bulk of your curriculum should come from StudySync. Teachers are still free to add and take away from the units, just as you might have a textbook in the past. However, it is not ok to just use StudySync for testing and blasts. If you have been doing that, please make the change to using StudySync's CORE ELA Units. The first read, skill, close read routine found there is exactly what our students need to master standards using complex text. It is also important to note that StudySync is not a supplemental product, like TeachingBooks or DBQ Online. Those are available for your use but should not be the place you go to for the bulk of your curriculum.

BEDFORD/LAUNCHPAD 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.



Trainings and Tutorials
Bedford Overviews, Slideshows, Trainings, and Tutorials

AP Course Pacing Guides Updated to Make Up for Lost Instructional Time

If your full-year AP classes have been forced off schedule, the new AP Pacing Guides provide one way to help AP teachers catch up by maximizing their direct teaching time. You can check them out at AP Central and below. They have been added to your COURSE FOLDERS and can be found with the other AP Curricular items on the ELA 6-12 Webpage at the Curriculum/Instructional Resources 9-12 Quick Link.

TeachingBooks Access and Support


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



-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.

-October 16th PD Session: Virtual and Blending Learning Recording

DBQ Literature Mini-Qs: Supplemental Resource access and support

DBQ has given us FREE access to the Literature Mini-Qs this school year. You access them via via the Clever icon or Click on the The DBQ Project icon. (Access Live and Self-Paced PD for DBQ Here.) Each school also has a hard-copy binder of the lessons. Making copies of these for subs would be a great way to have standard-aligned, high-quality lessons since subs will not/may not have access to StudySync.

--Check out the newest addition to the DBQ Platform, Unit Trailers, with this sample for

How Does The Great Gatsby Reflect America in the Twenties?

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You can attend a virtual author talk as part of the the Columbus One Book-One Community events around the book STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Let's Talk About Race with Jason Reynolds is happening on Sunday, Jan. 24 from 4-5 p.m. You can save your spot here.


This month, The Great Gatsby entered the public domain, as shared in this piece from NPR. No longer bound by copyright, the popular book will undoubtedly become less expensive and therefore more accessible to readers. Though its original release was unsuccessful, it has gone on to fascinate readers from all walks of life for decades. Join NCTE in a discussion of the current relevance of The Great Gatsby with award-winning authors and educators who know it well: Min Jin Lee, Kiley Reid, and Victor Malo-Juvera. The discussion, moderated by Tricia Ebarvia, will include conversation about the book’s enduring themes and will also offer more recent texts to pair with Gatsby for classroom exploration and discussion. The event will take place on Monday, January 25, at 8 p.m. ET. RSVP NOW! This is a member event, so if you need to join or renew your membership, please visit our website.

You can also check out this recent post from titled “Disrupting The Great Gatsby.”


The next course meeting day is February 9th. If you have ever wanted to talk to other English teachers in the district about teaching ideas for the course(s) you instruct, now is your chance to join a Zoom session to

  • share how they are making the most of our adopted resources (e. g. StudySync) to maximize student learning,
  • show teaching ideas that have worked well this year,
  • ask other colleagues how they are handling something you want to try, etc.

There is no set agenda for this meetings, so bring your ideas to share. The district will plan to have some Course Meetings every second, Tuesday. The remaining dates are 2/9, 3/9, 4/13, 5/11. We may not be able to have every course, every month due to the available number of hosting Zoom rooms, but we will offer as many as we can. You will be able to find the ones available for each date in this newsletter the week of the meetings.


A Mindful Writing series from NCTE will take place every Saturday from January 9th through February 13th from 11am-12:15pm. The opportunity is open to both NCTE members (free) and nonmembers ($10 per session). This series will help teachers refuel and find balance as we take the turn into a new year. In each session, participants will be invited to do a guided meditation and then a restorative activity that combines writing with mindfulness, including already-perfect meditation, working with preconceptions and story lines, caricature of our internalized critics, and mantra for self-compassion. Some sessions will include guest speakers and experts on mindfulness with an opportunity for Q&A; guest speakers will be announced as they are confirmed. Please note: This series is NOT sequential. Feel free to join one, two, or any number of the sessions—whatever works with your schedule. Each date will be a unique time to get together and meet you where you are. Register HERE


Crucial Conversations Book Study

  • Presenter: Johari Mitchell

  • Date/Time: January 26 & February 2 from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

  • Location: Online - Meeting ID: 860 1446 9811 Passcode: 630837 One tap mobile +13017158592,,86014469811#

  • Target Audience: Teachers

  • As educators, most of us have received training in content knowledge, teaching techniques, assessment practices and classroom management, among other important subjects. But where do we go for training in handling difficult conversations well? This session is an introduction to and interactive discussion of the the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.

