Saturday, August 17, 2013

Teachers LOVE a SALE! ...and TpT's BIGGEST One of the Year Starts TOMORROW!

Sale Flyer made by Krista Lyn

I don't know one teacher that doesn't love a sale...and guess what? It's that time of year again! I'm so excited to share with you that tomorrow and Monday is the HUGE BACK TO SCHOOL SALE on TeachersPayTeachers!   You probably have figured it out by now that once a quarter TpT throws a big sale. It means teacher sellers put their store on sale and then TpT takes an additional 10% off on top of that! That means a savings of 28% off.

Beginning Saturday night at midnight, enter COUPON CODE: BTS13 at check-out. 

Click on the image above to directly to my store or click on the images below to go straight to each "department" in my store...


These chalkboard frames are available in my store HERE.

I also want to take this opportunity to let you know that Kathi and I have completed one year of phonological awareness lessons are beginning to write and upload our 2nd set of 12 months worth of lesson.
We are also super tickled that Mrs. Wills featured our phonological awareness curriculum in her Kindergarten Curriculum Maps, and for this publicity and endorsement, we are grateful.  We truly have received so much positive feedback for this quick and easy 10-minutes-a-day scripted program, teachers and students love it.

 
You can purchase each monthly set separately, at $6.00 or you can purchase the year bundle for $58.00, which is a 20% savings when you purchase them as a bundle. 

HelloTwoPeas will also be having all items on sale for the BIG Back to School Sale on TpT starting tomorrow.  Like I said, we are beginning to write and upload our second set and have September up already.  We've also created a stand-alone, use-anytime, bundle with four Keven Henkes books, great for back to school, too.  A free week sampler of our curriculum (from the 2nd set) can be downloaded here.  Try it and see if you like it. The second set is not different in format from the 1st set. We've selected titles more geared towards first grade although our first set is still appropriate for both Kindergarten and 1st grade.  We have found in both of our schools (Kathi's and mine) and in other schools that are implementing our Two Peas PA curriculum that Kindgerten teachers are using one set and 1st grade teachers want another (different) set...so the second set is underway.  Please remember to purchase additional licenses if you purchase this curriculum for every teacher on your team or grade level.  Thank you! Multiple licenses are purchased at check-out.

I also want to point out that one cool feature of our PA curriculum is that it doesn't HAVE to be printed out.  When I teach these lessons in Kindergarten and 1st Grade classrooms, I teach it straight from my iPad.  As seen in the picture below. Since it's a PDF file, you can open it in iBooks.  It works great and no paper or copies to keep track of.


So, happy shopping and don't forget the coupon code: BTS13

Sale flyer by Beth @ Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah on TpT

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Parent Handout: 3 Key Ideas for Parents about the Common Core + 10 Strategies for Supporting the Common Core At Home

including 10 At-Home Strategies for Supporting the Common Core at Home

I had the please tonight of presenting "Information about the Common Core" to 100+ Lake Myra families...which I might say, was an awesome turn out...which tells me that parents really want to know how to support their children in the Common Core.  Instead of giving them the standards themselves or printing off pages and pages or 10-point font jargon, Kate Duty (my math counterpart) and I decided to just create a simple one-page, parent-friendly handout and tell them 3 (all good things come in sets of three...and easy to remember...that's research based by the way....that's why no one can remember their credit card number, four sets of four, no good...can you tell my ADD is kicking in??? sorry...) "key ideas and details" to help them to know about the Common Core.  We did not create a ppt (on purpose) and only had about 25 minutes before the PTA meeting was going to start their meeting in the gym.  So, we created this easy and simple sheet and used it as talking points, giving examples and anecdotal stories along the way of how it "used to be when we were in school" with stories about the way it is now.   You'll notice it's not specific to ELA or math, because it works with both, it is the over-arching big ideas and themes of the Common Core. We also gave parents 10 simple real-world ways they could support the Common Core at home and talked about how those ideas were the "real" work of homework, not busy work they're used to seeing in the 20th century. Overall, there were lots of parents shaking their heads in agreement, and many parents thanked us when it was over.  

