Friday, February 20, 2015

Reading Strategies and Genres: Fairy Tale Posters

As a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach, I have worked with students and teachers from preschool to grade 12.  Back in the early 1990’s, I began my research and application of what we called active reading strategies:  summarizing, predicting, evaluating, reviewing, connecting, inferring, questioning, visualizing, determining main idea, and synthesizing.  At present, these are often called reading comprehension strategies or cognitive strategies.

My resource, Fairy Tale Reading Comprehension Posters was created when I needed a visual reminder for students in  my reading intervention groups and when I was modeling lessons in teachers’ classes. Created specifically for grades K-2, you can use them with older students as well.  I used them on my Focus Wall, bulletin board, and magnetic white board.  I laminated the entire set, added magnetic strips to the back, and kept them on the side of my filing cabinet (which faced toward the students) when not in use.  This way, they were always visible to students and easily accessible to me!

Genre Poster

Comprehension Poster

I suggest printing on card stock, laminating, and placing magnetic strips on the back.  Use during instruction to help students anchor their learning of a simple, kid-friendly definition for each strategy /reading comprehension skill.  Hopefully most students are familiar with fairy tales and the pictures can help as a concrete example and reminder. 

As a classroom teacher and specialist, I used these posters!  The possibilities are endless!  To purchase your set, click here.

AND, I have a FREEBIE for you!  For those working on summarizing the story, download this organizer that coordinates with the poster set.  I created this for my 2nd grade son when he was struggling to write a summary paragraph and needed a bit more scaffolding.


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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Wonders! Writing Into the New Year! Prompts for Little Writers

Welcome to the Winter Wonders blog hop hosted by the authors at Adventures In Literacy Land.  We are so excited to have you join us as we celebrate our first year blog anniversary!

 One year ago today, a group of teacher-bloggers launched the website Adventures in Literacy Land to share tips and tools for effective literacy instruction.
In honor of reaching our first full year of blogging together we are hosting a Winter Wonders Blog Hop and Birthday Celebration.   Each author has a FREE  literacy resource for you to download.

At the end of the hop, don't forget to enter a raffle for a chance to win a Barnes and Nobles gift certificate!

The freebie that I have for you is a sampler pack from my January Writing Prompts that I have listed in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Click the above picture to download your FREEBIE!

I view a writing journal as a place where students can safely take risks, experiment with new vocabulary, sight words, spelling words, grammar skills, and writing techniques.  It is not my journal, but the student's and becomes more of a writer's notebook as the year progresses.  I do not grade journals, but I do monitor them, walking around the room as my littles are writing and will have students bring the journal to Guided Writing or Writer's Workshop conferences.  I want students to have an invested interest and complete ownership of the journal.  If I provide too much structure and hover over their every writing move, I will not accomplish this goal.

The journal, without me formally grading the entries, provides an effective assessment tool.  When I conference with a student or when I casually glance at entries, I can discern strengths and weaknesses.  For example, if I give students a prompt, I may also ask students to use a word or words from our word wall, a few spelling words, or for older kids a metaphor. This is better than any test!  For, if my goal in teaching students spelling words is for students to use the word correctly and spell it accurately in their writing (applying the skill), the journal provides a much more authentic assessment tool.

Making the journal fun is a must!  I like to give my students fun, motivating prompts and also allow for free writes.  When I taught the intermediate and middle grades, I always had a "Free Write Friday", which was wildly popular with students because they had complete choice in what they would write about that day.  These free write days also allowed me to see which students struggled with choosing a topic to write about and allowed me to address this in Guided Writing groups or in Writer's Workshop.  Writers in the primary grades also like to have choice in what they write about!

I included a variety of writing prompts in this sampler packet so you can see the variety of forms ( stories, lists, etc.) and the level of difficulty.  Not all prompts require the same writing skills and you can pick and choose which prompts to use depending on the writing abilities of your students.  As well, you may find that the prompts are too difficult for kindergarten students, or that you will have to guide and scaffold the writing.

My intent was to make this packet as flexible as possible for you to use.  Enjoy!

Click the button below to go to your next stop where Emily has another fabulous FREEBIE for you!


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reindeer Reading: Informational Reading for Primary Grades

It's all about reindeer today!  I am linking up with my friend, Carla, from Comprehension Connection!  I will be showcasing my Reading Reindeer literacy resource that I have available in my little TpT store.  But, make sure you click the link below to read about other reindeer activities including FREE ones, suggested reading, crafts, and more!

My children have inspired me and motivated me to be a better mom and teacher.  The youngest two are my guinea pigs when creating new items for my students.  Recently, when I realized that they thought reindeer were imaginary creatures, my latest product was born!  Now, not to dis Rudolph, but I thought it would be fun to create a nonfiction packet about these very interesting creatures.  We all know that boys love nonfiction reading and all students, at least mine, enjoy reading about animals.

My Reindeer Reading packet includes an original three page nonfiction/ informational article about reindeer:  what they look like, what they eat, and where they live. My children were excited to learn they live in Alaska.  My husband went to Alaska last fall on mission's trip with our church. Sadly, he did not see any reindeer in the wild!

