“Spring Has Sprung” Poetry Blog Hop (Stop #5)

28 Mar

PoetryBlogHop

Spring Has Sprung!

Welcome to Stop #5!

I love spring, and I love poetry, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the “Spring Has Sprung” poetry blog hop! A HUGE thank you to Rebecca Reid, from Line Upon Line Learning (Stop #1), for organizing this fun, blogging opportunity. Really…I can’t think of a better way to kick-off National Poetry Month than with poetry freebies. Can you?!

Poetry Month = Fluency Month

Poetry is the perfect ingredient for building fluency, so one way to celebrate National Poetry Month is by turning “Poetry Month” into “Fluency Month!”

Students love poetry and they love performing, so think about integrating activities that would combine the two with a fluency focus. The Performing Poetry strategy from ReadWriteThink is perfect for this! Each week, you can introduce a new poem for students to practice fluency with. After modeling and going over any new vocabulary, students can practice throughout the week and put on an end-of-the-week poetry performance! The article by ReadWriteThink suggests having a culminating poetry event such as a Poetry Parade, Poetry Day, Poetry Theatre, Poetry Cafe, or even a Poetry Night with parents!

Using iTalk to for Poetry Performing Practice

One way my students practice their poetry performance throughout the week is by recording their poetry reading on the iPads using a voice recording app. Audio recordings are powerful, as it allows students to hear themselves as another person would. I use the iTalk Recorder app which is offered for free through Apple. Students love using this app to record their voices and listen to the recording afterwards. It’s very easy to use… for both teachers and students!

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Students can save their recordings to compare before/after readings, reflect on their fluency, and set appropriate goals. The app also times the students, so it allows them to calculate a words per minute (wpm) rate of reading. Students can try to improve their wpm rate with each practice. (NOTE: You can save the recordings and use them as informal running records, too!)

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If you don’t have iPads in your classroom, consider using Audacity on your classroom desktop computers or laptops. It’s free and easy to use, as well!

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Poetry Theatre

I love the idea of Poetry Theatre as a form of “Poetry Performing.” While many define “poetry theatre” as a general performance of poetry, I have a different definition in my classroom. I’ve developed a series of partner poems that are like Readers Theatre plays, where students have a specific part they play in the poem. Each part is a different perspective (also great for teaching point of view!).  The partner perspective poems I create are have a back-and-forth structure, and students love changing their voices to sound like the two characters. These poems are great for fluency practice because students have to think about character voice and expression, while reading their lines with good pace, phrasing, and attention to punctuation. Just like with any poem-of-the-week, students can perform these in a culminating event to show off their fluency skills!

Are you interested in bringing “Poetry Theatre” or the “Performing Poetry” strategy into your classroom?

Blog Hop Freebie for Performing Poetry!

Scoop up my newest partner poetry packet for FREE below!

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(This poem will go back to being a paid product on 4/2/14)

 This poetry packet also contains comprehension activities to reinforce visualizing, character perspectives, story elements (see picture below), and answering text-based questions. (Supports CCLS!)

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It’s FREE for four days only, so hurry up and download your copy during this great blog hop event! :)

MsJordanReads Poetry Giveaway

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’m giving away a copy of The Complete Partner Poetry Book to THREE lucky winners. This collection of partner perspective poems would be perfect for Performing Poetry. The collection includes 12 partner poems (including my newest poem above!).

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If you have iPads in your classroom, you can open the PDF file with iBooks and the students can read it like an eBook! You’ll need to get the files onto the iPads using email or Dropbox first, but after you click “Open With iBooks” it stays on the shelf until you delete it. I’ve created quite a library of digital poems and PDF files on iBooks this way, and students even create their own PDF “eBooks” and poems to read and share with the class!

Just like with any eBook in iBooks, students can highlight text and look up specific word definitions. Students can also use the highlighting feature of iBooks to go on phonics word hunts and find evidence in the text.

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Enter For Your Chance to Win This Product! 

(NOTE: This giveaway has ended!) 

