Materials Management with the iPad

So I am loving the app, TeacherPal TeacherKit, it totally helps me organize groups of students, keep track of daily attendance, I've got students entering their own daily grade for "keeping track of their stuff"....I tell ya! Last week, every day, *someone* would say, I forgot my ____....guess how many kids have forgotten things this week? None. I love it! And they do too.

Also, affix a sticker near the camera lense so students know where to look when taking their picture with the iPad.



Common Core: The Teaching of Reading Informational Text

I don't know about you, but it seems like COMMON CORE is everywhere! There's definitely a buzz in education right now...and I'm sure your school is no different than mine.  With the introduction of the Common Core, come a new set of standards that 48 states have adopted.  Some standards seems repackaged, some standards revamped and "bloomed" up, some standards are just new and demand a whole new skill set of our students.   As we begin the shift of moving towards having students read a 50/50 balance of fiction literature with non-fiction information will be extremely important for us to teach our students to "know and apply" the features of 21st century informational text.  Back in 2003, when I first read Debbie Miller's book, Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades, and Harvey and Goudvis' book, Strategies That Work, I created a non-fiction conventions notebook to teach non-fiction features of text to my students. 

Well, almost 10 years later, the teaching of these features is just as important, if not, more important considering we are asking our students (ALL our students, even our ELL's) to read and understand about the world through a wider and broader selection of print and digital media sources of informational text AND at higher levels with teacher support of informational texts in the grade level stretch bands.  Hence, the inclusion of informational text features in the Common Core at grades 1.RIT.5, 2.RIT.5 and 3.RIT.5, of not only informational text features like captions, labels, headings, glossary, Table of Contents and so forth, but from digital and electronic informational text like, icons, hyperlinks, sidebars and electronic menus....ever heard of that one before? I know, right! I had to do my own research project on that one, too! In addition, "knowing and applying" informational text features in reading lays the groundwork for Common Core standard W.2, Informative/Explanatory writing.  Students are expected to "write to inform", and "write to explain"...they must become themselves, writers of informational text, and are expected to know, apply and incorporate all the features of informational text in their own writing.  In addition, students must have a good grasp of the features of both fiction and non-fiction because the Common Core standards asks them to compare and contrast  fiction literature and nonfiction informational text. In addition, knowing and applying the features of informational text will greatly assist students when conducting mini research cycles that are also an expectation of the Common Core.   

I want my students to know and apply as many features of informational text as they will see in their informational text reading, so I created a new and improved Nonfiction Conventions called "My Informational Text Features Notebook". It includes 28 informational text features, all of the ones named in the Common Core, and many others that are essential features that students must have under their RIT belt. In additional to the student pages that will comprise THEIR Informational Text Features Notebooks, I have created teacher cheat sheets for each feature, images to illustrate each feature and a poster set for each feature.  (If you are limited on classroom wall space, you could laminate the posters, punch holes in the corner and create a class book out of them).  If you too, don't want your students to be left in the informational text dust, check out my Common Core Informational Text Features Notebook HERE

Here is a sample of what's inside...I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

Available in my TpT store -

If you like this informational text features notebook, then you might also like my Common Core Reading Informational Text Reading Response Sheets. I've created 20-40 diffentiated reading response sheet categorized by RIT standards.  The total pack is over 300 pages of student friendly Common Core sheets.
Check it out here.

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My Reading Workshop Mini-Lesson: Shopping for Just-Right Books

Reading Workshop Mini-Lesson 8-21-12: Readers Try On Books 

(This year, I'm following the lesson sequence from Lucy Calkin's Common Core Curricular Plans for Reading Workshop ...last year they were a $10 download but the new ones are already available (and free) in draft form on the TCRWP website***)

Yesterday I taught my 2nd graders (I have 28 of them for Reading Workshop for 60 minutes every day) that  readers who take charge of their reading life 'try on books'...using the analogy of trying on clothes in the store, for a variety of reasons, before we buy them, readers do the same thing with books. 

