Sunday, August 28, 2016

Close Reading Bookmarks for Nonfiction

Do your students need a visual reminder of how to do a Close Reading every time they read?  Are posters and pieces of paper with the steps of Close Reading lost or ignored while students are reading?  Then you need to check out my Nonfiction Close Reading Bookmarks!


Close Reading bookmarks for nonfiction



I use the Nonfiction Close Reading Bookmarks most often during my core classes, particularly science. I recommend that you print and laminate these bookmarks for each student to keep with them as they read a number of nonfiction texts.  It works particularly well as a bookmark for your classroom textbooks.  


Option 1:  Copy a textbook page or article for each student in class.  Have students mark directly on the page with colored pencils.

Option 2 if you have a copy limit: Laminate enough articles for a small group or put them in a page protector.  That way, you can use dry-erase markers to annotate “on” the text, but not have to make so many copies.  You can easily reuse the same article or page many times until all students have been able to have the Close Reading experience with that article.

Option 3 if you want to annotate a textbook:  Clip a page protector to the book using a binder clip.  Again, this allows students to use dry-erase markers to annotate “on” the text, but not damage the textbook.



This file includes:
For the teacher:
~Different options/directions for using the bookmarks to annotate texts 

For the student:
~Directions that guide the student to read and reread the text 3 times
~Directions that guide the student to use a dictionary and/or ask for help with clarifying unknown terms and content

~Directions on how to summarize the text 



If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.


Do you use bookmarks as a reminder for your students while they are reading?  I'd love to hear some of your ideas!





Sunday, August 21, 2016

Best Year Ever Bonus Sale


Whether you've already started your school year or are preparing to go back, you won't want to miss this ONE DAY sale on TpT!


August 22 One Day Sale on TpT



Stop by my TpT store for a 20% off sale!

The sale is Monday, August 22nd ONLY and then it's gone!  

Check the main page on TpT to get a special code that will give you an additional 8% off.   Use the TpT bonus code to get a grand total of 28% off!

Here's hoping you find some things to brighten your day and make the beginning of the school year go more smoothly!








Sunday, August 14, 2016

Alphabet Sensory Box

Want to practice alphabet/letter recognition skills?  Then check out this easy sensory box made with materials from the Dollar Tree!

I like to use an all-black backdrop when I make my sensory boxes. To do this, I like to use a combination of smooth stones and black beans from the Dollar Tree. It really makes the materials stand out!


Setting up a sensory box with black beans and rocks from the Dollar Tree.



  One of my favorite sensory boxes is the Alphabet Box.  All you have to do is add magnetic letters to the rocks and beans.  I like to use both upper and lower-case letters so my son is familiar with both.  These are Melissa and Doug magnetic letters, but any letters will do.  


Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Alphabet sensory box.



When the letters are mixed in with the beans and rocks, I call out a letter. My son finds it and places it in the metal cake pan.


Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Alphabet sensory box.



Yes, the activity and child are in a box. This is for two reasons:  First, he loves playing in boxes. Not. Even. Kidding. Secondly, note that all the stray beans and rocks are contained. It makes clean up a snap and spares me from slipping on them later. 

Do you have any alphabet/letter sensory boxes that you just couldn't live without? I'd love to get some more ideas!





Sunday, August 7, 2016

Organizing Files on Google Drive to Maximize Learning Time

Are your students struggling to find items you've placed on Google Drive for them?  Are you searching for a way to organize all those files you've created?  Then this post is for you!


Organizing Files on Google Drive to Maximize Learning Time





Organizing Files on Google Drive to Maximize Learning Time




To read more about this, go to the Virginia is for Teachers blog.

Happy reading!


Organizing Files on Google Drive to Maximize Learning Time


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Get Your Year Started Right with a Sale!

Remember all those great resources you found and saved on your wish list at TpT?  Well, it's time to purchase them at a discounted rate because TpT is throwing their Best Year Ever sale!



Beg, Borrow, and Teach! beginning-of-year sale on TpT.




Stop by my TpT store for a 20% off sale!

The sale runs from August 1st-2nd.

