2017 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

If you are a follower of mine, you know... I. Love. Books.

And if you aren't, welcome to my website! My name is Jivey, and I'm a bookaholic!

It is the season of giving, so of course... what do I want to give? BOOKS!

There are five different giveaways you can enter- there will be one winner for each giveaway, and the winners of each will win the books AND the lessons that go along with it!

*This post includes Amazon affiliate links. When you use these links, Amazon gives me a few cents (it doesn't cost you anything extra) and it helps me afford to do awesome giveaways like these!**

Take a look at each  giveaway below- enter one, some, or all! :)

(Yes, each of the giveaways has the same options to enter. But you must click/enter each separate giveaway to qualify for it!)



This giveaway will award one winner the Santa's Job Mentor Texts Unit as well as both books, How Santa Got His Job, and How Santa Lost His Job!

VALUE: $20+

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If you are the winner of this giveaway, you will be able to choose the Snowflake Bentley Unit for Grades 1-2 or the Snowflake Bentley Unit for Grades 3-5, and you will also receive the book, Snowflake Bentley!

VALUE: $11+

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YES! You see that correctly! I will send you all FIVE books, along with the Mentor Sentences Lessons (great for K and 1st Grade) that go along with these books:


The Missing Mitten Mystery  |  There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow  |  Snow Is Falling  |  The Snowy Day  |  The Hat

VALUE: $45+

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These books and lessons are PERFECT for 1st and 2nd Grade! I will send you all of the components (mentor sentences, interactive activities, Better Than Basal reading and writing, and vocabulary) for these FOUR books, as well as the books themselves:
The Polar Express  |  Snowmen at Christmas  | 
Snowmen at Night  |  Three Cheers for Tacky

VALUE: $53+

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And of course, my Grades 3-5 (and up) friends, these four books come from Volume 2 and Volume 3, and are some of my favorite Christmas and Winter Books! You will receive all the mentor sentences, interactive activities, Better Than Basal reading and writing activities, and vocabulary activities for these four books, along with the books themselves:
A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree  |  Snow Day!  |
Too Many Tamales  |  The Snow Globe Family

VALUE: $50+

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck, friends! Winners will be announced and contacted on December 11, 2017!


A question I am asked frequently, because of my use of picture books as mentor texts, is: "Are picture books really complex enough for my upper grade students?"

And my answer always is...

YES YES YES!


There are many aspects that contribute to a text's complexity- not just the "level" (whether that be Lexile or AR or F&P). 

For one, a student's prior knowledge contributes to complexity. What may be complex for one may not be for another. It will be dependent on their background, exposure, vocabulary, and experiences. 

Picture books are not "too easy" for the upper grades students, no matter what the Lexile number might say! Find out why you should still be using picture books to teach in grades 3-5!
Secondly, I totally think picture books are like Disney and Pixar movies... how many times have you laughed at something in one of those movies and a kid looks at you like, what's so funny?? You can read a book to a kindergarten or first grade class that they enjoy, but a ten-year-old would pick up on underlying themes in that same book that the little ones don't. 

One book example that comes to mind is The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. Did you know it has a Lexile of AD490L? If you went strictly by the quantitive element, you wouldn't think it would be appropriate for an upper grades classroom. But how many six-year-olds do you know that would pick up on the metaphor of the fence in this story? There is such a deep level of understanding that can be discussed with this book on segregation issues! 

And that leads me to my next point... YOU as the teacher are one of the BEST aspects that contribute to complexity! You can amp up the rigor of a text simply by asking the right questions!

Choose a book that relates to the standard you are teaching, and as you read, ask comprehension questions throughout to show them the importance of thinking while reading! Not only can you ask questions to prompt them to think the way you want them to, you can also do think-alouds to demonstrate your own thoughts and feelings. This is done so easily with picture books!

In case you needed any more convincing, here are four more reasons that picture books make great mentor texts:


1. The story is usually done in 32 pages. When you refer to parts of the story in your lessons, most likely, students are going to remember. You can read a great picture book one day, and then use it for various lessons for days after that! Often times, you can teach SEVERAL standards with one picture book.