Then, for my mini-lesson today, I used a demonstration child to walk them through the steps of book shopping. Here was my mini-lesson teaching point today:

"Readers, today I want to teach you that readers that are the boss of their reading life...try on books, before they decide if they will add them to their book bin.  To do this, they do several things. First, they decide if the cover and topic looks and sounds interesting to them.  Then, they read the blurb on the book. And finally, they do the 5 finger test."  

Here are pictures from the demonstration. 
(child used with parent permission)

1. Ask yourself if the cover looks and sounds interesting? (No...The Great Depression...I don't blame him) So keep shopping/browsing.

2. Ask again, does the cover look and sound interesting to me?  (Yes)

3. Then, read the blurb on the back, and decide if it still sounds interesting. (Yes).

4. Then, read the first page and do the 5 finger test. (Yes, 2 fingers = just right)

5. Add it to my book box. Keep it for a while until "I've thinked it out!" and there's no more thinking to be done with it. 

Here's a re-cap of the strategy steps that  readers use when book shopping. 
A Book Shopping Flow Chart

Then for my reading conferences today, they were all about, I'm sure you can shopping, books selection, abandoning books that you JUST shopped for and self-monitoring book shopping choices.

Have a listen here:  (made with the app, Audioboo)

Happy Reading! ~Jen Jones

***you can find the new free 2012-2013 Common Core Curricular Calendars from TCRWP by registering at their website here. Once you create an account, confirm through email, you will be taken to your account page.  You can either click "Curriculum Calendars" at the very top of the the page or click "Curriculum Materials" on the left.  Then scroll down to the bottom of that page for the materials for Reading Workshop or Writing Workshop....each listing the units for each grade level.  

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Leaders & Literacy at the Lake

For our Early Release staff development yesterday afternoon, I did a few things off the agenda...I did get my principal's blessing (because he really is very focused about sticking to our agendas)...but as we are ending week 3, heading into week 4 (almost halfway through the first quarter)...I thought it was really important to remind everyone A) what a wonderful school we have; B) what wonderful students we have; C) what wonderful teachers we have; and D) how wonderful the last three weeks truly have much 21 century teaching and learning going on.  I also know how much teachers would like to get in and see other teachers' classrooms but just don't have time, so in addition to capturing the warm fuzzy love we feel at Lake Myra, this video also (tries) captures the amazing teaching that goes on at Lake Myra on a daily basis! From the feedback we've recieved so far from our electronic plus/delta form (made in Google Docs and accessible to the staff through Edmodo), they loved it! I hope you do too.
This is the very short ppt I created and used today to stay on track for our PD today. 

It has a lot of hyperlinks and embedded handouts that should link if you hover over them. 

We only had 45 minutes to devote to Literacy at the Lake, which we all know is not enough time to really do anything, so I shared a few resources with them and we did a collaborative brainstorm on different strategies for teaching Tier 2 vocabulary words.  The research behind the huge importance of teaching Tier 2 vocabulary words (in addition to Tier 3 content words) has been around long before the Common Core...and most recently (within the last 10 years of so) by Isabel Beck and Margaret McKeown in their book Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. If you look at it, you'll also notice a mention of the Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum's...the green one is for K-2 and the blue one is 3-8.

Embedded inside these two books (which are from the first edition Benchmark Assessments Kits...the new Literacy Continuum cover is white in the 2nd edition kits) for each grade level is a little treasure (hence the gold medal clipart) page called "Writing About Reading." Each page per grade level is divided up into written reading response options for Thinking Within the Text (lower level factual information), Thinking Beyond the Text (higher level inferential information) and Thinking About the Text (author's craft).  Regardless of the fact that this is how students are assessed on the comprehension on the benchmark assessment kit books, there is a wealth of information on each page of this's really hidden inside and has so much to offer.   Planning for this type of independence in your young readers is essential with the new common core's simply not enough for them to always respond in the same few ways...these lists are diverse and give wide options that align with the new standards.