Grab the hand-out for yourself HERE, and feel free to use it in your classroom, with your team, in your school or in your district. Enjoy!

The hyperlinked apple at the bottom of the page, directs them to the standards for parents, provided by the national PTA organization. 

If you are a teacher, be sure to check out all my teaching resources that support the teaching of critical thinking in my TpT store...so important and vital for the future of single one of our students.


Happy Reading! -Jen 


Creative Commons License
3 Key Details for Parents about the Common Core by Jen Jones & Kate Duty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Observing, Describing & Inferring with {Picture of the Day}: Reading Photos "Closely"


What do you observe in this picture? What details do you notice? What do see when observing it "closely"?
 What inferences can you make based on what you see in this picture?  

These are just a few of the questions that get kids thinking about some of the answers to many of the questions we ask them during close readings of a text.  Picture of the Day is an inferring strategy I started with students last year to increase their reading comprehension, in the particular area of Inferring. A toughie for a lot of kids.  Practicing this reading skill with pictures instead of text gives students an opportunity to use the same part of their thinking brain as they do for comprehending text, but without the taxing part of decoding text. 
When students are "doing" Picture of the Day, they are:
 Observing Details in Pictures;
 Describing Details in Pictures;
 Analyzing Details in Picture;
 and Making Inferences about Details in Pictures.

Most of the time, I would pull pictures from a variety of online sources like some of the following sites. I must say, you need to preview some of these daily pics, last minute doesn't always work for this because you never know what the picture of the day will actually be until, that day, and it might not be a topic of conversation you're ready to have...most of these are very appropriate for middle and high school. 

In fact, there are also a variety of Picture of the Day pinboards on Pinterest worth checking out as well. 
Also, the New York Times picked up on the teaching power of pictures last year and started a column in the Education section called...and I bet you can guess...Picture of the Day

Larry Ferlazzo, a high school ESL teacher in Sacramento, CA, also weighed in on the topic of using pictures, photos and images last year with this post, which I love because it talks about the powerful language component that is nurtured through Picture of the Day. His post is entitled
"Using Images with English Language Learners" but there is a wealth of information and links for all learners in the article.  At first, I jumped up and down when I read how much research supported the use and discussion of pictures when teaching young language learners. This is exactly the reseach behind Picture of the Day (and my other language & phonics product called Label It! Vocabulary Building for Young Writers.  

You are more than welcome to adapt Picture of the Day in your classroom like many of the teachers at my school have done, in various different ways.   

The way I do it with my reading groups is like Morning Work, for the first 10 minutes of class, after they  come to my class. I project a picture onto the board with my LCD projector and they discuss what they see with their neighbors, the details they observe and inferences that can be drawn based on evidence in the picture or their schema.  This is by no means the only way this activity could be structured.  This activity can be done whole group, small group with support (teacher or peers), or as a cooperative literacy center (we will transition to this after doing it whole group for a week or two.)

 They write down their observations and their justified inferences, Monday - Thursday, in their Reading Response Notebooks (nothing to photocopy or run off) 

In the beginning, I create an anchor chart that looks something like this...however, once they get the hang of it, they don't need it anymore (don't you just the Gradual Release of Responsibility? I do, it's so awesome!)


I also demonstrate a mentor example of what theirs might look and sound like...this anchor chart was written using the ballet picture below it.

Before I talk about

Then, on Fridays, I give a Picture of the Day assessment. A sort of formative way to give them feedback. The practice during the week is collaborative, guided and scaffolded, then Friday is their turn, to think it through, without help, collaboration or discussion.  The assessments are not perfect by any means, after all, Inferring is not a skill/strategy that students "get" overnight, but for most students, even high ones, there's lots of room to grow.

