Resources for Training Staff on Effective Literacy Support Activities

OST Frontline Leaders Training Series Materials

OST Frontline Leaders Feedback Results - Here is the feedback we received from participants of the series!
OST Frontline Leaders Feedback Results - Here is the feedback we received from administrators of the participants!

General Information

Session 1 Materials

Session 2 Materials

Session 3 Materials

Session 4 Materials

Session 5 Materials

Session 6 Materials

Resources for Staff on Literacy Activities and Strategies

Integrating Literacy
Have existing programs that you want to make more enriching? Check out this resource on tips for integrating literacy into activities you already do. Literacy can be integrated into practically anything! You don't need to turn your program into reading class to work on literacy skills. Use these strategies to make programs well rounded and increase their academic value.

Read Aloud Strategies
This resource provides strategies to employ while reading aloud to a group of kids. It also includes some of the reasons as to why reading aloud is important.

Read Aloud Checklist
Use this checklist to self-assess read alouds and book discussion. The items included on this list are characteristic of effective read alouds and book discussion.

Interactive Learning
If you have access to a computer and screen that can display to a group of kids, use these resources to plan engaging and enriching activities that use technology to reinforce literacy skills.

Literacy Activities
These activities from the Iowa Reading Association can give staff a starting point when planning for literacy. These strategies and activities can be used across grade levels and are applicable to many different kinds of books.

"Back Pocket" Literacy Activities
Need to fill ten minutes? Did the activity not take as long as you thought it would? The following document contains ideas of fun activities that help build literacy skills.

Strategies to Use Before, During, and After Reading
This resource provides a starting point for the types of questions to ask before a read aloud, while reading, and after reading.

Spelling Practice Activities
Looking for new ways to practice weekly spelling words? Here are different ways to practice spelling lists.

What is Important to Know about Reading?
Answers to questions staff may have about reading. This resource provides a basis for the kind of information staff members involved in planning lessons and activities should know about literacy.

Identifying Kids who Struggle
This resource gives OST staff tips on how to identify kids who struggle with reading and what staff can do during out of school time to help.

Classroom Management Tips from Edutopia
Not only is Edutopia a great site for planning resources, but they put out resources on all kinds of topics related to education. Their management tips can help OST staff build positive and engaging classroom environments.

Creating an OST Classroom with Good Group Management
In drawing on the coaches' experience as classroom teachers, these suggestions for improving classroom management are tailored to the OST Classroom. Like any sort of learning, implementing classroom management techniques never stops; there is always room to improve!

Keeping Kids Well Managed and Engaged:

~Be Clear about the the rules you have and enforce them. Don’t get caught up in rules in theory vs rules in practice. The rules you enforce are the ones that matter.
~ Follow Through with warnings and consequences. Let the kids know with a warning that if the behavior is repeated, there will be a consequence. When they test, follow through with the consequence.
~ Highlight Good Behavior. Let the whole group know when someone is doing a good job. “Wow, I really like how nicely you are standing in line!” “You did a super job following directions as soon as I asked!” Also let kids know individually that they made good choices and you are proud of them.
~ Stress Personal Responsibility. When conflict arises, or the potential for conflict begins to simmer, remind kids that they are in charge of their behavior and can choose how to act. Clearly define their choices for them, “You can choose to sit here with a book or sit there and write.” “You can apologize and sit out for a few minutes or get a strike.”
~ Let Them Know You Care. Show the kids you care about them by being consistent and providing structure. Be firm and fair when they test the limits or are having a hard day. Let them know when they do a good job and praise them for making an effort to improve. Doing these things will show them that they have your respect and that you are worthy of theirs.

Looking for Field Trips in the Greater Des Moines Metro? Consider these:

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge & Prairie Learning Center (Free or Minimal Cost)
9981 Pacific St, Prairie City, IA 50228
Megan 515-994-3400external image call_skype_logo.png515-994-3400
More than 200 types of native prairie flowers and grasses; Popular and highly-acclaimed environmental educational programs; Walking trails and auto-tours that offer views of buffalo and prairie plantings. Refuge staff provides schedules, materials, resources and ideas for field trips.

Blank Park Zoo
7401 SW 9th Street, 50315
Contact Daniela Graham 515-974-2552external image call_skype_logo.png515-974-2552 / Middle School Cross Curricular 515-974-2550external image call_skype_logo.png515-974-2550 and downloads)
Programs: Animal Zoo Detectives, Creepy Crawlies, Kinds of Creatures, Live Animals Presentations, Marvelous Mammals, World Habitats AND Show and Tell programs that come to your site.

