Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Be Aware and Please Take Loving Care of Our Earth

Earth Day is one of my favorite themes to use in the spring. It is celebrated on April 22nd but I love to do activities related to this for several weeks. Friends of the Earth is a Common Core packet that has been carefully designed to meet the needs of your primary learners. It will help to raise student awareness of the importance of recycling and taking care of the earth.
I have included both literacy and math stations that will build the academic language of your students and promote student engagement. Writing activities are also included and scaffolds have been provided to ensure student success. It also addresses the needs of your English language learners.Many of the printables serve as a record of student understandings and can be used for assessment and homework. Check it out and see if it looks worthwhile to you. When I was a Common Core coach the kinder and first grade teachers used this and got beautiful results.

Students even make a simple necklace using straws to add some bling! If you would like to purchase this packet it is available in my TpT store. Be sure to pick up the headband freebie too! Help our children learn to care for the earth and each other. What do you do to celebrate Earth Day?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth Day is Around the Corner: Grab this to get started

Don't you love this time of the year? The weather is getting warmer (okay I live in Southern California) and your students are actually showing some progress and becoming much more independent. Whew... I bet you thought it would never happen and before you know it you will be hugging them all goodbye and telling them to have a great summer. Before it all slides past you why don't you do a mini unit on Earth Day instead of  just spring? You can teach a lot of different skills but also give them some understanding of recycling, reusing, and reducing. I think this is worthwhile and goes along really well with any unit you do on plants. Today I am offering you a freebie that might force encourage you to try this next month. You can pick it up right here if your kids will have fun making a little crativity. It's a headband that you can sponge paint and add a little info to. No fuss just easy to put together. Who doesn't want to wear the Earth on their head as an accessory? 
This packet is finished and it has been carefully aligned to the Common Core (naturally). I think it is one of my best products. I even included some writing that has been differentiated for young students. This product can also be used in a TK classroom since it has many literacy and math activities to keep little ones engaged. I have provided response sheets for many of the stations so you have a record of their understandings. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Attention... Doing Intervention

Can your students blend and segment? 
Sorry that I have not been blogging lately but with report cards and conferences I was busy with school 24/7. As I created assessments and checked off the skills my students were suppose to have mastered I realized that many of my students were not picking up on many phonemic awareness skills. They are all English language learners and they are just not ready to blend or segment.They were unable to hear subtle differences in sounds. What does a teacher do? We are assessing our students on these skills earlier than ever and often they struggle with these demanding skills.
So how do I help them achieve these goals? I knew I needed to create some materials that would help to scaffold their learning. I want to share some of these ideas with you.
First, I needed to stay organized and pull students who needed additional support. My middle group needed to refine these skills so I needed good materials to build on their understandings. 
I found the perfect box at Target that had 2 drawers that snap together and hold so many games and cards. I labeled each game and placed them in slider bags that I purchase at a fantastic store called Daiso where all items are $1.50. They have gorgeous, brightly colored containers that I have trouble resisting. Check it out!

Here is what the contents of my box looks like. Cards can be quickly turned into a fishing game with self adhesive magnets and a couple of magnetic rods. Students love all variations of this game. Check out my FB page for pictures of this. Each activity is in its own slider bag.

GREAT TEACHER TIP: I created a small set of cards that I keep in my box to use as a quick reference. I love this resource and find myself grabbing it all the time. I have lists of words sorted by vowels, or the number of phonemes in a word. I can add to these cards easily as my kids acquire skills and make it increasingly more difficult. Maybe I will actually get to blends and digraphs. I'll keep you posted.
 These are segmentation mats that I made to use during small group instruction. My students love them and I have had so much success using them. I give each child in my group the same picture card that goes in the box provided. We say each phoneme in the word together and slide a gem onto the blending line into a space. Once we have finished this I ask students how many sounds they have heard. This is very effective because it is so concrete. Sometimes I use seasonal erasers (small ones from Dollar Tree) to jazz things up!
This is an idea that has been around forever but if you have never seen these sliders then you might like this concrete idea for segmenting a word. As students make each individual sound they slide one bead to the right. Each bead is a different color. This is similar to moving small tiles but it is all contained and easy to store. I have a class set of these and students stay far more engaged using them.
The little, laminated book is for recording words when doing basic cvc words. Students use a dry erase marker that has an eraser on the back

During my assessments it became clear to me that often my ELL's did not hear the difference between vowels and needed far more practice with this. I started out with the OCR letter- sound cards under each vowel to scaffold their learning. It worked like a charm and they got so much better with this skill, over time. You can have them clip the medial vowel with a small clothespin or use those glass gems. Students are far more interested in practicing this skill when they have materials to interact with!