In addition, this activity is appropriate for regular ed, special ed, specialists, interventionists and subject area teachers.  My husband teaches at NC State University, when he read this blog post, he said, "I could totally use this idea in my university level courses" and I couldn't agree more.  This activity is so 21st century because it gets kids thinking, communicating, analyzing and writing at the highest levels. (Use my Bloom's Posters to teach Levels of Thinking to your students...and get them speaking the language of higher order thinkings skills.)

The best part about using pictures to teach inferring is that it correlates to the following Common Core standards for elementary grades, K-6.

RL.1 & RIT.1 - "Read closely to determine what the [picture] says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific [picture] evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text."

SL.2 - "Integrate and elaluate  information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually...."

SL.4 - "Present...supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning...appropriate to the task."

SL.5 - "Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays...to express information and enhance understanding..."

When I first introduced Picture of the Day to my 2nd grade reading groups, I used the picture of the otters at the top of this post.  Here's what they came up with (in addition to using the language and expectations of critical thinking in my classroom):
Pretty good, huh? I was really impressed...and this was Day 1 with it.  You can imagine, their observation and inferring skills only got better, with pictures AND with text reading. 

So, you can put the system together yourself by finding pictures from the websites above and creating your own assessments OR, if you want my system for yourself, you can have it for your very own. I have bundled  together for you what I did, it's called:



Here's what you get:
180 days of pictures in a PDF Slideshow Presentation
38 Assessments (one for every Friday, there is a K-2 version & a 3-6 version)
1 Assessment Rubric
 13 page Picture of the Day How-To

Please be sure to check out the product preview for more details and explanations...and as always!
Happy Reading! -Jen

Instructional Teacher Fair - This Sunday in Durham, NC - Free to Attend


Do you teach in or near Wake County, North Carolina? If so, come out and join me at the 1st Annual Teacher Inspiration and Resources Fair this Sunday in Durham,sponsored by Creative Freedom Awards.  Here are the details and I look forward to seeing you there! (Register at the link below). Come find me, I'll be standing next my Bloom's Signal Strength Poster, talking about teaching critical thinking to all elementary students. P.S. I'm one of the 16 Creative Freedom Award winners, too. 

Creative Freedom Awards is a teacher-led organization which celebrates and shares the creative and inspiring work of elementary school teachers in the Triangle.  We are hosting the first annual Teacher Inspiration & Resources Fair (TIRF) on at the Walltown Park Recreation Center in Durham, and warmly invite you to attend!

The first 200 registered elementary school teachers who come to this FREE idea-sharing and networking event will receive:
  • Common Core/Essential Standards-aligned instructional ideas and materials presented by 16 Creative Freedom Award-winning elementary school teachers!  Topics that will be presented include: EC differentiation; project-based learning; critical thinking; classroom management; STEM; student leadership; arts integration; social studies projects; student research; and classroom technology.
  • Gift bag of classroom supplies and a Creative Freedom Awards t-shirt!
  • Entry into drawings for cash prizes and eligibility to win an all-expense paid trip to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute!
  • Prizes and gift cards provided by Carson-Dellosa; Oriental Trading; The Scrap Exchange; Free Spirit Publishing; Crayons2Calculators; Lexar; Whole Foods Market Durham, and many other organizations and businesses!
  • Food and drinks provided by Food Should Taste Good; LARABAR; Zevia; Pretzel Crisps; Harris Teeter; Bruegger’s Bagels; Chick-Fil-A, and many other businesses!   
We are thrilled to announce that Laura Candler, of Laura Candler's Teaching Resources, will be giving opening remarks at the fair!  

The following organizations will also be at TIRF giving away resources and  prizes to teachers: The Scrap Exchange; Kenan Fellows; Poe Center for Health Education; Nasher Museum of Art; American Dance Festival; Duke Service-Learning; North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented/Duke AIG Licensure Program; and UNC-TV. 
 
Click here to register for the Teacher Inspiration & Resources Fair!  If you would like more info. about the fair or about earning CEU/renewal credits, check out our FAQ page  or email us!

