Tar River Reading Council: Greenville - TODAY

TRRCouncil: LIKE them on FB
Today I'll be speaking to the Tar River Reading Council, Greenville's local chapter of the IRA.  I've put together a 21st century, CCSS-aligned, interactive workshop on....can you guess?....Reading Comprehension! I'm super excited because most of the folks attending will be my ECU friends and colleagues from the MAEd-READ program.  I have uploaded my presentation to Slideshare, which you can find by my slideshare homepage....www.slideshare.net/hellojenjones or by viewing it through the embedded link below: 

Also, here is a link to my presentations handouts on Scribd...and my blog post on Online Sources for Information Text that I refer to at the end of the presentation. 

If you have any other questions or feedback, please let me know {here}.
Presentation Handouts RT Handouts


Online Sources for Informational Text

A big shout-out to my friend and colleague, Dawn Reynolds, for snagging some great sites as sources of short web-based articles for kids.  Last year, Dawn and I collaborated on a reciprocal teaching reading project, we have been scouring the Internet to find short articles (mostly non-fiction) to practice the reciprocal teaching strategies.  Once we find a great short article (preferrably related to the science and social studies content) we use http://www.joliprint.com/ to convert the web-based article into a pdf document (and get rid of the web junk on the left and right of the webpage. 

  Here are some other great sources for finding informational text online:

The Internet Public Library (newspapers & magazines)

Newseum (6-12)

Newsmap - Visual News (like Wordle for news) (6-12)


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Print Concepts: It's Not a Secret!

This year as part of our conversion to schoolwide Title 1, we hosted several math and literacy nights as information sessions for parents.  I created this presentation to show parents the concepts of print that learners must understand before emerging as a reader.  Most parents were surprised to know that these concepts were things tested for and were grateful to be "in the know."  For most parents, if they just know what it is they're children need to know, most parents are willing to work with them.  Feel free to download my presentation if you'd like to use it with Kindergarten parents, too. 


North Carolina Reading Conference Presentation

This week, I had the pleasure and {absolute thrill...seriously, it was like an adrenal rush for me, I love it} of presenting at the North Carolina Reading Conference (p.47), here in Raleigh.  It's always nice to go to a conference and not have to travel far.  My presentation was, Vocabulary Instruction in the 21st Century: Visual Tools for Teachers and Students.  For one hour, I shared best practices from my own class {or at least the groups I teach} and other best practices in vocabulary instruction going on at Lake Myra on a daily basis...both low tech and high tech strategies.  I have to give a special shout-out to the gal in the front row...she came in so excited to see me and told me she'd been following my blog and website forever....what am amazing vote of confidence before I ever got started.  The room, the Chancellor Room, which was actually across the street at the Marriott, filled up quickly and by the time 1:15pm rolled around, there was standing room only!  To EVERYONE in my session, THANK YOU!! What a fantastic audience...so warm, welcoming and positive! I was almost not going to present this year {my life, work and home, is busy and crazy right now, gosh, as it always is} but after spending the afternoon with this great group of educators, I'm SO GLAD I didn't cancel. Ya'll are the reason I keep doing this...AND because I'm a D {google DISC and you'll understand!} and if I don't have 19 balls up in the air at once, I'm just not satisfied.  So, here's my presentation.  You can view or download it from my Slideshare homepage which is at www.slideshare.net/hellojenjones or view it directly HERE. Vocabulary instruction documents and handouts in this post.
Vocabulary Instruction in the 21st Century
View more presentations from Jennifer Jones

For most of the documents embedded into the presentation, I inlcuded them in a previous post about Vocabulary Instruction, see that post in "documents and handouts" hyperlink above.


Just "because" + Stone Fox Podcast - REVISED

So, if you follow my blog, you know how much I love the word "because"...why, because it's the magic word in my class that tells everyone where your answer is coming from, it's not your answer, it's the reason for your answer, it's the evidence for your inference, or the schema for your predication. 

