Curriculum Times

Volume 1, Issue 4 -- April 2015

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Curriculum Revision

Would you like to help develop lessons, review and revise curriculum maps, offer feedback on curriculum resources? Click the button above!

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April is National Poetry Month!

While we hope that students are experiencing poetry all year long in ways that connect to the longer works that we read in class, April is a perfect time to apply a tighter focus to the genre.

Have quick discussions. Write short poems. Read lots of poems all the time.

Check out Drive-By Poetry for some quick ideas about incorporating poetry in smaller ways. is a great source for poems we all know and completely new pieces we’ve never read before.

Read this Edutopia article about a Pennsylvania teacher who makes poetry a daily routine.

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Free Summer PD for HS Science Teachers

OU and OSU will be working together to offer a workshop on particle physics for high school science teachers this summer in Norman, June 8 -12. Participants will receive a $500 stipend, financial support for travel, PD points, activities to take back to the classroom, and a particle physics curriculum plan to use in the classroom.

Goals for the workshop include:

1. Enhancing teacher’s understanding and appreciation of elementary particle physics.

2. Enriching teacher’s understanding of how science is actually performed in the laboratory.
3. Equipping teachers to incorporate the subject of particle physics into their curriculum.
4. Developing partnerships between high school science teachers and university physics professors.

To apply for this workshop, teachers should email Mike Strauss, Ph.D. ( the following information: 1) Name, 2) School name and address, 3) Home and work phone, 4) Subjects currently teaching, 5) Length of time teaching at the high school level, 6) Highest degree and subject, 7) Email address, 8) Any additional information you believe they should know. Applications are due April 15.

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6 Traits Writing Tip to teach SENTENCE FLUENCY

· Have each student write a short, simple sentence.

· Swap papers around the table—as many times as possible, up to six times.

· Each student adds a word or phrase until the sentence becomes long and complex.

· Original student chooses his/her favorite sentence and writes another sentence to go with it.

o A long sentence needs a short, simple sentence to complement it.

o A short sentence needs a long, complex sentence to complement it.

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Secondary Math

In Department Chair meetings, we continue to focus on remediation and instructional strategies for connecting to previous learning. In March’s meeting, we focused on connecting back to addition and subtraction. We took techniques used in elementary and built them through algebra. You do not have to be a department chair to attend - contact Gary Horner for details.

We continue to work on curriculum map revisions and model lesson development. Based upon feedback, all maps are now between 5 and 6 units long, and we are completely rewriting Geometry. With this work, we would like volunteers to review our work and provide feedback on the products. You may volunteer by going here or you may also find the link on the C & I website.

With OCCT / EOI testing just around the corner, we recommend that everyone visit the Measured Progress Oklahoma testing page to experience the student testing software and options. You will find the practice test link and instructions about three-quarters of the way down the page here.

Summer PD planning is in full swing. The theme for secondary math this summer is “Getting Past the Roadblocks.” If you have any suggestions or would like to help, please contact Gary Horner.

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Earth Daying your Math Lesson

As the weather is finally allowing us to enjoy being outside on a more frequent basis and Earth Day falls on April 22, toward the end of OCCTs, I want to share a few things that encompass thinking about our planet and looking through a math lens to see what we can do differently to treat it better.

  • The first resource is from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and allows students to calculate their carbon dioxide savings vs. the equivalent emissions from a car which can be found here. Many math talks and plans of action can stem from having students work through this activity!
  • The next two resources come from PBS Teachers and ask students to look at a statistic and further their understanding of the implications of that statistic on the planet through estimates, ratios, and conversions. This question set is for grades 4-6 and this set is for 5-8.
  • LETSNet out of Michigan State University developed a unit plan connecting math and Earth Day through community service/action plans, surveys, and data dis-aggregation among other academic skills. Though the website and some of the resources within may look dated, the idea for this unit is a great one!
  • Here is a free resource from TeachersPayTeachers that can be used as a math workstation in primary grades. This resource has an Earth Day theme (planting & saving trees) and gives students practice with addition and subtraction.
  • Finally, here is a collection of seven activities spanning grades K-8 connecting math with Earth Day.
Have a great Earth Day and Happy Mathing!
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What can the Tulsa Historical Society do for You?

The Tulsa Historical Society’s mission is to “illuminate the past, enrich the present and inspire the future.” You and your students can visit them in person or online. They can even come to you! They offer tours of eight rotating galleries, host summer camps, and provide student and adult learning activities throughout the year at the museum, at schools and in the downtown area.

Two permanent student programs are “How to Read a Photograph” and “Oklahoma Oil: Postcard Views of the Early Days.” Three online exhibits that are available are The Tulsa Race Riot, Early Tulsa History and the USS Tulsa. Some of the current exhibits in the Museum are the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, Toy Stories: Childhood Favorites of the 20th Century, Spirit of Greenwood, and Timeline of Tulsa History. This summer they are offering an Art Deco camp for students ages 10-12.

They are willing to pull some of their thousands of artifacts to create a lesson tailored to your needs. We encourage you to stop by or give them a call. All of our TPS students deserve to know the history of their city! For more information contact Neal Pascoe, 918.712.9484.

The Tulsa Historical Society is located in the historic Travis Mansion at 2445 S. Peoria Ave, just south of the Tulsa Garden Center and Woodward Park.

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Online Resource for Middle and High School SS and ELA teachers

Kelly Gallagher recognizes that part of the reason his students struggle with reading is because they lack prior knowledge and background. They can decode the words, but the words remain meaningless without a foundation of knowledge. To help build his students’ prior knowledge, he assigns them an Article of the Week every Monday morning. These articles come from a variety of sources around the world. He always asks the students to annotate and summarize, but poses thoughtful questions with each article as well.

Try some of these articles with your students and/or perhaps find your own article and mimic his lesson structure:

Sample titles are:

"'Bloody Sunday' Remembrance March in Selma Celebrates Freedom" by Moni Basu, Slma Shelbayah and Ben Brumfield for CNN News

• Two Articles about Net Neutrality from CBS News and the The Washington Post

"Obama Administration to Allow Allied Countries to Buy Military Drones" by W.J. Hennigan for the Los Angeles Times

"How We Ruined the Oceans" The Week

Two Articles About the Vaccination Debate from the Pew Research Center and

"The Dangers of Our Aging Nuclear Arsenal" The Week

"Cuba and Uncle Sam: A Brief History" The Week

"Supreme Court Set to Decide National Debate on Gay Marriage" by David G. Savage for the Los Angeles Times

Three Articles About Charlie Hebdo from, and The Miami Herald

"Eating Too Much Added Sugar May Be Killing You" Nanci Hellmich for USA Today

"The CIA Torture Report" The Boston Globe

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Getting Googley

Everyone has probably heard that Tulsa Public Schools has gone Google. This means that you and your students have access to hundreds (maybe thousands) of tools and resources that can make lessons more engaging, create a paperless classroom, allow students to collaborate online, and much more.

For some teachers, Google Drive may be a new concept. There are numerous great tutorials out there to help you learn what Google Drive is and what it can do for you. This website provides short videos plus text to guide you through the basics of Google Drive. This guide is specifically written for teachers and students using Google Drive.

Some teachers are familiar with Google Drive but haven’t had time to explore all of the amazing tools available with it. Here are just a few:

  • Using Google Drive for class exit tickets or backchannel, have students share what they’ve learned, pose questions, and let you know what additional support they might need.
  • Use a Google Drive template to have students create fake Facebook pages for literary characters, historical figures, or even different diseases in a science class. Start this project at the beginning of a unit and have students interact as their assumed characters as events occur.
  • Instantly grade your classroom quizzes by using Google Drive and Flubaroo .
  • Give oral feedback to students when they submit their work to you via Google Drive using Kaizena.
  • Have students practice close reading or review content using Texthelp.
  • Provide a way for students to organize their thoughts, concepts, or content using a mind map and Google Drive.
  • Even allow Google to help connect parents with your classroom.

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Big Day for PK - Scholastic Early Childhood Inventory (SECI)

PK teachers district wide are required to complete the Scholastic Early Childhood Inventory (SECI) 3 times throughout the 2014-15 school year. We have completed the beginning- and middle-of-the-year assessments, and the End of the year assessment is scheduled to be complete by May 15, 2015.

The SECI is a comprehensive assessment to inform teachers and parents in four important areas of cognitive development: Oral Language, Phonological Awareness, Alphabet Knowledge and Mathematics.

Our District focus on Early Literacy calls for standard and consistent tools to measure the academic progress of all students. The SECI is designed to show growth over time.

The Big Day Professional Handbook, an important teacher resource included with your Big Day materials, has a complete section on Assessing Young Learners. It covers both formal and informal assessment, guiding principles and pathways to readiness. "Assessment Throughout the Year" (pages 70-71) includes charts of the assessments, the purpose, when to assess, and what to look for, as well as next steps using the six tools for student assessment.

As with any new curriculum, implementation requires time to experience and explore new resources. Assessment data that is aligned to our standards-based report of student progress and implemented on a consistent basis across classrooms is critical and powerful information to inform instruction, extend and enrich teaching and learning for all students, and empower and engage parents in lifelong learning for their children.

If you have questions concerning the SECI, please email Andy McKenzie, Director of Early Childhood Services at

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Yes, D.E.A.R.!

April is national D.E.A.R. month. D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything and Read, a nationwide reading program designed to encourage students AND teachers to pause their work every day and enjoy 20 minutes of reading for pleasure. TPS has over 2,500 eBook titles ranging in interest from kindergarten through adult. Click this link for directions on accessing and downloading eBooks! Need help selecting titles? Talk to your school Librarian!

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Reading Strategy: Read Aloud Lesson Resource

Effective read-alouds provide an ideal situation to embed rich, direct vocabulary instruction as well as to enhance reading comprehension. Text Talk lessons are planned, interactive read aloud lessons created by educators involved in Utah’s Reading First project. Each lesson was developed to allow children to talk about the text and acquire new vocabulary; so, each lesson contains explicit vocabulary instruction and interspersed discussion questions. Click here for over 100 Interactive Read Aloud lessons.

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Literacy Station Tip: Keep your Writing Station Going Throughout the Year

After a while, you may notice the work at the writing station is starting to wane. Add new materials to keep the writing station going all year. Only add one new item at a time for maximum effectiveness. Here are some ideas for keeping this station going:

1) Change the writing tools. Put in new decorative pencils or gel pens. Using a pencil or pen with a fun attachment can be a treat and inspire young writers. A student assigned to be the materials manager can help keep up with these new exciting tools.

2) Add a large stuffed animal or have the class pet write notes to the class at night, then encourage students to write notes back.

3) Change the color of paper. Notebook and blank paper are available in multiple colors. Intermediate students may be re-inspired to write with black paper and gel pens.

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Diverse Gifted Population in TPS: What characteristics to look for to provide equitable representation for our underrepresented gifted

National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent (October, 1993), “Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata and in all areas of human endeavor.”

Tulsa’s diverse student population continues to expand. Addressing giftedness in the district must also adapt to our changing population. OKSDE gifted regulations and standard 210:15-23-2 states that procedures used in the identification process are nondiscriminatory with respect to race, economic background, national origin or handicapping condition, but does not provide further guidance. As the largest school district, our effort to set the standard for ensuring equitable access to gifted services should lead the way for the rest of the state.

According to the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC, 2015), nationally, gifted students make up six to ten percent of the total student population. The Texas Equity in G/T Education project points out that to ensure equitable representation and access to gifted services, gifted populations should reflect the total district population (Texas State Plan, 1.6E). So based on those guidelines how do we measure up?

The chart below, describing Tulsa's total student population and population of identified gifted students, illustrates areas that need to be addressed to improve our gifted identification search. As of March 15, 2015, there are 39,999 students in the district. Of those, 4,903 identified gifted; 1,753 identified in the top 3% and 3,150 identified in the Multi-Criteria category. Though 12% of the TPS student population has been identified for gifted services, which exceeds the national percentage of gifted compared to the student population, we have room for growth. The percent of identified Hispanic and African American gifted students does not yet reflect the district overall population.

Our district is heading in the right direction, yet there is room for growth. Click here to learn more about some of the suggested characteristics and attributes of underrepresented gifted populations that you may not have considered as your sites continue to find alternative measures and appropriate means to identify gifted students.

