Primary Chalkboard

Let's Learn about Countries & Cultures Around the World!

Hi friends!

It's Ashley from That's So Second Grade!

I can't wait to share some of the latest happenings from my little world of 2nd grade here at the Primary Chalkboard!

In response to a graduate school project that I was given, as well as an effort to enhance one of our 2nd grade social studies standards, I decided to have my kiddos really spend some time learning about cultures in various countries around the world.

Last year my 2nd graders were thrilled to learn all about Africa.. but this year... I wanted our study of cultures to be an extravaganza of cultural excitement! So far, so good.

We have just had one big month of learning about and exploring cultures in places ALL OVER the world! I mean.. talk about excitement! 

To kick start our study, I used a set of international folktales from fellow Chalkie & friend, Deana of Primary Punch

Then my sweet kiddos selected countries to research and the fun began! 

Throughout our unit, we have learned to use encyclopedias, almanacs, and E-books to gather information about our countries. My kiddos have worked with their partners to read some of MY FAVORITE nonfiction books to learn about their country and to learn about the daily life of children who live there.


These books are seriously NON-NEGOTIABLES when it comes to learning about countries and cultures around the world!


I think my little ones would say that there favorite part of the research has been reading the (fictional) letters that I wrote from the perspective of a child in each of their countries. They LOVED learning about the daily life of kids in these different places around the world and were fascinated to see that while many things were different about their lives, lots of things were the same. Each of my students wrote a letter back to their fictional friend in another country! Boy was that an interesting letter!

Currently, we are working on an extension (thank you, graduate school) project to our project. Is that even possible? Each of my students took 8 different photographs that portray a different part of their daily life. We will be working on writing captions to go with each of our pictures and will be compiling them into a book about the "Daily Life of a Child in the USA". WOWzers. I CANNOT wait to see how these turn out!! 

Can you say culture overload?

Now that we can say hello in 11 different languages, I think our mission is accomplished! I've got one group of globally aware kiddos!

If you think researching cultures might spark the interest of your little ones, then grab this {FREEBIE} graphic organizer that I created to help us collect information as we researched. 
Please note: it was created to print on legal size paper!

If you are interested in more activities from my cultures project, check out the pack below!

Au revoir! Ciao! Sayounara! 

Thanks for stopping by the Primary Chalkboard!

Positive Reinforcement {+2 Freebies} w/Daina

Hey guys!
It's Daina from Sticky Notes & Glitter! 
Super happy to be blogging as a Chalkie today!
My post isn't going to be super long but I do hope it will be useful for you! And yes, there's TWO freebies for you today! They are HOT off the presses! :)
I want to talk about positive reinforcement in the classroom in order to manage your classroom.
I have a tough group this year. I am departmentalized so I teach reading/writing to two classes for a total of 51 students at the moment. It's different and definitely an adjustment! I do enjoy only planning/prepping for two subjects though so it has its perks!
But nonetheless, they are extremely chatty and very quick to argue with one another over the SILLIEST of reasons!
They often leave me looking like this:

We all know it's easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive so I've really been trying to get better at focusing on the things students are doing RIGHT versus the wrong choices they are making.
As a result, I have implemented several things in my classroom this year and I'm trying my best to be consistent and deliberate in following through each and every day with both classes.

The first thing is that I use a classroom BINGO board. It's very simple but the kiddos really get into it! I print the bingo board, laminate it and hang it up in my classroom with a dry erase marker strung up beside it.

When I see a child setting a great example for any reason, I will simply say "So and so, go put your name on the Bingo board." Up they hop and scamper to the board! They are allowed to put their name anywhere on the board. Every Friday, I use bingo cards to draw a letter (B I N G O) and number (1 2 3 4 5) to pick a winner. If I draw B5, the child in the bottom spot of the B column wins! I let them pick lunch with me or treasure box as a reward. Sometimes I pick one winner, sometimes I pick up to three!

