Hey Everyone! 
I'm so excited to be guest bloggin' on Sandy's blog!
For starters, I'm Jen from
I {now} teach 1st grade :)

Since Sandy's blog is now ELA Everyday, I thought I'd post about something we've been working {well last year} in class during ELA time.

It's a scary entity, but I interpreted it as giving purpose to reading.
I sat down with my team and we created what we felt would be an easily implemented & easily followed close reading process.

{of course I made an anchor chart to explain it all...}

We are using this specifically in Social Studies and Science right now, since we type up and create our own units. We thought this would be easier for the annotated portion of close reading.

I created these bookmarks to help the students {& the teacher} to have a purpose for each of the 3 reads they would be doing of their text.

{click the picture for your free download!}

Here's the breakdown:
{sorry for my lack of pictures!}

*Introducing Close Reading*
I started with a bubble map with the word "detective" in the middle.
We came up with all the words we thought of when we hear the word "detective". There were a ton of awesome words like clues, solving, problems...
Then I related it back to reading. Looking for answers in the text, being "text detectives". 

And THEN...I pulled out the magnifying glasses. That just got things really rolling! I had them look at their pencils and tell me things they noticed that they had not before. I related this back to reading as well, how we have to look closely to find things we hadn't noticed before.

By the time I shared the anchor chart for Close Reading with them, they were eating it all up! They were overflowing with excitement to get a piece of text!

*First Read*
This is where we focus on the first read. Enjoying the text together. 
We also get to box-in any {previously given} vocabulary words we find as we read. My kiddos love to throw their hands up as they read when they spot a vocabulary word.

*Second Read*
This is where we focus on interacting with the text. I require my students to come up with at least 2 questions in the text {they place a ? next to the sentence where they have a question and write it in the margins}. I also require them to find 2 important facts they found in the text by placing a * next to it (we talked about what an important fact is, how it is a necessary part of the text, without it the text wouldn't tell as much information}. 

*Third Read*
WHIP OUT A HIGHLIGHT! Life is good ;) This read is where the students get to read through to find specific text-based answers to comprehension questions. They have to highlight the answer {we only give 2-3 questions, as to not have too much highlighter}.

Here's a sample of what our text looks like after all three reads.

*Follow Up*
Either after the Second Read or the Third Read, I like to put my kids in groups and have them discuss their questions they had in the text to see if anyone can answer them. Sometimes they look in other resources, happen to know the information, or take educated guesses. It's quite amazing to watch their interactions and little wheels turning :)

I didn't think my kids would love Close Reading so much, but if you set yourself up for success, things might just go your way ;)

Here are some excellent additional resources for any age:

Come by my blog for a visit anytime :)

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I want to thank Jen again... I know close reading is something that I am wanting to implement next year, so I really enjoyed this post for more info.

Hello all! My name is Mrs. M from Teach. Inspire. Change., and I just finished my first year teaching 7th and 8th grade ELA. Prior to junior high, I was a high school English teacher for four years. And in just this first year with middle school, I feel that I've truly found my home. 

Today, Sandy was kind enough to allow me to guest blog and share one of my favorite poetry activities with you! Thank you, Sandy! 

One of my most popular poetry activities to do with my students is what is called a "Found Poem." 

If you haven't heard of a found poem before, it is essentially what it sounds like! Students cut out words and phrases that they find and create a poem out of them! It's an extremely easy and exciting way to begin a unit - students are engaged right from the get-go. 

Below, I am going to share with you exactly how it works:

Materials Needed: 
You'll need anywhere from 15-30 magazines (depending on how many students you have and if you don't mind them sharing). I receive anywhere from 4-5 magazines a month, so I save them throughout the year. (I also make sure to go through each magazine omitting any inappropriate material and crossing off my home address.)