Winners will be chosen 4/1/14 (7:00 PM EST) and will be notified that evening.
Submit your entry by clicking the form below!

Congratulations to Janet Hegg, Stephanie Chambers, & Kamala Schuster!

You are the three winners! I emailed you the poetry product. :)

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Hop Over to the Next Stop

Thanks for stopping by!

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Head on over to Practice Makes Perfect!

Happy Teaching!

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“Project QR Code” — QR Code Summary Posters

19 Mar

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For most of my RTI students, summarizing is a challenge, especially when it comes to identifying key details and boiling our summaries down to the most important information.  More often than not, text summaries become text retells, and students lose focus of what’s important. So how do students “boil it down,” and more importantly, how can we make it FUN?

Becoming “Summarizing Superstars” doesn’t happen overnight,  so it’s always a challenge to come up with motivating tasks to practice summarizing – tasks that can potentially keep students motivated over the course of a few weeks!  High-interest texts are a start, but I try to make the actual tasks fun and engaging, as well. How? Insert: TECHNOLOGY. :) 

Project QR Code” continues with this next technology integration activity.

I gave my students a challenge — we would be creating QR Code chapter summaries for a non-fiction text about mysterious Sumatran tigers, BUT each summary would have to fit on a post-it note and would have to include the five most important key words from the chapter. We would then turn our post-it notes into QR codes and create a summary collage. The students seemed hesitant, but excited with the idea of creating their own QR code summary posters!

“Sum It Up!” Comprehension Strategy

To help students identify what’s most important in the text, I use the “Sum It Up!” strategy. As always, I model the strategy, guide (guide, guide, guide some more), and THEN see if they can do it on their own. It’s the typical “I Do/We Do/You Do” model with a gradual release of responsibility. My RTI students need a lot of hand-holding at first, especially when they realize they’re choosing the incorrect words nine times out of ten. It’s a slow process, but their beautiful summaries and sense of accomplishment in the end makes it all worth it!

With the “Sum It Up!” strategy, students have to first identify key words (5 maximum). This is the hardest part, and we often start in our notebooks so we can brainstorm a list of words without the pressure of choosing just FIVE. To get started, the students first jot down any important words that pop into their head from the chapter. We then revisit the text and hunt for key words. Highlighting and marking up the text are great strategies for spotlighting important words, just as long as the students aren’t “highlighter happy.” In the beginning, I usually do this part with them, or just have them stay away from highlighters so the markings can be erased. (NOTE: If you do close reading with your students, you can make a connection to the “highlighter hunts” you do with close reads!)

I provide students with guiding questions to help them with identifying key words. Students ask themselves the following questions:

  • What is the chapter title? (This is a huge clue! Students discover that key words are often hidden inside title since authors create titles based on main ideas!)
  • What is this chapter mostly about?
  • What words do I see repeated throughout the chapter? 
  • What are the most important details (vs. the supporting details)?
  • Is there background information, extended examples, or author anecdotes that can be left out?
  • Is the word I found important to understanding this chapter?
  • Could I leave this word out and still understand the chapter?

Once we have a list of potential key words, we look at each one, discuss WHY we think it’s important (students have to defend their words), and then we slowly narrow it down by crossing words out. What’s left are the five most important ones that we can connect together to form a summary.

For the summary-writing stage, I always have students start in their notebooks so they can cross-out and shrink their summaries. The ultimate goal is for it to fit on a post-it note. The post-it note forces students to “boil down” their summaries down to the most important information. (Be patient… usually it takes many tries and a HUGE pile of post-its!)

After, the summaries are successfully recorded on post-it notes, I have my students underline the key words inside their summaries. Their post-it notes are sometimes a mess, so I may have students transfer their summaries (again) to “Sum It Up” graphic organizers (see pictures below). Underlining acts as a self-check to make sure they included all five. (It’s important to note that sometimes there will be less than five key words! It depends on the length of the text or chapter you’re summarizing.)

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I often have my students create their own graphic organizers using blank paper so that they know how to develop graphic organizers on their own for future note-taking tasks.

