Archive | March, 2014

“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!)

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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!

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.

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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!

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.)

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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.

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

“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! 

msjordanreadssignature_zpsf2fc4fa7

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