Elementary Curriculum Newsletter

February 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, February 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, February 16, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm

Open Topics including questions about the Math Framework and Curriculum Resources


Science & Social Studies

Wednesday, February 24, 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, February 17, 2021

3:45 -4:45 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 1 Upcoming Sessions:

  • February 10 & March 17, 8:15 - 9:00; COHORT 1
  • February 10 & March 17, 3:00 - 3:45; COHORT 2
  • February 24 & March 31, 8:15 - 9:00; COHORT 3 & COHORT 5
  • February 24 & March 31, 3:00 - 3:45; COHORT 4

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Grades K-2: Reading Interventions in the Digital Environment (A Community in Practice)

K-2 Primary Grades Edition:

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

ESC of Central Ohio Achievement & Leadership Services

Date: Monday, February 22, 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 Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second 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 primary 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


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


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Math Discourse Webinar Series

Join Curriculum Associates for a Discourse Webinar Series

Wednesday, February 10th

5:00 - 5:45 pm

Let’s Get All Students Talking About Math!

Join us in an interactive demonstration of a discourse routine used as a tool to elevate access to grade-level mathematics for all students in your classroom, virtually or face to face.

Participants will experience a math lesson, learn research-based strategies for discourse facilitation, and receive materials to use in class, including a whitepaper written by author Dr. Gladis Kersaint.


Thursday, February 18th

5:00 - 5:45 pm

Discourse and Advocacy: The Intersection of Race, Data, and Mathematics Instruction

Districts all over the nation are wrestling with the clear and present danger of inequities in our educational system. The access gap is very real. Many talented teachers and educational leaders have realized that the goal of equity requires honest insight into the current content knowledge of students, increased bias awareness, and a sincere shift in instructional design. In this workshop, participants will explore the combinations of data that lead to targeted teacher actions. Attendees will explore ways that prerequisite data can increase access to grade-level content. This will be practical, transformative, inspirational, and fun!


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Social Studies - PD from Studies Weekly

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Power of Storytelling

Date: Thursday, February 11

Time: 6-7 pm

Storytelling is a powerful tool we use to make connections to one another and understand the world around us. Stories provide a unique entry point into discussions of diversity, equity, and inclusion through their personalization and ability to connect the intersectionalities of our humanity with one another through life experiences. Join us to learn how using storytelling creates a space for having difficult conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

CLICK HERE TO Register for the PD through Studies Weekly

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Growing Up WILD PreK-2nd

Growing Up WILD

February 12-19, 2021

Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children is Project WILD's early childhood

education activity guide. It is written for PreK -2nd grade and contains 27 hands-on, field-tested activities that focus on wildlife and nature. Guide and activity kit will be received upon completion.

The course is self-paced and takes 3-6 hours to complete.

The workshop is held using the Microsoft Teams platform.

To register contact Linda Pettit at lpettit@franklinswcd.org

Project WILD and Aquatic WILD

Project WILD and Aquatic WILD

February 19-26, 2021

Participants will learn how to incorporate fish and wildlife-based activities into their everyday curriculum to help students understand conservation and experience the outdoors in a sustainable way. Both guides and activity kit will be received upon completion.

The course is self-paced and takes 3-6 hours to complete.

The workshop is held using the Microsoft Teams platform and sponsored by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

To register contact Linda Pettit at lpettit@franklinswcd.org

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Founded in 1976, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers.

OBAP members encourage diversity in the industry by supporting aspiring aviation professionals through Project Aerospace, a series of scholarships, mentoring, training, and youth-focused education programs.

Aerospace Professionals in School (APIS) introduces youth to the limitless opportunities available through careers in aerospace and aviation beginning at an early age. APIS prepares aspiring aerospace professionals for fruitful careers. Since 1992, the program has reached over 500,000 people, many of whom hold positions as commercial pilots, aircraft maintenance and flight dispatchers, business managers, and more.

APIS curriculum will pique the interest of children, ages 6 - 10, through elementary science clubs and career days. They also offer more details programs for middle and high school students.

It is free to request an Aerospace speaker!


** Please schedule at least 3 weeks ahead of the date you are requesting

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Grade 5 & 6 opportunity

JA BizTown Adventures for 5th & 6th graders

JA BizTown Adventures is a FREE, engaging, self-guided program that is being offered to 5th & 6th grade classrooms. There is no cost to you and it takes very little classroom time to deliver.