I also created cards that had pictures and we went through the same process, listening to each sound and placing a gem on the medial sound we heard. The more we practiced the better their listening skills got. They felt so proud of their successes and this greatly impacted on their spelling and writing. Wowza! I was on a roll and spending big bucks on printer ink. Sometimes you gotta have color!

You knew I was going to pull out spinner games... right? These are glossy and brightly colored but I sorted them by vowel so they would be much more successful with lots of repetition. I also created a response sheet to give them practice writing cvc words. They loved these games and I just had them use a pencil and paper clip to create a spinner. Easy-peasy... 

 From these spinner games I moved on to creating the same activity, just using paper. This is perfect for additional practice, completed independently.
What is it about mystery words that create some much enthusiasm? This is a game we did collaboratively in groups of 4. Students share a mat and each child has their own "riddle" to solve by using letters that match the sound cards. Once the children in the group agree that the word has been done correctly, it is recorded on a response sheet. This was a huge hit in my classroom. Remember to allow your students to work collaboratively to co-construct their knowledge.

These are flip books that I created to reinforce those cvc words and have more practice writing these words as the children listen carefully to individual sounds. I ran these on both sides and let my students color them in.

I have many other materials that I created but I will save that for another blog post. Do you have any other activities for intervention that really work for you? I hope you leave a suggestion. I am always looking for the next great suggestion. I also need to post a freebie since it has been far too long!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

An Amazing Vegas Giveaway for Teachers

 Can you picture it now?  YOU in LAS VEGAS?
The “Primary Chalkboard”
Team of Bloggers
Wants to Send You
to Vegas!

How about YOU in LAS VEGAS attending a one day session of the SDE conference? Primary Chalkboard is giving away a 1 day session at SDE!
You get to pick your day at the SDE conference! I know you are going to pick Monday so that you can see one of our own super stars, Katie Knight present!

So, will it be Singapore Math, Differentiated Instruction, I Teach K, I Teach 1st, or the  newly added I Teach 2nd? How incredible is this little giveaway?
BUT, that's not all,
we're also including a $25 gift card to the SDE bookstore,

So, NOW can you picture YOURSELF in VEGAS?

Oh, you say you need money for airfare, hotel accommodations, or just some spending money while you are here?  Well, we've got that covered, too.  How about ….
NOW, can you picture YOURSELF in VEGAS?

Here's how to enter for a chance to win.
  1. Hop through our Facebook pages
  2.  "Like" each page as you hop through so that you can collect the tip.
  3. Each tip will have a number on a playing card.
  4. Add the numbers together.  
  5. Enter the sum on the Rafflecopter found on the Primary Chalkboard blog
Be sure to add a comment on the FB page and include #primarychalkboardsendmetovegas.

For an extra chance to win this, take a selfie, post it on IG with
Don't forget to tag us in your picture! @primarychalkboard

The winner will be picked on the evening of April 5th.

for their kind  and generous donation!
Now click on my FB header to get to my page where the party is happening...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Egg-actly What We Need Now That Assessments Are Over!

Have you seen plastic eggs just about everywhere you look and wondered what you can do with them in the classroom. I posted about this last year but I thought it was worth repeating because my kinderkids loved them so much. What is it about things that are "mini" in size? These activities reflect the skills I am pounding on right now! Yes, they are CCSS aligned. What are you working on that I missed? Leave me some suggestions!

I am bringing these in on Monday as a surprise for my students and I hope they love them as much as I do. I made response sheets for the activities and I will have students work with a partner.
Where can you buy the eggs? I got them last year in Dollar Tree and Walmart and I have more than enough to make these and about 2 million more (hoarder issues). The smart thing to do is buy them after Easter so that they cost pennies! These are in my tpt store if you click on each picture.  I have an additional set entitled Scrambled Eggs that you can find here. I hope they make your day EGGCITING!