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Download this FREE “Sum It Up!” graphic organizer to use with your students! (Click on image)

Eventually, students will be able to do many of these steps in their heads, but until then, it may take lots of step-by-step instruction, drafts, re-writes, and re-teaching. The big thing is for students not to get frustrated!

Creating QR Codes

The culminating QR code project was the “light at the end of the tunnel” for many of my students, so I made sure to leave plenty of time for students to create their QR codes and complete their poster collages.

My favorite QR creator to use with students is QR Code Generator (http://goqr.me/). There are a TON of QR code creator websites out there. Just find the one that works for you!

Using my teacher website, or a bookmark on the iPad, students go to the URL and follow the directions. I have students create the QR codes on the iPad.

Here’s a screenshot of the directions on my classroom website:

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Using PicCollage

Students love PicCollage. It’s extremely student-friendly, and it’s a fun way for students to show off their understanding! Students can add their QR codes, photos from the web, text captions, titles, and so much more. Each collage can be customized very easily by the students. Once they are happy with their collages, they can save, share, or email the files. Since my students can’t print from the iPads, they submit it to me via DROPitTOme. The collage can be saved to the iPad’s camera roll, so if you use the DropBox app on the iPad, you can save it there as well.

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Looking for a PicCollage tutorial?

Final QR Code Summary Posters

Here are two more examples of posters my students made. Feel free to scan the QR codes to see their summaries. The chapter summaries are not perfect, but we’re definitely on our way to becoming “Summarizing Superstars.” :)

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Happy Teaching! 

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“Project QR Code” — Interactive Phonics Game Board

5 Mar

Technology in the Classroom

As with most educational technology, it’s all about finding the perfect balance. I want my students to interact with fun technology, but I don’t want the technology to take away from the focus of my lesson. My goal is to integrate technology effectively, with the purpose of enhancing my lessons and motivating my students. As an RTI provider, I have very specific student goals and a limited timeframe to provide instruction for students to meet those goals. The challenge is to find technology that is easy-to-use but still supports my daily learning targets.

As most of you know from my post last month, I’ve been trying to find more ways to enhance my instruction with QR codes. I’m now referring to this mission as “Project QR Code.” :) Just adding the simple step of scanning a “quick response” (QR) code adds a layer of motivation and engagement to simple instructional tasks. The next few posts I plan to share will focus on some fun ways I’ve been integrating QR codes in the classroom!

QR Code Phonics Game Board

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In one of my 3rd grade RTI decoding groups, we’ve been focusing on various long vowel patterns. This week, my students are reviewing the “Magic /e/” vowel rule. Instead of using regular game cards with a game board, I decided to embed QR codes onto each of the game board squares. As the students move through the interactive game board, they must use the Scan app on the iPads to get their task.

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If you don’t have access to iPads, that’s totally fine! Students can use any type of mobile device, as long as they have a QR code-reading app (there are many options to choose from). I ended up making multiple copies of this game board and sending it home with my students who have mobile devices at home.

Download your FREE copy of my Magic E Interactive Board Game with QR Codes!

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**NOTE: If you like this product, I plan to create a few more interactive game boards for my TpT store. If there’s a specific skill you would like to see as a focus of my game boards, please email me at msjordanreads@gmail.com.

A Few QR Code Resource Websites: 

I would love to hear how you use QR codes with your small groups to reinforce phonics and decoding. Please comment below and share your ideas!

Happy Teaching! 

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Kindergarten Fluency Folders + A HUGE TpT Sale!

25 Feb

Kindergarten Fluency Folders

Hey, Kindergarten teachers… this one’s for YOU!

If you’re a follower of my blog or TpT store, you know that many of my fluency resources are geared toward elementary students grades 2-5. After a few comments and many requests, I decided I should finally create some early literacy materials for K/1!

One of my fabulous blog readers specifically requested a daily fluency product for her Kindergarteners. I agreed to help, and after some back-and-forth discussion in regard to format and what would be most helpful to include, I developed a resource with ready-to-print materials for creating your own year-long Kindergarten Fluency Folders. (Thank you, Erica!)