2. Picture books hold students' attention with illustrations and vivid language throughout. Seriously- some of the BEST examples I've found of figurative language, vivid verbs, and sensory details come from picture books.

3. There are so many amazing historical fiction books, science fiction texts, and even math literature. We know there isn't enough time in the school day to read a book before every lesson (as much as we'd like to) so spread that book as much as you can!

4. Please do not think I'm saying to never read a novel with your students again. Chapter books, extended texts, novels... whatever you want to call them... are still so important! Students have to build stamina and stick with a story that really builds- I totally agree. But students also need to see, hear, and understand so many different styles to become better readers and writers. What better way than to read mentor texts all year long?


Are you interested in learning about how to do more than just "read" a picture book to your students? Do you want to make your read-alouds more meaningful?


Enroll in my Interactive Read-Aloud Mini-Course to get the what, why, and how of reading picture books to promote deeper thinking with your students! Save 20% when you enroll through this post! You'll have lifetime access to the video lessons, as well as a special exclusive IRA questions bonus AND the lesson and materials for the model/demonstration video I present so that you can implement it in your class, too. There is also a certificate of completion to use for PD credit (if applicable in your district)! You will be excited to start interactive read-alouds right away in your classroom!


Vocabulary must be taught in context, and should be an ongoing process, in order for students to truly comprehend the words. Learn about five easy ways you can make vocabulary stick with your students.

As you learned in my previous post, it's time to throw the vocabulary list OUT! Students need the words in context, and they need practice with the words over the course of the year- not just the week you introduce them.

This post is going to give you five ways you can keep vocabulary instruction alive all year long!

INTERACTIVE WORD WALL

Yes, that's right. INTERACTIVE. That means it doesn't stay the same all year. Get student input on how to arrange, and later, rearrange, the words. Words could be sorted by parts of speech. They could be placed on individual strips with room under the words to allow for lists of synonyms. You could even allow students to create illustrations to be displayed with the words. I'm sure students will even have their own ideas of how to sort them!


Vocabulary must be taught in context, and should be an ongoing process, in order for students to truly comprehend the words. Learn about five easy ways you can make vocabulary stick with your students.

DETERMINE WORD FUNCTION

In order to use the vocabulary words well, students need to know HOW to use them in a sentence. Determining the function (or part of speech) will help students learn to use them in a sentence. Model for students how to look for patterns to determine the function of the word by looking at suffixes (-ed and -ing often show verb tense, and -ly often indicates an adverb). It might even help to replace the word with another verb or noun to check it.

ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

“Warm up” the students by discussing a topic the words fall under when applicable (for example, if the book is about bats… ask, “What do you know about bats?”) Show the vocabulary words and allow them to share what they know about how the words relate to bats.

PLAY GAMES

Get students moving!! Allow students to act out vocabulary words (old and new) by asking them, “What does it look like when you…?” Another fun game resembles the game HedBanz. Write the word on a strip of paper long enough to go around their head, stapled (like a crown) – students should not see the word on their head. Students should ask questions about their word to others to help them guess the word that is on their crown.


MARZANO’S WORD WORK

This should be used as a front-loading activity, if you wish to use it. It should NOT replace reading the mentor text and discussing the word in the context of the story, but it is a great way to integrate various learning styles in order to help the words "sink in."

I had the privilege of hearing Robert Marzano present on his six step process several years ago, and it was a nice way to change up how I had been teaching vocabulary. My kids showed a lot of growth, especially in content-area words. This process is not something you want to do for EVERY word (as in all six steps every time) - you don't have the time, and the kids would get bored FAST.


Here is a short summary of the six steps:

1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term. 
(Tell a story that integrates the term or show a picture of the term)

2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words. 
(Correct misunderstandings)

3. Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the word. 
(Draw your own example, too)

Use the following page to create a word journal:

4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms. 
(Identify prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, antonyms, analogies, reminders of confusion)

5. Ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
(Compare drawings and descriptions)

6. Play games periodically that allow them to play with terms.
(Pictionary, Jeopardy, Charades, Headbands)


Get even more vocabulary activities to use with all your favorite mentor texts! Check out a free sample from my Vivid Vocabulary units:

Interested in an entire year of vocabulary taught through mentor texts? Visit the vocabulary category in my TpT store!

