FarFaria Subscription Giveaway!

30 Aug

As many of you know, I’m always looking for new literacy resources to help support my struggling readers, especially ones that can I can use with my classroom iPads. A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to try-out a great app for kids – FarFaria. I was not familiar with the app, and I typically don’t do a lot of product reviews, but I was curious to try it out and explore what it had to offer!

2014-08-27 11.03.05

Although FarFaria is designed for children (ages 2-9) with bedtime routines and story time in mind, I would recommend the app as a perfect resource for classrooms too! If you are a teacher with a limited classroom library, or are looking for eBooks to use with your iPads and devices, this app would definitely be for you!

Getting Started

The FarFaria app is a free download from Apple or Google. With the download, you’ll have access to ONE free story a day! I like that the company gives you a chance to explore the stories and experience the app without feeling obligated to buy a subscription. If you are interested, you can buy a subscription which includes unlimited access to all the book collections (over 750 stories!). The best part is they add FIVE new stories each week, so the collection is always growing and changing!

farfariaapp

The app itself is very student-friendly, and it allows students to read independently. This would be perfect for DEAR time or for “Read to Self” during a Daily 5 rotation. If you only have a few iPads in your room, students could take turns using the app during your scheduled literacy blocks. You would need a set of headphones, but the students could sit at their desks (or pretty much anywhere in the classroom) to interact with this app!

2014-08-27 11.08.19

Classroom Perks

I can see many perks for owning this app as a parent. The number one perk would be the unlimited reading opportunities. You could bring your iPad in the car, share a story at bedtime, and provide iPad time during downtime throughout the day. Completing at least 20 minutes of reading every day would be no problem! It’s like having a children’s library in your pocket (well, maybe not your pocket… but maybe your purse or backpack?).

As a teacher, I really enjoy the variety of texts. The FarFaria collection includes quality books that cater to the interests of every child. With eleven categories of books (e.g., fairy tales, animal stories, adventure stories, classics, etc.), the children in your home or classroom will have many different genres and topics to explore.

2014-08-27 11.07.33

Each category includes books at different levels. The levels range from 1 (Pre-Readers) to 4 (Fluent Readers). Your children can pick a “just right” book and read on their own, or they can choose an easier book to read for fluency practice. They can even choose a challenging book and read along with the app! For the classroom, you can have students complete individual “FarFaria Reading Logs” so you can check-in on the levels and genres they’re choosing.

2014-08-27 11.08.34

The “Read to Me” feature is probably my favorite part of FarFaria. From my experience with read along books, I would assume it would be the kids’ favorite feature too. Kids love story time! They love being read to. Similar to RaZ-Kids and the B&N Nook (color) “Read to Me” books, though, I always encourage parents to make sure there’s a balance of using the “Read to Me” feature and having their children read on their own. Listening and following along with a story is great for modeling fluency (and great for bedtime!), but it’s even more powerful if the children listen to the story and then read it on their own after. If the text is to hard to read independently, parents can encourage their children to listen to a story that’s challenging and then pick an easier text to read and practice their fluency. Reading on their own allows kids to practice reading with good pace, phrasing, expression, and attention to punctuation. They can challenge themselves to “read like the iPad” and use it as a model for good fluency!

photo

Another great feature is that the FarFaria app allows the children to choose stories to read when they don’t have WiFi or internet access. By selecting a story as a “Favorite,” it allows them to access the text offline. This is great for when you’re traveling and you want your child to read in the car or during those in-between times when you don’t have WiFi. Again, I’m not sure how this could work with a whole class using one device and selecting favorites, but it’s great if you only have one child or a small group using it.

FarFaria Resources

Check out the FarFaria blog if you get a chance! Not only do they share new books and app features on the blog, but they also share awesome literacy resources, such as homework tips and literacy games you can play at home. There are many strategies and ideas for encouraging your child to read beyond the app!

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.40.43 AM

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.41.17 AM

FarFaria App Giveaway

Do you have an iPad at home or in your classroom? Would you like to try-out this wonderful literacy resource? I’m offering a Rafflecopter giveaway for a 3-month iPad subscription to FarFaria. The giveaway will run for one week, so please share using Facebook and Twitter for an extra chance to win. I will be picking ONE winner September 6th! Good luck!

ENTER my giveaway by clicking HERE or the picture below!

