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Teaching Sensory Language with Mentor Texts – Where Butterflies Grow

21 Apr

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I’m teaming up once again with The Reading Crew to bring you another resource-filled, fun link-up. If you’re just joining us, please check out the blog links at the bottom to learn about all the wonderful mentor texts and scoop up some fun resources!

There will a HUGE giveaway at the end of the link-up for you to enter for a chance to win ALL the books we feature through our blog posts. How fun is that?! All you have to do is collect all the mystery words (look for the words in color), follow all the links, and you may be the winning recipient of over 15 mentor texts to boost your reading instruction this spring! (NOTE: This giveaway ended 4/28/17) 

Introducing the Text

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Where Butterflies Grow by Joanne Ryder is a wonderful spring-themed book filled with descriptive language and beautiful illustrations. It’s the perfect text for teaching visualizing and helping students explore sensory language. In this book, students are taken on a sensory journey through the life cycle of a butterfly. The author writes in the second person point of view, helping students to apply their senses and imagine what it’s like to be an actual caterpillar ready to turn into a butterfly… or what it’s like to be a butterfly who just flapped its wings for the first time.

Focus Skill

In my experience, Sensory Language is often challenging for younger students to understand and apply. I was greatly surprised when I did a lesson with my third grade students and they struggled with matching sensory words to each of the five senses. When given the sentence “The spicy tacos made me extremely thirsty.” the students were able to vaguely explain what it means for something to be spicy AND could identify that spicy connected to food, but they had a difficult time communicating that spicy appeals to the sense of taste.

This mentor text lesson focuses on the language that is associated with each of the five senses. Students will explore adjectives and verbs that connect to each of the senses and how sensory language in texts helps us better comprehend what we are reading. The goal is for students to be able to identify sensory words in a text and communicate which of the senses the words appeal to. (NOTE: This lesson does not dive into similes, metaphors, imagery, or other forms of sensory language.)

Before Reading

What is Sensory Language?

To kick off the lesson, you can activate students background knowledge by asking the following questions:

  • Can you name your five senses?
  • What do each of your five senses do?
  • What parts of your body help you see, hear, taste, smell, and fell?
  • How do the five senses help us?
  • What are some things I can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel?

I would highly recommend creating an anchor chart that you can add to and refer to throughout the lesson. Record your shared background knowledge as you review what students already know about their five senses.

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How Sensory Language Connects to the Five Senses

You can help students explore how sensory language connects to the five senses. Review what “language” is, and then build the analogy between the word “sense” and the word “sensory” (e.g., “If I know what sense means, then I can figure out what sensory language means.”).

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You can help students identify the root word inside of the larger vocabulary word, and help them understand that sensory language is words or phrases that connect to the five senses and describe what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel.  Be sure to review what a verb and adjective are, as well, since you will be using those parts of speech words throughout the lesson.

Feel free to download the poster below to help remind students of the definition of sensory language throughout the lesson. For those of you who use interactive notebooks or reading notebooks, this may be a nice reference to make into a half-sheet and glue into their notebooks.

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Making Vocabulary Connections

Before moving on, it’s important for students to review the connections between the different vocabulary words for the sense of sight, hearing, and touch. You can add these to your anchor chart (see above). For example, we often use the words looks and sees when we describe the sense of sight. Having three different words connected to one sense can be confusing. Have students point to their different body parts as they complete the following chant: “I use my sense of ______________ to ______________ things with my ______________. Sensory language describes how it______________.” Students can refer to the following reference sheet and echo the sentences below while doing the motions. (The kinesthetic connection often helps builds deeper associations!)

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  • I use my sense of sight to see things with my eyes, and sensory language describes how it looks.
  • I use my sense of hearing to hear things with my ears, and sensory language describes how something sounds.
  • I use my sense of touch, to feel things with my hands, and sensory language describes how it feels.

(These are the same but you can review them anyway!)

  • I use my sense of smell to smell things with my nose, and sensory language describes how something smells.
  • I use my sense of taste to taste things with my mouth, and sensory language describes how something tastes.

The Purpose of Sensory Language

It is important to also review the purpose of sensory language. Start off by asking a few simple questions:

  • Why do you think authors use sensory language?
  • How does sensory language help me comprehend what I’m reading?

Guide their responses to the actual purpose, which is: Authors use sensory language to help readers make connections, visualize what they are reading, and “experience” things they may not have a chance to experience in real-life. 

