Elementary Curriculum Newsletter

March 2021

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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, March 17, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm

Open office hours - ask questions and receive support with HMH: Ed Your Friend in Learning, Fundations, i-Ready, RIMPs, or any other component of the Literacy Block!



Tuesday, March 16, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm

Open Topics including questions about the Math Framework and Curriculum Resources


Science and Social Studies

Thursday, March 4, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm

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


Library Services & Instructional Technology

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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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Upcoming Fundations Virtual Implementation Support Sessions:

Due to the transition to a hybrid schedule, the remaining VIS sessions will be scheduled on Wednesdays when teachers are working remotely.

Please monitor your email for updated schedules and information.

Remember to check your Wilson Academy account in the VIS section for new resources and supports, and to sign up for office hours!

*Kindergarten teachers may contact Kennette Edwards, kedwards@columbus.k12.oh.us, with any questions.

*First grade teachers may contact Amber Bernal, abernal8121@columbus.k12.oh.us, with any questions.

LEVEL K Upcoming Sessions:

  • March 31, 8:15-9:00
  • March 31, 3:00-3:45

LEVEL 1 Upcoming Sessions:

  • March 17, 8:15 - 9:00; COHORT 1
  • March 17, 3:00 - 3:45; COHORT 2
  • March 31, 8:15 - 9:00; COHORT 3 & COHORT 5
  • March 31, 3:00 - 3:45; COHORT 4

Instructional Coach Upcoming Sessions:

  • March 10, 8:30-11:30; COHORT 1
  • March 10, 12:30-3:30; COHORT 2
  • March 11, 8:30-11:30; COHORT 3


Grades 3-5: Reading Interventions in the Digital Environment (A Community in Practice)

3-5 Intermediate Grades 3-5 Edition:

Reading Interventions in the Digital Environment (A Community in Practice)

ESC of Central Ohio Achievement & Leadership Services

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Time: 3:45 - 5:00 pm (live session)

This special edition of the Reading Interventions in the Digital Environment series was created especially for Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade teachers!

Join Michelle Elia, Ohio Literacy Lead, as she puts the spotlight on the best strategies and resources to use when providing literacy intervention in a virtual environment to students in the intermediate grades!

We hope you can join us for this action-packed and informative 75-minute live, virtual session from 3:45 pm-5:00 pm!

Contact hours will be awarded and the cost is FREE!

Questions about content? Contact Monica Brown: monica.brown@escco.org

Questions about registration? Contact Jinnae Buchanan: Jinnae.buchanan@escco.org


Reading Interventions in a Digital Environement

On-demand PD with Michelle Elia the Ohio Literacy Lead.

  • Using the Science of Reading to Plan Meaningful Interventions
  • Using Decodable Texts and Level Rich Texts
  • Literacy Assessments
  • Preschool Interventions
  • And more!


Into Reading - Professional Learning: LIVE EVENTS

Participants must register for live events in advance through their Ed accounts.

  • Data to Differentiate ELA - Monday, March 1, 2021, 3:30pm
  • Live From the Classroom with Into Reading, Thursday, March 4, 2021, 4:30pm
  • A Model Lesson Teaching Into Reading (3-5), Monday, March 8, 2021, 5:00pm
  • A Model Writing Lesson: Into Reading (K-2), Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 3:30pm
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Planning for Math Instruction

When planning, teachers should have a clear focus and goal for each math lesson. Lesson progressions should be determined so the sequence of the lessons build on the students prior knowledge. The structure of the lesson should engage students and use strategies at just the right time that fit students' needs. Mathematical practices should be evident during the lesson and data should be used to guide planning.

Both teachers and students need to have a clear understanding of the expectation of learning. Learning intention and success criteria for the lesson need to be communicated and understood so students and teachers are able to identify when they are met. Students understanding what success looks like has an effect size of 0.54. (Hattie) Having this understanding, helps students make judgments about the progress of their work and take ownership of their learning. The lessons are based on grade level standards and are developed to support the Depth Of Knowledge (DOK) level required. Lessons are sequenced so students can make connections and build on prior knowledge.

A Hybrid Planning Model and video can be found in the digital binder in the Hybrid Exemplar section under Math. There are examples for Kindergarten and 3rd grade, but the planning model and process can be used by any grade.