Slide1

Happy Teaching!

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

 

 

 

“Blasting Off a Great Year” — Blog Hop

21 Aug

BTS Blog Hop Header

3… 2… 1… Blast Off!

First, I want to shout-out a huge THANK YOU to Carla from Comprehension Connection and Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars for organizing this “Back-to-School” blog hop. I love opportunities to collaborate with our amazing group of literacy bloggers, and I can’t wait to read through all the ideas that are shared! I’m sure they will be out of this world! (See what I did there?) ;)

For this blog hop, each blogger was asked to dig into their teacher toolboxes to share something that would help “blast off” the school year. As you navigate through this blog hop, you’ll find a variety of fun literacy resources and ideas to use in your classroom for the months of August & September. There are book ideas, guided reading tips, classroom set-up suggestions, and SO much more!

(NOTE: If you’re just joining the hop now, you may want to go back and see the other blog posts you missed. The first stop is Reading Toward the Stars.)

When brainstorming what to share with you, I couldn’t help but think about the CRAZINESS of this time of year. Not to say it isn’t crazy during other months… but “Back to School” season is especially busy. Between getting READY for the school year (i.e., setting up classrooms, organizing resources & materials, getting lesson plans in order, etc.) and SURVIVING the first week of school (i.e., establishing classroom routines, getting to know your new students, keeping your sanity, etc.), it’s just… C.R.A.Z.Y.

To help manage the “crazy,” I decided to share a few of my “getting organized for guided reading” ideas and resources with you. Hopefully they can help you get started with small group instruction during the first few weeks!

Getting Organized for Guided Reading

Getting guided reading up and running shouldn’t be an overwhelming, painful task. Some teachers feel they can’t start their small group instruction until they have beginning-of-the-year data on every single student. For those classrooms, guided reading and small groups could be delayed for many weeks while assessments take over and pause instruction. My suggestion is to get started right away, if possible, and to use the spring data that you have. Yes, there may be some summer regression (or a lot, in some cases), but it gives you a starting point. You can always make adjustments as you collect up-to-date assessment data and get to know your students.

Grouping Your Students

Unless I have the past year’s anecdotal records or running records, I try to group the students initially by reading level. Later, I may change the groups to strategy groups or a combination of the two. It’s difficult to guess at which strategies your students will need until you have a chance to read with them or analyze past records.

Use a form like this one (bel0w) to help you map out groups. It used to be a paid product in my store, but I recently changed it to be a free download. It’s a 2-page product – one page is organized by colors and F&P levels, and the other page is completely blank so you can customize your own.

Guided Reading Grouping

You don’t need to meet in a group with every student, every day. Create a rotating schedule and try to stick to it. You could even consider implementing 1:1 conferences versus regular guided reading groups. Pick what works for you and what you can manage!

Picking Texts for the First Week

If you’re not sure what text-level to pick for your groups, and you don’t already have a text in mind, you should consider starting your first round of guided reading with a poem. Poetry is a fun way to kick-start reading instruction at the beginning of the year and allows students to show off what they can do! Plus, most students could use a little fluency practice after a few months out of the classroom. You could even use the same poem for every group but differentiate the instruction. As you observe student reading behavior within the small groups, start filling-out an informal skills assessment for each student (TeacherVision has a great printable form here). A skills assessment will allow you to start monitoring each student’s level of proficiency with different oral reading skills and comprehension strategies. It will also help you plan strategy lessons for students while you’re still collecting assessment data.

If you’re looking for a fun “Back to School” poem to use, check out the partner poem I shared in a blog post a few days ago. A few other options are listed below!

Back to School Poetry:

Independent Tasks for Students

We use Daily 5 in my building, which helps build-up stamina and independence in students. I love this structure because, once it’s up and running, it allows teachers to work with small groups without interruptions. Of course, a structure like this takes TIME to model and practice at the beginning of the year, so your small group instruction may need to be modified for the first week or so. If you are not familiar with Daily 5, consider activities like literacy centers, task cards, or independent choice boards for your students to complete while you meet with your small groups. You could even have them work on back-to-school writing pieces like Hello School Year, Goodbye Summer poems.