Monday, February 23, 2015

What's Your Opinion Minion?

What? What are you talking about? Is it really true? Is it really happening? Where did you hear that?
Yup, TpT is honoring teachers by having a special sale in recognition of  their super powers both in and out of the classroom. Are you feeling the love? This puts a lump in my throat and brings tears to my eyes. This this a wonderful way of acknowledging the important work we do each day with children. I am sending a huge, global thank you to each teacher out there for loving and caring for our students. You make such a difference and I feel gratitude everyday for the hard work and long hours you put in. You all rate as super heroes with super powers. Remember that and carry it in your heart. Many of us do not hear that enough!

10 Reasons Why You Should Love A Teacher:

1. Teachers manage to love all of their students, even the challenging ones who drive you crazy. 
2. Teachers can get their point across to any parent, on any painful topic and put a positive spin on it. They are communication rock stars. They learn to be experts by practicing on report cards when leaving comments. We speak in our own code!  
3. Teachers are generous to a fault. They create beautiful classrooms for their students that are often nicer than their homes. They offer their peers support, ideas, and curriculum at a moment's notice.
4. Teachers are organizers: They can take all kinds of junk and organize it in a purposeful way. The can create order from total chaos. They have systems for everything imaginable and can find  anything in their files! Warning: Do not mess with a teacher's files or paperwork.
5. Teachers are flexible and never let unexpected announcements, fire drills, lock- downs or vomit impact on their ability to roll out a lesson. They never let you see them sweat!
6. Teachers wear a million hats all day long. They are mom to an entire classroom, therapist, nurse,  drama queen, and decision maker. 
7. Teachers are feisty! They will scream and yell to protect the students in their room. They will challenge administrators and beg, borrow, and steal to help students to be successful.
8. Teachers are so sentimental. They love to hug their students, give a high five for a successful moment, and have been known to cry over a child's homemade card or gift.
9.  Teachers are loyal and never stop talking about their profession with their fellow teaching friends.This is tough on spouses and a teacher's own children but they learn to endure. My husband can verify this. He warns those that are meeting me for the first time.
10. Teachers are the best friends to have. I know this to be true. I am a teacher and proud to be one.

Fill your cart with amazing materials. I have a few things that I have worked hard on but my favorite is my opinion writing. I hope you will take a look at it. It is some of my best work.
I am using this in my own classroom.  Have you tried doing opinion writing in your classroom with 5 year olds?  They love it because they ALL HAVE OPINIONS ON EVERY TOPIC IMAGINABLE. My students love taking surveys, graphing the results, and writing their opinion on a variety of kid friendly topics. You can see it right here.
Happy Shopping.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lincoln is so Stinkin' Cute

My students have loved reading these 2 emergent readers about Lincoln and Washington. They are right at their level and they feel so proud and successful. I have them in my TpT store for just a couple of dollars... no big deal. We read many different stories and compared and contrasted him to Martin Luther King. Their understandings were amazing.
We guided them through these drawings, first on a white board and talked about Lincoln's tall hat and how he stored important papers in it. They were fascinated by his ability to teach himself how to read and we also talked about how he persevered (our unit of study) and set goals for himself. Whew, that's a lot for a 5 year old to take in but they really loved hearing all the non fiction stories. I swear a 5 year old can make a connection to almost anything you throw at them! 
How adorable are these. We hung these in our window and it looks precious from the outside. Both classes are there and I love watching our students proudly show their parents which one they did. My administrator laughed so hard she almost choked! Try this with your kids.

So naturally our sight word practice was using Abraham Lincoln and this time we hid a penny behind one of the cards. My kids do not get tired of this activity and thought the penny was so much fun to find. This is a great way to build sight word fluency with young children. We chanted, "Abraham Lincoln was his name. He wanted men to be the same." Okay, don't judge. This was not my best...
The Ikea frames come in red, white and blue so I took advantage of this and did the teen numbers in ten frames for my students to practice and do with a partner. They adored this activity and it really keeps them engaged. They picked up the frame, brought it to their seat and each student counted and recorded their response after they both agreed on the answer. I love these frames and use them all the time! 