Stop teaching vocabulary in isolation! Check out the research that provides three big reasons why vocabulary lists don't work.

Give a list of vocabulary words to look up in the dictionary, write a sentence, and then take a quiz on Friday...... these practices have come and gone! Not only do the students not enjoy this process, it isn’t a best practice.

Stop teaching vocabulary in isolation! Check out the research that provides three big reasons why vocabulary lists don't work.
Research has shown that teaching new words without context (teaching just definitions) will not improve reading comprehension. Here are three BIG reasons, supported by research, why you should throw out the vocabulary list. And if you want to read even more, I suggest starting with No More "Look Up The List" Vocabulary Instruction by Charlene Cobb and Camille Blachowicz, as well as Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan! (These two book links are Amazon affiliate links. When you buy through these links, Amazon gives me a few cents which I contribute to my fabulous blog giveaways!)

Words must be presented in context for proper comprehension


Picture books are vital – yes, even in the upper grades – to allow students to use the images to help with context and infer meaning of words. One way to present vocabulary words effectively is to teach through texts you are already using for other lessons. As Irene Fountas and Gay Pinnell remind us in Guiding Readers and Writers (2001), “if you really know a word, you can:
- Read it in many different contexts, understanding the meaning each time. 

– Use it in a decontextualized way, mapping out the different meanings that are possible given the context.

– Realize the connotations that a word may have when used in a certain way (e.g., as part of irony or sarcasm). 

– Use the word metaphorically if appropriate.”

Words must be used over time or they won’t “stick.” 


In order to effectively employ vocabulary instruction, it is crucial to present opportunities for students to make connections between the words and concepts, and provide repeated exposures to the words. One suggestion from Charlene Cobb and Camille Blachowicz is to have a word wall- but not one that remains on the wall untouched all year. It should be used regularly, with student input.

Definitions mean nothing when the relationship is unknown.


Stop teaching vocabulary in isolation! Check out the research that provides three big reasons why vocabulary lists don't work.
Think of how many words can be used as a noun, an adjective, AND a verb, depending on how it is used, or even as one part of speech having several meanings. How are students supposed to figure this out when given a list? Answer: they don't. They pick the shortest definition and write it!

You probably know, previewing is so important for comprehension... but that rule does not apply to vocabulary, unless you present it completely in context! In other words, it is not necessary to always “preview” words before reading a text, because the students don’t understand the context. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan advise the best time to introduce the meaning of a word is when it is encountered in the text. This can also be done after reading the entire text by referring back to the pages where the word is found.

THROW OUT THE LIST!

Start teaching your vocabulary through the mentor texts you already use and love in the classroom! Check out a free sample from my Vivid Vocabulary units:
LEARN EVEN MORE
about how to incorporate
ongoing vocabulary activities
with ANY words all year long!

Read the next post of this vocabulary blogging series!


Interested in an entire year of vocabulary taught through mentor texts? Visit the vocabulary category in my TpT store!



Text evidence... those two words are so important for a reading teacher! We want students to be able to infer and draw conclusions while using text evidence to support their thoughts. But before we can lead them to these higher order thinking skills, they need to understand how to look back in the text to find evidence in the first place. 

This blog post is going to help you introduce finding specific text evidence using the book, Do Unto Otters. **This is an affiliate book link. I use the money earned through Amazon affiliates to fund giveaways!**

Do Unto Otters is a great book to use at the beginning of the year to introduce classroom management expectations. It presents the Golden Rule in a funny way that kids enjoy, and still learn through - and is great for ANY age! 

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are the Otters, and he doesn't know anything about otters. He wonders how they will be friends. Talk to the students through the reading of this book about how we are all different from each other, but treating each other the way we would want to be treated will make for a successful year and friendships. 

You can expand upon manners and the Golden Rule with the free activity I am including in this post, as well as showing students how to return to the text to find specific evidence.

You will probably agree that students "think" they can remember what was written in a text, so they write down what they recall (sometimes incorrectly), rather than going back to see the specific evidence. The free activity in this post asks students to provide evidence from the text to show how otters can be friendly, polite, honest, considerate, and kind. Use this as a mini-lesson after reading the book aloud to them by returning to those pages to list the specific evidence given in the book. 