To help students better understand how authors do this, you can provide a few simple examples of sentences with and without sensory language for the students to compare (see below). Sight is the most utilized sense when authors are adding sensory details, so encourage students to really pay attention to how the other senses can be brought into writing.

  • Examples:
    • The bright green fish was swimming quickly through the sparkly, deep, blue ocean.
    • The fuzzy, brown caterpillar crunched loudly as he ate the fresh, green leaf.
  • Non-Examples:
    • The fish was swimming through the ocean.
    • The caterpillar ate the leaf.

With your support, students should hopefully develop a pre-reading understanding that sentences with sensory language will allow them to better visualize, imagine, and ultimately comprehend what is being described.

During Reading

For this lesson, students will stop and think about the sensory language the author uses throughout the text. Introduce the book, Where Butterflies Grow. Students can go on a picture walk and predict some the sensory language they may come across.

Possible Prediction Questions: 

  • What senses do you think the author wants you to use as you read about life cycle of the butterfly?
  • How do you think the author will describe the life cycle of the butterfly?
  • What specific sensory/describing words do you think the author will use?
  • How will the author help you visualize or imagine what you are reading?

NOTE: Every page is filled with sensory words and phrases, so there will be no shortage of sentences to dissect and explore!

Sensory Language Guided Practice

Depending on the reading levels of your students, they may need help navigating the vocabulary and sensory language of this text. Although it’s a Guided Reading (F&P) level N, the book is filled with rich vocabulary, so you may need to guide students in using context clues to determine the meaning of these higher-level words.

If you’re working with students in a small group setting, you can use enlarged-text sentences from the book to help with the guided practice (see below). The sentences I used are the same ones from the graphic organizer and I put them in sheet protectors so I could use dry or wet erase markers with them.  (You can also laminate them!) They are the same sentences that are listed on the scaffolded graphic organizer. You’ll notice that I like to color-code the different senses as I’m guiding students through the process. You can have your students do this for the graphic organizer, as well, if you want them to think about the sense before underlining. Otherwise, the students can underline first in pencil and then identify the sense using the context.

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To determine which color to use when underlining each sensory word/phrase, I first use a think-aloud to model identifying the sensory language by looking for describing words (adjectives or verbs). Once I find the describing words, I model how to think through making connections between sensory language and the five senses.

For example, for the first sentence, I say that I know the word “soft” is a describing word and an adjective. I model using the fill-in-the-blank questions below to help determine that soft is a something I feel with my hands so it connects with the sense of touch.

Students plug in the sensory words and ask themselves:

  • Is ____________ something I can smell with my nose?
  • Is ____________ something I can taste with my tongue?
  • Is ____________ something I can hear with my ears?
  • Is ____________ something I can see with my eyes?
  • Is ____________ something I can feel with my hands?

You may wish to guide the students through a few sentences and then let them work independently or in partners for the rest, or you can guide them through each sentence if you predict they will have a difficult time on their own. Students can fill out the graphic organizer as you complete each sentence together.

You may want to provide the sentence starter chart (below) as a helpful resource, as well. Students finish the sentence with the sensory word or phrase to see which makes sense.

Slide5Lesson Differentiation

If your students are more advanced and you still wish to use this mentor text to introduce sensory language, just modify the lesson so that you’re providing less support. After modeling how to complete the graphic organizer, students can navigate the text on their own or with a partner. Instead of using the scaffolded graphic organizer with provided sentences, they can hunt for their own sensory language examples and can record the sentences using the blank graphic organizer. You can also just use one page of the scaffolded graphic organizer and place a blank copy on the back for the second half of the text. You decide what works best for your students!

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After Reading

Independent Practice

For independent practice with identifying sensory language examples and connecting them to the five senses, students can reread the text independently and hunt for additional sensory language sentences. They can also read a new text at their independent reading level and hunt for sensory language. Students can use the blank graphic organizer for this independent portion of the lesson.

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Sensory Language Word Sorts

To reinforce sensory language and how sensory words connect to the five senses, students can complete the sensory language word sort (click image below). Some of the words are from the text, but some are random. The sensory language in this book only really appeals to the sense of touch and sight (It does appeal to the sense of motion, but we’re not focusing on that for sensory language in this lesson, since it’s not one of the five senses!)