Engaging Students Remotely

  • Presenter: Valarie Cummings

  • Date/Time: Saturday, January 30th from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

  • Location: Online - Link Meeting ID: 884 3198 0206 Passcode: 649541

  • Target Audience: Middle and High School ELA teachers

  • Attendees will participate in activities to help increase engagement remotely.

Building Professional Efficacy: Instructional Practice vs. Instructional Strategy

  • Presenter: Tracie Helmbrecht

  • Date/Time: March 18, 2021 from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

  • Location: If in person - 3700 S. High Street If virtual - Zoom Link:

  • Target Audience: PreK-12 teachers and administrators

  • Increase your professional efficacy by using your SIP to identify appropriate instructional practices and strategies. We will take time to define each, create examples of each and how practices and strategies are used to increase student engagement.


Here are some upcoming sessions:

View the whole line up here.


During the month of February, you can host an African American Read-In (AARI) virtual event. Include your event in the 2021 Report Card by completing this Host Report Card submission form after your event by March 15, 2021.

Ways to Get Involved:

  • Access this year's AARI toolkit.
  • Add an event to the AARI calendar or find an AARI event near you!
  • Participate in the next #NCTEchat on Twitter (@ncte) January 17, at 8 pm where they will discuss planning for AARI.
  • Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #AARI21.
  • Learn more HERE.


Kami Connect 2021 is a free virtual conference for educators on February 18th. Join them for an action-packed day of professional development, inspirational speakers, previews of new Kami features, prizes, and much more! Sessions include Fostering collaboration, Whiteboarding, Inclusive classrooms and accessibility, Social and emotional learning, New Kami features and product tips, Expert panel discussions, and Inspiring keynotes. Register HERE for Kami Connect


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


OCTELA is excited to announce its partnership with Homestretch Apparel, an independently-owned brick and mortar shop in Delaware, Ohio. The 2021 conference t-shirt is actually a throwback to the super-popular "I [Ohio as a heart] Reading" design! Short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and hoodies are available. You can opt to have your order shipped to your home, or you can choose to pick it up in the Delaware store for no shipping cost. Orders will be shipped/available for pick up on February 18, 2021, so you can show off your OCTELA pride at the virtual conference. Please visit the following link to order your shirt:


Join SLJ for Middle Grade Magic 2021 to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some of the most anticipated new titles for kids and tweens, from modern coming-of-age tales to eye-popping graphic novels to submersive fantasy. You'll also hear from librarians, who will share how they’ve incorporated programs and activities focused exclusively on this age group. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, download educational resources, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.

Middle Grade Magic is still under development so check back for keynote and speaker announcements, additional sessions, exhibit hall and sponsor details, live guest chats and more! Event Hours: 9:00AM ET - 5:00PM ET


HERE is the contest to win $500 in Books.

HERE is the grant opportunity to win $1,000 in Books

HERE is the contest to win 5 copies of To Kill a Mockingbird. (Ends 1-29-21)


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways for January 2021.


HERE are the highlighted contests and giveaways.

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This year’s program is online only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out this Winter Reading Challenge video to learn more.

Dates: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 – Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021

Participants: Students in Kindergarten through 12th grade

How can I join Winter Reading Challenge? Go to Select “register,” then “I’m registering for Winter Reading Challenge.” Sixth grade teachers are able to sign up their entire class by selecting "I'm a teacher signing up my class" after hitting the register button.

How do I complete Winter Reading Challenge? Earn 6 Super Winter Reader badges by completing 6 reading activities of your choice. The required 6 hours of reading are built into the activities.

What prizes will I earn if I complete Winter Reading Challenge? You will earn a book, bookmark, mechanical pencil, a Raising Cane’s coupon and a Donatos coupon booklet. They will be mailed to the mailing address you provide when you sign up.


Super Bowl champion and Scholastic author of The Magician’s Hat, Malcolm Mitchell, is hosting READBowl 2021, a national reading competition for Grades PreK-8 that provides teachers with a FREE platform to motivate students to increase their reading minutes in school. READBowl culminates with the crowning of the National Reading Champions on Super Bowl Sunday! Join the challenge and rack up student reading minutes to compete for FREE books and prizes!

About READBowl

Beginning on January 11, 2021, the day of the College Football National Championship, READBowl culminates on February 7, 2021 with the crowning of the National Reading Champions on Super Bowl Sunday! FREE global reading competition for Pre-K through 8th grade students! Designed to inspire students to read and provide teachers with a free platform to motivate students to increase reading minutes. All school programs can participate – in school, distance, virtual and hybrid. Adults can register multiple teams at one time, by first registering themselves. Upon registering/signing in, visit the menu grid and select “Add a Class/Team,” and proceed to add as many teams as desired. Learn More


We just lived through one of the most wrenching and disruptive years in memory. For many young people applying to college, 2020 will be a year they will talk about and remember for the rest of their lives. The New York Times would like to hear how students are translating that year into their college application essay, another formative ritual for high school seniors on the cusp of adulthood. Students should use THIS NYT LINK to share an essay that they submitted to at least one college.