Ready Classroom Math also has suggestions for learning at school, learning at home on synchronous remote days, and learning at home without a Live teacher. These resources can be a support when you are planning math instruction.

Math Professional Development

Ohio i-Ready Teacher Webinar

Ohio i-Ready Teacher Webinar

Wednesday, March 10th

4:00 - 5:30 pm

The session will highlight key features such as addressing unfinished learning with the Prerequisites report for Math as well as Tools for Scaffolding Comprehension for Reading. Join to review actionable next steps for the 2020-2021 school year.


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3rd grade - ChickQuest

3rd grade teachers that have been through the ChickQuest program

You may want to check out some of the resources available for eggs-pert alumni like yourself on the Grow Next Gen website lined below. They have videos and other helpful information. https://grownextgen.org/events/chickquest-alumni

Also, visit GrowNextGen's YouTube list of helpful videos.


If you need the egg coupon from Meyer Hatchery, please contact Heather Allen hallen704@columbus.k12.oh.us

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Grade 5-8 opportunity-Over $3000 in prizes to give away!

Rubber Band Challenge

Are you ready to learn about the exciting world of polymers, and stretch your imagination?

Are you prepared to get hands-on with a polymer that has some truly unique and amazing properties?

Awesome, because it’s time for the 13th annual Rubber Band Contest for Young Inventors, hosted by the Akron Global Polymer Academy — an outreach division of the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron!

Join the fun and get ready to learn about the rubber band – one of the many amazing inventions created from a unique class of materials known as polymers! This educational contest was designed to give students a new opportunity to have fun learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Each year students from across the nation come up with new ways of using rubber band(s) to create amazing inventions, games, artworks, and more!

Remember the deadline to enter the 13th annual contest is March 12, 2021.

There are 2 divisions: Art & Leisure and Science & Engineering

Check out the website for all of the details https://rubberbandcontest.org/

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Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation Poster Contest

The Conservation Poster Contest is an annual event sponsored by Soil and Water Conservation Districts nationwide. This contest provides young people with an avenue to gain a better appreciation for our environment and share this caring sentiment through artwork. Franklin Soil and Water is proud to host a local contest in conjunction with the national event.

The Franklin County Conservation Poster Contest is open to any student in grades K-12.

The 2021 theme is “Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities.”

The contest will run from January 31st through April 13th.

Classes are asked to submit their top entries to Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District by April 13th.

Posters will be judged by the Franklin Soil and Water staff.

County winners will be recognized around April 30th in recognition of National Arbor Day.


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Each nine weeks Spruce Run produces a newsletter.

Please check back to the newsletter link throughout the grading period, as it is updated often. Any new information added during the grading period will be placed at the top of the current newsletter.

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March - Music In Our Schools Month

For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation.

The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community, and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages.

MIOSM and the events surrounding it are the ideal opportunities for increasing awareness of the benefits of high quality music education programs in our nation’s schools.

Learn about the new direction of Music In Our Schools (packet)

Music In Our Schools Lesson Plans

Ideas for Early Childhood and Elementary Music Classes

Be a part of the largest children's choir at home

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March 2 - Read Across America Day/Week

Many classrooms are gearing up for the most famous book holiday ever: Read Across America Day. Originally, Read Across America Day, or “Dr. Seuss Day” was created in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd. However, about three years ago, The Conscious Kid published an article titled, “A Critical Race Reading of Dr. Seuss and Resource Guide for Read Across America Day 2018” that enlightened the education community about the explicit racism that Dr. Seuss engaged in.

Ever since then, educators and families have put a stop to Dr. Seuss Day and rebranded Read Across America Day as a general celebration of literature on March 2nd or the whole week. Some organizations, such as the National Education Association, have gone further and put the focus for Read Across America Day on diverse books featuring characters of color and characters with different gender identities.

NEA launched the Read Across America, which is an initiative on reading that began in 1997, to encourage children in reading more books and also getting them excited about reading.

Read Across America Book List from NEA

Google Folder of lessons and book lists from Colorful Pages



Stories are powerful, memorable, and help us understand who we are. Stories began with the oral tradition and are still passed on by being heard and retold. Celebrate the story and grow a storytelling community by hosting a Read Across America Storypalooza storytelling event! You can focus on encouraging students, families, and staff to retell traditional tales, like Riding a Donkey Backwards by Sean Taylor (available @CML) or Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship by Chitra Soundar (available in book & ebook @CML). You can also include other themes, like family stories or stories from the classroom. Encourage participants to share short stories that they can learn and remember well.