#loveteaching - Jen Jones

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello Common Core Reading...Writing about Reading is BIG in the the Common Core Standards

For those of you new to the Common Core, and I realize there are many states implementing it for the first time this year, I wanted to let you know about a resource I created last year to give students an opportunity to respond to their reading in meaningful, rigorous ways that is aligned to the Common Core. As you may know or will soon come to know, WRITING ABOUT READING is BIG in the Common Core...students must express their reading comprehension through written comprehension for many of the standards, so these documents will do just that...in addition to the written answer responses that are coming soon to national assessments.  I have created original reading comprehension response sheets for each Common Core standards for both Reading Literature (RL) and Reading Informational Text (RIT) and noted the standard for which the sheet aligns, in the upper right corner of each sheet, so there's no guessing as to which sheets goes with which standard.  In addition, if your school, district or state is one like ours that uses PowerSchool, our new electronic gradebook, it will be necessary for you to include the standard for each assignment/assessment listed in this gradebook.   I have combined the previews of both RL & RIT packs below for you to preview here in the event you'll want to grab these.



I debuted these packs last spring and they spent quite a bit of time on the TpT Best Sellers list. Here's what others have had to say about them...

"Absolutely wonderful!!!! I highly recommend this great resource." - Roxanne Register

"Absolutely AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! As I read through the 250 plus pages, my mind was going a mile-a-minute with ways in which I can utilize the pages and information you have constructed. Thank you sooooo much." - r0b1nn

"This is AMAZING! Thank you for your hard work!" - srhv21

"This is my first TpT purchase and I have been eyeing it for months! Thank you so much! This is a fantastic product!" -kfretwell

"I had a workshop on close reading for common core and your set went perfectly with it. While everyone else was stressing, I was relaxed because I knew I had this set! :) "
 - Michelle Mallorys Racing Team

"Amazing amount of reproducibles. You thought of everything!" - J Slager

These sets are K-2 and I am currently working on the grades 3-5 sets now...my summer was busier than I thought so they aren't ready yet, but they will be out this fall, along with the free mentor text lists.  Since virtually each response sheet could be its own reading mini-lesson, several teachers at my school turned them into anchor charts.  See below. 



The RL set is HERE and the RIT set is HERE...
or bundled together for a discount HERE

Happy Reading! -Jen

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sync! Sync! Sync!...Lessons Learned from a New mCLASS User!


You may have remembered me telling you that our school was switching over from AIMSweb to mCLASS...(part of the new Testing & Accountability Initiative which is also tied to the new Teacher Evaluation Instrument from North Carolina's Department of Public Instruction...thank you very much)...so technically, the entire state is going to mCLASS for universal screenings, and if you haven't, you will be soon.  In the process of learning of how use the brower-based scoring on the iPad (which also "comes with it") we began universally screening all Kindergartners last week during staggered entry and all 1st through 5th graders this week in the media center. Here's what we found after completing 96 Kindergartners...none of their data was saved because we didn't SYNC after each child.  Here's what I mean. 

 In the screenshot above, you'll see a VERY SMALL sync symbol, two half circular arrows in the bottom right of the Class List screen...you MUST hit this icon AFTER EVERY CHILD or their data will be lost.  If you think it's a pain, it's not as much of a pain as re-doing 96 Kindergarten students x 3 assessments each, AGAIN...which is what the Benchmark Team spent all day doing today!  So, don't forget to SYNC, SYNC, SYNC and tell your teachers to SYNC, SYNC, SYNC. 

Happy Benchmarking! - Jen

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Batch of Hello Fonts...Never Enough, Right?


I just wanted to make sure everyone saw that I had released 20 new fonts yesterday.  I spend a lot of time in airports and on airplanes this summer, so had lots of time to cReAtE some new Hello fonts.

