Curriculum Times

Volume 1, Issue 5 -- May 2015

Curriculum Revision

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Teacher Appreciation Week May 4 - 8

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Avoiding the Summer Slump

The National Summer Learning Association states

  • All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains (Cooper, 1996).
  • More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).

Jim Trelease reports “An analysis of the research of Donald Hayes and Judith Grether with high- and low-poverty students in 600 New York City schools showed that rich and poor students had seven-month difference in scores at the beginning of second grade but this widened to a difference of two years and seven months by the end of grade six. What made this particularly striking was the research showing little or no difference in these students' achievement when school was in session: They learned at the same pace. As Hayes and Grether noted: ‘The differential progress made during the four summers between 2nd and 6th grade accounts for upwards of 80 percent of the achievement difference between economically advantaged ... and ... ghetto schools.’"

So, what can be done? Sending home resources for summer learning is a way that schools may impact the summer slump. Below are some suggestions of what to share with parents.

A summer reading list from Scholastic for ages 0 to 18 is available here.

Oxford Owl offers 350 free e-books for ages 8-11.

Math Games is a new website with games to practice K-8 math skills.

Oswego Schools has created a great website with online math games for elementary students that covers everything from counting to determining the degrees of an angle.


For K-2 students, iRead is available during the summer. Information has been sent to iRead teachers and is also available on the Curriculum and Instruction website on the iRead page.

Houghton Mifflin offers some fun math games sorted by grade level. Students will want to look for the eGames section.

ABCya offers fun engaging games to build math and reading skills for grades K-5.

FunBrain is another oldie but goodie that offers both literacy and math games. The Parents page offers materials sorted by grade level and some articles to assist parents with helping their child to get the most out of the activities.

Math Playground offers games, video tutorials, and manipulatives covering everything from addition and subtraction to geometry.


Spree Learning offers fun math games covering everything from simple math skills to algebra, geometry and linear, quadratic and cubic flightpath equations.

Grammar Bytes offers interactive grammar practice.

To get your students reading the classics over the summer, recommend Bibliomania, which offers most of the classic works of literature (more than 2,000 available).

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Duke University Talent Identification Program: Congratulations to our 14-15 Duke TIP Scholars!

7th Grade Talent Search Participants were identified for exceptional academic ability based on ACT or SAT scores. These students will be honored at the State Recognition Ceremony on May 20th at 2 pm. The ceremony will take place at the Reynolds Center, University of Tulsa. Thoreau 7th grader Jonah Middlebrook will qualify for both state and grand recognition!
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Upcoming District Elementary Chess Tournament

The 2nd Annual District Elementary Chess Tournament will be held April 30th from 8:00-2:30 at Wilson Teaching and Learning. Last year 80 students from 10 schools participated in the tournament hosted by Zarrow International. This year, we will almost double participation. 150 students from 16 sites have registered. Participants will compete in three divisions: K-2nd, 3rd-4th, and 5th-6th. Next year, we will open up the event to middle school and junior high participants.

1st District Wide Gifted & Talented Parent Information Meeting

The gifted department, the local advisory committee, and school sites spent a month promoting a districtwide informational meeting for parents of gifted students to explain about branding our gifted program and the district-wide program acronym (iGniTing the S.P.A.R.K.). This was also an opportunity to share our vision with parents and give local advisory committee parents a chance to promote and garner interest for creating a parent organization to support the district’s gifted program and as a means to get families together to learn more about gifted issues and supporting their children.

The meeting was held on Thursday, April 2nd at Wilson Teaching and Learning. Over 230 people signed in that evening. Eight families took advantage of the ELD department translator we had available. Memorial JH gifted students and gifted staff from 15 site provided the child care support for over 50 elementary children. Gifted staff from Lee, McClure/Marshall, Mayo, Skelly, Salk, and Zarrow, spoke about our program and S.P.A.R.K. Jesse Guardiola, Hispanic liaison from the Tulsa Police department (member of the gifted local advisory), spoke on parent involvement and engagement. John Folks, also a member of the gifted local advisory, ended the evening speaking about commitment to gifted education, advocacy, understanding the needs of gifted children, and inviting parents to participate in a parent group.