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Here are a few tips & reminders for students:

  • Sense of sight words are often colors, shapes, or describing the appearance of an object.
  • Sense of hearing words are often verbs that mimic actual sounds (onomatopoeia).
  • Sense of taste and smell words are often closely related (salty, fresh, burnt, etc.).
  • Sense of touch words are often textures.
  • Some words can be used for more than one category depending on the context (e.g., “soft” can be a touch word or a sound word).

This sensory language word sort can be used to practice making sensory language connections at home for homework, or even in an independent literacy center. You can laminate for students to sort again and again, or you can make individual copies for each student to cut and glue down into their reading notebooks or on a piece of construction paper.

Let’s Reflect!

After completing the mentor text lesson, students can ask themselves the following questions:

  • How will sensory language help me as a reader?
  • How will sensory language help me as a writer?
  • Why is it important for me to use sensory language when I’m writing?
  • How will I use sensory language when I’m reading and writing independently?

The idea is for students to start thinking about how sensory language translates to their own writing.

Lesson Extension

Writing with Sensory Language

When working with literacy skills, it’s important to make connections and bridge the skills across reading and writing. Students can extend their learning to start adding sensory details to their writing. Students can work toward using sensory language to enhance their writing and help their writing audience visualize and experience what they’re writing about, similar to Where Butterflies Grow.

Need an idea for getting started? Ask students brainstorm sensory sentences for a specific object. They can pick their own or you can provide them with a spring-themed object to describe (i.e., flower, bumblebee, umbrella, etc.). Students should think beyond the sense of sight and challenge themselves to bring in all five senses to include a full sensory experience in their writing pieces. Use thematic webs for brainstorming and provide graphic organizers to help them through the writing process.

Descriptive Writing Unit

This lesson is also a nice segue into a descriptive writing unit where students learn to apply imagery, figurative language (i.e., similes, metaphors, etc.) and descriptive details in their writing. The sensory language activities from this lesson provide a strong foundation for later descriptive writing mini-lessons.

Lesson Resources

As part of this link-up event, the lesson materials for Where Butterflies Grow are currently FREE! Be sure to check out the companion resources for Where Butterflies Grow, and scoop up the print-and-go materials for your next guided reading lesson!

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(NOTE: This resource was a temporary freebie from 4/21/17-4/28/17 for the link-up!)

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Check out the mentor text lesson resource for Where Butterflies Grow by clicking HERE or the image above.

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Download the FREE posters by clicking HERE or the image above!

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Check out my “Resources for Sensory Language” Pinterest board for additional ideas. I’ll be adding to this board throughout the year, so make sure you “Follow” me on Pinterest!

Hope you found these resources to be valuable! How do you teach sensory language? Feel free to comment below!

Reminder: Be sure to check out the other mentor text links below and collect the mystery words for the giveaway. Follow the Rafflecopter links for each blog and enter for a chance to win an amazing collection of books! 🙂 (NOTE: This giveaway ended 4/28/17) 

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Happy Teaching! 

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**This post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn what that means!

Teaching Sensory Language with Mentor Texts -- Where Butterflies Grow | A mentor text lesson with sensory language activities, anchor charts, guiding questions, and free printables for your literacy lesson

“Watch Out for Tricky T!” – Free Phonics Resource

3 May

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My RTI students often have a hard time with blends, specifically R-blends like tr- and dr- where the beginning consonants change their sounds. To help them with tr- blends, I created a poem and activity packet to help reinforce the sound T makes inside the blend. Students can read (and reread!) the poem and highlight the tricky blends inside of the poem. The corresponding activities and games will help build automaticity with the “Tricky T” sound inside the consonant blend.

Download this FREE poem for teaching or reviewing the sound of the tr- consonant blend by clicking HERE or the image below.

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If you’re interested in the complete phonics packet, check it out HERE! This packet includes word lists, assessments, practice word cards, and fluency activities/games.

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Looking for new resources to try out in your classroom? Be sure to check out my other phonics and fluency products.

 

Happy Teaching!

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Summer Stock Up!