Collecting Anecdotal Notes During Guided Reading

A big part of guided reading, especially in the beginning, is collecting and organizing anecdotal notes and informal assessments. Find a system that works for you! Some teachers use clipboards. Some teachers use mailing labels. I use a big binder and create tabs within the binder for each student. This only works if you have a small group table where it can stay (it gets VERY heavy!). I record anecdotal notes for each student and collect running records, sight word lists, student samples, etc. Sometimes I will jot a quick note on a post-it and will later transfer it to the anecdotal page, or I will create a summary page of anecdotal post-it notes for each student.

Download a FREE packet of Anecdotal Notes Forms for Guided Reading:

AnecdotalNotesForm 8 8:18:2014

If you have access to an iPad, I’ve also used digital forms (Google Docs) or apps (e.g., Notability) that I can take type notes into. For the Google Doc form, once you submit notes for a student, it exports the data into a spreadsheet that you can sort, print, etc. I only used the iPads when I traveled around the classroom to the students (vs. them traveling to me) because the iPad was portable. In the end, I went back-and-forth between this and a sticky note system because I ended up typing WAY too slow. If you’re quick with the iPad keyboard, though, it’s a great way to organize anecdotal notes. (I blogged about how to do this last year! Check out the post here.)

Getting organized and ready to start small group instruction is half the battle. I hope these resources help you blast off a great year, especially with guided reading. Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to comment with any tips, suggestions, or resources YOU have for getting started with guided reading!

Follow me on Bloglovin’!

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.44.05 PM

Now it’s time to “Blast Off!” to the next blog stop, This Little Piggy Reads. Click the rocket ship (below) to hop directly to the post!

Next Stop Button (2)

Happy Teaching! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

A FREE Back to School Poem and a Bonus TpT Sale!

18 Aug

Two more weeks and then it’s back to school for me! (Seriously… where did the summer go?!?) I’d like to say that I was extremely productive and accomplished everything on my to-do list, but… not so much. I started to feel guilty and disappointed in myself, but then I came across Jenny’s post at Luckeyfrog’s Lilypad, “The Summer That Should Have Been,” and it helped put things into perspective for me. I’m feeling a LITTLE less guilty about the neglected task items on my list, because looking back, I’ve had a pretty awesome summer!

Just to share a few things I was lucky enough to do:

I went to Ireland with my husband’s family for a week. (One word: AMAZING)

IMG_3685

IMG_3726

(Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland – July 2014)

IMG_3452

(Lough Leane, Killarney, Ireland – July 2014)

I spent three days in Belgium with my husband where we ate lots of waffles, chocolate, and frites (and tried MANY new beers!).

IMG_4049

IMG_4174IMG_4345

I spent time with family and friends, near and far. Threw a (successful) surprise retirement party for my father-in-law. Went to a couple of weddings, from Buffalo to Chicago, to celebrate the marriage of some of my favorite people. Snuggled with my adorable pup, Kiko. I even read seven books (YESSS!).

photo

For teaching-related tasks, I completed two online courses for continuing ed credit, published two new partner poems (I now have 14 total!), and filled up a notebook with fun ideas for the school year. I’m also in the process of planning a new intervention block with the 2nd grade team in my building.

Productive summer? Yes. As productive as I wanted to be? No. Am I okay with it? ABSOLUTELY, yes. I feel accomplished, yet refreshed. My summer was FULL… full of fun, relaxation, travel, and wonderful memories (with a little work mixed in there). :)

Despite all of that, I’m still struggling with the summer being almost over. It’s one thing to create lessons and resources by the pool, another to get up, get dressed, and get myself out the door each morning! I’m not looking forward to that, but I am eager to kick-off another fun school year. I have so many new ideas I want to try out, and I can’t wait to see all my students!

A *FREE* Back-to-School Poem!

As I mentioned above, I’ve been working on a few new partner poems to use with my students this year! If you love partner poetry (aka, “poems for two voices”) and are interested in checking them out, click HERE! They’re great for fluency practice and for teaching character perspective. My students love them, and I bet yours would too! You can buy a collection of just the poems (PDF eBook), or I sell each poem individually with activity pages. I’m working on getting them published as a REAL book (wouldn’t that be awesome?!). :)

In the mean time, to celebrate my growing partner poetry collection and the back-to-school season… I’m offering my newest poem for FREE on TpT (if you’re not already a member of TpT, you should join here!). Grab the FREE poetry packet HERE or by clicking the images below!