Where did that 4 day weekend go? I am preparing for a conference and trying to finish up my PowerPoint. I will tell you more about that later. Come back to find out who I am presenting with. She is such a superstar in the blogging world!
Have a great week friends.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hurry and check this out if you use The Open Court Reading Program

Do you have the Winter Blues right now? I am offering a little freebie for all my Open Court buddies. It looks like this. I use this game with my class all the time and they love it. I gave you all the directions. You can hug me later. Yup we are still hammering teaching beginning sounds to a few of my strugglers but the others just enjoy the activity. You can have students do it with a partner or just work on it independently. You are the boss and get to decide!
Open Court is a reading program that has been around for a long time. Our district continues to use it and based on my Facebook fans many of them are also using it. I create many things to scaffold this program for my English language learners and I decided to post a collaborative activity (yes you need to be using this model if you are implementing Common Core). So long story short I posted a super freebie that you will want to grab if you can use it...
How do I get the freebie?
Click on the icon for Kindergarten Crayons and it will take you right to my FB page. Easy, right? Even I can figure this out!
Are you there? Okay now "like" my page at the top. Got it? Awesome. Stay with me here. One more step so don't wimp out on me. See the button on the left side that says Fan Freebie? Hit it and download this 24 page file. Yup leave a comment so I know you got it. Thanks. Now you are my FB friend and you will see other cool stuff along the way.

Monday, February 2, 2015

We Are All Over Those Mean Teens

We have worked on those "mean teens" all week and the kids loved this Sparkle Reader so much. They actually stamped into a ten frame using the back of a new pencil and a red stamp pad. This was so exciting to them and they really did a great job. Stamping can put my teeth on edge if I am really being honest. I am not a big fan of red ink all over your hands, clothes, and mouth... yuck.

The big conversation was about filling the first frame completely and then moving on to the second one for the additional ones. The text in the book supported their learning and they got to trace each number, as well as "rainbow write" it. THEY LOVED THIS ACTIVITY! I think the repetition of this activity and the use of manipulatives to get them ready for this book made a huge difference. They get it. If you want this reader it comes in a set of 4. You can go to my TpT store and it is very well priced. Pick that little number up right here.  They are so proud of these books and I love making readers for math concepts.

I love these frames so much and they are only a dollar each at Ikea. For weeks I have tried to come up with an activity for using the bigillion extra ones I purchased but nothing came to my brain until WHAM... it hit me. I can do write the room activities and move them around the room where ever I want because they stand up on their own. I love that you can use the front and back of the frame too! Because we are learning about weather...yup those little cuties are all dressed in different clothing. Awesome, right?

The kids were in love with this activity and I was in love with their engagement. It was SILENT when they were recording. Scary silent. I love scary silent. My more capable kids worked on this independently and the kids who find this kind of word work challenging did it with a partner. I am making these for math, word work, and sight words. Any other brilliant ideas? Who is on board with this idea?

Have a great start to the month of February and come back to visit soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

What Will the Weather Be? Ask Our Meteorologist!

So we made a cloud in our classroom and the children loved putting this together. They learned how to fan fold paper which they loved doing. The results were so cute and now they are hanging in the window of our classroom.
My teaching partner Dawn made this adorable visor for the "meteorologist of the day" who gives us the daily weather report. They love it and it took her very little time to make. The visor came from Michaels and cost a dollar. It looks hilarious on our kids and they love it! Score. The weather journals are simple and another big favorite with our students. I do a guided drawing and a simple sentence under a document camera. We use twistables (crayons) which make them look so nice. The book on the right is an emergent reader that we are working on this week. It is simple but effective. I love easy stuff! 
I have been working hard on teaching my students how to work collaboratively and have been building activities for them to practice these skills. It has been challenging but the pay off has been huge and they are really doing a great job. We practice these skills frequently and they are making so much progress.
At this time of the year my students are working on counting, writing, and identifying teen numbers. I have been busy making games to keep them engaged and interested in practicing these skills. This is challenging but they are coming along... I love talking about those "mean teens" that are so hard to deal with.

This is another "write the room" activity back by popular demand to help my students build their academic vocabulary. They love taking their clipboard and searching for our wacky weather words. Enough for now. I hope you had a good break from school and now I am off to bed.
Have a great week of teaching and let's stay connected! What weather activities do you love to do?