Tag Archives: Visualizing

Goodbye October… Hello November! — Scarecrow Poem & Activities

1 Nov Scarecrow Poem & Activities

As many of you know… I. Love. Fall. ūüôā I love fall foods (pumpkin muffins, apple pie, butternut squash soup… Mmmm!) and pretty much everything related to fall. I would be ecstatic¬†if we could stretch-out the autumn fun to¬†last another month. Unfortunately, winter usually comes too early in WNY,¬†and¬†my hopes for a long autumn season¬†get buried under a pile of snow. (Sigh.)

Since I probably¬†have a few more weeks¬†before I¬†have to say¬†“Goodbye Fall… Hello Winter!,” I wrote¬†a new fall-themed poem about a scarecrow to share with all of YOU!¬†Not only is it fun for fluency, but I’ve also added some word work and comprehension activity pages to go along with it.

Scarecrow Poetry Resource

Students can use the descriptive language in the poem to visualize the scarecrow. They can hunt for text evidence that helps them create a mind-picture and can record the picture on the page provided.

Scarecrow Visualization

This poem provides plenty of word work opportunities! Students can hunt for rhyming words, compound words, word endings, and specific phonics patterns. I always create a coding key for my students to follow. For this poem, I had them underline rhyming words, box compound words, and squiggle underline adjectives.

Scarecrow Poem Word Hunt

The scarecrow adjectives are great for a parts of speech mini-lesson! I always have my students circle or highlight the adjectives in the poem before recording the words on the graphic organizer. (As an alternative, the scarecrow patches on the graphic organizer can be used to visualize the adjectives, almost acting as picture frames, for students to show they understand the meaning of each word!)

Scarecrow Adjectives

Are you looking for some picture books to add to your classroom library? I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. They are perfect for building-up your students’ background knowledge and scarecrow vocabulary!

Download the free poem by clicking HERE or the image below!

Scarecrow Poem & Activities

Happy November! 

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Pumpkin Visualizing!

18 Oct

With the fall season upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring more PUMPKINS into my teaching! ‘Tis the season, right? ūüôā

Last week, I reviewed visualizing with one of my 3rd grade RtI groups. We talked about the purpose of descriptive words and spent some time reviewing adjectives.

To reinforce descriptive language, we went on an adjective word hunt using¬†various pumpkin poetry. I love using¬†Virginia Kroll’s “Pumpkins” poem (you can find this poem in Read and Understand Poetry, Grades 2-3). It has a fun rhythm, and it really hooks my reluctant readers. Plus, it has over a dozen adjectives crammed into the poem! If you don’t have this resource, you can use any poem about pumpkins that includes adjectives.

MsJordanReads Poems About Pumpkins:

Other Poems About Pumpkins:

The students highlighted the adjectives in the poem, and we recorded our adjectives on an anchor chart.

Photo Oct 06, 11 17 22 AM

My students then helped me brainstorm additional adjectives for the different categories. We made our own roll-a-pumpkin chart and the students had fun rolling dice for adjectives and visualizing pumpkins using the adjectives they rolled.

Photo Oct 15, 5 07 03 PM

They recorded their first round of Roll-a-Pumpkin adjectives in their writing notebooks and sketched using a pencil.

Photo Oct 06, 11 17 47 AM

This was a great activity for students to practice visualizing because they had to incorporate ALL the adjectives they rolled and had to make their pumpkins come to life! We made final copies of our illustrated pumpkins with an adjective sentence to display in the hallway.

Interested in trying out this activity?

Create your own roll-a-pumpkin charts with your students, or grab the ready-to-use Roll-a-Pumpkin! activity packet I uploaded to TpT. All you have to do is print and provide a dice! There are two different chart & recording options (3 adjectives or 5 adjectives).

RollaPumpkin_FREEBIE_TpT 10:9:2014

Photo Oct 15, 9 47 37 AM

Happy Teaching! 

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Learning Fiction Text Structure with S.T.O.R.Y!

7 Nov

S.T.O.R.Y.