There five (5) self-guided, online programs give EVERY STUDENT the opportunity to experience ALL OF THE JOBS at JA BizTown. They will start as a Career Explorer, then become CEO, CFO and Marketing Director, and finish as a Consumer in our virtual JA BizTown Mall.

Each Adventure takes approximately 20-30 minutes (perfect for an at-home homework assignment!) and includes a turn-key Google Slide Presentation for teachers to host a short orientation and re-cap meeting for each Adventure. Each of the Adventures also includes a pre and post-test so you can ascertain the students' knowledge growth and we all know that education is best when it's also fun, so each Adventure also includes creative activities and GIFs to keep the students engaged and smiling!

  • Please watch this 3-minute video to learn more.
  • You may also review the JA BizTown Adventures Teacher Instructions. You can click on the links of any of the orientation or re-cap meetings to see how we can make this easy for you to deliver!
  • Registration link - Upon receipt of your registration, I will send you the full teacher instructions with the live links to each Adventure.

If you have questions, please contact Pete Crozier, pcrozier@jacols.org

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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.

CONGRATULATIONS to Miette Bloomfield-Wells, a student from Columbus Alternative High School for placing second in her grade category in the 2020 Ohio State Conservation Poster Contest.

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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Evidence of Mathematical Understanding

Part of effective teaching is routinely checking for student understanding. It is most commonly done through asking questions, analyzing work, or through assessment. It is important to gather information about student progress. Through the communication of learning intentions and success criteria, students are also able to evaluate their level of understanding toward the instructional goal.

The evidence of students’ understanding is used to plan future instruction. This information can be used to guide future lessons and instruction. Check for understanding provides feedback to the students and the teachers. Feedback provided to the student should help them gauge their level of understanding and provide a guide for their next steps. For teachers, this feedback provides a guide for teaching practices. This evidence helps teachers consider what worked and what did not work in instruction as they carefully examine the evidence of student progress. (Teacher Clarity Playbook, A Hands-on Guided to Creating Learning Intentions & Success Criteria for Organized, Effective Instruction, Fisher, Frey, Amador, and Assof 2019)


Ready Classroom Mathematics provides both the teacher and student access to virtual manipulatives. Manipulatives are a great way for students to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts through models. Teachers can access the virtual manipulatives in the Teacher Toolbox under Program Implementation and Digital Math Tools. Included in the Teacher Toolbox are videos that explain how to use the manipulative and can be assigned in Google Classroom. Students can find the virtual manipulatives in their digital platform under their Tools.

CLICK HERE for a video to learn about the Rady Classroom Math Digital Math Tools in the Student Digital Experience.


Ready Classroom has created a Develop Session Video Library to support students' instructional needs when students are learning at home. These videos are recorded sessions for the development session for each unit.

The Develop Session Videos can be found in the student platform by clicking on the student bookshelf or can be assigned in your Google Classroom by using the link found in your Teacher Tool Kit under Program Implementation.

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CONGRATULATIONS to Wanda Mays, 3rd-grade teacher at Berwick Alternative!

She received a $2000 donation from Charles A. Turner III so the school can buy three robots for the “Girls Who Code” club.

Check out the entire story from the CCS Core Report Newsletter

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Top Children's Book Honors


America's librarians announced their top children's book picks virtually on Monday – awarding the 2021 Newbery and Caldecott medals, among several other honors.

The John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished children's book in 2020 went to When You Trap A Tiger by Tae Keller. The book's central character is a girl, Lily, whose family moves in with her dying grandmother — and a tiger from Korean folklore shows up looking for something that was stolen.

Other books that received Newberry honors:

  • All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
  • BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood
  • Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat


The Randolph Caldecott Medal, which the American Library Association awards to the most distinguished American picture book for children, went to We Are Water Protectors illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book stresses the urgent need to take care of Earth's water. In addition, Michaela Goade is the first Native American to win Caldecott Medal.

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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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February - Black History Month

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

The Black History Month 2021 theme:

“Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.

Black History Themes - (ASALH) Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Black History Month - History.com

Gallery of 14 Black History Facts - History.com

National African American (Black) History Month: February 2021 - US Census Bureau

OSU events from the Multicultural Center This year's United Black World Month theme is centered around Black Lives: Narratives of Activism Around the World and will include speakers, artist, panels and various other programs.