Here's a B/W one for those of you that don't have or want to use color ink...

A couple of weeks ago I made a HUGE because sign and posted it in my room! I love it and do the students...now it's a non-verbal reminder to give the reason for your answer. Kids remind each other now..."you didn't finish your sentence, you didn't add because, you're not done telling us why you think so..." I LOVE IT...I couldn't be happier to have found such a simple yet powerful way to get my kids thinking critically.  When students tell why their answer or opinion is so, then we all have something to agree or disagree with.  Did any of you ever go through The Influencer training? It's great and I highly recommend the workshop...or the book.  There's an idea there that if you want to change something...anything...you identify one or two VITAL BEHAVIORS....where these one or two vital behaviors are like the first two dominos in a long train of dominoes ready to be knocked down...where once the first two happen, the rest of the change will just follow.  That's how I feel about kids using this word....AND getting kids to agree and disagree with each other after students have shared ideas, answers and  opinions followed by because.

Download "because" sign {HERE}.....I highly recommend making it into a poster.
Download "agree/disagree statements {HERE}....I highly recommend making it into a poster.

If you don't follow my blog, these signs are a follow-up to my earlier this month post entitled "Informational Text" where my this language is used in my Guidelines for Critical Thinking rubric.


Here is (an audio) glimpse into my class during literacy.  In this podcast, which I simply clicked "Record" on the Voice Memo app of my iPhone one day last week, during my interactive read-aloud/think-aloud of Stone Fox.  Regardless of whether or not it was a great 3rd grade read-aloud to read during the IditaRead last week (even though I'd recommend it for ANY K-8 grade) I loved it BECAUSE in addition to so many reading strategy/thinking opportunities, it also has so many literacy elements to demonstrate...tons of similes, metaphors, idioms, personifications, irony, flashbacks, flash forwards...it's all in there.   What this podcast demonstates is the what I'm talking about in this post...kids giving their ideas/opinions, followed by "because" followed by their justifications AND students agreeing and disagreeing with each other and telling why.  Warning...it's raw but powerful.
T-chart in inset is below podcast.

During my read-aloud, I (model) and keep track of my thinking on sticky notes... 

During the interactive read-aloud/think-aloud, they also think along with me...their own thoughts...

 And my students use the t-chart template, Text & My Thinking during Independent Reading, too.


SOME School Spirit!

Lake Myra Staff Photo on Wednesday, Fashion Disaster Day

Ya'll, Dr. Seuss' birthday celebration last week was fun and wacky but I'm beat! So much authentic enthusiasm for the IditaRead by teachers and students was so awesome to witness and watch.  Here are few more pics from the famous Book Character Day on Friday...with 100% staff participation! Woot-woot!!!. This year, a new tradition was started...team entries! The winning team received a 90 minutes lunch off-campus (since our school is 15 minutes from any town, extra time for travel is included).  I seriously don't know how winners were decided because all teams looked A.MA.ZING!

And the winner is........
First Grade - Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes - FIRST PLACE

Student Support Team - The -iliciousesses - RUNNER UP

Kindergarten - Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten - RUNNER UP

3rd Grade - Alice in Wonderland - RUNNER UP
Specialists - Charlotte's Web - RUNNER UP

2nd Grade - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - RUNNER UP

Admin & Office Staff - The Wizard of Oz 
AIG & Math Coach - The Hunger Games & Gooney Bird Greene
4th Grade - Fancy Nancy - RUNNER UP

Congratulations, 1st Grade! "It's All Good!"

And ya'all, I'm super bummer that I didn't get a group picture of the 5th grade team...they were goddesses from Greek Myths...and they looked....well, like goddesses!



New FREE Whimsical Borders with Curly Frames: Post Revised

I created these page templates today {like I don't have better things to do!} but seriously, when you look and look and can't find what you're looking for...you create it! That's what I did with these cute whimsical polka dot borders with curly frames in 7 different color schemes...FREE. 
Download at my TPT store HERE.