Springbrook Aquatic Education Programs (Free or Minimal Cost)
2473 160th Road,
Guthrie Center 50115
641-747-2200external image call_skype_logo.png641-747-2200
Activity Manuals: Iowa Rivers, Fish Iowa, Stream Improvement Projects, Outdoor Skills, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild and Wild Aquatic. Action/Involvement Programs: Iowa Water, Nature Mapping, Environmental Action Projects, Trees for kids. Demonstration Models/Kits: EnviroScape, Stream Table, Aquatic Habitat CD

Saylorville Lake - US Army Corps of Engineers (FREE)
Saylorville Lake Park Rangers and Volunteers offer a wide variety of free educational events available to the public. These programs are scheduled in advance during the heart of the recreation season from late April through the end of September. See the Schedule of Events Calendar and plan a night to come out and take a "Night Hike" with a Park Ranger to learn about the creatures of the night or bring your bicycle along to "Ride with a Ranger" . All events available to the public are listed under the Saylorville Lake Schedule of Events. Educational Programming: Water Safety, Mammals, Forestry, Prairie Life, Symbols of Freedom, Who Lives There Hike, Butterflies, Iowa Birds, Woodland Wildflowers, Wet Land.

Polk County Conservations (Free)
515-323-5300external image call_skype_logo.png515-323-5300
Field Trips: Habitat Discovery, Geology Rocks, Insect Safari, Trees and Plants, Life on the Prairie, Marsh Madness, Outdoor Skills, Winter Adventure, Wild 4 Wildlife. Classroom Programs Come to You: Amazing Reptiles, Amphibians, Animal Classification, Animals of Iowa, Birds of Iowa, Bug Me, Cool Craniums, Cosmic Connections, Eggciting Facts, Endangered Species, Environmental Heritage, For the Birds, Going Batty, Have to Have a Habitat, Landforms of Iowa, Mammal Mania, Monarch Tagging, Owls, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, Rock Me, Spiders, Teeth-Claws, Camouflage, To be a Seed, Tracks, Trees are Terrific, Water Cycle, Winter Survival

City of Des Moines Parks
515-237-1386external image call_skype_logo.png515-237-1386
Educational programs, nature story hours, intriguing pond exploration, creepy insect investigations, informative bird programs AND many other programs - Look up their calendar. Additional outdoor programs: include canoe classes and trips, a camping night at Gray’s Lake, eco-art, nature-based scavenger hunts, and a “how-to” on gardening with native plants. Visit Parks throughout the year to see what’s coming up in your neighborhood that would interest you, your friends, and your family. Educational Documents:Backyard Conservation and Habitat Creation, Canada Goose Habitat, Herbicide Alphabet Soup, Native Landscaping Resources, Native Species Blooming Periods, Small Urban Landscaping with Native Species

Des Moines Water Works
515.283.8753external image call_skype_logo.png515.283.8753 or
Education Programs:Classroom Presentations (K-8 classes), Water Trunks, Group Tours (3rd grade through adults). Classroom Presentations: Classroom presentations are interactive learning activities and include student and teacher materials. Topics such as: Understanding watersheds and the water cycle, What causes water pollution, How drinking water and wastewater are cleaned, Preventing pollution, Landfills, recycling, and waste reduction, Household hazardous waste, Water's link to staying healthy

Terrace Hill: Iowa's Historic Governor's Mansion
2300 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312
515-281-7205external image call_skype_logo.png515-281-7205
Terrace Hill is open for tours Tuesday throughSaturday. Guided tours are given at 10:30 a.m., 11:30a.m., 12:30p.m. and 1:30p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, and groups over 10 people need to make a reservation. Students with a school group are free.

Tour the Capitol
1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319 call 515-281-5591external image call_skype_logo.png515-281-5591
Schedule a tour of our Iowa Capitol online. This is intended for groups of 10 or more.

The State Historical Museum - State Historical Society (Free, Financial Assistance/Grants)
600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5193external image call_skype_logo.png515-242-5193 or 515-281-4132external image call_skype_logo.png515-281-4132 and downloads)
Educational Resources: Exhibit/Discovery Program - You Gotta Know the Territory, The Delicate Balance: Human Values, Iowa's Natural Resources, Mammoth: Witness to Change. Teacher Resources/Curriculum: The Goldfinch, Prairie Voices, Iowa Folklife, Iowa Pathways

Living History Farms
11121 Hickman Rd Urbandale, IA 50322
515-278-5286external image call_skype_logo.png515-278-5286
Tours, Enrichment Programs and Outreach Programs. Living History Farms is a 500-acre open air museum. The museum's mission is to educate visitors and demonstrate the past 300 years of Iowa's agricultural history

Iowa Gold Star Museum - Iowa National Guard, Camp Dodge (Free)
7105 Northwest 70th Ave.,
Johnston, IA 50131
515-252-4531external image call_skype_logo.png515-252-4531
Iowa's premier veterans museum, displays artifacts and tells the story of Iowa veterans from the Mexican War of 1846 to present day.

Iowa Hall of Pride (Free and Free Transportation)
330 Park Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
515-564-8507external image call_skype_logo.png515-564-8507
contact Shelly Johnson at 515-564-8510external image call_skype_logo.png515-564-8510,
History of Iowa’s athletics, academics, and arts - Hall of Heroes: 27 interactive exhibits. Your students will also love the interactive components of the Hall of Pride, and you will love the learning opportunities around every turn! It is a great place to present positive role models for your students regardless of age or activity.

Cultureall (formerly a World of Difference)
515-273-8569external image call_skype_logo.png515-273-8569
CULTUREALL™ is an Iowa-based non-profit organization nurturing youth to develop skill, readiness and grace in intercultural relations. We collaborate with schools, community groups and businesses to create experiences that immerse youth into new concepts and thought processes. A variety of educational experiences from around the world on music, food, art, storytelling, dancing, etc.

