Archive | February, 2014

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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