Glue sticks and scissors (however many you think your students might need depending on whether or not they can share)

Blank computer paper to glue their found poems to

Step One:
Before we even begin, I do not tell students precisely what we are doing (I've found that telling them that we are writing a poem stifles their creativity). I simply ask them to cut out about 40-50 words and phrases from magazines that are of interest to them. They can be anything of their choice - maybe they like the color or the font, or they find a phrase that "speaks" to them - it doesn't matter. I also let students know that they will need articles and conjunctions to help make this project "work." This activity is meant to be creative, so I really allow students a great deal of independence. 

Allow students about 45-60 minutes for this portion of the activity. (Note: I like to put on some relaxing music during this time to hopefully inspire more creativity in the kiddos.)

I believe this was a Pottery Barn magazine. 
One of my Travel + Leisure magazines. 
Step Two:
Once students have "found" their words and phrases, I now tell them that we are writing a poem using JUST what they have found. They cannot add anything else to their poem; they may only use what they have cut out. It's meant to be fun and challenging! 

Have students arrange the words on their blank piece of paper. Students are not required to use all of the words that they have cut out, but I do request that my students use at least 30 words in their poems (otherwise, you might get poems that are only two words!).

I allow another 45 minutes or so for this step of the activity.  

Arranging words and phrases to create the perfect found poem. Notice the brownie on the desk? I made them these as a little treat while they were working on this activity :) 
You can see their brains working as they begin to arrange phrases and thoughts on their computer paper. I just love it! 
Step Four: 
Once students have decided that they like the way their poem looks and sounds, they glue their words and phrases to the computer paper to create a final product! It is extremely interesting and darling to see what they come up with. You'll find yourself quite impressed by some of your students at the end of this project! 

I think this student was mostly using one of my Ikea magazines. Can you tell?
And this, my friends, was written by one of my quietest and most darling students. He, yes he, wrote about the "Sixteen trillion dollar woman."

You're not worthless.
Drift into love
Have an espresso
No problem
It's your reward
You are the sixteen trillion dollar woman. 
And that is precisely why I love teaching and why I love teaching poetry.

What are some of your favorite poetry activities? I'd love to hear about them!

Stop by Teach. Inspire. Change. anytime! I would love to "see" you there!

Mrs. M

Thank so much Mrs. M... What a great activity that I can't wait to use next year!

Today's guest blogger is Jameson from Lessons with Coffee.  You might know her as the slant box lady, but she is so much more.  Check out this post about some fabulous picture books!

Last week I posted on Tuesday a super fun new linky with Ramona Recommends. 

 I had intended on posting about a set f books my mother got me when she went to Italy, but I decided to meet up with my friend Zhenya for a fun filled afternoon of exploring our own town!  (More Below!!!!).  While we were out about I came across this book, (also another but I bought it on amazon because it was cheaper...hahaha).  

I had to buy it!

For those of you not familiar with Sleeping Bear Press, They are a small publishing company from AnnArbor Michigan.  Sleeping Bear Press has published a collection of books, one on each state and one for Washington, D.C (Among MANY other alphabet style books.  One of my Favorite is B is for Battle Cry - about the Civil War in the US). The books are filled with intriguing facts, people, places and history for each of the states. Each two-page layout is brightly colored with captivating illustrations that children will love. Done in an alphabetical format, each letter has text at two levels. The larger print text is done in rhyme at a level for preschool to second grade. In the side bar more information is given in greater detail for the older child.  I also believe that each book is written and illustrated by LOCAL authors and Illustrators

This one happens to be written by Nancy Carlson and Hellen L Wilber.

You might recognize Nancy Carlson as the author of some other really stellar picture books! Such as:
The Henry Series:
The Loud Mouth George Series

She actually has so many good ones that It was hard to pick which ones I wanted to highlight.  HINT HINT kindergarten and first grade teachers that might not have heard about her...she has some great books about being in kindergarten and getting ready for it, as well as fist grade.  You can find all of her books here:  Nancy Carlson

Nancy has lived in the Twin Cities all her life she graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (more about that later). 

Helen L. Wilbur I did not know much about, she has however written quite a few of the Sleeping Bear Press Books.  You can find more about her here!