Alternatives to Traditional Homework

As you think about school this summer and plan for next year, please consider this chart, created by Kathleen Cushman, the author of Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery.

If you love kids, you'll probably want to check out her website, which has information, links, and videos meant to spark a conversation.

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Fighting the Summer Math Slide

Did you know that, on average, all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months each year?* In TPS, this is the equivalent of 27% of what they learned in the previous year - an entire quarter’s worth of work could be lost! In hopes of lessening this summer math loss, TPS educators go to great lengths in order to fight this uphill battle, going so far as to even send home materials and internet resources for students practice.

To help you in this fight, Metametrics through (the resource available for use after administering the SMI) has created a free Summer Math Challenge to help states, parents, and kids combat this loss together. It is a simple challenge to motivate parents and kids alike to talk about math a little together every day as well as helping parents understand that they don’t need to be an expert to work with their child on math concepts. The challenge lasts six weeks, June 22 through July 31, and brings the focus to one concept per week. Parents will get daily emails which will include fun activities and resources to help kids retain the math skills learned during the previous year. This year’s challenge targets students entering grades 3 - 7 in the fall. Placement will be based on the student’s quantile measure (if available) and grade level. So if you teach in a grade level where the SMI is administered, be sure that the student knows what their quantile is so that when they sign up for the challenge their parents may enter that information. Participants will be able to visit the Summer Math Challenge webpage to earn badges for their weekly progress and learn more about the concept of the week. These activities will be connected to the real-world and will be engaging for both parents and students. When the program ends parents can print an award certificate to celebrate their child’s summer math accomplishments. Registration can be found here. The flyer to email or hand out for parents can be found here.

This summer math challenge can go hand in hand with students participating in the Tulsa City County Library Summer Reading Program if computer or internet access is not available at the student’s residence. Information on their Summer reading program will be available online in the coming weeks. Your school librarian will be able to answer questions regarding that program, as well.

*Cooper, H., Nye, B., Charlton, K., Lindsay, J., & Greathouse, S. (1996). The effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores: A narrative and meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 227-268.

Secondary Mathematics

Our department continues to look for individuals to provide feedback on C & I products. As we get closer to the end of testing, we will have multiple items ready for review and feedback. If you are willing to help you may sign up here or at the main page of the C & I website.

Are you using the test information resources provided by the OSDE to familiarize your students with the format of the tests? Remember that the practice tests and the parent testing guides are not intended to be used as predictors of student success on the OCCT or EOI tests. The parent testing guide is intended to inform parents about the test, and the questions are for parents to simply see how questions will be phrased and formatted. The practice test is intended to just familiarize students with the software, the formatting of the questions, and if allowed, the online version of the calculators.

The final SMI testing window is May 4 - 15. If available, take a look at the data for incoming students before leaving for summer. You can use this data to look at common weaknesses of students and plan what prerequisites for their first unit need to be addressed as next year opens. We will address this in the next department chair meeting on May 5th.

As you know, the creation of new Oklahoma standards for math has begun. As I receive more information or rough drafts I will pass it along to you. These standards go into full implementation statewide in 2016-2017. We need to have students ready for these more rigorous standards. As we get more details, we will pass along ideas of how we will make this transition.

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Summer Reading

As summer approaches and with state testing in the rear view, it is time for teachers and students to rejoice. The end of another school year is fast approaching, but as vacation time nears, teachers have the important task of motivating students to read during the summer months. Just because school is out, it doesn’t mean reading and learning should stop. Research by Allington and McGill-Franzen (2003) found that children who read six books or more may improve or maintain their reading achievement.