26 Jun

Summer is FINALLY here for us WNY teachers! My last day of school was yesterday, and I am beyond ready to relax and recharge. Of course, in between relaxing and recharging, I will be planning and thinking ahead to next year. (Do teachers really ever take a break?!) The summer always goes by fast, so I’ve decided to pull together some resources for a Summer Stock Up event to help us get ready for next year. Stock up now so you can relax and enjoy the last bit of summer! 🙂 Summer Stock Up This past year, I’ve been slowly building-up my fluency toolbox and creating resources that can be used as interventions with my RTI students. I like to dig deep into fluency and really target the specific area of fluency they struggle with. (Pace? Phrasing? Expression? Attention to Punctuation?) With a new year of fluency groups in mind, it is my summer goal to finish my growing collection of differentiated “Scoop It” Fluency Phrasing Task Cards.  Slide03 “Scoop It” Fluency Phrasing Task Cards are geared toward elementary-level students. They’re easy to use and perfect for the classroom! They can be used in many ways and are helpful for introducing, reviewing, practicing, and assessing fluency phrasing with your students.

(Sets 1-8 are ALL currently available on TpT!) 

These task card sets can be sent home for practice, used as a center, incorporated into Daily Five, or used in small groups. Directions and suggestions for use are included with each set. Scoop It Product Details Each “Scoop It” Fluency Phrasing Task Card set includes the same components, but just increases in difficulty. You can purchase one set, or you can purchase the whole collection! IMG_7212 There are two formats of task cards within each set. The task cards with scoop lines are perfect for students to practice reading with phrasing, following the scoop lines with their fingers as they read. Scoop It Reading Task Cards The task cards without scoops are helpful for students who need practice with identifying appropriate phrases within a sentence. If you laminate the cards, students can draw in the scoop lines (using dry-erase markers) and can practice grouping the different words together. They can then practice reading the sentences afterward. Scoop It Interactive Cards The 48 task cards in each set each feature a targeted phonics pattern. Set 1 starts off with pre-primer words and basic CVC word patterns. Each set increases in difficulty. By Set 6, your students will be interacting with multi-syllable words and complex vowel patterns. Use multiple task card sets to differentiate your practice and instruction. IMG_7217All of the “Scoop It” task card sets are currently available in my MsJordanReads store. The collection consists of the following sets:

There is also a “Scoop It” Fluency Phrasing Task Card Bundle if you’re interested in grabbing all the sets at once and at a discounted price.

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“Scoop It” Freebie & Giveaway

Be sure to stop by my Facebook page this weekend to download a FREE sample of my newest “Scoop It” Fluency Phrasing Task Cards (Set 2). Just look for my “Summer Stock Up” tab to download it. When you’re done, click “More Freebies” to stock up on additional resources from the other participants and see their products in action! Also, as part of this wonderful Summer Stock Up event, I am offering a giveaway for TWO lucky winners! Each winner will receive the completed “Scoop It” sets that are currently available in my store. Enter by completing the form below. I will be randomly choosing the winners Friday, July 3rd and announcing on my Facebook page. The winners will also be notified by email!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! Thank you to everyone who entered. A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Allison Kieffner & Jennifer Lyman for winning my “Scoop It!” Fluency Task Card giveaway! (An email will be sent with the resources!)

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Happy Summer!

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Avoid the Dreaded “Summer Slide” with Fluency Fun

19 Jun

 

Avoid the Dreaded Summer Slide with Fluency Fun - MsJordanReads

Practicing oral reading fluency throughout the summer is a great way for children to further develop reading skills and prevent summer regression.

Fluency is the glue that holds together oral reading and comprehension. Without fluency, your student or child may have a difficult time understanding the text they are reading. It is the path to comprehension and is a key foundational skill for children who are learning to read.

There are many resources and activities you can use to develop fluency skills. Many of the activities are free and just require books or texts at your child’s “independent level.” The goal is not to challenge your child with complex phonics patterns or unknown words, but to have them interact with texts that are on the easier side. This transfers the focus from “word reading” to “reading for meaning.”

Over the past few years, I’ve shared many fluency activities for teachers to use in the classroom; however, many of these activities can be used at home, as well.

Here are a few fluency activities that parents can try at home this summer:

Rereading

Rereading texts is one of the best ways to improve oral reading fluency (and comprehension!). After the first read-through, students are more familiar with the words and can focus on grouping words together, adding expression, and stopping at punctuation. They can also try to improve their reading pace. Although reading speed is not the biggest focus of fluency, an improved pace will subsequently improve your child’s comprehension of texts. The pace should increase naturally as your child completes multiple readings of the same text!

