Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3M Strong Sale & Linky

Teachers Pay Teachers has reached a membership milestone.  3,000,000. That number is huge.  THREE MILLION MEMBERS!  Raise your hands up and cheer!

Courtesy of Rachel Lamb

To celebrate this accomplishment, TPT is throwing a sale and I am joining in.  I feel honored to be a part of a community of educators who come together to collaborate and grow.

Take a peek at an item or two from my shop.

My most wish listed item by far is my Reading Detectives Close Reading Lap Book.  Students construct a “case file” with information from a fiction book of your choice.
  • Character Traits
  • Setting
  • Problem
  • Sequence of Events
  • Solution
  • Context Clues
  • Turning Point
  • Main Idea
  • Theme or Central Message
  • Author’s Purpose
  • Inferences

My top selling product is my Trouble with Trolls Literacy Activities Pack. It features a set of activities designed to support and enrich your instruction of the book Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett.

  • Comprehension Questions 
  • Story Map
  • Design a Hat, Write a Description
  • Vocabulary Matching Cards
  • Character Traits
  • Story Sequencing Strips
  • Tr Blend Sorting Cards
  • Compare Contrast
  • Make a Class Book

My personal wish list seems never-ending.  I'm looking forward to purchasing a few items and checking them off my list.  For this sale, I'll be picking out clip art from two of my favorite designers, Melonheadz and EduClips.


You can check out a list of TPT sellers that are participating in the sale over at Blog Hoppin', Pinkadots ElementaryMrs. Beattie's Classroom, and JD's Rockin' Readers.  Check 'em out.  You'll be glad you did.  :)

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Determining Importance

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG, for her Mentor Monday Linky. I'm a little late to the party, but let's just pretend it's Monday.  ;)  The topic this week is using mentor texts for Determining Importance.

Let's start off with a brief explanation of the term. Determining importance is a strategy that readers use to distinguish what information in the text is important to know versus what information is simply interesting to read.
  • With narrative text, determining importance requires the reader to identify main ideas and infer themes of the story.
  • With nonfiction text, readers must be able to sift through information and decide what is most important. The focus is on retaining important information and learning from the text.  
Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis, Strategies That Work 2002

The Wild Rumpus

Finding the main idea and supporting details is often difficult for children.  In order to help students develop this strategy, we must provide explicit instruction-with teacher modeling and think-alouds- and many opportunities for guided practice with both fiction and nonfiction text.

The Wild Rumpus blog offers a poster {freebie} with a great explanation for students.  I love the visual this poster provides.

One of my favorite picture books for teaching determining importance is The Night I Followed the Dog.  It's about a boy follows his dog to see what the pet does at night.  He discovers that his dog wears a tuxedo, rides in a limo, and visits a club where dogs can get treats (without having to roll over or play dead).  Students adore this book!

Here's a video of Amanda Bynes reading this book for Storyline Online.  

After we practice Main Idea with fiction books, it's time to apply the skill to nonfiction.  I like using Rosie: A Visiting Dog's Story.  It's a book about a service dog that visits sick and lonely people to lift their spirits.  The main idea is clear and details are easy to locate.  

Finally, here are two graphic organizers for determining importance that you may want to check out.  :)

The Wild Rumpus

What are your favorite books or tips for teaching this comprehension skill?  I'd love to hear your ideas!  Leave a comment or link up with Emily to share your thoughts.  :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Figurative Language

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG, for her Mentor Monday Linky.  The topic this week is using mentor texts to teach figurative language.

Let's start off with a brief explanation of the term.  Figurative language is a word or phrase that goes beyond its normal everyday, literal meaning.  It is used by a writer for the sake of comparison or dramatic effect.  It often requires the reader to use background knowledge to infer the author's meaning.

Whether you are teaching students to interpret figurative language or apply it to their own writing, mentor texts are a great way to start. Here are a few of my favorite stories for teaching this skill.

Similes: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Metaphors: Tar Beach by Faith Ringold

Idioms:  Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Personification:  The Little House by Virginia Burton

You might be interested in this set of posters offered by Tiffany Matthews in her TpT store.  

Posters {Freebie} by Tiffany Matthews

Six common types of figurative language are explained in this tutorial. It's worth watching with students.  :)

What books do you use to teach figurative language?  I'd love for you to leave a comment and share your favorites.  :)

For even more mentor text ideas hop on over to The Reading Tutor OG. You'll be glad you did.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Is in the Air

It's Valentine's Day and I'm feeling a little festive, so I thought I  would share what's near and dear to my heart.

That about sums it up.  I'm feeling incredibly blessed with a loving husband, three sweet children, a snuggly dog, true-blue friends, and readers just like you.  Happy Valentine's Day!  Now, I think it's time for a cup of coffee and good book.  Feel like joining me?

Lucky to Be in First

What's near and dear to your heart?  Visit Lucky to Be in First and
{link up} with Molly to share.

Speaking of lucky, if you are feeling lucky today, you may want to enter Laura's first blogging anniversary {giveaway}.  I've donated one "winner's choice" item from my TPT store to the prize pack.  :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Heads Up for Vocabulary

Have you played the game, Heads Up, yet?  I played it at a dinner party recently.  It reminds me of the game Head Bandz with a digital twist. As I was playing it with my friends, I thought about how great it would be to use as a vocabulary review game with students.

Here's why I like it:
  • It is easy to prep.  All you need is an iPhone, or similar device, and a list of vocabulary words that your students have studied.
  • It's super fun!  Students love it.
  • It works well in small group settings like intervention or guided reading groups.
  • Most importantly, all students are actively working with vocabulary.
Getting ready:
Download the App to your device in advance.  Select the "Create Your Own Deck" and type in your vocabulary words.  You can continue to add to your deck throughout the school year.

Here's how you play:
  • One player holds the device up to his/her forehead.
  • A vocabulary word pops up on the screen.
  • The other players give clues to help the player guess the word (without using the word).
  • Once the word is guessed correctly, the player bows his head (or tilts the phone forward) so that a new word will pop up on the screen.
  • A player can "pass" on a word by tilting his head back (or tilting the phone backward).
  • Play continues for 60 seconds.
  • Player counts the words solved correctly.
  • The device is passed to another player and the game continues until everyone has a turn. 

For an extra challenge:
You can enforce 'the act it out - no words' rule.  I would highly recommend this option if you are using the game during guided reading groups in a regular education classroom.  The original version may distract other learners.

Want to learn more about boosting your students' vocabulary acquisition?  Join me over at Adventures in Literacy Land today and read my post, Falling in Love with Vocabulary, featuring the Six Steps to Effective Vocabulary Instruction.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mentor Texts for Inferring

I'm joining my blogging buddy, Emily @ The Reading Tutor OG, for her Mentor Monday Linky.  I know it's Wednesday, but let's just pretend I'm posting this on time.  ;)

This week the topic is using mentor texts to teach the skill of making inferences.  

Click, Clack, Moo and I Want My Hat Back were two books that quickly came to mind for teaching this skill.  

Click, Clack, Moo is perfect for making inferences.  Invite students to use the pictures to infer what the characters are feeling.  Stop at words like furious and impatient; ask students to use the text and pictures to infer the meaning of the words.  After finishing the story, pose the question, "What happened in the story that put Farmer Brown back where he started?  How do you know?"  Continue to explore inferring with Giggle, Giggle, Quack.

I Want My Hat Back is so clever!  My students always get a kick out of reading it.  :) Using the pictures, ask children to infer how Bear solved his problem.  This Is Not My Hat is a great follow up for continued practice.

What are your favorite books for teaching students to infer?

Monday, February 3, 2014

I {Heart} Currently

I love linking up with my girl, Farley.  Here's my February edition of Currently...

Listening:  My kids had a inservice day today, so they had friends over to watch the Super Bowl.  Now they're trapped by the snow storm.  What will I feed them all?  The hubs suggested shovels.  ;)

Loving:  Inches and inches of freshly fallen snow, simply beautiful. 

Thinking:  I think this is our fifth snow day.  Have you had any?

Wanting:  Aruba, Jamaica... ooh I wanna take you to Bermuda, Bahama... come on pretty mama.
Key Largo, Montego... baby why don't we go?

Needing:  I think our Title 1 Family Fun Night is jinxed. :/ 

2 Truths and a Fib:  Can you guess?