Reading is Fundamental provides great tips for kids to keep them reading. This site provides summer reading challenges and contests to help give kids a start on their summer reading. You will find articles, activities, brochures, and summer reading tips for parents and teachers. Explore hyperlinks as well as the whole site and you will find great book lists:

Scholastic offers a Summer Reading Challenge. Teachers can register students for the Summer Reading Challenge and track students’ reading progress throughout the summer, and use an interactive map to see how many minutes your school and other schools have read throughout the summer. This is a fun opportunity to challenge other classrooms in your building or start a friendly challenge with a neighboring school. The site also offers downloadable summer reading book lists and printables.

Also be sure to encourage children and families to utilize the Tulsa County Library summer reading program as well as story times and events.

Literacy Stations

As the school year is coming to an end, it is important to remember to continue to teach until the last day of school. If you take apart your room before school ends, it will give kids the crazy idea that learning is over. The end of the year is a great time to bring in more reader’s theatre, and students may even write their own play. Have students build stamina through independent reading and utilize more read-alouds. After the students are gone for the summer, it is a great time to go through your materials and declutter. Debbie Diller, in her book Spaces and Places, suggests going through and sorting one space at a time and asking yourself, “SHOULD I KEEP THIS?”

Diller (pg. 160) suggests using these prompts to guide you:

  • Have I used it this year?
  • Do I want to use it next year?
  • Is this something I might look over and use this summer to improve my teaching next year?
  • Do I already have a copy of this?
  • Does this belong to my school system? Or is it mine?
  • I used to use this, but I have something better to use now.

Debbie Diller’s book Spaces and Places is a great summer read for teachers to begin planning for the next school year.

Diller, D. (2008). Spaces & Places: Designing classrooms for literacy. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

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Visual Art Events and Summer Camps

May 8 -9: Any Given Child professional development on "The Blues" at Patrick Henry.

May 11-17: Mayfest Student Show. Students from numerous Tulsa Public Schools will participate in a juried show in the annual Mayfest Downtown show.

May 12: The 11th Levit Prize for Excellence in Art Awards Assembly will take place at the Education Service Center (4:00-5:30). The Levit prize is a juried show and students will receive cash awards and art gift bags that evening.

May 29-30: “From Zero to Mariachi” workshop at Saied Music Store, South (71st St). Friday night is a fiesta for teachers and community. Saturday is a workshop for music teachers interested in starting a mariachi program in their school.

June 15-26: The Kravis Summer Arts Program offers four distinct summer camps for students interested in the arts. Rogers High School houses the Elementary Camp (grades 1-6), the Middle School Arts (grades 7-8), and the Band Blast Off Camp (grades 5-7). The University of Tulsa houses the High School Art Camp. Enrollment information may be found on the main page of the Tulsa Public Schools website.

Entries in the 34th Annual District Art Show

2015 Annual District Art Show
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Scholastic End-of-Year Testing

The final SMI testing window has been moved to May 4, 2015 to May 15, 2015.

End-of-year SRI testing will take place May 11, 2015 through May 22, 2015.

All students currently enrolled in System 44 classes will also be required to take the SPI during this testing window. Students enrolled in System 44 are the only ones who need to take the SPI.

Elementary schools are strongly encouraged to also test second graders during this last testing window so that they will have data to guide decision making for the 2015-16 school year. There are two icons available, Foundational Reading and Reading Comprehension. They must take the Reading Comprehension test.

It is highly recommended that before administering the SRI to second graders, teachers should share the "How to take the SRI" PowerPoint with students so that they will know what to expect. This PowerPoint is available on the Curriculum and Instruction website on the System 44/Read 180 page.

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What Will You Discover About your City, State, or Country this Summer?

There are many apps that students, parents and teachers can download on their phone or iPad to keep up with their history and geography content over the summer. Try Clio! Clio is your guide to the history around you!

