Primary Chalkboard: May 2015

Appreciating Our Volunteers

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
-Winston Churchill

I don't know about your school, but we have some absolutely amazing volunteers at our school.  We have a group of three wonderful ladies that run copies, make whatever you need, cut things out, and pretty much anything you can name for our entire school.  All we do is put what we need in a box and in a few hours we come back and poof, it's magically done!  This wonderful group is made up of Mary, a retired teacher; Sally, the mom of one of our teachers; and Isela, a parent of one of our students.  They are such a fantastic group...and they've been known to take things home to work on them.  Talk about dedication!

I also have a couple of fabulous volunteers that work with just my class.  They, along with another parent, run our Sight Word Celebrities program for second grade.

So once a year we get together to honor all of the volunteers at our school.

Each volunteer receives an invitation.

 Then we decorate our library to match our theme.  We have done a super hero theme, a Hollywood theme, a western theme, a tea party theme, and this year my principal asked for a garden theme.  
(If we didn't live in Las Vegas where it almost touched 100 degrees that day, we would have had the party outside in our courtyard.)

Here are some pictures from our event.

 We purchased flowers from one of our local stores, added tissue paper and put them in cups.  For a finishing touch we added these signs to rulers and placed them in the plants.

The food came from Sam's Club and we collected up the decorations from some of our homes.  
(OK, my home.)  
We purchased a few things from Michael's.  
(You have to love 60% off plus your teacher discount!) 

The volunteers that service the whole school received bigger plants and gift cards.

We always have our students sing a song or two, which usually brings a tear to each volunteer's eye.  
My principal is the master of ceremonies, giving recognition to each volunteer.

If you don't do something special like this for your volunteers, I highly suggest it.  Volunteers are so precious to us.  I know our school would never run smoothly without them.

Last Week of School Ideas to keep you Sane

Hi my friends!  It's Vicky here from Teaching and Much Moore!  I have 9 days left ~ I know some of you are done or VERY close to being done...some of you still have about a month.  { sorry }  But either way it's coming whether we are ready or not.  I will miss my 3rd graders so so much that's for sure!  I want to make sure their last week is special and memorable!  So here's what I like to do:  I make it a 'theme' week so everyday they have something to look forward to and { are kept kinda busy } right?!?

Monday:  Crazy Sock Day

Tuesday:  Read a Thon Day

* Let them bring in blankets, pillows and their favorite books.  They can spread out and read with their friends.

Wednesday:  Board Game Day

* Push your tables aside and let your kids spread out on the floor playing their favorite board games!  They can bring in the games and play with their friends.  I always make sure they clean up the previous game before moving on to the next one so we don't lose any game pieces.

Thursday:  Autograph Shirt Day

They LOVE doing this!  I make sure in my parent letter that they bring in a shirt they don't mind ruining in a sense with sharpie names.  My student wear this shirt the following year and always come up to me...such fun!

Friday :  Field Day
Take the fun outdoors!

As you can see you can keep that last week organized and SANE!!!  Plan something special every day and it will actually be more enjoyable for you!

If you are dying to try this:  I have a pack that includes a parent letter and a response page for each of these days so your kids can do the same things:  Easy and done for you!


Hope you love the ideas!!  Happy { almost } summer!
xo, Vicky

Last Week of School Class Compliment FREEBIE

Hi, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here with a super fun and meaningful way to wrap up the school year with your kiddos. Best of all? Totally free! Whoop whoop!

It's the end of the year and the finish line is ahead of us - like a mirage in the distance. It's soooo close.....and yet, right up until the very last moments, also so very far away. The last few days most of us are fighting off daydreams of late mornings in bed & sunny afternoons at the pool - and making mental checklists of all the work we're going to get done over the summer, the PD hours to fill, etc. #letsbeserious

The last few days of school are the perfect time to reinforce the classroom community you’ve worked so hard to build.  Even though most of our students share our enthusiasm for the end of the year on the outside, it can be easy to forget that for many of them - even for most of them - this transition time is one that comes with a degree of uncertainty and trepidation. What will my next teacher be like? Will I be in the same class as my friends? What am I going to do all summer? It's so important to give our kiddos time to reflect on their year – their growth, progress, and the relationships they’ve developed with their classmates. 

I wanted to give my own students a way to share their favorite things about each other and create an easy but super meaningful parting gift for one another. I’ve used “class compliments” as a holiday gift before, and it was so successful that I decided I’d do it for the end of the year as well. 

