Primary Chalkboard: 4-6 Posts
Showing posts with label 4-6 Posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4-6 Posts. Show all posts

Picture Book Science Lessons: Over and Under the Snow

Hi!  It's Ari from The Science Penguin.

I've been working on a new blog series, Picture Book Science LessonsEach post contains a favorite picture book for teaching science concepts and activity ideas to accompany the book.  
This post contains affiliate links.

Topic: animals in winter, animal adaptations

Literacy Connections: figurative language, descriptive writing

Focus: First of all, the illustrations in this book are beautiful.  I love how the story shows a boy's observations of life above ground in the winter as well as life under the snow.  Students learn how living in the subnivean zone helps animals survive through winter.

Title: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Discussion Questions
After reading the text aloud to students, have a group discussion or mini-discussions in small groups.
  • What characteristics do the animals seen above the snow have in common?
  • What must shrews, voles, and deer mice do to prepare for winter?

Group students in teams of 2-3.  Assign each group one of the animals from the story to answer the essential question: How does each animal survive winter?  Present new information to the class.   Information about many of the mammals can be found on Hinterlands Who's Who.

Observations Chart
On the first or second read-aloud of the story, students write the information about each animal discussed in the text.
Click the pic to download the chart.

Download the Printable
You can download the free Over and Under the Snow printable here.  Have fun!

More Books
Looking for more picture book with science connections?  Check out my Picture Book Science Lessons blog series. 

Content Integration and Close Reads

Hey y'all! I hope everyone has gotten off to a fab new school year. I have been in school for about 2 months already. But I can't complain because tomorrow starts my first fall break ever! A whole week off after 7 weeks of school. I really hope our calendar for next year keeps this break because kids and adults definitely needed it!

Today I wanted to do a throw back post to one of my own more popular posts about integrating Close Reads and Social Studies. I know there isn't enough time in the day to really set aside time to teach all subjects the way they should be taught, so I decided to pull my literacy standards into my Social Studies time....or my Social Studies standards into my literacy time.....either way works! I hope you are able to snag a few tips from my post that you can read by clicking {here}. Now that I am only teaching middle grades social studies, I find myself pulling in literacy standards left and right. It not only helps reinforce important reading and writing skills, but it also helps out my fellow literacy teachers.

And because it's getting to be my favorite time of year, I just have to say, "Happy Fall, Y'all!"

Heather- 2 Brainy Apples
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Alyssha here, from Teaching and Tapas. Hi!

I am shy.

Yep, it's a part of me that I feel like is so obvious when you are around me in person. I feel my cheeks warm up and heart racing when talking to new people. So much of that shyness is internal. I say this because I have had people tell me they would never describe me as shy. That's me covering up a lot of my weird nervousness :)

As teachers, we are all trying to tune into our students. I remember 3rd grade clearly and at the end of the year I realized I had never once raised my hand to talk in front of my class. Yikes!

I've had teachers who tried forcing me to talk in front of groups. Some of my teachers were helpful and could coach me in a gentle way. Other teachers made me feel humiliated and where I wanted to hide deeper in my shell. Both of those models helped shape the way I interact with my students today. Here are a few tips to keep in mind with your own students...

1. Don't tell the student they are shy. 
When someone would point it out to me, I always felt more embarrassed and like everyone was staring at me waiting for me to speak. Yuck. The feelings of sitting there, anxiously worrying that everyone is going to notice me feeling super uncomfortable. Bad feeling. It's better to just acknowledge the shy student when the speak up just as you would acknowledge every other student. Make it seem like no big deal. Of every student/teacher relationship is different and if you have an open line of communication with a shy student, your judgement is the best.

2. Give your students plenty of options to interact with silent signals.
This does not have to be a special trick reserved only for some students. Re: Tip#1, when you point it out, shyness and anxiety may become worse. So just give ALL of your students the options to use silent signals such as sign language (thumbs up, thumbs down, "I understand" signals, etc.). Not only does this get more of your students interacting in your lessons, but you are able to check the understanding of even your quietest students.

My signal for "I agree"
My signal for "I made a connection"
3. Give a silent sign before calling on a student.
If you are confident that one of your shy students has something to add, give a little warning such as place a finger on the corner of their desk or give them a wink beforehand. It can take away that deer in the headlights feeling :) With a little warning, the student may be able to find their words and think of what they want to say. This means giving them plenty of wait time.