Clio is a free educational website and mobile application that currently has 5491 historical and cultural entries from all across the country and is constantly being updated. Clio uses GPS to reach the public where they stand and guide them to museums and historical and cultural sites. Each entry includes concise information, embedded media, and links to primary sources and relevant books and articles. It also offers maps and navigation, as well as useful information for visitors to museums, libraries, and historical sites. For example, in the Tulsa area some of the items that will pop up are:

1-Tulsa's Golden Driller

2-Boston Avenue United Methodist Church

3-Philbrook Museum of Art

4-Mabel B. Little Heritage House (Part of the Greenwood Cultural Center Complex)

5-Creek Nation Council Oak Park

6-Center of the Universe/ Artificial Cloud

7-Mount Zion Baptist Church

8-Cain’s Ballroom

9- “East Meets West,” A Memorial Installation Celebrating Route 66 in Tulsa

10-Battle of Round Mountain

11-Jim Thorpe House

12-The Price Tower - designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and much more!

By embedding primary sources and historical images into an entry, Clio allows a student to learn more about the "Father of Black History" while he stands at a statue of Carter G. Woodson. The same entry includes links to archival sources, related books and articles, and recollections of Woodson's youth in the student's hometown.

Clio provides institutional accounts to libraries, historical societies, museums, and other institutions so that their staff can create, expand, and update entries. Clio also provides special accounts for educators that allow them to create and vet entries with their students…..I see a good lesson in the future!! The Clio app has been built for simplicity; if you want more, you can access the website for additional features that are not on the app. For example, you can type in another location on the website to find out what is available to see and visit before you even travel to your next destination. So, I encourage you and your students to enjoy the summer, but, don’t stop learning. Take Clio with you wherever you go!

Another similar app is Field Trip. After downloading this app, turn it on and go about your day. The beauty of Field Trip is, you do nothing and it will just alert you whenever you are near something cool, hidden, or unique. It’s a whole new way of exploring.

Summer Professional Development

As the school year comes to a close, plans are being made for summer professional development. You will be receiving information from the Organizational and Professional Learning department soon about the numerous opportunities. Social Studies sessions this summer will focus on 1) the use of primary documents in daily instruction, 2) integrating technology in your social studies classroom, and 3) museum experiences – virtual and local. I hope to see you at one or more of these sessions.

National Geography Bee Materials - Free! Act Fast!

The Geo Bee is a classroom contest that excites students to learn about geography. While over 10,000 schools across the country competed in the contest this past year, only about 7% of schools in Oklahoma participated.

Engage students in learning geography through this exciting contest. The National Geographic Society has released the official contest materials of the National Geographic Bee for free - a Free-Bee! Schools with grades 4-8 qualify to receive the Free-Bee classroom materials. Request the National Geographic Free-Bee for your school. (The National Geographic Bee enrollment fee for schools is normally $100.00)

If you’d like more details about the National Geographic Bee you can reach Lauren Lombardo at (202) 828-6642, or visit the website.

Using Children's Literature to Teach Economics PK - 5 Grades - Book Giveaway

To celebrate National Financial Literacy Month (April) the Oklahoma Economic Council is giving away free children's books and lesson plans that will teach economic concepts. Act fast! The books are first come, first serve between April 14-May 15.

A chart to help you know the correlation of the book to the Oklahoma Academic Standards can be found by clicking here.

For more information, contact Andrea Douglas, Oklahoma Council on Economic Education

at 405-974-5346

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"Top Ten Reasons to Enroll in High Quality Early Learning" by Monica Bates

Monica Bates is an Information Resource Specialist in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.

When I first looked into my son’s eyes, I knew: I was lucky.

But I also knew that raising a child that is prepared for emotional, physical, and academic success wouldn’t be easy. Enrolling my son in a high-quality early learning program would promote his learning and development, making his prospects in school and in life that much brighter.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should consider enrolling your child in high-quality early education:

  1. About 70 percent of the brain is developed by age one and 90 percent is developed by age three. It is during these early years that genes interact with experience, providing a foundation—weak or strong—for all future learning, behavior, and health.

  2. Preschool-aged children have the ability to learn more, and faster, than you might think. Kids have an innate number sense that, by preschool, makes them ready to start learning math.