Poetry

Poetry is a great way for children to practice fluency! Typically, poems are short enough that they can complete multiple readings in one sitting. If your child needs fluency practice, he/she would benefit from listening to someone read each poem with “good fluency” first before practicing it. As a parent, you can model the poem and then have your child “echo read” each line to build up accuracy and phrasing. It takes away the “unknown word barrier” and allows your child to focus on changing his/her voice to sound like you! Poetry is an effective resource that allows children to practice all the components of fluency at once.

Audio Recording

Having children record themselves reading is an extremely powerful fluency tool! There are many free programs out there that are easy to use and allow kids to record their reading (i.e., Audacity for computers, iTalk for Apple devices, etc.). The playback feature of these recordings is the key to fluency development and can build self-awareness for kids regarding HOW they sound as readers. Many children don’t even realize how disfluent they actually are! With the playback feature, your child can listen to his/her recordings and reflect on the different parts of fluency. Encourage your child to answer the following questions: Did I read with appropriate pace? Did I read with phrasing? Did I read with expression? Did I attend to punctuation? Through reflections, your child can set goals and try to make changes. He/she can later compare repeated readings and listen for improvements.

Audio Books

Audio books are wonderful for summer break! With these “books-on-tape,” kids can follow along in a text as someone else reads to them. The power of modeled fluency is HUGE. Your child can listen to how fluent readers group their words together into phrases, change their voices to match character emotions and punctuation, pause appropriately after phrasing and punctuation, and apply intonation.

As our world becomes more digital, there are websites popping up everywhere that offer “Read to Me” books, such as Reading A-Z, Epic!, Farfaria, MeeGenius and more! Hundreds of books-on-CD and audio books are also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

If you’re looking for a few free audio books to start with, NOOK Read to Me Books are fabulous and can be used on any device you can download the app to. (My students listen and read the free NOOK “Read to Me” books I’ve downloaded through the NOOK app on our iPads.) Also, if your local library is like mine, you can download audio books to your personal device via their website, using software such as Overdrive. This is a great way to bring new audio books into your home or classroom each week. If you have a long car trip coming up, audio books are an extremely valuable way to fill the time!

“Fluency Fun” Picture Books

If you are already reading with your child, why not pick some fun fluency books? These picture books will be sure to bring out your best phrasing and expression. Be silly. Have fun. Show off your fluency!

The books listed below are my favorite for modeling and practicing fluency, especially expression. Use them for read-alouds, partner reading, and choral reading (reading at the same time). You can even read them at bedtime!

Daily Fluency Task Cards — Summer FREEBIE!

To help you avoid the “summer slide,” I’m sharing my SUMMER set of seasonal Daily Fluency task cards. This resource is perfect for parents looking to further develop their child’s fluency skills. The resource is also great for teachers who are tutoring or teaching summer school during the summer months!

The fluency task cards in this set are geared toward grades 2/3 and focus on the four major components of fluency: Pace, Phrasing, Expression, and Attention to Punctuation. (Want to learn more about each of the fluency components? Download my free “What is Fluency?” Reference Sheet HERE, or read more about fluency HERE!)

Daily Fluency Task Cards SUMMER

(Download this free resource HERE or by clicking the image above!)

How to Use Fluency Task Cards at Home

After modeling and going over the directions listed for each task, your child should be able to use these fluency task cards independently. You can put the cards on a key ring, organize them in an index card box, or even put them in a dollar store photo book. Each day, have your child complete 1-2 task cards and record the completed task cards on the task card log. There are four sets for your child to rotate through.

You child should practice each task card aloud a few times. (Repeated readings are built into each task.) You can even create a DIY whisper phone using PVC pipes so they can monitor their fluency and hear themselves read! Every task has a specific fluency focus (i.e., pace, phrasing, expression, punctuation), but you will find that students will need to combine fluency skills to complete each card.

Tips for Promoting Summer Fluency Development

Obviously, fluency is not a skill that develops overnight. Like most reading skills, it takes consistent practice and requires your child to read EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Here is a review of a few tips and suggestions I shared in this post to help you promote fluency development at home this summer:

  • Encourage repeated reading (reading a text multiple times)
  • Read lots of poetry
  • Choose books that are at easier levels
  • Build in time everyday for your child to practice reading
  • Read to your child to model appropriate fluency
  • Encourage your child to read along with audio books
  • Have your child record their voice while reading to reflect and set goals
  • Switch it up — echo read, choral read, and partner read
  • Complete fluency task cards! 🙂

NOTE: This post was orginally part of the Summer Blog Party Kick Off Hop! Check out the first post in the blog hop HERE to scoop up all the summer reading ideas and resources. Continue on to the next stop in the blog hop here at Literacy Spark

Happy Summer!

