Memorial Weekend S-A-L-E Begins Today...Shop Now for Next Year!

Are you done teaching for the year, already thinking about next year and itchin' to go shopping?

In honor of my sweet friends, Nicole Roberts Shelby, Jamie RectorKristal Plott, Gina SzczodrowskiDeedee Wills, and Ashleigh Swinford, who are in this boat...or any of my sweet friends who are still teaching, you know who you are, or if you're like me and teach year-round and have another five weeks...this sale is for YOU!


...and if you're online...let's C-O-N-N-E-C-T...
Instagram: hellojenjones



Sweet Clipart Deal of the Century for Teachers from JC Sweet Pea Designs

I ran across this sweet little digital clipart shop on Etsy a couple of weeks ago, JC Sweet Pea Designs, and fell in love with her graphics.  She had a sweet deal in her shop at the time with a button that said,
"Buy My Entire Shop" for $75.00.  Ya'll, this was a deal of a century, considering she has over 80 paper, elements and clipart packs that range in price from $3.50 - $10.00. 

The shop is owned by Jennifer Cox of the UK. She caters to digital scrapbookers, but said she is going to start making more school/theme related packs for teachers.  She has quite a few school related packs as it is, but she is willing to extend her $75.00 offer to any teacher that would like to use her graphics commercially, specifically in your TpT products.  She said, "I want to work with teachers and help them out as much as I I'm willing to not require teachers to purchase my Commercial License as long as they provide a link to my store in their product description and/or Credits Page." 

You can purchase her entire store here or contact her directly with questions here.

Happy Creating & Happy Reading! ~Jen



...How I Spent the Last 45 Minutes of a Friday Afternoon [with 5thGraders] a Nutshell

Can you infer what we did from the following hashtags?

#iPods  #guidance  #YouTube  #writing  #partners  #videos  #fun  #5thgrade #technology #synergy

I taught another stand-alone lesson today....for our Guidance Counselor, who unexpectedly went out a result, the support teachers and instructional coaches are all pitching in to teach Guidance.  I drew the Friday afternoon, 5th Grade straw....and I LOVE IT!  These kids are almost "outta here" and week after week, they give me nothing less than Level 4 effort, attitude and cooperation.   Today, I had the pleasure of teaching Ms. Burtis' class.  

Here's what I did.  

1. Created a planner sheet called, "My Advice for Rising 5th Graders."

2. Checked out 15 iPods from the Media Center.

3. Wrote the 45 minute schedule on the board. This "no time to waste" pace and expectation was key! (picture shown above)

Students did a quick write for 10 minutes to complete their advice. 

Pairs of students checked out 1 iPod and synergized to create 2 individual 30 second videos for rising 5th graders by reading their advice sheets in front of the camera.  See pictures below of students working together.  Students had 10 minutes to record, re-record (if necessary) and "upload" their videos.  (More on the uploading below).

Instead of students actually "uploading" straight to YouTube, they emailed their videos directly to me.  I fetched them from my iPhone and saved them to my Camera Roll.  I, then, uploaded them each to my Hello Literacy YouTube channel ( right then and there, as they emailed them to me.  (Took approximately 1 minute per 30 second video.)

At 2:45, there were 14 videos uploaded to our channel, we watched each one together as a class, they evaluated each other by giving scores on the back of their paper.  

On Monday, the Teacher Leader team will tally and tabulate the top 3 highest scoring videos to be included in the End of the Year 5th grade slideshow.  

And there you have it! 45 minutes, in a Hello Literacy nutshell. 

Have a fabulous weekend! And Happy Reading! Jen


Close Reading Interactive Read-Aloud - 2/3 Stretch Band Small Group Instruction

Ya'll, this Common Core instruction is by no means perfect, at all, but I believe it has many of the characteristics of teaching reading the Common Core way. Ideally, for a small group close reading, all students would have their own copy of the text...and according to the Educational Fair Use portion of the Copyright Law, you can photocopy up to 10% of the book without violating copyright as long as the copies are used for educational purposes...I think a close reading would count.  It just so happens that the photocopier was down (I'm sure that never happens at your school), and I did not want to hold the lesson up for that. Anyway, the 2nd grade team and I have been engaged in Close Reading Coaching Cycles for most of the last half of the year.  They asked me to videotape myself introducing "close reading" to my 2nd grade reading group.  This particular group of students are not reading independently in the 2/3 stretch band, and that is why my instruction is sooo scaffolded, however, since the Common Core calls for ALL students to be "independent and proficient  in the 2/3 text complexity bandi"...this is their "stretch scoop."  This group of 2nd students who independently read at level 15/16, also receive another scoop of learning (guided reading) at their instructional level, 17/18, by their classroom teacher.  Notice my behavior  when students begin to veer "outside" the text, get "off-topic" or share personal connection stories.  Enjoy!