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This resource offers 60 lists of letters, sounds, and words to use with your students. The materials will help your students build fluency with letter identification, letter-sound relationships, sight words, short vowel word families, and some basic phrases, sentences, and passages. Graphs are included for students to track their fluency progress, as well as flash cards for students to practice each of the list items. Use the folders in the classroom or send them home each night (parent letters & directions are included).

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The focus of these folders is speed and accuracy, which obviously isn’t all that fluency is, but this product will help your students build the foundation for later fluency development. Without automatic recognition of letters, sounds, and words, students will have difficulty reading for meaning. Focusing on phrasing, expression, and punctuation is the next step after using these folders (and don’t worry… your voices have been heard! I’m working on a K/1 version of my Fluency Boot Camp!).

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A thumbnail preview of all the pages is available on the product page if you’d like to check out more of what’s inside! Here’s the link to my Kindergarten Fluency Folder product on TpT!

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**NOTE: This was created with Kindergarten students in mind, but the materials would benefit struggling readers in 1st grade, too! Perfect for remedial RTI instruction!**

Download a few SAMPLE pages HERE!

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TpT’s 3 Million Teachers Strong Sale!

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It’s official! Teachers Pay Teachers has reached the BIG 3,000,000. To celebrate the growing number of teachers that have joined our community, we are having a huge mid-week sale on 2/27 and 2/28! Many teacher-sellers, including myself (MsJordanReads), will be offering 20% off during this sale. It’s our way of saying thank you for your continued support! Spread the word, and don’t forget to use promo code TPT3 for an additional 10% off.

Happy Teaching!

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QR Codes to Enhance Learning

24 Feb

Today, as I was gearing up for the first week back after a long break (sigh), I came across a great guest post by Nancy Alvarez (from Teaching with Nancy) on the blog FlapJack Educational Resources. Nancy’s post took me out of my end-of-vacation depressed state and truly excited me for the upcoming weeks ahead of teaching.

As many of you know, I’m always looking for new ways to use my set of iPads with my intervention groups, and her post, QR Code Tips, was all about integrating QR codes into your everyday teaching. After reading her post, I realized that I don’t use QR codes enough. I know about them. I’ve used them from time to time, but just not enough. I have no excuse because they are SO incredibly simple to bring into the classroom and there are so many possibilities. 

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QR codes are a fun, engaging way for students to explore content and to share new learning with others, yet the idea of embedding them into my instruction never pops into my head when I’m writing my lesson plans. For example, a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about using a fantastic ReadWriteThink mobile app for teaching Non-Fiction Text Structures. One in particular was a digital timeline app to help students show their understanding of sequence & order (if you missed it, see the post here!). I thought the iPad app itself was engaging, and I was SO excited that I was able to share it with my students, but in Nancy’s blog post, she shared how some classrooms take this app one step further. Instead of students recording JUST the facts and information, students can make QR codes for each event on the timeline (see the example here). Really… wow! That thought didn’t even cross my mind when my students were using this app, but how fun would it be for students to learn from each other’s timelines using QR codes?!? It was one of those moments where I said, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

Like Nancy, I’ve attended inspiring technology sessions about bringing technology into the classroom. I really like her acronym, T.I.M.E. (Technology Integration and Meaningful Engagement), and I agree that “it takes time to perfect the craft of embedding new technology seamlessly into our daily teaching.” It is my goal to really try and enhance my lessons with technology. I don’t want it to take over my lessons, and I don’t want to lose the purpose of my lessons, but perhaps it’s just the simple use of using QR codes on timelines.

How do you use QR codes in your classroom?

Please comment below! I would love to explore new ideas for QR ideas (and I’m sure I’ll once again think, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!”). :)

Happy Teaching!