For example, how can otters be friendly? Turn back to the page and refer to the evidence given:

Sure, students could name plenty of ways to be friendly on their own, but showing them how to go back to find evidence will help them in the future when it's time to answer rigorous questions that require evidence support. 

Get the free activity below!



If you want even more activities to use with this book, you can get the mentor text unit here. It includes a mentor sentence lesson as well as reading, vocabulary, and writing activities. You can also visit this blog post to see how I teach the mentor sentence lesson at the beginning of the year, using the lesson from Do Unto Otters!



Speaking of the Golden Rule... here is an opportunity to help others if you're interested. 

As a Teacher-Author, I have relationships with teachers all over the United States. Knowing some of my teacher friends will be struggling for a long time with rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, I'd like to share this Go Fund Me project that is being coordinated by my friend Dawn. If you feel led to give to this cause, the money will be going to Houston schools that need rebuilding!

Enter to win a copy of each book featured from The Reading Crew! You can also visit the other posts in the link-up at the bottom of this post.
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One of the most common struggles teachers face is tackling TIME. There simply isn't enough of it to cover all the skills and standards we need to teach! One way to address this problem is to integrate as much as possible. Being able to address multiple skills and standards through one or two lessons truly helps maximize time as well as often helping the students to practice true application.

Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

In this post, I will share tips, lessons, and even free activities you can use to integrate science, reading, writing, and grammar with the book, Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse. **affiliate link- Amazon gives me a couple cents when you use this link and I use that money to help pay for my giveaways!**

First, I have to brag on the illustrations of the book. They are watercolor sensations! It's easy to get "stuck" in the comprehension of the text as teachers and forget about the pictures... but it is important to "read" the pictures as well!

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't also point out the BEAUTIFUL figurative language and imagery throughout the text. This is definitely a great book to use when teaching about these skills, as well as writing in prose.
Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

Students can "collect" the awesome adjectives and vivid verbs from the book as you read- making a list they can refer to later for their own writing.
Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

Then of course, focus on how to use that figurative language and those vivid verbs during mentor sentence time!

You can pick up the free mentor sentence lesson here!

If you teach about weather, this is a great mentor text to use to discuss a bit of science- yes even though it's fiction! There are clues Karen Hesse gives in the text that show a rainstorm is coming, like the gray clouds rolling in and the wind picking up...
Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

And if you teach about fronts and forecasting, a fun writing prompt I always did with my kids is to have them pretend to be the meteorologist on the news forecasting Tessie and Mamma's weather! And of course, you can also discuss the drought that is occuring in the book, too.

There are some fantastic vocabulary words that the students will be able to learn and understand through context clues... and also look at the words' parts of speech. Sometimes, words that can be verbs are also adjectives!
Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

Talk about how you can tell these words are adjectives or verbs based on how they are used in the sentence.

Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!

This is definitely a "don't miss" book. If you would like the print-and-go activities pictured in this post, you can get the entire mentor text unit in my TpT store!

Check out more posts from The Reading Crew in this month's blog extravaganza!




If you want even more IN-DEPTH step-by-step help with implementing mentor sentences, check out my courses!

Ideas by Jivey shares multiple ways to use the mentor text, Come On, Rain! to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and science. Pick up a couple freebies and get some tips and lesson ideas, too!


Nonfiction close reading can be tricky to introduce, but Jivey shows you how to break it down simply using the mentor text, Never Smile at a Monkey.

Nonfiction close reading can often be tricky for our elementary kiddos because many texts that we find are so long, it can be hard to help them truly focus on what's important. I love introducing close reading by using mentor texts that include several topics in short paragraphs. One great book that does this is:
Nonfiction close reading can be tricky to introduce, but Jivey shows you how to break it down simply using the mentor text, Never Smile at a Monkey. 

**affiliate link- Amazon gives me a couple cents when you use this link and I use that money to help pay for my giveaways!**


You will find one paragraph about eighteen different animals that can easily be used to compare and contrast, and of course, most importantly, hold their interest!
Time is precious. There is NEVER enough of it!! 