4. Strategic buddies.
Be sure the student is sitting near someone they can relate to and feel comfortable with. This can make such a huge difference when it comes to partnership activities, turn & talks, etc.

5. Assign special jobs.
Do you have a classroom job that requires someone to interact with individuals, but not in front of everyone? In my classroom, I had a job for someone to check book bins and make sure everyone had between 3-5 books. If they had too many or too little, this person would go remind the student to adjust their book bin. A job like this is perfect for a shy student if they are willing to talk to classmates.

So there you go! I hope my perspective gives you some more tools for your toolbox when it comes to doing all the great work you are doing with your students!

The 5E Model: Engage

Hi everyone!  I'm Ari from The Science Penguin.  This is my first post on Primary Chalkboard and I'm excited to share some science ideas I use with elementary students.  
Many teachers use the 5E Model for teaching science.  I've mostly used a variation of that to incorporate stations and notebooking.

What does Engage mean?
The first "E", Engage, is your's fun!  Teachers elicit prior understandings and pique students' interest in the topic.  They ask driving questions and identify misconceptions.  This can be a fairly quick activity (in the teaching real-world) or a longer activity that lasts a whole class period.  I often do this part informally, but it sets the tone for the entire mini-unit.
To decide how you will engage your students, you have to know them.  Every class will be different.  I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all activity that every teacher should use to engage their students for any particular unit.

Engagement Ideas
So what can you do to engage students in your unit?
1. Use discrepant events.
2. Read a picture book.
3. Do a short activity that exposes students to the concept you will be talking about.  
4. Talk about a relevant, real-world example.
5. Combine video clips and discussion.

When introducing relative density to 4th graders, we made density bottles.  Before I even uttered the word "density", we made our bottles.  Once we had our bottles full of blue water, vegetable oil,  a plastic sea creature, and a bead, we made observations.  What floats?  What sinks?  THEN, we brought in the new vocabulary.  If an item sinks, it's more dense.  If a substance floats, it's less dense.  We practiced using the new vocabulary to describe the substances in the density bottle.  It was the perfect "engage"!

Here are some more ideas for quick and easy science engagement on my blog, The Science Penguin.

Organizing Math Centers in the Upper Elementary Classroom

 Hi,everyone! It is Jennifer Findley from Teaching to Inspire, and I am very excited to be writing my first blog post here! I wanted to share with you a quick tip for organizing your math centers.

I don't know about you, but I LOVE math centers. I love seeing the students working together in small groups or with partners. I love hearing the math conversations all around the room. But, I don't love the mess that can come with centers, recording sheets, answer keys, and all of that! I recently helped another teacher with a math lesson, and I loved how she was storing her math centers from my Math Center Bundle. It was pure genius. I immediately snapped some pictures to share.

She uses folders that way she can easily (and quickly) place the directions page and the recording sheets in the front pocket. The students can actually keep their recording sheet in the folder until they are completely finished with all the problems and ready to turn their work in. The answer key could also be stored in this pocket to allow the students to check their work and make necessary corrections. The center pieces are placed in bags and stapled to the other side of the folder. I love this organization method because you can easily store the recording sheets with the math center and you don't have papers flying around. You can also easily label the centers by writing the title of the center on the front of the folder.

If you don't use recording sheets (and use only a piece of paper--like me), check out my blog post about how I organize math centers by clicking here or on the image shown.

For more ideas about teaching Upper Elementary, check out my links below:


TeachersPayTeachers Store:


12 Easy Fundraising Ideas

Hey, y'all! 
It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade! 

I've put together some of the easiest ways to earn money 
for your classroom or school. 
Let's face it!
We all need it!

Let's get started!

1) Ziggedy
This is my new favorite! 
Teachers register their classrooms, and supporters sign up and shop online. THAT'S IT! 

Downloading the Ziggedy app gives classrooms extra funds!

2) Shoparoo 
Our school just started using Shoparoo, and it's amazing how simple it is to use. Just download the app then take pictures of your receipts after shopping. That's it!

Receipts earn cash donations or sweepstakes entries, and your school can have competitions between grades.