First, my students and I review how to give a good compliment:

Then we generate a list of character traits that we can use to compliment each other. After we create our own on chart paper, I pass out these charts for students to take back to their seats. If they’ve thought of more, they can add them to the back. We talk about how a really great compliment is about the person on the INSIDE, rather than the outside. Sure, it’s nice to tell people you like their shoes or you think they’re pretty, but it’s even nicer to comment on character traits.

Then, students get to work writing compliments to each and every one of their classmates. It’s a really nice way to spend an afternoon or two – I put the music on in the background and let the kids enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings that come from making others feel good. :)

After the students have all finished their compliments, I enlist a few of them to help me collate them. Each student’s compliments get slipped into a manilla envelope with a cover on the front. This is the most labor intensive part, and since doing this, I've thought of an infinitely smarter way and am now kicking myself.

So....allow me to save you a lot of time by doing not as I did, but as I thought of later:
•Put a stack of blank sheets on each student's desk.
•Put an envelope with the student's name on it on each desk.
•Have the students rotate throughout the room, writing compliments for each classmate when they sit at his or her desk.
•When they are finished writing a compliment, they simply slip it into the labeled envelope, which is already right there.
•Then, they move on to another desk.
•Slap Blair upside the head for collating these herself like a complete crazy person. *think, Blair, THINK!*

Whyyyyyyyy oh whyyyyyyyy don't I think of these things BEFORE doing them the hard way?!

Hand them out on the last day of school (no peeking!) for a meaningful gift from the heart for each and every student. Students will cherish their classmates’ words for years to come.

This activity is available for free in my TpT store - and last year I got some feedback on it that was so very powerful. I can't imagine the pain this student's family has gone through. But it is incredibly moving to know that his classmates' words were a source of comfort to them during a difficult time.

The activity is just a cute way of presenting students' own words. It's the words themselves that hold power and meaning. You don't need to print these pages to do something similar. (In fact, when I first started doing this, I've simply used cut-up scrap paper.) This feedback is such a strong reminder of how very important it is to teach students the power of words - not only that words can hurt, but also that our words can have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of others. This activity is simply one way to help teach that.

Click {HERE} to download this freebie from my TpT store!

Hang in there, my friends - you are in the home stretch! YOU CAN DO IT! And for those of you already done with school....dang! Nicely done! ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by Primary Chalkboard! Have a fab day!

Blair Turner
Blogger, Curriculum Author, and Paper Designer

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End Of The Year EDITABLE Awards FREEBIE!

Hey ya'll!  Mr. Greg here!   Is everyone else crazy from the end of the year madness?!?!   Summer is almost I want to do something to help ease that stress!!!!

How about some free editable end of the year awards!

We don't do big end of the year celebrations in our kindergarten class.  I make a super simple video featuring all of our pictures and fun from the year.  We invite parents and we sit together and relive our amazing year together.  I give each child a personalized award!   Each child gets an award that is personal to them!  

This year I have the following awards:   Best And Largest Hair Accessories Collection, Most Words Ever Spoken In a Kindergarten Class,  Most Sassy-ness,  Best Mohawk, and so on.  Each award means something to each child because it reminds them of something that we've celebrated and shared and giggled about all year!   As I hand out each award, I explain the significance of the award and why it is so meaningful!

Then I cry.  And that brings our year to a close!

If you would like these free awards, click on the picture and head to The Kindergarten Smorgasboard to grab yours!

Class Dojo Tips and Tricks

Hi friends! Head on over to my blog and read how I am using Dojo in my classroom these last few weeks of school! 

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway Day 5

Welcome, welcome, welcome to Primary Chalkboard's WEEK of giveaways.
Today is DAY 5 of our giveaways. 

You can win...
A Classroom Management TPT Pack
and a $50 Gift Card to pamper yourself with a SpaFinder gift card. 

SpaFinder works at many spas around the country. 
If you are the winner, you will use the gift card to find where there is a participating spa near you and use the $50 towards a service at that spa. 

In the Classroom Management TPT Pack, you will receive: 
Owl Behavior Chart from Jessica
Move and Groove from Valerie
Polka Dot Clip Chart from Christina
Beach Bucks from Corinna
Class Coupons from Laura

Enter here! 

Teacher Appreciation Giveaway Day 4

Welcome, welcome, welcome to Primary Chalkboard's WEEK of giveaways.
Today is DAY 4 of our giveaways. 

You can win...
A Intermediate Resources Pack
and a $25 Gift Card to spend at Blair Turner Paper. 

Go ahead. Shop around for what you would spend your $50 on! 

In the Intermediate Resouces TPT Pack, you will receive: 
Word Work for Big Kids from Jen Bengel
Interactive Notebooks from Heather

Enter here!