  3. The early years are important in shaping the long-term health and success of our children and our communities. Economist James Heckman analyzed research of a decades-long study that began in 1972. He found that kids who received full-day care—along with meals, games, and activity—are actually healthier as adults, with lower rates of high blood pressure and obesity, than kids who didn’t receive such services.

  4. Well-qualified caregivers and educators are fundamental to high-quality early learning programs. As a parent, you can have peace of mind knowing that your child is safe, and with adults who know how to support your child’s early development.

  5. Supportive learning environments are vital at every juncture—especially during the first five years of your child’s life. Great early learning programs can be tailored for our youngest children, whose brains develop important connections during their formative years.

  6. Studies demonstrate that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.

  7. Preschool can help your child to achieve school readiness goals—setting him or her up with skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and life.

  8. Early and regular check-ins and assessments can help families track and celebrate their child’s developmental milestones, and ensure that their children get early and specialized support, if needed.

  9. High-quality early learning is critical to sustaining our country’s economic competitiveness. Children in countries as diverse as Mexico, France, and Singapore have a better chance of receiving preschool education than do children in the United States.

  10. There is a growing recognition that quality matters tremendously when it comes to early learning. Programs that are high-quality have high staff qualifications, including a bachelor of arts for teachers; professional development for teachers and staff; low staff-child ratios and small class sizes; a full-day program; and more.

Excerpted from:

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Curriculum Review Evening

Monday, May 11th, 4-5:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy

We'd love for you to come in to look at lessons and units we've created to give us feedback on what you think and how they could be enhanced!

Monthly K-2 Meeting for ELA & Math

Tuesday, May 12th, 3:30-4:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy

Personal Financial Literacy and Better Money Habits Training

Thursday, May 14th, 9am-4pm

University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center, 4502 E. 41st. St., Tulsa, OK, Building 3, Room 3104

If you are looking for ways to reinforce your personal financial literacy lessons, then look no further. We are offering a Personal Financial Literacy training workshop, featuring ways to integrate Bank of America's Better Money Habits video library and Financial Fitness for Life workbooks into your lessons. Join us for this engaging and fast-paced session. Lunch and free parking are included with your registration. Substitute reimbursement is provided.

Contact: Mallery Nagle, Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, (405) 974-5280

To register visit this link.

Economics of War in the 21st Century

Thursday, May 14th, 9am-3:30pm

University of Oklahoma Schusterman Center, 4502 E. 41st St. Room 3102, Building 3, Tulsa, OK 74135

The One Law that Terrorists Must Follow... to find out what law it is, joins us for the War in the 21st Century Workshop. This was one of the most well received and highly attended workshops in the fall, so we are excited to be able to present it once again. Economics, Government and U.S. History teachers will find this beneficial.

This workshop will examine the economics of the modern military and incorporate concepts from history on both a Macro and Micro scale. The event will feature lessons and lesson demonstrations about supply, demand, exchange rates, staging costs, and more.

Substitute reimbursements are available. Lunch will be provided. For more information contact: Andrea Douglas at 405-974-5346

Oklahoma Council on Economic Education

Monthly 3-5 Meeting for ELA & Math

Thursday, May 14th, 3:30-4:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy

Teaching with a Sense of Humor...

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About Us

Dr. Perri Applegate, Academic Coordinator for K-12 Instructional Technology

Cindy Barber, Academic Coordinator for Library Media

Ayn Grubb, Academic Coordinator for Secondary ELA

Gary Horner, Academic Coordinator for Secondary Math

Natalie Hutto, Academic Coordinator for Elementary ELA

Lea Ann Macomber, Music Coordinator

Andy McKenzie, Director of Early Childhood Services

LeeAnne Pepper, Academic Coordinator for Elementary Math

Mary Jane Snedeker, Academic Coordinator for Social Studies

Dr. Ann Tomlins, Coordinator of Fine Arts

Dr. Linnea Van Eman, Coordinator of Gifted & Talented

Cathy Walton, Administrative Secretary

Danielle Neves, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Past Curriculum & Instruction Newsletters