BacktoSchool_PartnerPoetryPack_TpT 8 8:13:2014

BacktoSchool_PartnerPoetryPack_TpT 7 8:13:2014BacktoSchool_PartnerPoetryPack_TpT 10 8:13:2014

_ _

Boost Your Teaching Power with a Bonus TpT Sale!

Also, did you know that TpT’s doing a bonus one-day sale, August 20th, as a follow-up to our annual Back-to-School sale that already took place? It’s an extra day to scoop up all the resources you wish you bought earlier this August! Everything in my store (including my bundles!) will be 20% off. Use promo code “BOOST” for an additional 10% off my already discounted prices. :)

TPT Boost SALE

Happy Teaching!

Happy Shopping!

Happy Back-to-School! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

Back to School Giveaway & TpT Sale

3 Aug

It’s that time of year again…

The Teachers Pay Teachers “Back to School” Sale is here! On August 4th & August 5th, thousands of sellers at TpT will be coming together to host an awesome two-day sale.

Sale Aug 2014

Everything in my MsJordanReads store will be 20% off. Use the code BTS14 for an additional 10% my already discounted prices.

msjordanreadslogo

Back to School Bundles

With just hours to spare before the sale, I (finally) completed my “Daily Phonics” Word Work BUNDLE. Bundles are a great way to collect resources at discounted prices. By purchasing my newest bundle during the sale (with the promo code), you will be saving $12. That’s like getting FOUR months of resources free from this 12-month series. (To learn more about Daily Phonics, check out my post here.)

Slide1

Not everyone includes their bundles in the site-wide sale, but I like to offer the extra discount as an incentive to stock-up during sales!

Check out some of the other bundles at MsJordanReads:

TpT Gift Certificate Giveaway

In addition to some great savings, I’m hosting my very first TpT Gift Certificate Giveaway! One winner will receive $25 to use during the Teachers Pay Teachers sale. Enter by clicking HERE or the image below. The giveaway ends 8/4/14.
Slide1

 

– 

Happy Teaching & Happy Shopping! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

 

Make-Your-Own Trading Cards Using iPads

27 May

photo (2)

Creating Trading Cards

tradi

Download the Trading Cards app from ReadWriteThink!

After the app is downloaded to each iPad, students need to create an app username, similar to the other ReadWriteThink apps I blogged about a few months ago. (Check out the post here!)

Once students have a username created, you have to choose what kind of trading card you want your students to make. They can choose from seven different categories: Fictional Person, Real Person, Fictional Place, Real Place, Object, Event, or Vocabulary. If you’re looking for a few ideas, students can create trading cards for book characters, historical events, content vocabulary, and can even create a card for themselves! (Perfect for a fun beginning of the year “Get to Know Me” autobiography project!)

trading

Students will select a category and then will be prompted to add a title. Each trading card has two sides (you have the option just to print the front side if you wish). Students will type information into each of the information sections, so it’s important for students to plan out their writing. I created graphic organizers for students to brainstorm or research, and this really helps with the writing process.

Download the GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS I created here:

Once all the information is input into the sections, students can choose a trading card design and add a picture. If it’s a trading card about themselves, students can take a “selfie.” If it’s a trading card about an object, students can take a picture of the object (use the camera icon on the trading card). You can also upload a picture from your device’s Camera Roll (use the picture icon on the trading card). If you need to upload pictures from the web, save them to your Camera Roll and access the pictures that way.

Just a reminder, make sure the students hit “Keep It” at the bottom of the card to save the draft throughout their project (this will prevent any accidental erasing of trading cards before you get to print or share it). After editing the trading card, students can print or share it by clicking “Share It.” If a printer is directly connected, you can “Send to Printer,” but if it’s not you can “Save to Photos” and upload it using Dropbox or DropItToMe (this allows you to print from another computer).

Make sure you grant the app permission to access your Photos (this will be a pop-up request prompt when the FIRST student using the app clicks “Save to Photos”). If a student accidently hits “no,” you can always change permissions settings under your iPad Settings (click “Privacy” and then go into “Photos” to make sure permission is turned on!).

NOTE: If this project takes a few days, you’ll need to make sure students are using the same iPad each time, since the usernames are connected to a device.