T is For Twin Cities was illustrated by David Geister.  He lives in my town (St. Paul props!!!!).  He has illustrated wite a few books for sleeping bear press and everyone of the titles has been painted upstairs in his home that he shares with his author wife Patritica Bauer! <----Who when I just looked up to learn more about her...I found out is the author of the B is for Battle Cry book I talked about up above!  Crazy!  There must be a reason why I liked that one so much. 

David Geister is the illustrator of the book "Riding to Washington" by Gwenith Swain which I love.  He has also done oil paintings for other books.  Here is a list

And onto the book:

I love reading the dedication pages.  I am always interested in who the author and illustrators find to be important while writing books.  IN this book BOTH Nancy and David have essentially dedicated the book to me.  Lol. 

Something that you might not know about me is I am a transplant to Minnesota.  I am actually a southern girl through and through.  I moved here when I was a senior in high-school.  In fact, the middle school I work at is THE ONLY Minnesota middle school that I have ever set foot in.  I did all of my field work, student teaching and observations at this school and I was hired there in the middle of my student teaching.  I have not even been in a different middle school for any PD.  It is weird.

When I moved here I was excited.  My dad was a professional fisherman and we moved here because well....The lakes.

And L is for Lakes.  Actually I just recently found out that Minnesota comes the Dakota American Indian word for "Sky Tinted Water," which refers to the Minnesota River and the many lakes.  Minneapolis comes from the Dakota American Indian word for "water" and the Greek word "opolis."  I also just learned that Minneapolis was named by a TEACHER.  Yes that is right. Charles Hoag was the City of Minneapolis' First School Master.  Here is the story of how he named Minneapolis (Adapted from Wiki).

The year owe 1852, and Mineapolis was about to be named the City of Albion.  Charles Hoag and his newspaper editor friend George Bowman did not like this name, so the night before the naming Hoag decided to combine the Dakota word Minnehaha (waterfall - learn more about this in the next few weeks) and the greek word "polis" meaning city. The two published an article proposing the name Minnehapolis, informing the public that the H was silent. IN a town meeting on December 1852, John Stevens (the first authorized resident on the west bank of the mississippi river in what would eventually be called Minneapolis) accepted the name Minneapolis, but with out the H. 

Some other names that Minneapolis could have been: Lowell, Brooklyn and Addiesville.  Weird.  

Any way.  My first winter came.  There was TONS of Ice.  Which is what I is for. 

From NOVEMBER TO APRIL (sometimes longer up north) the lakes are frozen to the point that you drive on them, drill holes, and sit in tiny wooden boxes to fish (er...drink beer and play cards).  This is  called ICE FISHING.  I do not get it.  I also learned how to ice-skate a few years ago.  IT is fun, but I only like to do it inside.   St. Paul does have something called the Winter Carnival.  There are outside parades, Ice Sculptures a dog sled rally and a GIANT SNOW SLIDE.

Last year My district walked in the parade!

Needless to say there are ways of staying warm in Minnesota in the winter and cool in the summer!

Minnesota is also known for our arts.  We have some of the most amazing music, theater, museums, and liberal arts composers in the WORLD.  The page below is W is for Wanda Gag. 


Who I will be honest I do not know as an author, So I googled her.
Huh.  I did not know that.  But did you know all of these authors are from Minnesota?
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
Laura Ingles Wilder - The Litte House Series
Anne Tyler - 
Kate DiCamillo - Tale of Desperaux, Because of Winn-Dixie..ECT
Garrison Keelor - Lake Wobegon Days
Maud Heart Lovelace - Betsey Tacy Series...oh and that HUGE award.
Debra Frasier - ON the Day you Were Born
Here is a Pinterest board I made with just Minnesota Authors, Go Check it out!

Minnesota is also known to have a really crummy football team that prances about in purple.  But we are amazing fans!  My boyfriend is actually designing all the plumbing for the new stadium.  That is kind of cool!!!