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Exploring Non-Fiction Text Structures Using iPads

11 Feb

Happy February! Hope everyone is having a great start to 2014! Since the holidays, my days have been filled with winter benchmark assessments, report cards, parent conferences, building data days, schedule changes, oh… and teaching! :) Needless to say, I’m beyond ready for our school break coming up next week.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to post this, and I finally found a few minutes to share! Throughout the year, I’ve been trying to find ways to integrate my set of iPads into my small intervention groups. I’ve been finding great apps for my decoding/fluency groups, but not a ton for my comprehension groups. However, I recently came across the (FREE) ReadWriteThink apps for mobile devices, and they’re amazing! These apps are perfect for supporting comprehension and your ELA curriculum. I used them as digital graphic organizers for exploring non-fiction text structures, but you can really use them across the content areas!

Getting Started

Once you download the apps, they’re very easy to use! I haven’t explored the Trading Cards, Acrostic Poem, or Alphabet apps, but I’ve used the Timeline and Venn Diagram apps (links below) with my non-fiction text structure unit (i.e., Sequence & Order, and Compare & Contrast).

All apps require students to create a username so that they can save their projects. It takes only a minute and is very easy for students to do. It’s worth having the students set up usernames, especially since multiple groups use my set of iPads. Plus, students can work on their digital projects throughout the week without having to start over each time.

Venn Diagrams

The Venn Diagram app is very user-friendly. My 4th & 5th graders used this app to record similarities and differences of hurricanes and tornadoes. We then used the graphic organizer to develop “Compare & Contrast” paragraph responses.

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You can print the Venn Diagrams, or you can save them as pictures on your iPad’s Camera Roll. If your school is like mine, we restrict student printing via the iPads, so I have my students send me their .jpg files using DropItToMe, which is linked to my Dropbox. I can then print it for them!

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I’ve only used the app for comparing topics within a text, but I’m looking forward to using it for other purposes as well. We’re comparing fictional characters in one of my 2nd grade groups, and I would love the students to compare the characters using this app. My decoding/fluency group is working on different vowel patterns, and I would love for my students to use the venn diagram to sort the words into the different vowel categories. Students could even use the digital venn diagram for sorting their spelling words!

Timelines

The Timeline app is perfect for exploring Sequence & Order in informational texts. To start, the app provides visual examples of three different ways you can organize your timeline: dates, times, or events. I had my students choose which they thought would be the best way to organize our timelines. They had to preview the text and then set up their timeline.

My 4th & 5th grade students created timelines from the Reading A-Z book The Story of the Statue. They highlighted the key details and organized their timelines by date. Even though there is a short description and long description option to go with each time/date/event you add, the short description is the only one that shows up on the printed timeline. I actually preferred the short description, because it had a character limit. It forced my students to “Sum It Up” and pick key words to go with each timeline entry.

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This app would be great for biography projects or for retelling story events in a fiction text. Students could also use it as a graphic organizer when writing personal narratives or memoirs. There are a ton of options!

I hope to explore more comprehension apps that are out there, and I’m really hoping ReadWriteThink continues to develop more student-friendly apps in the future! Do you know of any great apps for comprehension?  Please let me know if you come across any good ones. You can comment on this post or email me at msjordanreads@gmail.com. I’m hoping to eventually write a blog post to spotlight some of the great comprehension apps out there.

In the mean time, I would love to hear how you use these apps! Please leave a comment on this post if you have a great idea to share. :)

Happy Teaching! 

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Check out my newest seasonal Partner Poems for February!

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I’m hoping to have one soon for every holiday. My students love the back-and-forth poems for fluency, and comprehension activities are included for each! I have almost a dozen in my TpT store.

Check out my collection HERE!

The Gift of Reading Blog Hop (Stop #20)

22 Nov

Blog Hop Overview:

At each blog stop, you will be gathering literacy-related gifts and freebies.  In each post, you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letters, record them on your Giveaway Recording Sheet, and solve the mystery quote. You will need this quote to enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning, to make sure you scoop up all the freebies, please visit the first stop: A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher.  (This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!)

Welcome to Blog Hop Stop #20:

“Reading. Writing. Thinking. Sharing.”