3) Adopt A 
Teachers register their classrooms, and donors find
and fund classrooms with 100% tax deductible
donations. I received funds from Adopt A
Classroom last year and was able to order 
needed supplies from Office Depot.

       Register your Target Red Card for your favorite school then 1% of your total purchase will go toward that school.

5) Kroger Community Rewards
Works like the Target Red Card, just register your Kroger card for your favorite school. Your school earns 3-5% of your purchases depending on what you buy. 

Another shop and earn program. 
Your school can earn up to 10% of purchases made through eScrip. 

I've never used this one but have heard great things! 

Make a purchase of qualifying school
supplies, provide your school ID at checkout, and
your designated school will receive 5% back in
credits for FREE supplies!

Purchase Tyson products with the A+ label, clip the labels, and send labels to school. 
Your school will earn 24¢ for each label.

9) Box Tops 4 Education
Oh, the tried and true! BT4E is one of America's oldest and largest fundraising programs. 
Purchase products with Box Tops labels, clip the Box Tops and send them to school. 
Your school will receive 10¢ for each Box Top. 

BT4E loves to offer bonus products and coupons, so be sure to check for those!

10) Labels for Education-
You know this one, too! 
It all started with Campbell's Soup labels!! 

Collect UPCs and beverage/sauce caps from participating products and send them to school. Your school will earn points to spend at the Labels' online store, which has everything from basketballs to iPads.

Flipgive allows you to search for a fundraiser on their site, then shop online deals from merchants like Nike and Starbucks. Your school or other organization can earn up to 50%! 

12) Donor’sChoose 
Teachers submit project proposals, and
supporters make monetary donations to help
fund the projects. 

I received 6 Kindle Fire HDXs through 
DC two years ago. Incredible organization!

BONUS- Farmer's Insurance-Thank America's Teachers 
Teachers submit proposals for a $2500 Grant OR the $100,000 Dream Big contest. 
Online voting determines the winners! 
Hurry, though! This contest closes September 30.

Other Ideas
1) 50/50 Raffle-Sell raffle tickets and give the winner half of all money raised. For instance, if you sell $500 in raffle tickets, the winner gets $250. 

 2) Redditt Gifts-Each fall, teachers can sign up for a gift exchange. Redditt matches teachers with donors who provide needed materials up to $20. Some donors give much more.

3) Right Road an inspirational place! Paula is so incredibly generous and has tons of giveaways and offers for teachers. But, even if you never win anything, Right Road Kids is a feel-good experience! 

4) Recycling ink cartridges-Check online to find a recycling center in your area.

5)  Silent Auction-Y'all, I love a silent auction. Ask faculty and parents to send items that still have tags or hit up local businesses for items. 

6) Used Book Sale-Another easy clean-out-your-closet idea. Sell gently used books for 50¢ each. Most teachers love to read, and you could get books into the hands of children who may not have many at home. Libraries raise funds this way all the time.

Okay, so I know there are probably some crazy good fundraisers I've missed, but, y'all I'm spent, and it's way past my bedtime. 

If you have any great ideas to add, please list them below.

It's the weekend, friends!
I hope yours is happy!!

Engaging Strategies for Integrating Reading in Social Studies

Hi everyone! I am so excited today is my blogging day at Primary Chalkboard! I am Heather from 2 Brainy Apples, and I am so excited to be teaching middle grades social studies this year! There is a LOT of content in our 6th grade SS curriculum. Lots of facts, lots of geography, lots of everything! And being an ex-elementary teacher, I believe that integration of reading into social studies is a non-negotiable. But reading passage after passage can get downright BORING. Even if the content is interesting, my students are sitting through 7 55-minute classes a day. If they are with me first thing in the morning, they may not mind sitting and reading....but, if they are with me at the end of the day, this is the last thing they want to do. And I totally understand how they feel. How do we feel after an all day professional development or meeting where we sit most of the time? I am ready for a nap! Or I am so focused on how much my bum hurts, I don't pay much attention. Knowing that reading is necessary, I decided to mix things up a little bit for my kiddos to keep them engaged and attentive to what they are reading, as well as having them look forward to reading about social studies content.