Black History Month Virtual Programs from the Ohio Statehouse

Websites to teach children about Black History Month:

PBS Learning Media

Black History Month Printables - ThoughtCo.

Ted Talks to Celebrate Black History Month


Black History Month | All About the Holidays by PBS (1:34 min)

Black History Month for Kids YouTube (4:54 min)

The breathtaking courage of Harriet Tubman - Janell Hobson YouTube (4:48 min)

Black History Month (facts, biographies, leaders) YouTube Playlist

The ABCs of Black History Month | African-American History YouTube (5:22 min)

Black History Month's Children's Read Alouds YouTube Playlist book read alouds

Harriet Tubman - My First Biography YouTube (3:40 min) book read aloud

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February 3 - World Read Aloud Day

We believe that everyone should have the chance to share stories.

LitWorld founded World Read Aloud Day in 2010 in celebration of the power of reading aloud to create community, to amplify new stories, and to advocate for literacy as a foundational human right. Over the last eleven years, World Read Aloud Day has evolved into a global movement of millions of readers, writers, and listeners from communities all across the world coming together to honor the joy and power of reading and sharing stories and continue expanding the definition and scope of global literacy.

World Read Aloud Packet:



World Read Aloud VIRTUAL KIT:

Book picks, Malcom Mitchell read aloud, printable activities


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February 14 - Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and friendship and the joy of having other people in your life. Each year on February 14th, people across the world celebrate Valentine’s Day; a day meant for spoiling and appreciating your significant other. In some cases, it can be a simple gesture of love toward a friend or family member, so while it’s primarily used to display romantic love, platonic love can be shown as well.

Valentine's Day - National Geographic Kids

All About Valentine's Day for Kids & Teachers - Kiddy House

Red Heart, Red Heart, What do you see? - YouTube (2:08 min) PreK-K

Valentine's Day Songs for Kids - YouTube (2:20 min) songs

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink - YouTube (8:02 min) book read aloud - poems

Amelia Bedelia First Valentine Book - YouTube (10:27 min) book read aloud

Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool - YouTube (4:48 min) book read aloud

The Littlest Valentine - YouTube (4:31 min) book read aloud

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February 15 - President's Day

Presidents Day originally honored the nation's first president, George Washington, whose birthday falls on February 22nd. However, through the years both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (who was born on February 12th) have come to be honored on the third Monday in February.

All US presidents have come to be honored on this day for leading the country over more than two centuries of American history.

US President Facts and Trivia

US President Worksheet

US President Timelines

Books for Students

President's Day Fun Facts
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February 16 - Mardi Gras

You may be wondering what does Mardi Gras means and how to explain Mardi Gras to a child?

Some people shy away from the topic because they equate this holiday with the craziness of Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.

However, there’s so much more to this holiday! There are Mardi Gras traditions, Mardi Gras food (Hello! King Cake!), Mardi Gras Krewes, Mardi Gras costumes (and Mardi Gras beads), the Mardi Gras parade, and so many other fun Mardi Gras facts you can share with your kids and turn it into a learning opportunity!

What is the meaning of Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras — also known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and Carnival — marks the last day before the beginning of Lent. Although Mardi Gras has become a widely-accepted non-religious holiday, this day traditionally marked the last day before the period of fasting and repentance (“Lent”) before Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.

Traditionally, people were not allowed to eat “rich foods” like butter, meats, and oils during Lent. So, the day before Lent started, many people would indulge in the things that were not allowed during the 40-day Lent period. The date of Mardi Gras is always 41 days before Easter, so the date varies each year

Mardi Gras Activities for Kids and Teachers - Kiddy House

Mardi Gras Info and Facts

Kid-Friendly Videos & Songs to Help Celebrate Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras - Ducksters

17 Mardi Gras Activities for Kids

NDI Celebration Team: "Go to the Mardi Gras"
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February 21-27 Engineering Week

Every year, Engineering Week is celebrated during the month of February. It is a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.

If you've wanted to try an engineering or design challenge, this may be the perfect year to get students and families involved.

Click on the button below to see the Engineering Week 2021 Imagining Tomorrow packet and get ideas to use during synchronous or asynchronous days.

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LYSOL - Lesson Plans, Activities, Posters, Stickers

A welcome back website for K-5 teachers