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The Gift of Reading:

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The gift of reading is a lifelong gift. Helping the children in your life find the one book, the one author, or the one series they could fall in love with… it could change their lives forever. Maybe it’s the book that hooks them into the world of reading. Maybe it’s the series that motivates them to read moreto become better readers. Maybe it’s the author that helps them relate, connect, and understand life. Whatever it is, help your students understand the power of reading, and show them how it can truly change their lives.

I wish for you a holiday season filled with love, laughter, and MANY wonderful books! :)

Enjoy my FREE gift for YOU!

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(NOTE: Starting 8 PM on Sunday, 11/24/13, this item will go back to being a paid item in my TpT store.)  

The Winter Escape” partner poetry product will bring some poetry fun into your classroom! Use the poem to reinforce fluency, and use the comprehension pages to reinforce visualizing, retelling, making inferences, and writing text-based answers. Send it home with students, or use it in the classroom as a literacy center. My students love the back-and-forth structure of this partner poem and the activities that go along with it. I hope yours do too!

My secret letter is:

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Thank you for stopping by! If you’re not already a follower, and you would like to be the first to know about new post, giveaways, and blog hops, follow me on Bloglovin’ (click the image bel0w). You can also sign up for my blog posts via email (see right-hand navigation). 

 
 

Don’t stop now! Hop on over to Thinking Out Loud to pick up another amazing reading gift! If you get lost along the way download the Blog Hop Map here to easily pick up where you left off! 

Happy Hopping &

Happy Holidays!

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Helping Students Understand Questions

19 Nov

I’ve been working on evidence-based questions with some of my RtI intervention groups…. and yikes. We didn’t even get to the response-writing part when many of my students hit a roadblock. Question words. They could come up with 101 “I wonder…” questions while reading, but when faced with a higher-level thinking question, they didn’t know how to answer it. They couldn’t dissect the question. How could I expect my students to find evidence to support their answers when they didn’t even know what kind of answer they needed? Although the biggest confusion was with “why” and “how,” I decided to spend some time reviewing the question words. All of them.

Teaching Question Words

Questioning is a skill that many students struggle with. Asking questions can be challenging, but answering questions can be even more challenging. Helping students understand question words is the first step. With explicit teaching and reinforcement, students can develop mental associations (using visuals and key words) to help them make connections automatically between questions and the type of answers that go with each. So how can you help your students build mental associations?

Below is a student reference I created for my students’ reading folders. Students can use this sheet throughout the year as a quick reference for question words.

FREE Question Words Student Reference

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Also, here are a few activities (below) that I use regularly for teaching question words.

Question Word Activities:

Guess the Question. Read a section of text and have your students come up with a question that could be answered by that section. Students need an understanding of question words to decide which one to use for the section. This ties in many other skills, especially because students need to identify the main idea and important details before coming up with a question. They have to hunt for key words to determine what KIND of question to ask. They can ask themselves questions like, “Does the section describe the steps for a process?” “Does the section provide reasons or an explanation?” I like to use informational texts and cover up the section headings with a post-it note. The Scholastic Question & Answer Series by Melvin & Gilda Berger is great for this activity!

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Question Sorts/Matching. Students match question words to visuals and key words. This can be guided or independent, timed or self-paced. My students make their own flash cards from their student-made graphic organizers. They either copy question words, key words, and visuals onto index cards, or I make copies of their graphic organizer for them to cut-out. I usually have them “speed match” the cards and try to beat their time over a few tries. My goal is for them to build QUICK connections between the key words, visuals, and the question words so that when they read questions they have to answer, they know HOW to answer it. (Looking for pre-made flash cards or a graphic organizer template? Check them out in my store here!)

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Fact ↔ Question. Students turn facts into questions and questions into facts. For the questions, I have the students highlight the question word and ask themselves what kind of answer they need. They use their student reference as needed. For the facts, I have them highlight important words and think about key words as they analyze the sentence. They look for reasons, explanations, “time” words, dates, names, etc. and use the clues to come up with a question.