By request, I created and uploaded a set of 6 big dot borders and curly frames in B/W (grayscale)...FREE down load at my TPT store HERE.

Have fun!


Informational Literacy Unit

Due to an overwhelming request by the devoted readers of this blog, I am revising this original post to include pdf's of the Guidelines for Critical Thinking rubric and the Code of Cooperation.  Scroll down to find them in context. 

**Also note, I've recently posted my newest Common Core Information Text Reading bundle**

If information literacy is central to success, survival, schooling, workplace and the community, then the teaching of information literacy and all the skills that it entails is critical, too.  As many of you are quite aware, the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is building instructional practices and "shifts" into the roll-out...where teaching the standards alone is simply not enough to prepare our students for the 21st century.

Shift #1 for the CCSS in English/Language Arts (ELA) is this: 

For my 3rd grade reading group, now up to 28 (high-achieving) students, we have been able to put some systems and structures into place to give students an opportunity to excercise their critical thinking skills....which of course, must be taught and relentlessly practiced, with informational content text.  You will notice the wording in the CCSS Shift statement, does not use the term, a balance of "fiction and non-fiction" text...it states, "a true balance of narrative and informational text.  In the elementary grades K-5, the percentage balance is truly pure, 50% narrative and 50% informational....but in the middle school and high school, the percentage for informational text reading rises while narrative text reading decreases, to the content based classes in middle and high school.   As a class, we began brainstorming different types of non-fiction genres, then different types of informational text. Here is the final anchor chart we created:

From this chart, we created a few more. One about informational text features and their purpose and one about informational text structures using Charts found on Beth Newingham's Scholastic blog. The informational text features chart was created from my own original creations which can be found on my www.hellofirstgrade.com website under Literacy and Language.  

After generating and exhausting the list of informational text types with the students, the students decided they would like to create an informational text museum using informational text from their home and world. 

During guided reading groups, we used informational text to determine main idea, cause event, sequence of events, etc. We also used our Guide to Critical Thinking to guide our conversations, our justifications and interactions with each other. Here is the anchor chart we created.  

FREE link to Guidelines for Critical Thinking PDF

I'm happy to share this Gudelines of Critical Thinking rubric I created with anyone in the best interest of "preparing all learners for their future"...this document is licensed under Creative Commons for non-profit, share-alike and proper attribution.

During guided reading, students take turns facilitating the group conversation asking questions of each other and justifying their opinions to one other...and I get to sit back and file my nails [just kidding]...seriously, we have talked like this for so long, they know how to play devil's advocate now and "play" being the teacher with each other.  It is not uncommon to hear students say, "I disagree with xyz, because on page 10, the author says abc...so from that I infer 123."  Students also hold each other accountable to this language by calling on students that rarely share by saying...."xyz, you haven't contributed to the conversation yet, what would you like to add?"  To get students to justify their thinking and opinions, I made a big huge BECAUSE that hangs right above us on the wall...it's about 2' x 3'. 

BECAUSE Poster - Free Download by clicking on the picture above.

In order to help students facilitate this type of discussion, I created these sentence frames in order to help them frame their thoughts, ideas and opinions. They are free and you can download them HERE.  

And my Revised Bloom's Taxonomy Posters to get all students using the maximum amount of signal strength during literacy....and in every subject all throughout the day.

 During Independent Reading & Responding, students opted to use this form in their informational responding. 

Students also added their reading thinking to our class blog here

The last group is a cooperative learning literacy activity.  We do so much modeling of how to speak and interact with each other about our literacy ideas, reading thinking and ideas, students are able to carry on without my assistance. Here was their task last week. {P.S. The green serving platter that the two book sets are resting in is from the Dollar Tree and serves as the tracing circles when the groups create their Venns.} 

Here the product of two groups....

And this is the Cooperative Learning Anchor Chart that guided how students interact here:

Again, I'm happy to share this Code of Cooperation document I created with anyone in the best interest of "preparing all learners for their future"...this document is licensed under Creative Commons for non-profit, share-alike and proper attribution.

In addition, with Speaking and Listening having it's own domain in the Common Core for ELA, we created a sort of "code of cooperation" for the Rules for Discussion standard.  Students respectfully discuss their ideas by following these rules and hold each other accountable to these rules as well.  If you'd like to use these Rules for Discussion from the Common Core, here is the link to the Common Core Rules for Discussion.

Here are few more ideas for you from this week:

Anecdotal Record Sheet...I use one for my 2nd grade group and one for my 3rd grade group.
Download pdf version HERE or the docx version HERE.

Download {free} Book Review & Recommendation sheets by clicking on the form.

Teaching students to read and comprehend nonfiction and informational text is more difficult than reading and comprehending fiction for the sheer reason that there is no sense of story to hold the ideas together, no characters, setting or plot to contextualize the reading experience.   As teachers, it is our responsibility to help students understand the various structures and features of informational text.   I help my students do this by teaching each feature of nonfiction through mini-lessons where mentor texts are used to demonstrate the various features, what they show, how they are used and how they help us understand the topic better. Several years ago, I created a template for a nonfiction conventions notebook.  This year, I have updated that notebook and aligned it to the common core standards related to nonfiction text features.  If you' re interested in this, you can find it HERE

To also my blog post about Sources for Informational Text online.  And if you're interested in keeping anecdotal snapshots during guided reading or informal running records of informational texts, I created these "all standards at-a-glance" sheets to quickly documents the RL and RIT standards of the Common Core.  The first grade one is shown below but I have created them for all grades K-5. 

And if you like my stuff, be sure to check out the Common Core department of the Hello Literacy Store and consider clicking "Follow Me" over at my Hello Literacy Store...I add Common Core documents, RTI documents and activities for higher level thinking, every week.  

Also see my latest Common Core product...

Happy Reading! -Jen Jones



Kindergarten Rubric for T-S Connections

I created this rubric last year together with the Kindergarten team when they were trying to figure out a concrete way to help their students understand Text to Self Connections.  Most kids like spaghetti so we used  this food analogy to explains four levels of Connections use.   Feel free to download it by clicking on the arrow embedded black square above.

Happy Reading!


There's A Frog in My Blog!

Not really! But don't ya just love silly rhymes...especially ones inspired by Dr. Seuss? Today {in my spare time...ha, ha} I created a class book cover and page template for Dr. Seuss' silly rhyming book, There's A Wocket in My Pocket.  The idea for this class book was actually a lesson suggestion in the Open Court Reading Program I used a way long time ago, but the idea is definitely a phonemic awareness and phonics best practice.

Free - Click here to download as a pdf or pptx.


Dr. Seuss Meets Alaska

This week our school will be celebrating Dr. Seuss' {why do I always have to stop and check the spelling of his name EVERY TIME I WRITE IT???} birthday with a festive variety of activities and celebrations thanks to our enthusiastic media teacher.  This year we are participating in the Idita-Read...and we are so excited. If you haven't signed up yet, get on over there and register. In addition, each day is a dress-up day, guest readers are scheduled and Thursday night is the Book Fair.  Here is the line-up for the dress-up days:

Monday - Sports Biography Day
Tuesday - Pajama Day
Wednesday - Fashion Disaster Day
Thursday - School Spirit Day
Friday - Book Character Day

Tomorrow I will be Apolo Ohno and Friday, I will be Pinkalicious...and I am so excited!!!

In the meantime, until pics are posted, here is a FREEBIE, a Poem of the Week.  {We have document cameras at our school, so we'll project it on there for all little eyes to see.}

{or grab the pdf here in Google Docs}
I realized that I had a typo in the first one, I fixed it on the link.

 Happy Reading! - Jen

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