In addition, I have scavenged the internet for Revised Bloom's Taxomony resources, beyond just RBT question give teachers some options for independent literacy activities/assignments at the Analyze, Evaluate and Create levels (just the highest three...isn't that where we really want kids to be?)

Download Create, Evaluate & Analyze Teacher Cheat Sheets {HERE}

Oh, I forgot to mention...after the Animoto and before the bits about Tier 2 vocabulary instruction and HOTS, teams did the Paper Chain Teams Challenge...a great little cooperative activity I found at Kris Bordessa's blog called Great Solutions to Team Challenges.  As a school with The Leader In Me as our theme this year....I thought it would be great to have team participate in demonstrating Habit #6: Synergy "Together is Better".

I stumbled upon this activity through a team building activity I found on someone's Leader In Me Pinterest board last week...and have since created my own Leader in Me board.

Follow my Leader in Me Pinterest board {HERE}
Email me {HERE} if you still need an invitation to Pinterest.

Ali Scott of, one of first grade teachers at Lake Myra, asked me to whip up a cute door sign for her Leadership themed classroom this year...and this is how her door turned out.  Since I made the sign for her because I Ali Scott (not to mention she's my carpool buddy for our 1 hour round trip commute LMES everyday) I thought I'd pass the freebie onto you, too, since I am soooo appreciate to everyone that reads and follows by blog...followers and comments truly fill up my love bucket.

Download one for your classroom door (or any leadership theme you do) HERE.  Pre-K through 6th.

Next week, I'll be blogging about my own reading groups, 3rd and 2nd...where we are implementing the Common Core Curricular Plans for Reading Workshop by Lucy Calkins.  We have created lots of anchor charts, and put some great systems and structures in place.  I will share pictures, reading logs and parent letters that I have created.

I'm currently reading....Rigor is not a Four-Letter Word by Barbara R. Blackburn

  Until next time....happy reading! - Jen

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RTI Documents {finally} Ready!

I really need to give a big "I'm Sorry" to all my blog readers (especially the last 500 who signed up on this Google form) who have been expecting my to email them a link to the Dropbox where I've uploaded all our RTI that system didn't work so well either, because Google Docs won't let me copy and paste email addresses into the Dropbox invite box. Soooooo, I think I've got a solution that will work.  I'm going to create a zip file with the LMES RTI documents in one easy download, I will make it FREE on TpT...this way really works for me...and gets you the documents when YOU want them, so you don't have to wait on me.

...and the RTI documents are ready. Yeah! I uploaded them tonight.  
Snag them HERE.  Can you say, "finallyyy!" 

There are 78 files, so I had to compress it and create a zip file.  
Here's how to open "unzip" compressed files, also called "extract."

In the meantime, I have compiled, created and uploaded (for free) an "If, Then" reading interventions menu....that's hopefully easy to read. For example, IF a student struggles with X, THEN try Y. The reading interventions listed on this 5 page document are research based and appropriate for any student in the RTI process.  This post was prompted by a teacher friend, Mrs. Sykes, who FB'd me yesterday and asked if I had any reading interventions I have ideas??? A few.

 Download it for yourself {HERE}

Also, wanted to let everyone know that I have finished my first set of CBM Assessments for Progress Monitoring Foundational Literacy Interventions. 125 1-minute CBM's in all! Grab your own set HERE.

See also my second set of CBM Assessments for Progress Monitoring Foundational Numeracy Interventions is ready.  This packet includes 175 1-minute CBM assessments.  And they're on sale now for the Cyber Monday and Tuesday SALE HERE.

My RTI Progress Monitoring Set 2 is done now, too. This set includes less foundational (more advanced) phonics and sound spelling patterns, appropriate for students, regardless of their actual grade, that are reading about the 2nd grade reading level.


And 60 Fluency Passages for monitoring reading progress OR just to monitor that ALL students are growing in their fluency, perfect for fluency centers or Daily 5 independent reading and partner reading activities.  Students graphing data sheets included.

GRAB 60 Lexile Leveled Fluency Passages HERE.