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Question Word “I Have/Who Has.” Students love playing “I Have/Who Has.” Not only is it engaging, but it is a great way to review vocabulary and build fluency (multiplication facts, telling time, word patterns, sight words, etc.). Typically this game involves 20+ cards, but I use less than ten for this one to review the most common question words and their key words. I love to use this game as a 3-minute filler or quick warm-up activity. You can make your own game, or you can find the one I made here!

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What do YOU use to teach question words? 

Additional Questioning Resources: 

 

WHOOOOOO is looking for a ready-to-use packet of materials? Check out my complete 25-page questioning packet called Questioning Owl: A Focus on Understanding & Asking Questions for more question word materials and resources!

Questioning Owl

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   Questioning Owl Thumbnails

Gift of Giving Blog Hop

Also, on an unrelated note… next weekend is another BLOG HOP! The literacy specialists who came together for the popular Super Sleuths blog hop last month, have teamed up again. Check out the Gift of Reading blog hop next weekend and you’ll receive over 20 literacy resources for FREE! (Plus, you can enter for another chance to win fabulous prizes and gift cards. Woohoo!)

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Happy Teaching! 

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Super Sleuths Blog Hop! (Stop #14)

25 Oct

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You’ve arrived at “Super Sleuth Blog Hop” stop #14! 

If you’re JUST starting the blog hop, you may want to consider going back to the beginning so you can collect all the clues starting at the first blog, Comprehension Connection. You also have the option of starting here and then going back to the beginning blogs after you reach the end.

If you haven’t done so already, please download your Super Sleuth Blog Hop Form by clicking the link below:

Super Sleuths Blog Hop Form

You’ll need this for keeping track of the blogs you visit and for recording the letter clues you collect. This form will help you figure out the final mystery message so you can enter to win fabulous prizes at the end!

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(Graphics from www.mycutegraphics.com)

Blog Hop Overview:

  • 28 literacy-focused blogs have teamed up for this event! At each blog stop, you will collect FREE literacy resources and a letter that will help you solve a mystery on your last hop.
  • If you become lost or need to take a break during your “case,” you can locate the blog buttons at the very end of each post or go back to the first stop, Comprehension Connection.
  • While you are trying to crack the “case”, it may be wise to take notes.  You can use the form for assistance. (HINT: The answer to the “case” is a famous quote.)
  • You will only have from Friday, October 25th at 8:00 AM EST until Monday, October 28th at 8:00 AM EST to solve the mystery.  After Monday at 8:00 AM EST, all case materials will close and many of the free product links will send you to paid items on Teachers Pay Teachers or Teacher’s Notebook.

Blog Stop #14

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SUPER SLEUTH FACT FILE:

What is “Making Inferences”?

Making inferences is when students draw conclusions from the text using the text clues and their background knowledge. Essentially, students are trying to figure out what the author doesn’t explicitly tell them in the text. It’s a higher-level thinking skill and involves “thinking beyond the text.”

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SUPER SLEUTH FREEBIE:

“Reading Detectives: A Focus on Making Inferences”

(Part of my Reading Hats for Comprehension Strategy Series)

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(NOTE: Starting Monday, 10/28/13 at 8:00 AM (EST), this product will be turned back into a paid product in my TpT store!)

As “Reading Detectives,” students will have to search for clues and information from the text to use as evidence. After collecting the evidence, they will have to connect it with what they already know to draw conclusions about the text. Students use their detective skills to fill-in the missing pieces, make inferences, and understand the “Big Picture” of a story.

Using reference materials, discussion cards, and an original “I’m a Reading Detective!” strategy poem, students will love putting on their “detective hats” to practice making inferences!

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**The Reading Detective is one of the six hats featured in Reading Hats for Comprehension at MsJordanReads! More strategy packets are coming soon!)

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SUPER SLEUTH LETTER CLUE:

On your form, you can record the letter…

letterO
(Graphics from www.mycutegraphics.com)
More great literacy ideas and resources are waiting for you ahead, but while you are here, feel free to sign up to follow my blog (via WordPress, email, or Bloglovin’ using buttons on the right side navigation of this blog) or follow MsJordanReads on Facebook or Twitter.  I hope you enjoy the materials and ideas I’ve shared!