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, and writers receive an invitation to read their work at the Columbus Arts Festival. Submissions are juried by a committee of teen writers from Thurber House's Young Writers' Studio (See Above). Submissions are OPEN for the 2021 edition of Flip the Page. Please read all guidelines carefully. Submission Deadline: January 29, 2021

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

Artwork 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
  • We are interested in 2-D and 3-D pieces, as well as digitally-created or edited artwork
  • Each artist can submit up to five pieces
  • Artwork must be submitted as a .jpg, .tiff, or .png file
  • Resolution should be 300 dpi or higher
  • Send artwork to (or click the submit button below)
  • Include artist's first and last name, date of birth, title of piece, contact email, school, and art teacher's name with submission
  • At times, to accommodate the design of the journal, we must grayscale or crop artwork, but we always try to maintain the integrity of the piece


Questions? Check out the FAQ page! Not finding the answer there? Email Flip the Page is a free program.


Students in 9th–12th grade who love writing stories, crafting new worlds, and building never-before-seen characters, should sign up for Thurber House's Young Writers' Studio! Young Writers' Studio will be held online on Zoom until it's safe to meet in person. They meet every other week 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 way to enjoy writing and meet others!

Click Here to Learn More; Click Here to Register

Winter/Spring 2021 Schedule (6:30-8:30pm on Select Tuesdays)

  • Tuesday, February 2
  • Tuesday, February 16
  • Tuesday, March 2
  • Tuesday, March 16
  • Tuesday, March 30
  • Tuesday, April 13
  • Tuesday, April 27

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


The Winter Writing Wizards Classes for Grades 6, 7, and 8, will meet via Zoom on Saturdays: February 27 and March 6, 13, 20 Learn More; Register for Writing Wizards

You can sign up for one or both sets of classes.

  • Poems for Life 10:00 – 11:30 am ET The world is full of weird events...murder hornets?! You’ll learn to look at real-world events like a poet, and have fun reinventing them through your writing and making your voice heard.
  • Ensembles Assemble! 12:00 – 1:30 pm ET What if we make a whole ensemble of vampires, robots, and more, each created by a person in the class, all in the same shared story? Writing a character is fun—but writing a universe together is magical.

Questions? Prefer to register over the phone? Contact Meg Brown at A limited number of scholarships are available for this program. Registration Deadline: Friday, February 19


For $15 students aged 9-14 can join a 50-minute class where they will discuss and sing along with Hamilton. They'll discuss how Hamilton came to Broadway, play some trivia, and learn and talk about topics they initiate. Classes are available from January 17th through March 27th, but they are filling up fast. Check out all of the classes and register HERE.


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


Here are two writing contest from NCTE.

Achievement Awards in Writing (for 11th grade students)

This school-based writing program encourages high school students in their writing and publicly recognizes some of the best student writers in the nation. Deadline February 15

Promising Young Writers (for 8th grade students)

This school-based writing program stimulates and recognizes student’s writing talents and emphasizes the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students. Deadline February 15


The Application for the 2021 Princeton Summer Journalism Program is now open!
The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) is a free journalism and college preparatory program for high-achieving current juniors from low-income backgrounds who are interested in journalism. They are currently planning to run the program virtually for the summer of 2021. Over seven weeks, students will attend virtual workshops to learn reporting skills from professional journalists. They will also attend virtual lectures on liberal arts topics led by Princeton University professors. Participants hold a press conference, produce a short documentary, report on a professional sporting event, attend a virtual theatrical production, and interview subjects for their feature stories, which will be published in the Princeton Summer Journal. Review the 2020 Program Schedule for a sample of what to expect. After the program, students work with a volunteer college adviser, a professional journalist or program alum, to complete their college applications.

Program Flyer: PSJ 2021
Program dates: mid-June through early August 2021
Cost: None. There is no cost to students to participate in this program.
Eligibility: To apply, students must be:

  • Current high school juniors (Class of 2022)
  • living in the United States permanently
  • with an unweighted GPA of 3.5/4.0 (or equivalent)
  • who have an interest in journalism (no experience required)
  • and meet one of the financial eligibility requirements below:
    • The custodial parent(s)/guardian(s)’ combined income (including child support received) must not exceed $60,000 annually
    • The student must be eligible for Free/Reduced-Priced Lunch.
    • The student is eligible for a SAT or ACT fee waiver.

Students facing extenuating circumstances should explain their situation on the application.
Applying: The online application is available on this website and due no later than Monday, February 22, 2021. Students must submit an unofficial transcript to be considered. You may read about the full application process and find answers to FAQs online.


Humanities Moments

Through the National Humanities Center’s Humanities Moments project, users submit short videos and essays recalling how an encounter with the humanities, whether through a book, film, document, performance, or something else, profoundly affected their lives.

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Song of the Week

Moon Taxi - Say (Official Lyric Video)

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