Happy Reading! ~Jen Follow on Bloglovin


Elephants & Technology Integration - Common Core Style

8 times a year, our school closes early for teacher planning called Early Release Days, 8:45am-1:15pm.  The morning schedule gets wonky and in order to preserve a common planning time for all grade levels, so we (the support teachers)  all pitch in and help teach an extra special or two.  This morning I taught Mrs. Strutz's 3rd grade class...some students I regularly have for reading groups and some students, I don't.  I had 50 minutes to do a stand-alone lesson with them so here's what I did (to support the Geography, Environmental Literacy & Culture SS strand):

1. Checked out the 2nd floor laptop carts.
2. Found two articles online about Elephants.
3. Read Article #1. 


4. Created a Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) FORM...
 for students to answer Right There text-based questions with text-based answers.
 Here's what that looked like:

5. Read informational text #2 - "More Space, Please!"

6. Create another FORM with more open-ended response options, with a mix of lower level and higher level opportunities.  Here's what that looked like:

7. Create a Group on Edmodo just for this assignment called, Elephants at the Lake.

8.Wrote the following on the board for students to follow 
once they checked out a laptop as they passed the cart on their way in the classroom door.

1. Log into
2. Join CODE: xyz123 (fake code here to protect students)
3. Read the assignment and follow post directions.

The pictures captured at the top of this post are priceless.  They show students getting straight to work, reading online text, navigating to the FORM window, some students even opened both windows at the same time to avoid toggling back and forth between questions and articles...super impressed by that! One student asked for sticky notes to get the text-based words just right "admiration and imaginations" for the FORM.  Overall, I was really impressed with their skills...they are really starting to get this "text-based answers" piece.  I realize that all the questions I created were not hard higher level questions, but all RIGHT THERE questions. In our building, there is this phenomena happening where overall, students in general are getting all the higher level questions right and missing many of the easy RIGHT THERE questions, hence why we are hitting on this right now. The last question on the first FORM was "What is the problem and solution suggested in this article?" and Jaxon said, "Mrs. Jones, question #10 is not a RIGHT THERE question, it's hard!" And so they know the difference between a RIGHT THERE question and a AUTHOR & ME question! 

When students complete the answers, Google Drive dumps all the answers into a nice neat spreadsheet where you can quickly glance at all student answers at once and see who "gets it" and who needs more help. 
It looks something like this:

P.S. In the 50 minutes, we had 24 students were able to log in, read the first article and answer the first set of 10 questions...if students want to log in from home to complete the rest, they can.  I have a feeling some of them will...Jeremy said, "Mrs. Jones, this was fun!" (Hey, if you think that was my objective, I'm happy, because learning is FUN!)

Happy Reading! - Jen

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And the Winner(s) Is...And Some Special Shout-Outs!

Thank you to everyone that left a comment.  You all know by now that my Love Language is Words of Affirmation, so blogging is a natural love bucket filler for me.  Thank you for all your kind words and S.U.P.P.O.R.T.....HEEEEEELLLLLOOOOO....I wouldn't be blogging if it weren't for teachers like you reading it, so thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading my blog and validating what I do and love! 

So, using the site,, the five winners of a Hello Fonts Commercial License are the lucky numbers shown above:

Comment #9 - Cherrie McCain

Comment # 16 - Brandy

Comment #28 - Natalie Kay

Comment #38 - Sarah

Comment #45 - Lisa Scott

To the winners, I will be emailing the Hello Fonts Commercial License momentarily...except for Lisa Scott, she did not leave her email address in the comment, so....Lisa, email me at hello literacy[at]gmail[dot]com and I'll email the file to you.   Then, to those of you that, unfortunately did not win, although, you are all WINNERS, may still head over to my TpT store and grab it for 28% off....which comes to $14.40 after you use COUPON CODE: TAD13.  

Also, as you all know, I am a reading specialist and literacy staff development provider at Lake Myra Elementary School, in Raleigh, North Carolina.  If you follow my blog, you know how much we value higher level thinking, critical thinking, problem solving and assessment, among many other best practices.  There are a few other teachers at Lake Myra that have a TpT store (which products aligned to these same instructional values) and I'd love to give them a shout-out while the BIG TpT sale is going on....and click "Follow Me" when you get there, I know it would make their day!