Hello Fonts Terms of Use

My fonts are free for personal and non-commercial use, like to jazz up your classroom forms and newsletters, etc.   If you would like to use them commercially in your TpT or Teacher's Notebook products for sale, the Commercial Use License is for sale at www.hellojenjones.com. If you are a small business, large business, but are not a teacher, you too, may purchase a Commercial License at the address above, but know that that one license is required per font designer, so say, if you are the Hallmark Corporation and you want to use Hello Fonts in Hallmark greeting cards, and there are 500 greeting card designers in your company, please purchase 500 licenses. In addition, advertising agencies are also welcome to use Hello Fonts on chip bags, freeway billboards, retail banners and internet websites.  You have my permission, even if you aren't a teacher...but it is one license per designer.  Multiple licenses are available at check-out.

Also, at the request of a few, I am in the process of creating a Hello Fonts catalog with all characters/glyphs for each font...coming soon! Also, if you already own the Commercial License, be sure to check your "My Purchases" button to download the latest batch.

Happy Designing! - Jen

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello Literacy Goes Back to School...and Resurfaces from the Deep End for a Breath of Bloggy Fresh Air!...Caution: It's a Long One!

Welcome back to another school year! Don't know about you, but we started last week and it's been a busy start, that's for sure! I certainly don't know where the summer went, but it was heavenly...all three weeks of it!  Mine was jam-packed. I hope you want to hear about it because I'm about to tell you.  {Besides, I feel like I owe it to for being MIA in the blogosphere for the last three weeks...}

It started out with a professional trip to Arkansas. I headed back to Sonora Elementary for a day of professional development on Vocabulary Instruction...specifically Tier 3 and Tier 2. You may remember, Arkansas was my first out-of-state trip to provide PD back in January, when they asked me to do my Fifty Shades of the Common Core...I was honored to be asked back and the teachers of Sonora Elementary {and Dr. Stewman} have a special place in my heart.  Not only did they show up during *their* summer vacation, too, 16 of them also turned out the week before to listen to Dr. Timothy Shanahan who came to Springdale, Arkansas, to speak about the Common Core.  Anyway, this one day workshop on 21st century vocabulary instruction was very hands-on, team-based, interactive, & high-level thinking {lots of critiquing, evaluating and reasoning going in here} and from the feedback I've received so far... the workshop was very beneficial to their schoolwide focus on vocabulary instruction this year. Here are few pictures from my trip to Sonora Elementary...clockwise from left...team read-aloud in order to create/compose an original text talk lesson (based on the template from Beck & McKeown's book, Bringing Words to Life), teams defending and challenging their Tier 3 Essential Vocabulary Lists {developed this time for math}...great conversations GREAT, and brainstorming "when in the day word learning could occur"...
...clockwise from left...a just had to snap this photo--when I saw this sandwich board propped inside the front door [there were no children in the building at the time] I thought to myself "I LOVE THAT"...don't you just want to tell parents..."PLEASE GET YOUR KID TO SCHOOL" or " PLEASE GET YOUR KID TO SCHOOL ON TIME"...after all, research shows that attendance is the number one most vital behavior of academic success...bottom line, if they're not there, there's no chance of learning, growth, or acceleration. Had a yummy {and chilly} Q&A dinner at a super fancy Mexican restaurant and so many teachers came out for that...it was really fun! The last photo is grade level teams working together to develop their essential content area lists (Tier 3).

If you're interested in my one day workshop on Vocabulary Instruction, email me. If you'd like to view it, I've uploaded it to SlideShare HERE


 Again, this one is very interactive and hand-on, so there's a lot that goes on that not necessarily IN the presentation.    I'll actually be headed back to Georgia in October of this year to provide this workshop at Barnwell Elementary in Johns Creek, GA.  Super excited about that...another staff, CST & principal that has a special spot, too. 

I flew home to board a plane with just my hubby for a 4th of July holiday weekend trip to Key West, Florida.  There we spent four days shopping, eating, lounging, sunning, shopping, eating, lounging, sunning, shopping, eating...do you see a pattern here? Anyone else do this pattern this summer?  The highlight of our trip was a fabulous dinner at Louie's Backyard...if you ever get this way, I highly recommend it!