Are You Ready?

Blog #15

Big Time Literacy

Happy Sleuthing!

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MsJordanReads on Bloglovin

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Hey, Super Sleuths!

Did you miss a blog stop?

Here are the participating blogs (in order):

1. Comprehension Connection

2. Dont Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

3. The Reading Tutor/ OG

4. Learning Fundamentals

5. Reading and Writing Redhead

6. Ms. Ds Literacy Lab

7. Conversations in Literacy

8. Teacher Mom of Three

9. A Day in the Life of a Title 1 Teacher

10. Luckeyfrog”s Lilypad

11. Curious Firsties

12. All Four Reading

13. Thinking Out Loud

14. MsJordanReads

15. Big Time Literacy

16. Read with Me ABC

17. Teaching With Nancy

18. This Little Piggy Reads

19. The Literacy Minute

20. Book Units Teacher

21. Reading Toward the Stars

22. The Literacy Garden

23. Im Lovin Lit

24. Ripper Resources

25. Teachers Take-Out

26. Sweet Integrations

27. Reading is Elementary

28. The Rungs of Reading

A CCLS-Aligned Reading Curriculum

13 Oct

Like many other teachers, after having experienced the rigor and high expectations of last year’s NYS Common Core Assessments  for grades 3-8, it became apparent that I needed to reflect and make some changes in my teaching for this school year. Although I thought I did a pretty good job last year with aligning my instruction to the NYS Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), I soon realized it was only a portion of what I could be doing. This year, I’m trying to be better prepared, and I’m determined to help the struggling readers I work with find increased success with the CCLS.

Taking a few extra steps to plan and prepare along the way has made a difference. Here are a few tools and resources that I have found to be helpful for navigating the Common Core in New York:

  • EngageNY – EngageNY is our new best friend. I’ve been spending many lunch dates with this website.

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  • Common Core Resource Binder — I started a Common Core Resource Binder to house all my resources and help keep me organized! (Check out a sample binder, and grab some free printables to create your own resource binder at Lyndsey’s blog, A Year of Many Firsts!)

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  • Common Core-Aligned Strategy Posters — My reading team developed “I Can…” Strategy Posters that are aligned to the different strategies. I display these on my board to increase student involvement with the Common Core. The “I Can…” statements put the standards into student-friendly language. (I included the PDF, as well as the editable version for you to download.)

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“I Can…” Strategy Posters (PDF)

“I Can…” Strategy Posters (Power Point)

**I’m trying Dropbox for downloads, but I may switch back to Google Docs if many run into downloading issues. Please email me at msjordanreads@gmail.com if you have any issues!**
  • Pinterest — Pinterest is a great way to explore and collect resources. I use it as a bookmarking tool and “digital toolbox” for ideas, strategies, and materials. Over the past few months, I’ve discovered many new resources related to the Common Core. (Feel free to check out my Pinterest board, “Common Core,” for resources I’ve collected this year. Consider following this board to access all the Common Core resources I discover throughout the year!)

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  • Common Core Checklists — I’m using the FREE checklists from The Curriculum Corner to keep track of my Common Core instruction, (i.e., introduction, review, and assessment dates for different skills/strands). This is a valuable tool for helping teachers keep track of their instruction and which skills they still need to cover. Some teachers are using one for their whole class, others are printing separate checklists for small groups and individual students. I use it for 1:1 instruction and my small groups.

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Even with all the planning and preparation, as an interventionist for reading, I’m greatly concerned about the students who are struggling with grade-level skills and have difficulty closing the skill gaps to perform successfully on these assessments. The checklists, posters, and binder are just a starting point – they will help me manage my instruction and keep track of student progress – but I will still need to continuously reflect and refine my teaching to ensure that my students are meeting the new expectations and standards.

I would love to hear some feedback regarding what you and your districts are doing to prepare students and address the new standards.

  • How have you prepared for the Common Core?
  • What resources are you using?
  • What are you doing to help your students prepare for the Common Core Assessments?

(Please share your comments at the bottom of this post!)

Happy Teaching!

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