Here are a few student examples for a historical event project we did: 

2014-05-23 13.23.13 2014-05-23 13.37.36 2014-05-23 13.43.24

The pictures above display how each trading card prints (it’s a one-page file). You can cut out each page, fold it down the middle, and then laminate the folded page so it’s a two-sided cards (There are directions right on the page so your students can do this part!). The picture at the top of this post are the trading cards we created (not yet laminated). My students wanted their cards to be larger, but you can print them any size.

I’m already brainstorming the possibilities for using this app next year. There are so many! I would love to hear how you use this app in the classroom. Just leave a comment below! :)

Happy Teaching! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

Hello Spring! — Poetry Writing Using iPads

14 May

I meant to write this post for Poetry month in April, but as usual, life just gets in the way! Better late than never though, right? Here’s an idea to tuck away for next year.

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post from Grade ONEderful about students writing Goodbye/Hello poems. She completed this writing activity with her first graders, but you could really integrate this idea with any grade-level.

Pic Collage Poetry

I decided to take it one step farther and use Pic Collage for the students to publish their poetry.

I’ve used Pic Collage for other projects, including my QR Code Summary Posters (tutorial for Pic Collage is included in that blog post!). I like the idea of using technology and iPads to publish writing. It was a fun 1-2 day activity for my students. Not only was it great for vocabulary practice, spelling, and visualizing… but students were able to take home a poem that THEY wrote and were proud of. We also practiced reading them for fluency for a Poetry Showcase during few minutes at the end of the week!

Here are two examples:

2014-05-05 14.49.16

2014-05-02 14.38.22

 

A few additional blogs and websites that share ideas and templates for writing your own Goodbye/Hello poems in the classroom:

If you’re interested in a web-based template, here’s one you can use for creating your poems. I personally prefer for my students to brainstorm ideas in their writing notebooks (see below), but you can use whatever format works best for you.

photo (1)

Even though this idea is too late for the end of winter, Goodbye/Hello poetry would be a fun end-of-the-year writing activity to celebrate summer. Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer? Goodbye School Year, Hello Summer Vacation? Goodbye Stress, Hello Relaxation? (Oh wait, that one is just for the teachers!) :)

P.S. New blog post about using the Trading Cards app from ReadWriteThink coming soon!

Happy Teaching! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

NEW Daily Phonics Series + a TpT Sale!

6 May

Introducing Daily Phonics

For those of you who love my Daily Fluency series, I recently developed a Daily Phonics series for practice with identifying sounds and word patterns. This series of resources is perfect for any group of elementary students who need a little extra support with decoding and phonics. My RTI decoding and fluency students love these packets!

Slide1

Each packet contains a directions page, posters, and 40 Daily Phonics pages (20 per month). The series will soon include pages for every month of the year!

DailyPhonics

Daily Phonics provides opportunities for students to identify:

  • short & long vowel sounds
  • beginning & end sounds
  • consonant blends
  • digraphs
  • diphthongs
  • r-controlled vowels
  • syllables

Students will also have daily practice with:

  • illustrating the word
  • writing the word 3x
  • unscrambling a sentence with the word in context
  • hunting for the word in a list of similar words

Slide17

There are many ways to integrate this resource into your daily routines. If you have the printing resources, copy the packet and create folders for each student to complete at their desks or at home. (See images below!)

photo

You can also create reusable Daily Phonics pages by laminating each page or using sheet protectors. Students can write on the pages with dry-erase markers and then wipe-off when they’re done. If you use iPads in the classroom, upload this packet as a PDF and use a PDF annotating program for students to complete independently. You can also project the pages and have students complete them for bell work, literacy centers, or Daily Five rotations… all you need is a SMARTBoard or an overhead projector! There are many possibilities for how to use this resource, so it’s up to you how you want to integrate it into your day-to-day routines.

(NOTE: For my groups who do Daily Fluency everyday, I do Daily Phonics just on Mondays so that they’re not spending too much time with these warm-up activities.)

Free Daily Phonics Posters

Download my FREE Daily Phonics posters here or by clicking the image below. These posters are included in each packet and  will help students with identifying the following phonics sounds: consonant blends, digraphs, diphthongs, and r-controlled vowels. Hang the posters up in your classroom or put them in your students’ Daily Phonics folders!

Slide1

 

TpT Loves Teachers Sale

Everything in my store will be 20% off on May 6th & 7th. Use promo code TPTXO for an extra 10% off that already discounted prices.