Leslie's stuff is fantastic.  All teacher tested and kid-approved.   The 5th grade team has had some amazing test results this year, so you should definitely check out her stuff, especially some of her recent products on Volume...where only 3 students on the entire grade level scored less than 3 on the Volume post assessment.  

Gretchen is a Math GURU! In fact, is beginning a PhD program in math with a focus on Math Talk in Problem Solving.  She has a slew of CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) stuff in math, so definitely check her stuff out.  

Katelin jumped into Kindergarten at Lake Myra in the middle of this school year and has done an incredible job with those Kindergarten babies.  She has math stuff and sight word readers and products for both Kindergarten and First Grade.  

Everything is their stores are very reasonably priced so I hope you consider checking them out and following them. 

Happy Reading! ~Jen



Happy Happy Teachers Appreciation Week! #thankateacher

Hello Teacher Appreciation Week! First of all, let me start off by saying, I hope this week you FEEL THE LOVE, for E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. you do on a daily basis!  No doubt, teachers are overworked, underpaid, and in many schools, under-appreciated.  This year, if anything, has been a very difficult year for many teachers... larger class sizes, teacher assistant cuts, no money for supplies and materials, no money for professional development conferences, higher expectations...from everything from documentation to dress code, for everything from behavior to interventions, transitions to the Common Core, closer readings, higher thinking, deeper understanding, more student collaboration, more teacher collaboration, more meaningful use of technology, teacher performance tied to student test scores...I could go on and on.  Despite all of this, you walk into your classroom day after day, with a smile on your face and a happy heart determined to make a difference in every single little life that sits in front of you from 9:15am-3:45pm.  Your devotion to these little minds, despite their home conditions and the political climate of education today, is commended, appreciated and totally noticed!  It's time you know how much you are appreciated, either through words of affirmation, teachers gifts or discounts and giveaways on Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you are a parent, this is the week to spoil your child's teacher...if you are principal, this is the week to stop telling everybody else how wonderful Mrs./Mr. {insert your name here} is and look this teacher in the eye and tell them to their face, WHY they are so wonderful.  Teachers are tired of school and team affirmation, most teachers only ever need to hear it directly from your mouth or a personalized hand-written note, how much they are appreciated!   If you are a teacher, I wish for you, a week drenched in showers of appreciation. I hope the coffee truck pulls up to your carpool loop and the announcement comes over the loud speaker that all teachers are to report to the loop to order a custom coffee.  I hope there's a back massage sign-up sheet in the office, I hope someone offers to take your recess duty one day, I hope donuts {this is for you, Abby Mullins} appear in the staff lounge and that the PTA puts on a Teacher Appreciation luncheon worthy of royalty!  I truly do wish this for every teacher in every school, everywhere! You totally deserve it!   For more ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week, click HERE.

Here's what I'm doing for you...several things! First, I'm putting everything in my TpT store on sale through Wednesday.  Today and tomorrow will be 20% off and Tuesday and Wednesday, TpT is adding an additional 10% off, so everything on those two days will be 30% with the code TAD13.  

This means, either start shopping now and checkout, or shop now and add everything to your wishlist or shopping cart, so you can check out in the next few days.  You'll definitely want to pick up some items that have been on your wishlist for a while, in addition to some new items like my Common Core Reading bundles for Literature and Informational Text Standards for ELA, K-2. 

Pick them up as a bundle or individually,

You might also be happy to know that my Reading Literature pack has been on the TpT Top 10 Best Seller list for the past 5 weeks and I'm tickled pink about that...I only have you to thank. 

Also, everything in my Two Peas in a Pod store is also 20% off today through Wednesday, too. So now would be a great time to pick up all the yearly bundle.  

I've also updated the Hello Fonts file...use this sale to pick up my Hello Fonts Commercial License.  Here's a preview of the 15 newest fonts added, as of today.  If you already own the license, just redownload it from your My Purchases button and find the 5.5.13 folder.  

I'd love to give away a free Hello Fonts Commercial License to 5 lucky teachers! Here's all you have to do...leave a comment below. Winners will be announced Tuesday night...that way if you aren't a winner, you still have time to pick it up at 30% off! 

Here's a few more goodies for teachers....from Chipotle...

TpT Sale flyer by Beth

#thankateacher is a campaign that takes place on Tuesday, May 7th. On your social media site, take time to thank a teacher that made a difference, we all know, that teachers deserve to know they've made a difference! More info HERE

Credit here for free public domain image. Red Apple clipart in top image.

Happy Reading & Shopping! ~Jen

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