Sunday, March 29, 2015

Viva Las Vegas Giveaway from The Primary Chalkboard

 Can you picture it now?  YOU in LAS VEGAS? 

How about YOU in LAS VEGAS attending a one day session of the SDE conference?

Primary Chalkboard is giving away YOUR CHOICE of a 1 day session at SDE!

So, will it be Singapore Math, Differentiated Instruction, I Teach K, I Teach 1st, or the newly added I Teach 2nd? 

How fun is that?

BUT, that's not all, we're also including a $25 gift card to the SDE bookstore, CRYSTAL SPRINGS.

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  
to help you out with that?!?!?

NOW, can you picture YOURSELF in VEGAS?

Here's how to enter for a chance to win.

Hop through our Facebook pages and collect a tip for your (possible) visit to Vegas.
Be sure to "like" each page as you hop through so that you can collect the tip.
Each tip will have a number on a playing card.
Add the numbers together and enter the sum  on the Rafflecopter on the Primary Chalkboard blog for a chance to win.
Be sure to add a comment and include #primarychalkboardsendmetovegas.

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

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

A HUGE thank you to SDE (Staff Development for Educators) for their kind and generous donation!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Today was my third day back from school since spring break.  I didn't even realize how  much I missed my sweet kiddos until I saw them on Monday morning.  I have some great kids this year.  I came to school SO excited about No Worksheets Wednesday and it did not disappoint!

We are getting ready for our standardized tests.  BORING!  I absolutely hate test prep!  That is why I made a MOVE IT especially for test prep.  This PowerPoint shows questions similar to those that the kids will see on the big test.  My kiddos use dry erase boards to show me their answers.  I love this because I can do an immediate assessment and give feedback.  After we do a few questions, we get out of our seats and MOVE IT!  The theme of this MOVE IT is "Test Prep is Awesome".  Guess what?  It really is!  Brain breaks have animated timers and music.  We walk around and high five our awesome classmates and tell them "You are awesome!"  We also do lazy 8s and an elbow-knee cross crawl inspired by brain gym.  Pretty awesome, right?

This is SO-O-O-O much more fun than the boring test prep we used to do!  It took a ton of copies to prep sheets out of my old resource book.  Now, our test prep takes NO materials.  Click here to see 1st grade ELA MOVE IT and click here to see 1st grade Math MOVE IT.

In math we are reviewing geometry and are working on slides, turns, and flips.  We tossed our workbook page for a fun hands-on project.  OH YA!!!  That's what I'm talking about!   

 I gave my kiddos a bunch of pattern blocks and three sheets of white paper.  They wrote "slide", "flip", and "turn" on the pages.  Next, they traced the pattern blocks to create their own slides, flips, and turns.
I stapled the three finished pages together to form a triangle and hung them from the ceiling.  (Wall space is minimal in room 203, so we do lots of hanging art!)  I love making these triangular mobiles because they are SO easy.  As an added bonus, when the AC kicks on, they start spinning!  My firsties had WAY more fun with this project than they would have with the workbook page and got a lot more practice than they would have with the pencil and paper.

Today was a great day in my room and I am so grateful to be able to share it with you.  Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

3 Fun Ideas for No Worksheet Wednesday (Week 2)

Today was the easiest "No Worksheet Wednesday" ever!  I am on spring break and I was not even tempted to bust out a worksheet.  Hahaha!  Even though I am on break, I still wanted to participate in the linky.  I am going to share a new idea and a couple oldies but goodies.  Here are three fun worksheet-free ideas:

1) Interactive Hundreds Charts
I have made a bunch of interactive charts that work on your smartboard or projector.  There are a few different themes and skills, but I just made a new one today and am offering it for a limited time as a freebie in my TpT store so I definitely wanted to share it with you today.  This chart has a fun St. Patrick's Day theme.  You click on a pot of gold to make it disappear and reveal a number on the chart.  There are SO many uses for these tools and they are all worksheet free!  You can start clicking from the beginning to practice counting or start clicking at the end to practice counting back.  Click a random pot and challenge students to find the number that is 10 more/10 less and 1 more/1 less than your number.  Find patterns in the numbers and the colors of the numbers.  Can you predict what color a number will be before you reveal it?  To download my St. Patrick's Day Interactive Hundreds Chart Freebie, click here!