Ballet Des Moines
515-440-1177external image call_skype_logo.png515-440-1177
Each year, Ballet Des Moines provides thousands of school children in the greater Des Moines area the opportunity to attend special performances of The Nutcracker at Hoyt Sherman Place Theater. The school show performances are offered at a low cost of $3 per child with chaperones attending for free.

Des Moines Art Center
4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA
515-277-4405external image call_skype_logo.png515-277-4405
Educator Guides: The information in the Educator Guides is aimed at upper elementary age students and includes images of the architecture, select artwork, questions to ask while viewing the artwork, and art projects related to a few of the works of art. Download the Educator Guides by clicking on both the text and image files.

Des Moines Metro Opera
Contact Greg Van Den Berghe at 515-961-6221external image call_skype_logo.png515-961-6221 or
OPERAtion Opera: Des Moines Metro Opera holds the belief that great art should be for everyone. In 1993 OPERAtion OPERA was launched to serve as the community outreach branch of DMMO’s extensive education programs by providing a year-long series of activities for Iowa audiences, with a primary focus on programs geared toward underserved audiences. OPERAtion OPERA operates within central Iowa communities by making the arts accessible to a broader and more diverse audience through a series of free dress rehearsals of our mainstage productions. The program works with nearly three dozen human and social service agencies throughout the greater Des Moines area. These agencies serve children and adults who face social, logistical or economic barriers that would prevent them from attending a live opera performance.

Des Moines Playhouse
831 42nd Street Des Moines IA 50312
515-277-6261external image call_skype_logo.png515-277-6261
Children’s Theatre Schedule online: The Playhouse education department encourages self-development through the dramatic arts, explores the skills of the theatre, fosters an appreciation of the theatre, and acquaints students with technical theatre knowledge.

Des Moines Symphony
The Temple for Performing Arts,
1011 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 280.4000
Instrument Petting Zoo, Pictures at an Exhibit, The Planets, Youth Concerts, Youth Academy

Metro Art Alliance
Contact Emily Saunders, Education Coordinator or by phone at 515-280-3222external image call_skype_logo.png515-280-3222.
Printable PDF of: Metro Arts Education program listing
Connecting Kids with Culture dollars are available to help support programs

Gateway Dance Theatre
315 East 5th, Suite 12,
Des Moines
515-283-8383external image call_skype_logo.png515-283-8383
Provide education, training and arts outreach to promote intercultural understanding and an appreciation of diversity through professionally-directed, quality experiences. Inspired by Katherine Dunham, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Alvin American Dance Theatre and established by Penny and the late Lee Furgerson; Gateway Dance Theatre remains committed to its mission of providing education, training and arts outreach programs to promote intercultural awareness and an appreciation of diversity through a professionally directed dance experience. Gateway Dance Theatre (GDT), is an urban arts multifaceted program to provide quality arts programming. GDT is a family- friendly program based on the concept that training in the arts is essential to a complete education. The language of Arts is universal. Music, drama, visual and literary arts are presented with an emphasis on building self-esteem, discipline, awareness and confidence. Gateway Dance Theatre’s presence and active engagement in the community is a catalyst to reach diverse communities to build cultural, leadership and economic relationships.

Science Center of Iowa
401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy
Want to bring your class to SCI, but costs are a barrier? For a limited time, SCI’s school visits are only $2 per student! Contact us at 515-274-6868external image call_skype_logo.png515-274-6868 ext. 222 or email for details or to schedule your visit! School visit discount made possible by Kim and Jean Austen. Download resources and useful links on their Webpage. Use programming or visit on your own. Field Trip Programs: Wow Science, Messy Science, Investigating Volcanoes, Paper Making, Science Center Pets. Outreach Programs: Wow Science, Air Power, Messy Science, Astronomy, I’m So Egg-Cited, The Egg Drop, Exploring the Five Senses, Making Paper, Hot Air Balloons, Bubbleology, Science is Delicious.

Mid American Energy
Assembly Programs: In partnership with the Science Center of Iowa, MidAmerican Energy provides “Simply Electrifying” programs to schools in its Iowa service territory at no charge. The presentations are delivered to schools in a four-year rotation. Scheduling is coordinated by SCI. The interactive presentation introduces students to the atom and its parts and explains the relationship between electrons and electricity. The program also: demonstrates static electricity, discusses lightning safety, illustrates the differences between current and static electricity, illustrates the effects of electricity on everyday life, explains how electricity is measured, demonstrates common safety methods used in homes and businesses, provides an introduction to energy efficiency concepts. Online Programs: Electric Universe, Louie’s Energizing Lessons, Sniffy’s Underground, Energy Underground

Botanical Garden
909 Robert D. Ray Drive,
Des Moines, IA 50309
515-323-6290external image call_skype_logo.png515-323-6290
Programming for youth and families is designed to engage multiple generations in the Garden’s mission of, “Exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants”. Visit Website for current events.

Training developed by Angela Cardamon for Metro Kids Staff