Engaging Reading Strategies for Social Studies- 2 Brainy Apples Primary Chalkboard
Photo courtesy of umjanedoan CC license

I like to write my own passages for the social studies content I have to teach. It allows me to make sure I include everything my students should know, I can leave out unneeded info, and I can add in fun facts that they may not have to learn, but it sure does make reading it a whole lot more fun! Even though I write the passages, I do get that my students may not be as excited about reading them as I would like. We do a lot of close reading, too, and this can be exhausting on their minds! I am on the team that doesn't believe in making my students close read everything I put in front of them. OVERLOAD. Some days my students might close read a paragraph. Other days they may close read half of the passage. Some days they will close read all of the passage. The goal is to get students to close read all on their OWN, without me having to tell them to do it. Easing them into, not forcing it will help them see how much close reading does help them understand the text, which will result in students choosing to close read the entire text without prompting be me. Lofty goal? Yes. Totally realistic? Absolutely! Has this happened in the past? Yep! 

Movement Reading
One way I bring novelty into reading is by taking the passage my students need to read and cutting apart the paragraph. Then I hang each paragraph in a different place in our hallway for them to find.
They are still reading the passage, completing the activities that go along with it, but they are moving about the hallway. There's something about just being up and moving, reading one paragraph at a time that really engages them! I do this with passages that have paragraphs that don't need to be read in chronological order. Otherwise it would be very difficult for the students to glean the meaning from the text. One passage I did this with was the passage I wrote about air pollution in the United Kingdom (one of our standards addresses environmental issues). I wrote the passage with 4 headings: overview of air pollution, sources of air pollution, effects of air pollution, what the UK is trying to do to solve the issue of air pollution. There ended up being 3 paragraphs about the effects, 2 paragraphs about the solutions, 1 paragraph about the sources, 1 paragraph about what air pollution is, and a conclusion paragraph. Students did not need to read the paragraphs in order to be able to complete the activity pages I gave to them because it was not a chronological text structure. Students were free to wander the hallway looking for each paragraph that would help them complete the activity pages. I gave students activity pages because I wanted them to be accountable for what they were reading. One activity page was about how smog is formed, one activity page was about the solutions the UK is implementing, and they had to create a foldable with the sources and effects of air pollution. My students were totally engaged the entire 55 minutes because they were able to move at their own pace. They read in chunks, moved, read some more, completed an activity page, moved again, etc. The movement really helped my kiddos I teach at the very end of the day keep from being bored and kept them focused.

Jigsaw Reading
Another strategy I use is the jigsaw method to integrate reading. The next passage I had my students read was about the acid rain issue in Germany. Instead of having my students read the entire passage, I broke them into 8 learning groups because I had 8 paragraphs (each group had about 3-4 students).
Again, because the paragraphs did not need to be read in chronological order, I did not have to worry about students reading a paragraph out of order. If the text structure was chronological, I would have had my students read more than just 1 paragraph of the text in their learning groups to prevent confusion. The headings of the passage were similar to the air pollution passage: what is acid rain, sources of acid rain, effects of acid rain, and solutions Germany is implementing to decrease acid rain. Each learning group had the same paragraph to close read. After they read their paragraph, they then discussed the ideas presented and took notes to ensure they were experts on their information. Once they were comfortable with the information they read, I reassigned them into expert groups. I took one student from each learning group to make 3 or 4 8-person groups, depending on how many students I had in my class for that particular period. Yes, these groups were larger than the first grouping, and sometimes having a large group can be a problem because each student's voice won't be heard. However, since only 1 student (or at the most 2) in each group was an expert on his/her particular paragraph, this wasn't an issue. Students also had 2 activity pages and a foldable they needed to complete while these discussions were taking place, so they knew they needed to be attentive and participate. Each student took time to share his/her information, answering questions the other students may have had about the particular aspect presented. I loved this! I was able to walk around and listen to the conversations taking place, making notes on which students understood the reading and which ones did not. Students having to answer questions to clarify to their classmates is such a powerful learning tool! And the best part? I did not have to teach my students anything about acid rain because they did it themselves. And I guarantee they were more engaged and interested in the topic than if I had led the discussion after they had read every paragraph by themselves. 

I know I am going to be using these 2 strategies a lot more often in my social studies classroom because they kept my students engaged, and they told me that they enjoyed the activities because they weren't sitting at their desks doing it. Sometimes it's the little things in life! Have you tried these strategies in your classroom? I would love to hear about your experiences! 'Till next time!


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