Thursday, October 18, 2012

My New Favorite Tool: Livebinders!

Does this look familiar?

Don't you just love those big, heavy binders full of resources? No? Didn't think so...The resources are great, but storing them can be a chore as well as sharing them with others. In this age where everything has gone digital there has to be another way! And there is!

Let me introduce you to my new favorite tool: Livebinders! This site lets you organize all those great resources you have in an online binder.

What can you upload?
  • PDFS
  • Videos
  • Images
  • URLs

How can this help me?
  • Save time and access your Livebinder from anywhere
  • Share your Livebinder with others
  • Make as many Livebinders as you want!
  • Update information easily and avoid layout issues

How can I sign up for a Livebinder?
  • Go to
  • Go ahead and sign up; accounts are free!
  • Now sit back and enjoy your eco-friendly binder

Still have questions?

Still Skeptical?

Happy Organizing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is Inferring Anyway?

"Read between the lines."

Like the authors of the book "The 7 Keys to Comprehension", I have often heard this phrase throughout my education but never fully understand what it meant. Imagine your students vigorously searching between the lines of the text. Imagine how frustrated they become when they realize there's nothing actually written between the actual lines of the text! A better way to explain it is to say "inferring involves forming a best guess about what the "evidence" (words, sentences, and paragraphs) means; speculating about what's to come; then drawing conlusions." (Hutchins & Zimmerman, 2003)

Learn more about what Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins say about Inferencing
from their book "The 7 Keys to Comprehension":

Chapter 5 Weaving Sense into Words
Key 4: Drawing Inferences Fast Facts

Let's get down to the RESOURCES:

Comic Strips are a great way to introduce the concept of Inferring because you must use the clues from the pictures in addition to your background knowledge to understand the punch line.
Far Side comics are a great tool!

Click for Google Search of Far Side Comics

A great way to practice Inferring is through the use of videos. Pixar is famous for making short films. Lucky for us, they are all available on Youtube. Check out this short flick about the Stork:

Have the students watch the entire film first. Then watch it again, but stopping to ask inferencing questions the second time around. There are lots of these videos on youtube that you can search for. Just type in "Pixar Short Films" in the search bar. Below is a link to the flicks I found on Pinterest:

Pinterest Board of Inferencing Videos

Finally here is a great web resource to help with
direct instruction and independent practice with Inferencing:

Into the Book is a great website for all comprehension strategies and it has a page dedicated just to Inferencing. They have lessons, videos, graphic organizers, research, suggested books for teaching, additional links, and the suggested language for explaining Inferencing to students.

Happy Inferencing!

C. Hutchins & S. Zimmerman (2003). 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read it and Get it! Portsmouth, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Levels are Changing! The Levels are Changing!

Now that I've gained your attention, the news is that Fountas & Pinnell are changing their Guided Reading levels to align with new trends in literacy achievement based on the following:
  • Technology use among preschoolers and school-aged children have increased. Kids are using devices such as smart phones, tables, and computers.
  • There is been a substantial increase in preschool enrollment since the 80’s; a 52% increase in 2009.
  • An increase of full day kindergarten programs have increased our student’s literacy achievement, thereby increasing their exposure to literacy rich opportunities.

Their current Text Level Gradient is as follows:

Their NEW Text Level Gradient shows new grade level
expectations in regards to entry and exit levels:

So what exactly did they change and why? Well, you have two options:

Read the entire article: click here.

Read my fast facts: click here.

We as educators want to create proficient readers. ~Readers may take different paths to proficiency, but we ultimately want the same outcome. (Marie Clay 1991) The revision of the new F&P Text Level Gradients can help serve as a guide as we lead our students along the path to proficiency.

Happy Reading!