Check the main page on TpT to get a special code that will give you an additional 8% off.   Use the TpT bonus code to get a grand total of 28% off!

Here's hoping you find some things to brighten your day and make the beginning of the school year go more smoothly!



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Teacher Must-Haves to Start the Year Smoothly

Are you looking for things that will make the beginning of the school year go more smoothly?  How about things that will get you organized and save time?  If so, then read on to see what my top five sanity-saving (and must-have) items are!


1. Personal Laminator


Teacher must-have items: Personal Laminator


Skip the long lines waiting to use the industrial-sized laminator and get some of your laminating done at home. Plus, the quality of the laminate is so much better. This is a Scotch TL901. I've had it for several years and I love it!



2. Flash/Thumb Drive
Either go through and organize the files on last year's drive, or buy a new one and copy the files you want from the old one. Either way, make sure the files and folders are organized in a way that makes it easy to access the things you need.



3.  Remind (Text Reminder Service for Parents and Students)


Beg, Borrow, and Teach!: Using Remind technology to communicate with parents and students.

As soon as I know how many classes I'm teaching, I set this up!  I relentlessly  send several paper copies home on how to sign up, and I email parents with the instructions.  I usually have about 70% of my students/parents signed up each year, and they love it, too!  If you'd like to read more about how I use this, click here.


Document Camera


Top 5 Teacher Must-Have Items: Document Camera



If you've always wanted a document camera but it isn't in the school's budget, this is an affordable option. It's an IPEVO, and I bought mine several years ago for about $70. This thing is awesome! A small list of what you can do with it: Record videos, take pictures, project what you're doing on a screen (I do this every day to show students what I'm highlighting in their notes). There are many more things that can be done with it, but these are the ones I use most often. It's been worth every penny!

Hot Glue Gun


Top Teacher Must-Have Items: Hot Glue Gun



I absolutely LOVE this hot glue gun!  It has a removable cord.  It heats up fast.  It stays hot for a decent amount of time when you unhook it from the cord.  It cools down relatively quickly when you completely unplug it.  If you want to read more about how I use my hot glue gun to put up posters on the wall, read this post.


What can you absolutely not live without at the beginning of the school year?  I'd love to hear your ideas?



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Close Reading for Complex Texts

I just finished reading Guided Highlighted Reading by Weber, Nelson, and Schofield.  It's a great addition to my Close Reading strategies I've already gathered.  This book focuses on techniques for complex nonfiction texts, such as historical documents and classic literature, such as the works of Mark Twain.  I gained some valuable techniques I will be applying to our science articles as well.


Guided Highlighted Reading


This book gives instructions for using complex texts to teach the following strategies:
Summary
Author's Craft
Vocabulary
Multiple-Choice Questions
Common Sense Text (including vocabulary and Cloze assessments)

One of the things I plan to use them for is Guided Highlighted Reading of online texts. Essentially, all you need to do is the following:
1:  Find a text online and copy/paste it as a Word document/Google Doc OR simply type up a text you want to use and save it that way.
2:  Number the paragraphs or lines and save the document on Google Drive.
3.  Provide the link to students or share it with them on Google Drive.
4.  Have students use the highlighting tools on Google Add-ons to highlight (see picture below)
5. Have students share the link/document with you (see picture)


How to highlight/annotate online texts using Google Drive




I also plan to use the strategies I learned from the book in conjunction with my Close Reading in Middle School directions.


Enriching early finishers in middle school with Close Reading articles




As you can see in the picture below, we didn't have an orange marker so we just colored over it in red and used that instead.



Close Reading/ Guided Highlighted Reading of print texts


I like to laminate the first few articles so they are reusable and I can practice with all my classes.   It also allows students  to use dry-erase markers to annotate directly on the article, just as the would with highlighters or colored pencils on a paper copy.  This is also is a form of differentiation for students who do not yet have the skills to highlight a text online.


Close Reading/ Guided Highlighted Reading of print texts




Do you have any other strategies for teaching Close Reading/Guided Highlighted Reading of online or print texts?  I'd love to hear about them!