Happy Reading! -Jen Jones

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Photo Wednesday {a short week in review}

I wanted to blog about the lettering in my Hello Literacy header because I get several emails a week about it. To answer everyone's question, YES you can get it too. It's technically not called a font but an ALPHABET. like the box below in the upper right. The name of the Alphabet is Funky Chunky and it you log in to Lettering Delights using the pink square Lettering Delights box in my blog's right sidebar, you can also get 9 free fonts....I am highly addicted to Lettering Delights and I think you're going to love it too! 

You'll notice that this post is coming early, pre-Friday. Lucky me got invited to present with my husband in Orlando, so this was a short work week. Like I mentioned, Monday and Tuesday were spent AIMSwebbing the entire school. We have an RTI benchmark team that gets all the classes done in two days...all the classroom teachers have to do is bring their class to the media center for about 20 minutes. If you look closely, you'll see everyone using the new assessment binders I put together! Get  your AIMSweb or DIBELS assessment binder set at 

Last, here's a sneak peek for the Tier 2 vocabulary post I'm working on and will have up next week. These vocabulary shirt labels is a strategy used by Mrs. Behrend to teach music vocabulary. 


Happy Anniversary to Me! honor of my 18th wedding anniversary tomorrow (and my super supportive husband that loses out to my computer 80% of the time) I'm throwing a one day sale tomorrow on everything in my TpT store. They didn't have an 18% off button, so I rounded the discount to 20%. Shop at


Rainbow Words: Teaching, Learning & Assessing High Frequency Words

Teaching and learning high frequency words doesn't have to be can be fun with Rainbow Words.  This systematic way to teach, assess and track each child's learning of high frequency words is chunked by each color of the rainbow...once students learn the red words, they move on the orange words, etc.  This system is ideal for first grade as learning high frequency words is first grade Common Core standards in the Foundational Literacy Skills standards and this system would also be perfect as a 2nd and/or 3rd grade sight word intervention and progress monitoring system.  Everything you need to get Rainbow Words up and running in your classroom is here...and I am positive you will not be disappointed.  Since my Progress Monitoring vs. monitoring progress blog post a few months ago, many of you have emailed to ask where to get here it is. I made it for YOU!

Here's a preview of what you'll get....and there's a First Things First document to read before you even get started that explains, how to get started and what to do first...

P.S. - The black borders are part of my Mixed-Up Doodle Borders Set 2.

Thanks everyone for encouraging me to put this all together...I hope you like it! - Jen
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New Year, New Series: Photo Friday {a week in review}

So it's a new year, so why not start a new blog tradition...a Photo Friday! If you know me, which I realize that most of you don't, but if you did, you'd know I don't go literally anywhere without my either in my hand, in my pocket or charging on the wall! Because I always have it with me, I'm always snapping pictures throughout the you can see below, I just HAD to capture Jan Hall bringing her iPad to the teacher's lounge this week...we're so excited that all the teachers got an iPad this year! Thanks, Jim, Tina & Leigh! With that said, here's what else I "snapped" this week: 

Was so excited to be able to bring my daughter to work with me this week (except today, she had Freshman Camp today...she starts HS at the end of August...geez, am I getting that old?)

No joke, this was the site in the parking lot on Monday morning. Nearly every teacher had some baskets, bags from The Dollar Tree, and/or back to school goodies  in tow! It was hilarious...teachers and their stuff!

Apparently, only Joanna, Tina and I got the periwinkle and white memo on Thursday.

This morning was our first fire drill of the year and one of the best ever!

And of course, I saved the best for new PM duty this year is Outside Carpool (last year I was Indoor Carpool...the holding area) this year I'm outside which I love and get a chance to see all the parents, which I also love...but I could not resist taking this picture when this parent pulled up...makes duty all worth it. 

Was notified last week that I had received this blog award...thank you!

And should also have my Rainbow Words system up by tonight! (I hope) You can "Follow Me" over at if you want to be automatically notified when I make that available.  
Have a great weekend!! 

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