Took some rest days, well, not really actually, it was more like unpack, laundry, pack, unpack, laundry, pack...another pattern. Anyone else do this pattern this summer?  The four of us then boarded {several} planes for Washington state for a family visit in southeast Washington, near Walla Walla.  We had a good time visiting, relaxing, shopping, wine tasting, four-wheeling, sunning, napping, eating....good times!

Then came home and turned around for another short trip to Monticello, Indiana to present Fifty Shades of the Common Core to four elementary schools in the Twin Lakes School District.  This was a short but sweet trip, making new friends and having a blast...I have given this workshop so many times now and absolutely love it every time...I have so much fun....teachers really seem to appreciate all the things I say....as Keisha told me at lunch..."Can I give you some feedback?...[sure]...I just love the way you just SAY IT LIKE IT IS!" Thanks Keisha! I appreciate that...not that I say anything mind-blowing or earth-shattering and have been told that every single turn-key strategy that I talk about are so SIMPLE and EASY to implement...it's like a V-8 moment...why didn't I think of that!!! they say.  I don't know, but let's all start doing it!  I'm still booking trips for this presentation so if you are a school or state that is interested in having me for this one-day presentation...email me.  BTW, if your school or district does in fact book me, included in the fee is the use of all the professional documents (including site licenses) I speak of in my presentation that I normally sell in my store.

Phew...and literally flew back into RDU at 11:00AM and was back at school by noon.  Welcome back to everyone that starting another year of teaching....this is my 19th year back. What about you? Here's a fun freebie I created for anyone that is looking for something fun and non-threatening for your students to do that first twenty minutes of the first day of school when your classroom is flooded with bags and buckets of school supplies....enjoy! There's actually many uses for this...feel free to use it as the cover of your Back to School Welcome Packet, whatever.

Download it HERE.

Another freebie I created at the end of last year was this "Are You a Text Talker" cheat sheet for students. Grab yours below. 

Download it HERE

 This year is going to be an exciting year at the lake.  Lake Myra is continuing our Common Core journey {and Marzano, and Walkthroughs, and all the things we value and say are important} in addition to adding a few new {as usual} initiatives starting this year.  The first biggie {this is state-wide across North Carolina} is mClass.  We made the big switch from AIMSweb to mClass and began benchmarking today.

(Thank you, Laura Chatterton for allowing me to take your picture :-)

Another BIGGIE this year is the exciting news that our school got a BIG {and I mean BIG} grant to become a Stephen Covey Leader In Me school.  So look for some great posts to come regarding our Leader In Me/Lighthouse journey.  In the meantime, grab some of the LIM things I've already created. 

Leader in Me 7 Habits Posters
Download it HERE.

Leaders ARE CAN HAVE / ACT SAY THINK
Download it HERE.

And...a Leader In Me recognition form.

Download it HERE.

Leaders ARE CAN HAVE & Leaders ACT SAY THINK Tree Maps

Download it HERE.  

And one last big debut....and this is truly the up or down side or traveling...I had a lot of time in airports and on airplanes...to make NEW FONTS...18 new fonts to be exact! Some of these took me HOURS to create and I'm happy to share them with you!  So, here they are:

 These are all available in addition to the other 120 fonts I've created HERE.  As a reminder, these fonts are free for personal and non-commercial use.  You can download individually (beginning tomorrow) from the right sidebar of my blog OR you can download them all in my TpT store.  Also, if you use Hello Fonts in your TpT products, you may purchase a Commercial Use license HERE.  

And a quick note, that I'm going to working hard this year with my reading groups to provide more higher level thinking collaborative literacy centers....the first one is below.  This one is geared for 2nd - 6th grade, but more for the lower grades are coming soon.

Download it HERE.

 Also, a K-2 writing center, too cute to not grab....

Download it HERE

Wow, did I leave anything out??? I don't think so.  So, in case you had any doubt that I had dropped of the face....I'm back! And ready for another fantastic year of learning.  I'm fortunate to again be working with  2nd and 3rd grade reading groups, in addition to Kindergarten. And thank YOU for following along on this education journey with me, with you, together!

Happy Reading! ~Jen