Tag Archives: reading

“Spring Has Sprung” Poetry Blog Hop (Stop #5)

28 Mar


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!


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!)



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!


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!

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(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!)

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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!).


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!



Amazing Author Studies!

11 May

Author Studies are fun, investigative activities for students of all ages!

They are perfect for reinforcing research skills and allowing students to discover new authors and books!

Just think… wouldn’t this be the perfect end-of-the-year project to kick-off summer reading?! Each student could share book reviews or author book lists for their peers to take-home and use when picking out summer books!

Introducing Author Studies:

There are many ways you can develop a class or student author study. First, you need to decide your timeline and the complexity of the projects you would like the students to complete. This will determine which steps you want to include.

A basic step-by-step guide is offered by AdLit.org and includes the following steps:

  1. Set a purpose and goals!
  2. Choose an author!
  3. Read and respond to the author’s books!
  4. Research the author!
  5. Complete a project to present your findings!

Pick and choose the steps you want to include and the number of days you want to dedicate to each. I would then recommend participating in an author study together as a class so that you can model the step-by-step process.

Use this {FREE} Author Study Planning Page to plan-out your class and student author studies:

Students will record:

  • Author Study Goals
  • Reason for Choosing Author
  • Books by Author
  • Websites/Books (Resources)
  • Culminating Project Ideas

Here are some additional resources to help you get started:

Sample author studies:

Are you looking for a simple example to show your students? Here is an author study slideshow I created to introduce Cynthia Rylant to my 2nd grade students!

Independent Author Studies:

Once you have modeled the process and students understand the steps, students should be ready to complete an author study of their own! Some teachers prefer to have students work in partners or as a small group to start. Provide a list of possible authors if students have a hard time picking one. If you have younger students, you may even want to pick out a few websites for them to start with.

Here are a few resources to help you compile a list:

Author Study Activities & Culminating Projects:

Author Study Activities:

Here are some ideas for activities:

Consider using a book review activity for students to write reviews and share books by the authors they’ve studied!

You could even scan and convert a single review from each student and make a digital class book to share on your website or send home with students. A great website for doing this is FlipSnack, a FREE tool for creating digital flipping books from multiple pdf files. All you would have to do is create it and then share the URL link on your websites or in an email to parents. Students could then access this book all summer for great book suggestions!

Culminating Projects:

Do you want your students to create slideshows? posters? trading cards? There are many options for culminating projects you can choose for them. You could even give the students a choice!

My personal favorite is an author study Wordle or Tagxedo author cloud. As a culminating project, I would give students the option of creating a word collage to visualize the facts they learned about the authors they chose.

Wordle is a Web 2.0 tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Tagxedo is another word cloud tool, with the option of customizing the shape of the cloud.

Using either of these tools, students can tweak their clouds with different fonts, layouts, styles, and color schemes to highlight the key words about an author. Students can pick a shape that would symbolic to an author theme or style!

Here are two examples I created for the Cynthia Rylant author study I completed with my students:

(The Wordles shown above were created by plugging in this URL. Students can type in their own words to display, or use an author’s website like I did above!)

So that’s an author study in a nut shell! Really, you can make it as simple or complex as you wish. Hopefully the resources shared here are helpful in giving you a few ideas for developing an author study project for your own classroom. Please share any additional ideas by leaving a comment below! I would love to hear how you use author studies in YOUR classroom. 🙂

Happy Teaching!

Additional Resources:

Are you looking for additional materials for bringing author studies into your classrooms? Check out my Author Study Tic-Tac-Toe and my Amazing Author Studies instructional slideshow with Smudge the Hedgehog!

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