Invite other staff from your building to read a book to the class.

Invite other CCS or community people to Zoom into your classroom and guest read a book.

Host an author visit.

Ask students to record themselves or have someone at home record them reading a book and showing the pictures of the book. The teacher can share the recording with the other students. If older students are reading a chapter book, have different students record themselves reading a chapter.


Work up an appetite for reading! A Book Tasting is a great way to introduce students to a wide variety of books, authors, and illustrators. Work with your school librarian and/or other teachers to put together a menu of titles for different genres, themes, authors, cultures, health and wellness (self esteem, motivation, self-care), or books inspired by music or art.

Look for books on GetEpic, YouTube, multiple copies from the book room, etc.


A Book Scavenger Hunt is a great way to generate excitement about books and reading! Challenge students to search for books that provide mirrors (stories that reflect their own culture and help build identity) and windows (stories that offer a view into someone else’s experience and the range of possibilities in the world).

Due to COVID protocols, students will need to use the internet to look for 5 titles that are mirrors and 5 that are windows.

Provide specific criteria to help students narrow in on their search, such as books about families, friends, sports, holidays, etc.

Compile these books into a recommended reading list for your community of diverse readers!


Have all classes in the building create poetry and hang it in the hallway on large chart paper or butcher paper. Teachers can take a walk around the school to read the poetry written by the other students in their building. Challenge all of the adults in the building to create poetry to add to the Poetry Town walls.

BEYOND THE BOOK COVER (don't judge a book by its cover)

It can be a challenge to put internal biases aside. Help students learn a little about their own preconceptions when you ask them to judge a book by its cover. Provide access to books that students haven’t read and are not familiar with. Ask them to look only at the outside cover (display a picture). Then, based on what they see, have them write down what they think the book is about, what the characters are like, and what’s going to happen. This can be a paragraph or a list. Next, have them read the book (or read the book aloud if you are doing this as a group activity) and then write down what the book was really about.

Were their first impressions right? Have them talk about how their opinions changed and why it is important to see what’s inside before passing judgement.


Book fun, physical activity, and physical distancing all in one!

Take advantage of empty parking lots, gyms, or sidewalks and chalk up (or duct tape) a path that gets kids hopping, jumping, spinning, balancing, marching, dancing, and zigzagging. Your chalk walk could include a variety of steps and directions based on literary references from fairy tales or folk tales, like Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters; be focused around books that really move, such as Barnyard Dance or We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; or be an inspired interpretation of a title like Firebird or Jabari Jumps.

SPIRIT WEEK - Week of celebrating

Have students dress up as a character from their favorite book. Ideas for the days:

  • Read a book about families
  • Read funny books
  • Read books about inspiring leaders
  • Read books to celebrate you
  • Read books about taking action
  • Read books that give a different perspective
  • Read books about influential Americans
  • Read biographies
  • Read poetry
  • Read books about different places in the world
  • Read diverse picture books by authors of color from different locations of the US


Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation will be offering

2 free read aloud programs on March 2 to celebrate Read Across America Day.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (11:00-11:45 am)

In this story, participants witness how humans impact the environment and discover ways we can protect our local environment. This free, exciting program will be approximately 45 minutes in length.


Crawdad Creek by Scott Russell Sanders

Using a dry stream to tell this story, we'll encounter local stream animals, learn about their basic needs and discover ways we can protect our local environment. This exciting, free program will be approximately 45 minutes in length.


Please contact Amy Tressler: atressler@franklinswcd.org if have any questions

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March 14 - Pi Day (3.14)

Why is Pi Day celebrated on March 14?

In the American month/day way of writing a date, Pi Day happens on 3/14. 3.14 are the first three digits of Pi. If you love math, you can have your Pi Day celebrations at exactly 1:59 am or pm, so that they happen at exactly 3.14159.

What is Pi?

Pi is a mathematical constant that defines the ratio of the circumference of a circle in relation to its diameter.

The first calculation of Pi was done by Archimedes, a mathematician in Ancient Greece, who determined the area of a circle by using the Pythagorean theorem.

