Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 Tips for Effective Writing Conferences

Head on over to The Primary Chalkboard to check out my latest post on writing conferences.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Picture Your Selfie in Las Vegas 2015

 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 the evening of April 5th.

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

No Worksheet Wednesday Ideas and Link-Up

I am so so excited to be linking up with The Primary Chalkboard for the No Worksheet Wednesdays series!  How did this idea start?  It was the idea of the amazing Christina, from Sugar and Spice with Miss DeCarbo.  She had just returned from the National Reading Recovery Conference, and had picked up a few professional reading books.  Among them, was the book:

A lively and interesting discussion followed, and we all agreed that it was time to go "back to basics."  So here we are!  Future link-ups will be held on these dates:

March 11th
March 18th
March 25th

So, what did I do two Wednesdays ago in preparation for this link-up?  Well, we were still working on our Presidents' Day Flip Book.  More specifically, we were set to read and learn about the responsibilities of the president.  I knew I needed to get my second graders to a place where they could accomplish this task on Thursday:

So, before we read the text, we focused on some hands-on vocabulary building...old school style, and made Word Posters.  Here's how I did it:  

1) Required Skills Mini-Lesson:  Whole class mini-lesson on dictionary skills (abc order and guide words)

2) Guided Practice:  We did a sample poster together. I left it pretty open-ended, and told them they could represent the word in any way they thought would be helpful. (pictures, definition, examples, cut-out photographs, and even non-examples)

3) Guidelines and Expectations:  Ok, here is where I botched it up.  We do a lot of inquiry work in my classroom.  Kids are working together on a regular basis. So,  I skipped the expectations talk, and just let them get to work.  Big mistake!  I had to stop our session, pull everyone back to the carpet, and go over our rules for working together.  Here is the poster I have in my classroom.

These are the rules that we have come up with together, during the course of the year.  Each time we have a collaborative task, we always wrap it up with a discussion about our "successes" and "challenges".  Students share any issues that came up in their groups, and then students work on coming up with a solution.  We add the solutions to our poster.  This makes the rules relevant and meaningful to my students.

4) Independent Practice:  Students went off with their partners to go create their posters.  They looked up their word in a dictionary, and worked on paraphrasing what their word meant.  I made sure the poster paper was large enough so that all 3 group members could be contributing to their poster at the same time.  By leaving this task open, all students were able to participate.  I loved that even my students who struggle with reading and writing were able to add drawings and labels that represented their word, and made their learning evident.  
 All Hands On Deck = A Happy Teacher!

Here are a few finished posters:

Think the poster above is a little bare?  That's ok, because we will add examples and character's names throughout the year who demonstrate this trait!


Their posters were seriously cute and authentic (not perfect), and they loved making them!  As a teacher, the discussions I heard while walking around were rich and meaningful.  Students were negotiating, compromising, agreeing and disagreeing respectfully, and coming to a consensus. 

5) Group Presentations:  Each group was then asked to present their word to the class.  Each student was expected to contribute to their group's presentation.  After the group is done, we use a wonderful idea I got from Stephanie Harvey.  After students share, the audience may respond with:

a) a Comment 
b) Connection (In my classroom, this has become "Important Connection", to make sure we stay focused on the big ideas
c) Question
d) I also added the option of "Suggestion".  The audience members usually have lots of suggestions for each group.  

After all groups had finished, I gave all of the groups an additional 5 minutes to add any ideas to their posters.  These posters now hang in our classroom, and are a great focus wall for character trait discussions during our ELA block.

6) Debrief:  Don't forget to go over the "successes and challenges" of working together.

The next day, we were all set to read!  We did a quick review of the words using a Powerpoint that I had made (which I will get into in a future post).  (BTW: My approach to vocabulary instruction is based on the work of Isabel Beck.  If you have not read her book...it is amazing!)

With all of this background knowledge about the vocabulary, the students did a wonderful job finding text evidence to complete our reading task, the following day!

Here is a little freebie poster that you could use in your room for having students respond to each other.  This poster works well for all subject areas, including math!  

Don't forget to check out all of these other amazing No Worksheet Wednesday ideas. (click below)


Friday, February 6, 2015

Presidents' Day Fun!

The question of the hour is,... Are you all ready for Presidents' Day?  Yes?  Wow!  Heck, I'm not even ready for Valentine's Day!  Some of you are uber-efficient planners, and I do aspire to your efficiency, and skills of forethought.  However, I find myself severely challenged in this area.

Isn't that the truth?  Yes, well this is something that I am really trying to improve.  Lucky for you, I've been looking ahead to February 16th, Presidents' Day - Hey, that is a whole 12 days from now!  Woohoo!

So, one of the things I have been making lately are tabbed flip books.  My students love these!  So, I figured why not continue on, and make one for Presidents' Day? Oila! Click on any of the pictures below to see more.

This book is geared at 2nd/3rd grade, and contains 4 informational passages with text dependent questions.  It also has compare & contrast, persuasive/opinion writing, and a presidential research graphic organizer option.  My students are going to be so excited when they see this one!

Looking for some FREE ideas?  Check out my Presidents' Day Pinterest board! Click below!

Here are some of my Presidents' Day freebie favorites:
This is an awesome Informative Reading and Graphing freebie from Teacher to the Core.
A super cute Presidents Writing pack from Haley O'Connor.
Easy-Prep Presidents' Day Printables from Latoya Reed.
A fabulous Lapbook Pack from Simply Skilled in Second....FOR FREE!  

Along with some of my favorite paid products:
Ok, I have to admit that these powerpoint games from The Primary Techie are relatively new to me.  But, we have been using a few of her movement-based powerpoints for skip counting, and my kids LOVE them!

Love, love this packet from Sarah Paul!  It has kids balancing budgets, choosing leaders, passing laws, and learning how to problem solve.  (Ha, ha - if only that was the way it really worked. LOL)

This pack comes with everything you can ask for:  Foldables, Crafts, and Printables from Jessica Tobin!  Awesome!  I love one-stop shopping.

This little printable beauty has everything from math and measurement to bubble maps and little readers from Victoria Moore!

Awesome American Symbols themed vocabulary work from Laura Martin!

And last, but certainly not least, this fun Presidential Research Project from Kindergarten Smorgasboard.

I know you will find something amazing above!  


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 9 Goodies and a Grab!

Don't want you to miss out on Day 9 of The Primary Chalkboard's holiday celebration.  It's my day, and I've got some free goodies for you! Click on the image below to check it out :)



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