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A Circus Poem for Two Voices!

13 May

I’ve always been fascinated by circuses, especially traditional ones from the late 1800’s that traveled by circus train from city to city, bringing along tents, animals, and performers. Maybe it was my obsession with Dumbo growing up (I loved anything Disney!), or the recent novels I’ve read, but I’ve been intrigued and wanting to learn more!

After recently reading Water for Elephants and The Night Circus (great books to add to your summer reading list!), I was inspired to create a circus-themed partner poem. I hoped to capture the magic of the Big Top. I love the booming voice of the ringmaster and the many different acts going on simultaneously in the different rings. As I was writing this poem, I was constantly digging into my childhood memories of going to a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. The experience was overwhelming yet fascinating at the same time!

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I must say, I had a hard time choosing circus characters. Do I focus on an animal’s perspective (probably sad) or a clowns (too creepy)? I absolutely love elephants, but when researching circus elephants and circus “lingo,” I stumbled upon one too many “Save the Elephants” articles that put me in a dark place. Poor elephants! 😦 Even though Ringling Bros. is phasing out elephants from their acts (see this article), it’s still sad; so, I scratched my original “Ringmaster vs. Elephant” poem for one that focused on the voices of a ringmaster and an acrobat.

The “poem for two voices” is filled with sensory adjectives and ringmaster hyperboles – perfect for a unit on figurative language! Another big focus of “The Circus is in Town” poem is character perspective and audience. In the poem, the ringmaster is talking to the gathering crowd and the acrobat’s voice is more internal.

This poem is part of my Everyday Partner Poetry series. Similar to the other packets, comprehension graphic organizers and CCSS response questions are included. Check it out!

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If you’re interested in making the partner poems more interactive and engaging while students are performing them, heere are the FREE poetry props you can download!

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Check out the additional partner poetry products in my store. There are currently 17 poems in the series (all included in the Mega Bundle!). More coming soon!

If you’re interested in helping to develop your students’ schema on circus life and vocabulary, here are a few great picture books:

Do you know of any picture books I can add to my list? Please comment below. I’d love to add new books my library!

Happy Teaching!

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{FREE} Fluency Task Cards for Spring!

25 Apr

Spring is finally showing its colors around here. I see daffodils in my garden and tulips about to bloom. I’m going to ignore the fact that they had snow on them two days ago (really, Mother Nature?!), as the weather went back down into the 30’s. I guess that’s “spring” in WNY though.

To celebrate the sprinkling of spring days that we’ve had, I created a FREE spring version of my Daily Fluency Task Cards!

FREE Spring Fluency Task Cards from @MsJordanReads -- Perfect for Literacy Centers, Daily 5, Guided Reading, or sending home with students!

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(Grab this free download by clicking HERE or the image above!)

Students can complete these as a fluency warm-up or for take-home fluency practice. There’s a task card log included for student accountability. Enjoy!

Happy Teaching!

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Partner Poems for Poetry Month

10 Apr

Partner Poems for Poetry Month (MsJordanReads)

With April underway, you’re probably knee-deep in poetry and ready for some new resources for Poetry Month. You can never have enough poetry in your library (right?), so I’m sharing a few new poetry resources that you can hopefully use this month with your students.

If you haven’t been introduced to partner poems or “Poems for Two Voices,” you’re greatly missing out. They’re fun, interactive, and students love them!

Poems for Two Voices

When I first started with partner poetry, I mostly used Partner Poems for Building Fluency by Tim Rasinski. I still use a lot of those poems but have since developed my own poems with a back-and-forth narrative structure. Most of my poems have a sequence of events that the students can retell, and they’re more similar to a Readers Theater with assigned character parts. I liked the idea of two characters talking or thinking aloud in a dialogue-type structure. Many of the partner poems I’ve created have a problem/solution format, but others are just looking at ONE situation from two different points of view. (Check them out here!)

Typically, I integrate these poems around the holidays as literacy centers or for fluency warm-ups, but I’ve started to use them more for other integrated literacy skills, as well. They’re great for character analysis, making inferences, making connections, analyzing point of view, and so much more!

A Partner Poem for Spring

Ready to try out a partner poem? Download this FREE partner poem to use with your students for Poetry Month.

