Archive | October, 2013

Super Sleuths Blog Hop! (Stop #14)

25 Oct

Blogger Header

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!

(Graphics from

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



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.”



“Reading Detectives: A Focus on Making Inferences”

(Part of my Reading Hats for Comprehension Strategy Series)


(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!

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 12.46.22 PM

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



On your form, you can record the letter…

(Graphics from
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!


MsJordanReads on Bloglovin

— — — — — — — — — —

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.


  • 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!)


  • 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.)


“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 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!)


  • 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.



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!


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Using iPads for 1:1 Reading Conferences & Assessments

6 Oct

Hope everyone is off to a great start to the school year! It’s been a mind-spinning start, but I’m slowly getting back into the daily routines of everything. This year we started the year off differently, with a 7-week collaborative program where the reading teachers push-into the different classrooms to work with the teachers on small group instruction. I have a whole series of blog posts to share what I’ve been doing, but I thought I would start with a post about my new classroom bundle-of-joy… a school-purchased iPad!

iPads in the classroom are powerful tools, especially for meeting the diverse needs of 21st century learners. I’ve had a personal iPad device for a few years now, but I was unfortunately never able to connect to our school network via Wi-Fi, so my iPad implementation was extremely limited. My web-based apps were useless and any cloud-based storing/sharing was impossible.

This year, as a Technology Integration Facilitator (TIF) in my district, we were each given an iPad to use throughout the year. We received these over the summer and participated in an iPad Academy to prepare our devices and get training on iPad integration. In addition to my teacher iPad, I will soon be receiving five iPads for student-use this fall (yay!), which means opportunities for differentiation and blended learning have just tripled in my literacy classroom (an even bigger YAY!). My goal is to find a balance of technology-use within my small group instruction and to find ways for the iPads to support my current targeted interventions. There are many fun apps, but not all are appropriate or effective for each student I work with.

One goal for this year is to explore and share apps that support my Response to Intervention (RtI) instruction. There are hundreds to choose from, so I decided to start with one that my colleague recently shared with me. It’s an amazing app for student assessment called Record of Reading, and it. is. fabulous!

record of reading

Record of Reading is a FREE app for iPads that can be used for informal running records. It has a timer and recording features, and it provides areas for recording miscues and notes. It’s a great way to keep track of student reading records without having to keep a monstrous binder of paper records. The app is very user-friendly and helps keep everything in one spot!

Did I mention that it’s easy to use?

Here are the steps (simplified): 

Before you start the timer, you can type in the student name, date, school, teacher, title, and level. You can then start the timer (clock icon), hit record (circle icon next to the clock), and mark the words and miscues as the student reads (it’s easier to record substitutions and make the marks if you have a stylus pen — the sample picture below is me just using my finger!). After the student is finished reading, you stop the timer and voice recording and then input the # of words read (RW), code the errors by clicking in the columns (i.e., Error/Self-Correction and M, S, V), choose a fluency score, and record any anecdotal notes in the text box. The app calculates the accuracy rate and words per minute.

The best part is, you can listen to the recording if you missed anything! The app stores all the student records in digital folders you create, but you can also export or share them as pdf files. I. LOVE. IT. It really is a time-saver… and a paper-saver!

Here is a snapshot of one of my pdf exports. It’s not the full document, but it gives you an idea of what the record looks like.



I use this app on my iPad in conjunction with my Google Doc anecdotal notes forms. I originally got the idea for using Google Docs from Think * Share * Teach. This blogger has a great tutorial for setting up your own forms and gives examples of features you can include. Once you have the “live form” ready to go, you can bookmark it so it opens right from your iPad home screen. One click and the form opens up for me to use with any student I read with. Here’s what the bookmark looks like (it almost looks like an app, right?):


All forms are linked to a response spreadsheet where the information I submit on the form automatically gets input into the columns. Whenever I need to (and wherever I am!), I can quickly access this cloud-based document. It’s perfect for sorting, tracking, and sharing my student data.

I included a sample of both forms I use, as well as a sample response spreadsheet below:

Sample 1:1 Reading Conference Form

Sample 1:1 Small Group Anecdotal Form

Sample Response Spreadsheet


Reading conferences and informal records have become MUCH easier with the Record of Reading app and my Google Doc forms. I have the Google Drive app so that I can easily access all my student data spreadsheets.


How do you use iPads or Google Docs for reading conferences, assessment, or anecdotal forms? Please leave a comment on this post or share on my Facebook page! I would LOVE to collect some new resources to try out this year. 🙂

Happy Teaching!



%d bloggers like this: