Powerful Test-Taking Strategies

I realize that most traditional calendar schools are almost out, so I'm sorry if this doesn't work for you this year, but for those of you, like me, that teach at a year-round school, this should still work for Tracks 3 and 4.  This is a file I created last year to help students overcome some text anxiety about the EOG's.  It gives a comprehensive overview of 7 powerful strategies that will help students on the End-of-Grade Tests...or as we call them in North Carolina, the EOGs, and not for too much longer as next year is the last year for the EOGs only to be followed by whatever NC decides to adopt to assess the Common Core State Standards (as of yet, NC has not officially decided to adopt the national assessment...we'll see....)

If you know me or follow my blog, you know I'm not a fan of worksheets or pages and pages (or even one page for that matter) of test-prep materials, commercial or otherwise. However, like Lucy Calkins, I do believe in setting kids up for success and teaching them strategies to do their best and capture all they know on standardized tests. 

I created the original file in Notebook software for the Smartboard, and you can download that here if you'd rather have the notebook file (which you can manipulate and remix to suit your needs)....or you can download a pdf version below from my Slideshare account.  Feel free to share this with your students, their parents, your team or your school.

My Test Plan - Notebook File (you need Notebook software for Smartboard to open this)

If you're interested in reading more about what Lucy Calkins has to say about standardized testing and how to prepare kids for it, you can read more in her book called A Teacher's Guide to Standardized Testing: Knowledge is Power.

Happy Reading!
-Jen Jones


Loving My New iPad!

So, I'm having a ton of fun with my new iPad.  I love my iPhone so much and all the teachers are getting iPads next year, I didn't want to miss out on the action.  We already have 10 iPads and 30 iPods available for student projects and we are purchasing more iPads next year.  Being at a 21st century school is so cool!! 

My Favorite iPad Apps (right now):
Blogger Mobile
Appsfire Deals
Sticky Notes
Google Talk

Apps I Want to Check Out:
Scholastic Reading Timer
NASA Visualization Explorer
Look and Learn: Animals Vol. 1
Little Stars - Word Wizard
Little Solver - Preschool Logic Game
Comparative Adjectives
i See-quence...Going to the Playground
EZ Common Core
iLiveMath Entomology
iLiveMath Animals of Africa
A Montessori Approach To Math
Kid's Patterns
Fluency Timer

My favorite NEW interactive app with my iPad is iFontMaker...literacy make your own fonts, it's so cool.  I've made several so far and it's soooo easy to use, like magic! Here are my fonts so far:

Here is the direct link to my signature font, Hello Firstie.
The copyright for all my fonts are set to Creative Commons (public domain). 

And, I've added a new doodle bundle border to my TpT store called Sribble Doodle Borders.

Here's a free sample, feel free to right click and "Save As"...

Happy Reading!


More Fun Doodle Page Borders

I'm happy to announce that I've been working on a new set of page borders that are now for sale in my TpT store.  I know it's been a while since my first set, and many of you have asked me when I would be adding more stuff...so here's the next set. This "chalkboard-inspired" bundle includes 24 different borders, all in .png format...which means you can arrange, rearrange, size, resize, crop, copy and paste as you curate your own digital creations.

{download Chalkboard Doodle Border Bundle here at my TpT store}

Also added are more border sets....the Curly Doodle Border Set....

...and the Loopy Doodle Border Set....

Happy Creating!


Reading is Thinking!

This is the culminating poster word-smithed by 2nd and 3rd grade reading groups at the end of the 3rd quarter. I made it into a poster but they were the contributors.  After spending the entire quarter teaching them the importance to "leave tracks in their thinking" (Harvey & Goudvis, 2008) they really started to pay attention to that little voice in their head that makes all the thinking chatter during oral and silent reading.  

During my mini-lessons, I would model the use of a Text/My Thinking T-chart and create anchor charts for them to refer back to.  I initially began the discussion by introducing them to the whole idea of "Stop, Think & Jot"...an anchor chart I found on Pinterest, a great place to get ideas, old and new to refine and/or make better). 

During guided reading, I would also reinforce this strategy while they were reading informational text about Soils.  This article about soils, I cut and pasted from the Internet into a Word document where I had created the T-Chart template....I guided them through their thinking of non-fiction text on the left and right side of the T-Chart.  Here is a student sample:

Students continued to demonstrate this strategy of keeping track of their thinking by using this Text/My Thinking T-Chart in their Reading Response Notebooks.  


A Personal Celebration

I apologize for not blogging these past couple of weeks, I've been a little busy. I graduated with my Masters in Reading Education from East Carolina University on May 4th....this officially certifies me as a K-12 Reading Specialist. Even though I completed my program via DE, my husband and parents convinced me to "walk" and I'm so glad I did. It was a great day with my family there to support me... my Dad even flew out from California and surprised me. Graduation day began with the university commencement at 9am, a MAEd-READ graduate reception at Dr. Swaggerty's house at 2pm, the College of Education commencement at 8pm, followed by one last celebration at Krispy Kreme at 10pm...YUM!!!. We got back into Raleigh at midnight. Thank you to all my friends and family that supported me along the way over the last three years.  Being a full-time teacher, wife, mother of two girls, blogger, iPhonographer, pinner, crafter, jewelry maker...taking the 39 units, one class at a time was certainly the only manageable way to do it and keep everyone, including me, sane and happy! ;-)  

 So, onto more posts about growing readers one best practice at a time.


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