You can purchase and download the complete packet (with comprehension activities), “Wake Up, Grizzly Bear!” by clicking the image below.

"Wake Up, Grizzy Bear!" Partner Poem by @MsJordanReads

(NOTE: This full packet was free, for a LIMITED TIME only, during the “Spring is Here Poetry Hop” from 4/10/15-4/12/15).

Free Graphic Organizer

Here’s a Point of View graphic organizer you can use with ANY of my partner poems (or any poem with two voices that features two different perspectives). Students can record or illustrate the point of view of the two different characters.

More Resources

If you like “Wake Up, Grizzly Bear!,” you’ll be sure to like my 15+ other partner poems in the series! The poems are sold individually, seasonally in Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter bundles, or you can scoop them all up at a discount with the Everyday bundle or Mega Bundle. I also have JUST the poems available (without the activities) in an anthology (perfect for printing out or using on a tablet device!).

Bring FLUENCY fun into your classroom with 15+ partner poems from @MsJordanReads! Each poem is similar to doing a readers theater, but just in poetry format. Perfect for teaching PERSPECTIVE & POINT OF VIEW!

Looking for more ideas? Here are additional poems and poetry books for multiple voices that I currently use in my classroom:

 

NOTE: This post was originally part of the “Spring is Here Poetry Hop” sponsored by The Reading Crew. Check out all the posts starting here or head on over to Book Units Teacher for the next stop.

Happy Teaching!

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**This post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn what that means!

Using the B.R.E.A.K. Strategy for Text-Based Responses

31 Mar

In an effort to encourage students to use text-based evidence in their written responses this year, the third grade team in my building started using the B.R.E.A.K. writing strategy. Kudos to my colleague Jill, from Differentiated Drake, who came up with this acronym and strategy. She has some wonderful classroom posters and materials to reinforce this awesome writing strategy, and it has helped our students tremendously!

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Similar to the strategy R.A.C.E. (Restate, Answer, Cite, Explain), the students are prompted to read, understand, and provide text-based evidence in their writing. The students spend extra time BREAKING APART the text and digging deeper into text details. I like this particular strategy because students are encouraged to include more than one evidence detail, and it reinforces paragraph structure!

B – Begin by Reading the Question

R – Restate the Question

E – Evidence Detail

A – Another Evidence Detail (or two!)

K – Key Closing Sentence

Jill (being the fabulously, generous person that she is) decided to make her easy-to-use graphic organizer FREE for all of you. Be sure to leave feedback and check out her other strategy resources. She offers bookmarksposters, and an additional version of her graphic organizer!

(Download the FREE graphic organizer HERE or by clicking the image below.)

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Our third graders are now at the point where they write B.R.E.A.K. at the top of their pages and use it as a cross-off checklist. After completing the response, they also search for each element of B.R.E.A.K. in their own writing and mark the elements with the specific letters.

Below are some examples from a writing response my third graders completed a few weeks ago. The students used the free iPad app Skitch to take pictures of their first drafts and mark-up their responses to show each element of B.R.E.A.K. Later, we transitioned to marking these elements with just our pencils. The Skitch app was a motivating, first-step tool in the revision process for this strategy. (Want to learn more about Skitch? Check out my previous post about this wonderful tool!)

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NOTE: You’ll see that many of the students used “+” symbols for additional evidence-based details. This is helpful for students who include more than two details from the text. 

Students had a menu of sentence starters to use and were encouraged to also use non-fiction text features as evidence to support their answers. Grab my FREE sample of text-based evidence sentence starter cards to use with your students. This is part of my larger Common Core Booster product.

(Download this resource by clicking here or the image below!)

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PLEASE SHARE! — How do you teach students to include text-based details in their writing? Comment below or send me an email! I’m always looking for new ideas! 🙂

Happy Teaching!

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Exploring Perspective and Point of View

29 Mar

thedaythecrayonsquitHappy Spring!

Here in WNY we’ve had a “tease” of spring, but so far the remaining days of March have been pretty cold (and even a little snowy – *yikes*). At this point, I’m 100% over the cold weather and ready for some warmer temperatures. Before we head into April, and my focus turns to poetry (Yay, Poetry Month!), I wanted to share a few of the fun activities I’ve been doing with my students.