2) Read My Mind
This is one of my favorite math games!  Kids work with partners.  One player takes a card and holds it to his forehead (without looking at it).  The other student must give clues for the guesser.  There are lots of different ways to play this game.  I found cards to a game called "Big Fish, Little Fish" at the dollar store.  They have two-digit numbers and I HAD to have them!  We use these cards and regular playing cards.  Sometimes we play "Ten More and Ten Less".  The clues are "Your number is ten more than 47."  Place Value clues include "Your number has 3 tens and 9 ones".  We can use a regular deck of cards to reinforce tens partneres, "Your partner is 6.  What is your number?"  We use math facts.  "Your number is 6 + 3".  I like this game because it gets both partners thinking and communicating.

3)  Dolch Speed Read
I have heard many times that a creative mind means a messy desk.  I choose to believe that this is the cause of my extreme disorganization.  I love using my board because it means less STUFF in my room.  A few years ago, I tossed my flash cards and started making flash cards for my board.  This is SO much better because they are always where they are supposed to be.  Flash cards for the board can also be way more fun and exciting than traditional flash cards.  Plus, the kids can actually see them!  I made "flash cards" focusing on the Dolch words.  There are different themes for each month.  The words get faster and faster, making this loads of fun for my kiddos.  I have also used different fonts and the words appear in a different order each time.  Here is a video of my kiddos using March Dolch Speed Read.  To see my Dolch Speed Read sets on TpT, click here.

 I can guarantee you that I will be using absolutely NO WORKSHEETS next Wednesday either!  (We have that week off as well!)  I look forward to writing about more worksheet-free ideas and using them when I get back to my kiddos.  Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

No Worksheet Wednesdays - Week 1

I am SO excited about The Primary Chalkboard's No Worksheet Wednesday linky!  Here are a few of the reasons why worksheets are not really my thang:
1.  Think of the trees!  I literally cannot believe how much paper my school goes through every year.  When I think of all the paper in all the schools, I cannot imagine the waste that is created.
2.  Less papers means less grading!  Let's face it, teachers have enough to do without adding hours of grading in the evenings and weekends.  I ALWAYS prefer to use activities that allow me to immediately assess and give feedback.  I feel like this is so much more effective and more fun for both my students and myself.
3.  Worksheets are SO boring!  When we ditch the worksheets, we are able to have hands-on fun!

Here are some of the fun things we did on our first No Worksheets Wednesdays:

One of my LEAST favorite things to teach is handwriting.  I feel like no matter how many times I say it, show it, reinforce it, those darn kids just do it however they want!  A couple years ago, I got so frustrated that I thought maybe my Smart board could help me with this boring task.  I made a few handwriting videos.  They use fun animations and sound effects to show correct letter strokes.  This set comes with worksheets for practice, but today, I ditched to worksheets for a new approach!  I put on a space alien themed handwriting video and gave all my kids UFOs (finger flashlights) to fly over the letters.  I turned out the lights and we flew our UFOs all the way from A-Z.  My kids have done lots of writing in the air, but the finger lights made it WAY more fun!  (And room 203 likes to have a fun time!)  Could you do this without the video?  Sure!  What I like about the video is that there is a sound for each letter stroke.  I encourage my kids to make silly noises as we write the letters.  This helps reinforce correct formation.  The video is a great visual for kids to SEE how letters are formed.  I love doing handwriting this way.  It incorporates so many learning modalities.  To see all my handwriting videos on TpT, click here.  Check out this video of our handwriting in action!

In math, we are working on geometry.  Our workbook page for today had the kids reviewing solid figures.  Instead of pencils and paper, we used play-doh!  How stinkin' fun is that?  I called out solid figures and the kids built them.  When they were finished, I asked them to show me attributes of the figure (point to a vertex, show your shoulder partner a curved surface, how many edges does your figure have, etc.)  We had SO much fun!  This was also a great way to review flat and curved surfaces because we needed to use the table to create flat surfaces and our hands for curved surfaces.  When we started, I demonstrated techniques to help build figures.  For cones, we rolled the play-doh between our hands then smooshed it on our desks to create a flat bottom.  For pyramids, we discussed how the shape is similar to a cone, but pyramids have flat surfaces on the sides.  We made a cone, then smooshed the sides on the desk.  After we had done several examples figures together, I had them quiz their shoulder partners.  This was a really fun math lesson and we definitely learned more about figures than we would have with our workbook pages.

I can't wait for next Friday!
Link up your hands-on pictures with us over at The Primary Chalkboard by clicking HERE. :) We hope you join us for all, or even at least one, No Worksheet Wednesdays! :)