ON SALE — Daily Phonics 20% OFF

Here are the packets that are complete and ready for purchase at a discounted price:

March/April

DailyPhonics_MarchApril_TpT 3:14:2014

May/June

Slide01

July/August
Slide01

The remaining packets in the series will be coming out this spring/summer so that you can kick-start your Daily Phonics routines starting Day 1 of the new school year. Keep checking back at my store or become a subscriber to receive email alerts when new products are posted!

LAST DAY for MsJordanReads Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!

image-4

Also, for those of you who have been busy and missed my posts last week, TODAY is the last day for my Teacher Appreciation Dansko Shoe Giveaway. If you haven’t entered this awesome giveaway yet, click HERE for a link to my blog post. I’ll be choosing a winner this evening (5/6/14)!

Happy Teaching!

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

Put Your Feet Up! — A Teacher Appreciation Giveaway!

21 Apr

Teacher Appreciation Day is coming up, so it’s the perfect time to give thanks and share my appreciation for all the teachers out there! I’m extremely grateful for all the support I receive as a teacher and blogger. Everyday I’m inspired – by my students, by my fellow bloggers, and especially by the teachers whom I work with everyday. I love my job, and I love sharing my passion for teaching on this blog. I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all the educators who have helped me on my teaching journey, including you!

Slide1

Teachers… Put Your Feet Up!

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day this year, I’ve once again partnered up with Dansko for a shoe-ly awesome giveaway. (What better way to feel appreciated than with a FREE pair of shoes?!)

When Dansko asked which shoe was my favorite of the spring styles, I had to go with the the Frida sandal in black (see image below). I love their sandals and was so excited to try these out for the giveaway! (How could I say no?! One for me, one for you!) :)

photo

Even though spring is still deciding whether it wants to actually stay in Western NY (we’ll ignore the snow we got last week), I am looking forward to wearing these for the nice weather days ahead. If you’re like me, you choose “teacher shoes” that offer support and comfort. This wedge sandal gives you both! The best part is that they are designed for long days of teaching on your tired feet. The Frida sandal comes in six different colors and is part of the Havana Collection. The sandals are made from hand-antiqued leather and are SO cute! I can’t wait to wear them in the classroom with all my new spring skirts and dresses.

image-4

Do you have teacher feet that deserve something special too? Enter for a chance to spoil and pamper your feet with a pair of these comfortable sandals! I will be choosing ONE winner on May 6th. (Click image below or click here!)

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 11.02.07 AM

(NOTE: If you are chosen as the winner, I will email you for your shoe size and shipping information!)

Dankso Loves Teachers, Too!

2588091011._V378888156_SX300_

A huge thank you to Dansko for this amazing opportunity to spoil my blog readers! Do you want a chance to be spoiled more? Dansko is also hosting a giveaway for Teacher Appreciation Day. Check it out here!

DANSKO PROMOTION DETAILS: Enter for a chance to win a Dansko Appreciation Event for yourself and up to four co-workers. There will be five teams of five winners. Each team will win a breakfast and pair of shoes for all the team members!

Hurry up, this teacher appreciation event ends on 5/2. Winners will be announced 5/7!

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.06.30 PM

Happy Teaching! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

 

“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!

italk_premium

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!)

italk-iphone-app

 

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!

audacity_logo_r_450wide_whitebg

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!

SeahorseWishes_PartnerPoetryPack_TpT 15 3:25:2014

(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!)

SeahorseWishes_PartnerPoetryPack_TpT 18 3:25:2014

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!).

CompletePartnerPoetryBook

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.

photo 2-9

photo 3-4

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. :)

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 3.43.09 PM

Hop Over to the Next Stop

Thanks for stopping by!

poetry blog hop next button

Head on over to Practice Makes Perfect!

Happy Teaching!

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

 

“Project QR Code” — QR Code Summary Posters

19 Mar

SumatranTigerPoster1_MsJordanReads

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.)

sumatrantiger

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.

SumItUpGraphicOrganizer

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:

QRCodeSummaryDirections

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.

PicCollage

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.” :)

SumatranTigerPoster3_MsJordanReads

SumatranTigerPoster2_MsJordanReads

Happy Teaching! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,519 other followers

%d bloggers like this: