EngageOK Teachers Newsletter for December 2015


  • We need your opinion!
  • Videos capture ed life
  • Flip your classroom
  • Free resources available
  • Educators win top honors
  • Poster contest now open
  • Vote for you favorite blog


Supt. Hofmeister with student musiciansStudent musicians give State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister lessons on how to play the violin at the Governor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. On November 30, children from across the state decorated trees inside the Capitol.

Teachers are a child’s gift

Dear Teachers,

You inspire me! As you prepare for the final days of 2015, I want to personally thank you for your commitment to teaching. You are among our children’s greatest and most enduring gifts. I appreciate your selfless service and dedication to our noble profession and calling.

Every day, you motivate me to work harder for our children. We face many obstacles, but because of you, I have hope. The stakes are high, and our kids are counting on us. Education breaks the cycle of poverty and unlocks the golden door of opportunity. You are the key to open that door. I recognize that you are not only teaching important subjects, skills, work ethic and citizenship but are nurturing and growing our youngest generation — the future of our great state. It is for them that we teach in classrooms, volunteer in schools and advocate for their brightest futures.

Blessings to you and your family!

With respect and gratitude,

Joy Hofmeister
— Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction


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Adoption family at CapitolVideos capture ed life

Hundreds of children, including this adoptive family, visited the Capitol to celebrate the annual lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree. As part of the celebration, students across the state decorated miniature trees inside the Capitol. First-graders at Covington-Douglas Elementary School were inspired by Pete the Cat as they decorated their tree. See the full ELEVATE video.

Just days after the Paris attacks, Yukon High School government students met Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson via conference call in which he answered their questions about national security. See the full ELEVATE video.



Flip your classroom!

by Kurt Bernhardt @kurber
Executive Director of Instructional Technology, OSDE

Kurt Bernhardt EngageOK teachersA flipped classroom is a classroom that moves direct instruction from what the Flipped Learning Network refers to as “the group learning space to the individual learning space.” With a flipped classroom, students watch a video or read and review other materials before class. This student preparation outside the classroom results in a dynamic group learning environment in which the teacher guides students as they apply in class what they learned at home. Flipping a class allows class time to be spent on engaging discussions and creative exploration of the lesson topic. Flipped classrooms can also serve to move students toward self-directed learning.

If you are interested in trying a flipped lesson or completely flipping your class, visit our Instructional Technology Resource page for more information.

If you are unsure about flipping a class, start small. Flipping could be as simple as creating a 5-minute video covering part of a lesson for students to watch at home.

“Flipping my class has allowed me to spend MUCH more time in class facilitating learning instead of talking at students. We have more time for lab activities and a lot more time for students to work through ideas,” said Traci Richardson of Stillwater Public Schools and @scienceteachtk on Twitter.

Want to discuss educational technology, including flipped classrooms, with other teachers? Join the OSDE Edtech Listserv.


Oh Yes! Its Free signFree resources available

Help Magic 104.1 and American Fidelity Assurance spotlight an outstanding educator with their Magic Teacher Feature. Each weekly honoree will receive prizes including food and book gift certificates. The featured Teacher of the Year will receive $500. Nominate your favorite colleague.

All 8th-grade students are invited to participate in a statewide essay contest, “If I Were Mayor, I Would ...” to tell others how they would make their city or town a better place to live. The contest is sponsored by the Mayors’ Council of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Municipal League. Students could win up to $250. For complete rules and free lesson aids such as PowerPoints and handouts on local government, click here.

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Shawn Sheehan is spotlighting special merchant discounts available to teachers. Visit his website, Teach Like Me, for more details.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health Injury Prevention Service is providing brochures and posters (in English or Spanish) that illustrate requirements of the new child passenger safety law. To receive these educational materials, contact Laswanique Gray at (405) 271-3430 or (800) 522-0204, or email her at LasGray@health.ok.gov.


Educators win top honors

Congratulations to Shawnee Public Schools, the recipient of a $1.5 million grant from the Avedis Foundation for the district’s “Middle School Project.” To date, this is the largest grant given by the foundation, which will allow increased educational and wellness opportunities for students and the community through the construction of the Shawnee Middle School multipurpose/tennis courts, walking trails, sidewalk and Nature Play and Learning Place Project. 

We are so proud of Yvonne Hensley of Edmond Memorial High School — the new National Indian Education Classroom Teacher of the Year! This is the second year in a row that the National Classroom Teacher of the Year in Indian education has come from Oklahoma.

Hurray for Nick Hughes of Limestone Elementary School in Sand Springs! He was recently named Oklahoma School Counselor of the Year.

Kudos to the new Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year, David Beiler from Jenks High School. Way to go!


Poster contest now open

K-12 teachers, get ready to submit your students’ best work to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Trash Poster Calendar Contest. Winners will be featured in the 2017 Trash Poster Calendar and honored at an awards event in April. Awards include cash prizes for students and teachers and an introduction to the Floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Entries will be accepted through January 29. Submit your entry today!


Vote for your favorite blog

Congratulations to the Oklahoma bloggers who are finalists for this year’s Edublog Awards! The awards were established in 2004 to celebrate the best in education blogs. You may vote once per day until December 16. To see the list of Oklahoma finalists, go to Mrs. Water’s English blog.

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Last updated on February 2, 2018