But we also have a men's basketball team (Timberwolves), A women's basketball team (Linx - actually the only team to have done anything in the last 20 years....), a mens hockey team (Wild), Minor league Baseball team (Saints), a Lacross team (Swarm) and a MLB team (MINNESOTA TWINS BABY!)  I love to go to the games!

When it comes down to it!  YEs Minnesota and the TWIN CITIES are cold.

We had 5 days off this year because of our temperatures.  There was a few days when it was actually warmer in ANTARTICA than it was in the Twin Cities.

Being cold doesn't stop us from getting together as families!

I think that these alphabet books are just wonderful.  One additional plus for the Sleeping Bear Press Book collection is there are teacher guides to go with each. These are available online in PDF format at no charge. They can be downloaded athttp://www.gale.com/DiscoverAmerica/guides/index.htm . These teacher guides provide material to make an exciting unit with each book. There are also teacher guides in PDF format for many of the other books. The teacher guides can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.sleepingbearpress.com/educators/ .

Finally as a last tribute to this book and a great segway to a new series that you are going to see on this blog is this page.  A is for Art.
This is the sculpture Garden.

While not the art museum I went to with my friend, we did go to The Minneapolis Institute of Art.

My friend Zhenya is a transplant from Russia.  She is a super sweet gal, filled with tons of knowledge and an amazing fashion sense.  She blogs over at http://beingzhenya.com.
She has lived here for 3 years and she has never been to the museum that runs on donations (i.e. FREE). So I took her.  I love it there. 

First we went to SpyHouse Coffee a blog away from the museum:

Because you know I need my Coffee.

Then we just went around the museum.  We stopped to take this AMAZING shot after we were done.

We decided that we were going to start a tuesday tradition that we are going to go explore our own towns this summer.  Every tuesday we are going to go Twin Cities Tuesdays.  Look for posts on Wednesdays. And go check out her blog for some serious fashion and beauty tips!!!!

Until next week when Zhenya and I tackle the Minneapolis Rose Gardens. 

I love you.

Go Check out 
For more books, books, books!

Thanks Jameson so much for the awesome post... Check back tomorrow for an awesome post from Mrs. Mitchell at Teach. Inspire. Change.

I am super stoked that my first guest blogger is the one and only Tracee Orman.  I must say that I have been reading through her blog posts since I found out I will be in 8th grade next year... I cannot get enough!!  I'll let her take it away with one of my favorite posts about English.
Use #GrammarFail examples to emphasize the importance of #English class
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Whenever I come across an error in spelling, grammar, mechanics, or usage in public, I cringe. It's one thing to see it on students' papers, but when businesses and other professionals make these mistakes...well, shouldn't they know better? Showing your students these real-world mistakes (and having them correct them AND go out and find their own examples) strengthens our argument that English class IS important (because who hasn't heard the moans and groans from students about having to take English EVERY year?). I keep a Pinterest Grammar Errors board (but it covers all kinds of errors) and I also have a presentation on TpT that can be shown to your class any time (just skip the back-to-school introduction and go straight to the 70+ slides with examples). Here are some favorites I just came across from The Grammar Gendarme:
#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
Hide yo' aunts...

{And what is up with that huge number one?}

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
I'm going to the firth floor, please. 

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
And this eCard would be the first image featured on FASEBUK.
>>  *separate  <<

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
How can one make so many errors in one post? 

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
This one just makes me laugh out loud. :) 

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
Because being killed to life wouldn't be as newsworthy.

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
You know those students who just ignore those red squiggley lines in their document and go ahead and hit "Print" anyway? Ya. This is their future. At Wal-Mart.

#GrammarFail www.hungergameslessons.com
Mmmmm...doesn't crap sound delicious?

See loads more of this crap here:

#GrammarFail Examples to Hook Students www.hungergameslessons.com
Using Humor to Demonstrate the Importance of English Class: Real World #GrammarFails 

#GrammarFail Pinterest Board by www.pinterest.com/mrsorman
My "Grammar Errors" Pinterest Board

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I told you she was awesome... I can't wait to see what Jameson from Lessons with Coffee has for you tomorrow!!

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