Be prepared for a few extra posts this week! 🙂

As some of you know, I love my small RTI pull-out groups, but I also enjoy the dynamic of an entire classroom of students. This year, with a combination push-in/pull-out program, I’ve been able to do both.

For part of my day, I have the pleasure of working with a third grade teacher who is just FABULOUS (You rock, Jan!). She has great ideas and is always willing to try new things. A few of my RTI students are in her classroom, so I work with them during small group time and provide extra support for them during whole group mini-lessons and activities.

Last week, we explored perspective and point of view with our students. To kick off the week, we read I Am the Dog I Am the Cat – a great book for introducing perspectives. It’s a book with two voices and two characters, so the students can compare and contrast different perspectives within the same text. Since many students have pets, this is also a great book for them to relate to and make text-to-self connections.

On Tuesday, we spent time with one of my new favorite books, The Day the Crayons Quit. (Seriously, this book is the BEST for point of view, and it’s absolutely hysterical! If you’ve never read it, you need to… right now. Your students will love it, too!)

We read this book as a read-aloud, and then the students worked independently to further explore each crayon’s letter and unique point of view. I retyped the letters, and we put a basket of letters on each table. Students pulled out one letter at a time and recorded the character point of view on the graphic organizer.

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The finished products were wonderful, and it was a great way for students to practice analyzing character point of view.

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 (Download the graphic organizer we used for FREE by clicking here or the image below!)

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As an added bonus, some of the perspectives weren’t stated explicitly, so this allowed students to practice making inferences using text evidence. (I always love when we can embed and review past skills and strategies, don’t you?!) It was also a great way to bring in some problem-solving skills. We stopped before the last few pages and asked the students to brainstorm how the main character should solve the problem. We asked them what they would do if they were Duncan. The students did such a nice job with this, and some of their solutions were truly creative!

(UPDATE: There is a sequel that is JUST as perfect for point of view. The Days the Crayons Came Home. Check it out HERE! Now you can use one text for modeling and one for independent/small group practice.)

Throughout the week, we worked in small groups to further practice analyzing the point of view with instructional level texts. We used a combination of books, text passages, and poetry – including a few of my Partner Perspective Poems!

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Check out the links below for a few of these partner poems:

(NOTE: In addition to my everyday poems that are perfect for teaching point of view, there are many seasonal partner poems in my store, as well. Check them out HERE. They are sold individually and are part of my Spring Bundle and MEGA Bundle.

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Additional Point of View Mentor Texts & Picture Books:

FRACTURED FAIRY TALES

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

The Wolf’s Story

The Pea and the Princess

Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten!

OTHER PICTURE BOOKS

Two Bad Ants

The Pain and the Great One

Hey, Little Ant

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School

What resources do YOU use to teach point of view? I’d love to hear your ideas and add to my growing list of mentor texts for teaching point of view. Email me msjordanreads@gmail.com or comment below. 🙂

Happy Teaching!

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A Lil Bit O’ St. Patrick’s Day Fun!

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Each year, I try to bring a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day fun into my RTI program, and my goal is to incorporate holiday-themed activities with interventions that are already in place. This week, I planned a variety of poetry, language, and phonics activities appropriate for each of my groups. Here’s a quick snapshot of a few of our activities! 🙂

A Lil Bit O’ Figurative Language

My fifth graders have been focusing on figurative language and analyzing poetry. I’ve been trying break down the different figurative language elements and terms throughout the week, while providing them with a variety of practice opportunities. Today, as a warm up, I had my group complete a fun practice St. Patrick’s Day writing task on the iPads (Read more about how to “go paperless” here!). Students had to brainstorm sentences for each of the different examples of figurative language. You can grab this for FREE below!

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Download HERE or by clicking the image above!

A Lil Bit O’ Word Work

This page is part of my Daily Phonics program. I don’t use Daily Phonics with all of my decoding students, but today my second grade groups worked through a page together! This is always a great assessment for me, to see where their phonics skills are. (NOTE: Most of my students completed these on the iPads, but for the classrooms I push-into I had paper copies for them to complete. Daily Phonics is a great paperless warm-up for students!)

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A Lot Bit O’ Poetry

I love, love, LOVE using poetry to celebrate the holidays! So many of my students need fluency practice, so poetry is a wonderful intervention for reinforcing these skills.

Here are a few of my own that I used this week:

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How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

I would love to hear about St. Patrick’s Day interventions and activities you used with your students today! Please share in the comments below!

Happy Teaching! 

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