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We are now hiring Third Grade Summer Reading Academy Program teachers. Summer School will run from June 15- July 10, 2015. Third grade Summer Reading Academy Teachers will be paid their daily rate per hour. Applications are available here!

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AP Summer Institues

Secondary teachers including 6th grade, please remember to register for AP summer institute at the University of Tulsa or at the University of Oklahoma. Classes are filling up quickly!
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Kravis Arts Camp 2014

Teaching with a Sense of Humor...

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Save the Date!

*be sure to sign up on DK!
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5th Grade Social Studies Forum

Tuesday, March 31st, 4-5:15pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy, 2710 E 11th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104

Should we start the school year reviewing 4th grade content or jump right into the study of Jamestown? Should our unit check-ins reflect skill or content questions? How many weeks should we spend on the American Revolution? How can I integrate my social studies and language arts instruction? If you have an opinion about these questions, then we need you to attend the upcoming 5th grade Social Studies Forum! Comments and suggestions from the forum will help guide updates and revisions to the curriculum maps and check-ins for the 2015-16 school year. Please register in DK.

Kindergarten Unit 5 Strategies & Planning: Numbers 10-20 and Counting to 100

Thursday, April 2nd, 3:30-5pm

ECDC Porter, 1740 West 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74107, United States

Students have worked intensively within 10 and often counted to higher numbers. In this Unit, students will clarify the meaning of 10 ones and some ones within a teen number and extend that understanding to count to 100. In this 90 minute professional development, participants will discuss the standards in the unit, experience a model lesson and explore resources available for teaching this unit. Space is limited so please sign up on DKSystems

GT Student STAT Training (AM)

Monday, April 6th, 8:30-10am

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy, 2710 East 11th Street, Tulsa, OK, 74104 United States

GT Student STAT Training (PM)

Monday, April 6th, 1:30-3pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy, 2710 E 11th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104

GT Elementary Department Meeting

Tuesday, April 7th, 2-3:30pm

Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, 2445 South Peoria, Tulsa, OK 74114

GT MS/JH Department Meeting

Tuesday, April 7th, 4-5:30pm

Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, 2445 South Peoria, Tulsa, OK 74114

3rd Grade Unit 7 Strategies & Planning: Word Problems with Geometry and Measurement

Tuesday, April 7th, 3:30-5pm

Wright Elementary School, 1110 E 45th Pl, Tulsa, OK 74105, United States

Participants will study how, in this 30 day module, students solve two-step word problems involving the four operations, and improve fluency for concepts and skills initiated earlier in the year. In Unit 7, students will also describe, analyze, and compare properties of two-dimensional shapes. By now, students have done enough work with both linear and area measurement models to understand that there is no relationship in general between the area of a figure and the perimeter, which is one of the concepts taught in the last module. This class will be held on site at Wright Elementary, room 308.This Professional Development is provided by Michelle Kingsley and Shawnda Wirth. Classes are limited so please sign up on DKSystems.

Elementary Monthly Meeting (3rd - 5th)

Thursday, April 9th, 3:30-4:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy 2710 East 11th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104, United States

The Elementary Academic Coordinators will meet with K-2 and 3-5 teachers monthly to provide information and resources regarding curriculum, best practices, district expectations, and technology. K-2 ELA & Math will meet the 2nd Tuesday of every month and 3-5 ELA & Math will meet the 2nd Thursday of every month. All sessions are from 3:30-4:30. These sessions are voluntary and space is limited. DK sign up is required.

Elementary Monthly Meeting (K-2)

Tuesday, April 14th, 3:30-4:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy 2710 East 11th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104, United States

The Elementary Academic Coordinators will meet with K-2 and 3-5 teachers monthly to provide information and resources regarding curriculum, best practices, district expectations, and technology. K-2 ELA & Math will meet the 2nd Tuesday of every month and 3-5 ELA & Math will meet the 2nd Thursday of every month. All sessions are from 3:30-4:30. These sessions are voluntary and space is limited. DK sign up is required.

District K-6th Grade Chess Tournament

Thursday, April 30th, 8am-2:30pm

Wilson Teaching & Learning Academy, 2710 E 11th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104

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

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