Since then, Pi has been used throughout history by many different cultures, and it has become an essential part for calculations in many fields such as engineering, construction and physics.

Pi is an irrational and transcendental number, which means it can go on to infinity. In fact, currently, Pi has been calculated by scientists to over 1 trillion decimal places and counting. However, it is usually abbreviated to be used in problem-solving.

The word Pi comes from the Greek word perimetros, which means circumference, and the Greek letter has been used to represent it since the 18th century.

****Circumference is not covered in the Ohio Mathematics Standards for 5th grade****

Pi Day Logic Puzzles

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March 17 - St. Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day celebrates a Christian Saint named Patrick. Patrick was a missionary who helped to bring Christianity to Ireland. He is the patron saint of Ireland.

In the United States the day generally celebrates Irish-American culture and heritage.

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th.

The day is celebrated as a religious holiday by the Catholic Church. It is also celebrated in Ireland and by Irish people around the world. Many non-Irish join in the celebrations in many places, especially in the United States. It is a public holiday in Ireland.

Websites & Lesson Ideas:

St. Patrick's Day National Geographic

US Census St. Patrick's Day Fun Facts

US Census St. Patrick's Day Teacher Guide

St. Patrick's Day Haiku Lesson Plan

Limericks for Kids Lesson Plan

St. Patrick's Day Word Game

Cleaning Pennies Experiment

Scholastic St. Patrick's Day Lesson Ideas (primary)

Fun Facts To Discover About Leprechauns

This History of St. Patrick's Day (4:06 min YouTube)


There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover by Lucille Colandro (YouTube & CML)

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing (YouTube & CML)

How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace (YouTube)

The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan (YouTube & CML)

St. Patrick's Day from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler (CML)

12 Days of St. Patrick's Day by Jenna Lettice (CML - good for Kindergarten)

Ten Lucky Leprechauns by Kathryn Heling (YouTube & CML - good for Kindergarten)

The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever! by Teddy Slater (YouTube & CML)

Irish Sayings:

  • May the road rise up to meet you.
  • May the wind be always at your back.
  • Top of the mornin' to you.....(and the rest of the day to 'me self!)
  • May there always be work for you to do.
  • May your purse always hold a coin or two.
  • May the hand of a friend always be near you.
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March 20 - Spring Equinox

March 20, 2021 marks the beginning of Spring.

The spring equinox 2021 will occur at 5:37 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 20th.

This Equinox is used to measure the length of a tropical year, or how long the Earth takes to do one orbit around the Sun. The average length is 365 days, 5 hours and 48 minutes.

What is the Spring Equinox?

The Spring Equinox happens on the specific moment in time when the Sun is directly above the Earth’s equator, which happens when the Sun is crossing the celestial equator, an imaginary line above the equator, from South to North. This occurs at the same time everywhere in the world, however, the date and time of the Equinox vary from country to country due to the year that it happens in and the time zones.

This happens only twice in one year, and these are the only times when the Sun rises due East and sets due West, for everyone in the world.

After the Spring Equinox, it is the Northern Hemisphere that is pointing towards the sun, which is why the days become longer and warmer.

The Meaning of Equinox

The word Equinox derives from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), so the definition of it is Equal Night, which is so because on the day of the Spring Equinox, day and night last for approximately the same length of time (about 12 hours).

This is the same for all parts of the World, and it means that with the arrival of the first day of Spring we have earlier dawns and later sunsets.

Spring Solstice vs Spring Equinox

What's the Spring Equinox? website for kids


Happy Equinox! Science for Kids by SciShow Kids (4:01 min)

What is an equinox? By Peekaboo Kids (5:40 min)

The Spring Equinox explained by York University (1:35 min)

Seasons by Earth Rocks (5:38 min) for older students


Check out the CCS curated Integrated Garden Lessons from the Digital Binder. (book read alouds and lesson plans - log in using your CCS Google Account)

A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox by Wendy Pfeffer (YouTube & CML)

Abracadabra, It’s Spring! (Seasonal Magic) by Anne Sibley O’Brien (YouTube)

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dane Bauer (YouTube & CML)

Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (YouTube & CML)

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (YouTube & CML)

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert (YouTube & CML)

Ways to celebrate:

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