Informative Article- Includes three pages!

My boys were peeking over my shoulder as I created this packet that is filled with graphic organizers, vocabulary cards, and writing activities.  Although the reading level is too difficult for my youngest, the oldest (reads at Guided Reading Level of H/I) was able to read it with support.

Before reading activities include a K-W-L organizer (shown above), A Can, Have, Are chart, and vocabulary cards  (Tier 3 words) to assess prior knowledge.  The three pages are perfect to use in Guided Reading or even in a center if students can complete the reading independently with little scaffolding.  I added thinking prompts at the end of each page to prompt for active reading.  Also perfect to use in science class to integrate reading and writing with the content areas!

After reading students complete their reindeer book to record the main idea and important details.  As well, there is a narrative prompt and three different stationery sheets to complete the final copy.

There is a lot more in this literacy packet!  With a total of 20 pages, it is enough for one week of instruction for your high level first graders and on-level 2nd or 3rd graders.  When writing and designing the unit, I implemented the CCSS, the reading process, and best practices to use to engage, motivate, and to foster higher level thinking skills in my little readers.  There is no crafty component to this because when I pull out readers it is for either intervention or enrichment, and I simply do not have time, as I'm sure you can relate to!  I used this activity with high level first graders and used it in a highly structured and scaffolded small group with struggling second graders.

You can check out the packet and see more details here.  Don't forget the check out the other bloggers who have linked up to share their reindeer highlights.  Click the linky picture at the top of this post.


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To School: Sales, Giveaways, and New Beginnings!

The time is near, my friends!  Some of you may have already started your brand new school year. Others may have another few weeks to make summer memories, prepare classrooms, and sleep in!  As for me, I am homeschooling my youngest year-round, while my middle son goes back to school in just (22) days!  And my oldest son turns (21) this month and is preparing to leave for Basic Training for the Army National Guard in a few months!

A new school year is all about new beginnings. A fresh start.  And then there is school shopping!  I don't think that I will ever lose my excitement for back to school shopping whether it be new crayons, backpacks, lunchboxes, books, and of course classroom decor and  curricular materials!

Speaking of curriculum, you are probably already aware that Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School SALE  August 4-5.  My store is already on SALE with 20% off ALL items today.  If you need something for tomorrow, you can grab it now!  Starting tomorrow, August 4th, use coupon code BTS14 to get a total of 28% off ALL of my items!

Some of My Favorite Printables:

I also have writing prompts for September and other months. Click here to see all of them.

This is my #1 best seller that I use!

Have the First Day Jitters? Check out this literacy packet for use with your little ones:

 And, you don't wast to miss this one:  Wouldn't you love to win an iPad Mini?  What a way to kick-off the new school year! Don't forget to enter the iPad Mini GIVEAWAY that I am participating in along with (20) other bloggy friends. Click the pic below to enter!

And speaking of new beginnings, I am so, so excited to be part of the Jamberry team as an Independent Consultant!

Later this month, I will blog about why I started, all the benefits, and how I NEVER did my nails until I discovered Jamberry Nail Wraps!  Here's the short version:  in just (2) weeks as a consultant, I made enough money to take my son BTS shopping!

If you would like a FREE sample nail wrap, please click below to complete the Google Doc, and I will mail out your sample along with information for application.

If you have already purchased a Jamberry Nail Wrap, you know that it is LOVE at first sight!  My customers are telling me:  "I applied my Jams last night, and now I'm totally hooked!"

If you want to check out the current spring/summer catalog click here to visit my website.  You have until August 31 to order any of the wraps you see.  After that, the online catalog will be replaced with the fall collection.

AND, there are many~ (138) current wraps that are being retired and will NOT be available again- EVER after August 31.  Click the pics below to view all 138 wraps that will be gone forever after August 31.

You can order directly from my website.  If you are at all interested in hosting a Facebook party (where I do all the work, we play games, I have giveaways, and YOU can earn FREE wraps), click here.

If you want to take the plunge and become a consultant, I would love, love to have you on my team that also has many other teachers and mamas!  I will support you every step of the way on your new adventure.  Click here to view the details.

If you have any questions, please ask, and I will be happy to help!  Teachers love Jamberry- me included!

A new school year and new beginnings can be a little daunting, but I say BRING IT ON!

May you have a restful and relaxing Sunday!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

iPad Mini-Giveaway!

How would you like to win a FREE iPad Mini to start off a new school year?  Oh, the possibilities for you and your students! 

Check out this site~ iPad Kids to check out the best kids' Apps, App reviews, and free Apps that you can use on the iPad Mini.  If you are not familiar with this device, this is a good starting point for a vast list of educational and entertaining Apps for teachers and parents.

Wondering how to use an iPad Mini in your classroom?  Click here to view 103 ways!

And finally, follow my Pinterest board "Tech for Teachers" for over 100 ideas for using technology in the classroom.

Now, you have to enter to win!  Good Luck!

***  PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroo.m and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The blogs below all contributed to this giveaway. You'll want to visit each one of them to get tech tips, reviews and more

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