But, what if there was a way you could take back some of that time? Would you take it?

I have your answer!


Before we dive in, let's talk about what a mentor text IS and what it IS NOT.

A mentor text is a picture book (fiction or nonfiction), a chapter from a novel, an article, a song, or a poem. This text serves as a model to inspire students to practice a skill. In reading, students will watch and listen to you model a comprehension skill in order to understand how to do it on their own. In writing, students will be inspired to write similarly to the mentor text. In grammar, students will notice all of the "good" in a sentence from the text (called a mentor sentence), and then learn how to incorporate it into their own writing. There is a lot of imitation that occurs with a mentor text; students will impersonate techniques from the texts you present across the subjects.

Mentor texts will give teachers back some of the precious teaching time they need as one text can be used to integrate reading, writing, grammar, and more! Sign up for a free one week email course to get everything you need to maximize your teaching time with mentor texts.A mentor text is not simply a read-aloud. Although mentor texts should be read for enjoyment FIRST, that is not its only purpose. It is not an entire novel either. You can absolutely model skills from a chapter book, but a mentor text should be shorter in length so that it can be referred to throughout a week (or two or three!) for different skills.

A MAGNIFICENT MENTOR TEXT can be used for several weeks for MANY skills. In reading, a magnificent mentor text will provide opportunities for a few (if not all) of the following: monitoring, summarizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, questioning, visualizing, and synthesizing... to name a few. In writing and grammar, a magnificent mentor text will provide opportunities for students to imitate the ideas, structure, AND craft that the author presents in the text. And to top it off, a magnificent mentor text will be enjoyable to read, and one you will want to return to over and over!

And, if you REALLY want to get the most bang for your buck: grab a nonfiction, historical fiction, or science fiction book to integrate your social studies and science content! (OR even math literature!)

We know, as teachers, that using literature is an excellent way to introduce a lesson, but starting EVERY lesson with a new text makes it awfully difficult to keep those mini-lessons MINI! One of the best parts of using a mentor text is that it gives you more time to TEACH. Once you've read the book one time, you only need to re-read or refer to parts of it for your whole group mini-lessons. (Small group/guided reading should use books on their level!)

In reading, one way to lead your lesson is to use a graphic organizer. It will help guide their thinking, and it allows for an "I Do, We Do, You Do" lesson- start the graphic organizer with them, then they can help suggest something to add to it, and finally they can finish it on their own. Of course, then they'll also be able to use that graphic organizer with their own book, or in guided reading, to show their thinking!

Use mentor texts for grammar through the use of mentor sentences. For 10-15 minutes each day at the start of writing time, look at a mentor sentence that was taken from the mentor text you are reading that week. Students notice all the wonderful things about it, figure out patterns in parts of speech, revise the sentence, and imitate the author in our writing- all over the course of the week. And of course, in writing, students will impersonate the ideas, structure and/or craft of a mentor text through your modeling and lessons. 

Does this sound like an amazing solution, but you're thinking, well, Jivey, you just told me WHAT to do, but you haven't told me HOW to do it! I've got you covered!! Sign up below for a FREE 7-day course and get all you'll need to integrate reading, writing, and grammar!

In this FREE course, you'll receive a week of activities to download; emails each day with lessons for reading, grammar, and writing; and encouragement, suggestions, tips, and reminders. I want to help you take back your time!

Select your grade level below to get comprehensive lessons just for you and your class!

***PLEASE NOTE, using a personal email when signing up rather than using a school email will ensure that emails are delivered. Many school accounts are intercepting some of these!***
Mentor Texts 1st and 2nd Grade Mentor Texts 3rd 4th and 5th Grade Image Map

You will get an email right away with the outline for the week and the activities. Then, over the course of the next week, you will get an email each day with explicit lessons, explanations, reminders, and suggestions for the next day's ELA activities. If you'd like to complete the activities over the course of that week, you can! Or, you can "save" all of the emails and implement them another week if it doesn't work right away for your schedule. 

Lessons, activities, explanations, and support... did I mention FREE? What are you waiting for? Click on your grade level! 
          


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