A few years ago, I was looking for a fun and engaging way to teach Fiction Text Structure to my struggling readers, when I came across Victoria Naughton’s strategy, “Picture It!” (2008), in my copy of The Reading Teacher. Naughton was recognized for her hard work in research and publication with the¬†Shaw Fund for Literacy 2009 award by National Louis University (NLU). Although she recommends it for all grade-levels (even high school), I use it with my 2nd and 3rd grade RtI groups.

Essentially, this strategy¬†“uses¬†pictures and other visual elements to enhance comprehension” (Naughton, 2008). Each letter of¬†S.T.O.R.Y.¬†represents an important¬†story element of fiction texts, graphically and mnemonically. Students use this visual story map to support their understanding of a fiction story, picturing the different story elements and sketching them on paper.

S РSetting

T РTalking Characters

O РOops! A Problem!

R РAttempts to Resolve the Problem

Y РYes, the Problem is Solved!

(Above is a sample bookmark one of my students made using the schematic representations that Victoria Naughton recommended in her article! See a preview of her suggested sketches here!)

Strategy for Classroom Use

Students are different in their learning styles – some are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Since I try to address various learning styles within my intervention groups on a daily basis, I figured this strategy would be perfect for teaching story elements! The mnemonic device is helpful for students who have difficulty remembering the five story elements, and the “picture it” step is perfect for those who need a visual image to support their comprehension of each element.

Introducing S.T.O.R.Y.

I always use the¬†I Do It! – We Do It! – You Do¬†It!¬†teaching model when introducing new decoding or comprehension strategies to students. Struggling readers benefit from the explicit, scaffolded instruction that’s part of this model. During the “You Do It!” stage, I make observations and take anecdotal notes for pieces of the strategy that I may need to reteach. Students try this strategy with their own leveled books and use the teacher and shared models of the graphic organizers as a reference throughout the independent practice.

Teacher Modeling – ¬†“I Do It!”

Last week, to introduce S.T.O.R.Y., I chose the simple and popular I Can Read! series book,¬†Marley and the Runaway Pumpkin. After teaching the visual mnemonic device to my students the day before, we reviewed the different “ingredients” that make up a fiction story. The students then followed along in their copies of the book, actively listening for story “ingredients,” as I read the story aloud all the way through. With a think-aloud, I read the story a second time and modeled ¬†my thinking process as I identified and recorded the story elements from the text.

To bring in the visual element of the “Picture It!” strategy (Naughton, 2008), I then modeled how to draw a quick sketch to go along with each of the story elements.¬†I modeled this visualization sketching process for Marley and the Runaway Pumpkin using information from the story element chart (pictured above). I showed the students how I closed my eyes and tried to picture the setting and “talking characters.” I visualized the problem, resolution, and solution and talked them through my internal thinking process. My visualizations were then recorded using quick sketches on a blank graphic organizer.

(Sample image of my blank student graphic organizers!)

NOTE: For the graphic organizers, I always have the students add the visual component to the letters (S.T.O.R.Y.) on the left column so they can make the graphic connection between the letter and what it represents (i.e., setting, characters, problem, resolution, solution).

The students LOVE this strategy and truly benefit from the mnemonic of S.T.O.R.Y. to help them remember the different story elements. Since learning this strategy, we have used this acronym in so many other ways!

S.T.O.R.Y. Extensions!

Check out¬†my follow-up¬†post called “S.T.O.R.Y. Extensions!”¬†where I share¬†additional ideas for using Naughton’s acronym S.T.O.R.Y. with your students. Some examples include text coding, retelling, and a connection to my Reading Hats unit! Feel free to subscribe to my blog using the button on the navigation menu (to the right) so that my posts can be delivered right to your email!

Article Resource: 

Naughton, Victoria M., (2008). The Reading Teacher, 62 (1) pp. 65-68

Want to read the “Picture It!” article?

If you are interested in reading the research behind the “Picture It!” strategy or want to learn more, the article is available in a few locations.

  • Find it on ERIC here
  • Preview/Purchase it on JSTOR¬†here
  • Purchase the article through the International Reading Association‘s publication’s¬†website¬†(or become a member to access The Reading Teacher¬†archived articles it for free!)

Happy Teaching! 

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