Some variations for this can be:
1. If you use numbers for your students, have them put their classroom specific number in a box instead of their whole name. Saves room and time!
2. You can draw however often you want for a winner! Weekly, biweekly, monthly, daily, whatever! It's totally what works best for you!
3. I have teams in my room and if the whole team is doing a great job, I will sometimes tell them to put their group name on the bingo board. Then, if I draw that square, the whole group gets a reward! They love when that happens!
4. If the WHOLE class is on-task and doing great, I put MY name on the bingo board! That means if I draw that square, the whole class gets a reward such as extra recess! :)

Like this idea? Good because you're in luck! Here's a freebie to help you get started in implementing this in your room! Click here to download! I did LOTS of backgrounds so hopefully one will work for your classroom! :) Feel free to pin and share with friends!

The second new thing I have implemented is what I call "Count It Up!"

In my class, I have 6 groups of students. Each group is a TEAM. This idea is all about rewarding the team as a whole. It encourages students to take responsibility for themselves and for their teammates. We talk about how to positively encourage group members and how not to "yell" at them or shush them to try and be ready.

Anytime I see a group that is on-task and working, they get a point/tally. I also award points/tallies to groups for being ready the quickest, being quietest the quickest, getting materials out the quickest, etc. The list goes on and on but you get the idea. At the end of the week, I tell the Team Captains to "Count It Up" and they know to go to the team points board and count up their team points for that week. Team with the most points gets.... you got it, a reward! I give them options and let them choose. Extra recess, treasure box, lunch with me, no homework pass, etc.

The kiddos really like it because it's a healthy competition. Students will usually get their act together quicker because they don't want their table mates upset with them. In the end, it has worked out well for me!

If you like this idea, I have another freebie for you! Again, I included lots of background options! I also have versions for FOUR teams and SIX teams as I realize classes often differ in size! :)

Click here to download! Again, feel free to pin and share!
I sure hope you  have enjoyed my post today! I hope you like these ideas and can use them in your own classroom. If you do, I would love to hear about it! :)
 Thanks for hanging out with me today! Happy Sunday!

November Treats in The Classroom

Aloha! It's Corinna from Surfin' Through Second. I am happy to be sharing here on The Primary Chalkboard today.

Next week is a short week at school and I always like to throw in some fun activities for Thanksgiving. I know some teachers have their own Thanksgiving feast, but I scale it down a bit and have students prepare a recipe in class.

I love cooking with my second graders.  It makes them focus on what they are reading, they practice their measuring skills and they can't wait to eat what they have made.  This year I am going to have my students make their own pumpkin pies.  This is a no bake recipe and doesn't require too many ingredients.

I usually send home a letter a week ahead of time and have parents donate one item for our activity.

  Just mix up the wet ingredients to make the filling. One batch makes enough for 5 kids.

Then comes the fun part.  The kids make their own crust.

Place one graham cracker in a zippered sandwich bag and squeeze out all the air.

Then crush the graham cracker into small crumbs.

Pour the graham cracker crumbs into the cup.

Spoon in some filling. (Not too much, it is very rich!)

Add some whipped cream on top.

Yummy!! Their own mini pumpkin pie.  I usually have a parent volunteer come in to help.  I also set it up as a station in the back of the classroom while the other students are working at their desks.

The students at their desks color in their recipe page and finish up any projects or Thanksgiving activities we have been working on.

Here is the recipe page for your students.

and the donation letter.

I bring in the cinnamon and the pumpkin pie spice.  Adjust ingredients for the size of your class. For a class of 20 you need a few cans of pumpkin, 1 box of graham crackers, 4 boxes of pudding, 2-3 tubs of whipped cream, and one can of milk. (I dilute the milk in water since it is so rich, plus you don't have to worry about keeping it cold)

If this recipe looks a bit too messy, here is another one that is easy to make.  It's perfect for Thanksgiving in the classroom.

Click on any of the pictures to download from Google Docs.

I hope these recipes add some fun to your celebrations. What activities do you have planned in class for Thanksgiving?  I always love hearing what others do in their classrooms.

Number-Sense & Fluency Building Math Routine

Hi!!! Lisa here, from Growing Firsties!

So happy to be posting today about a wonderful almost-daily math routine in my little neck of Wisconsin. :) Which, by the way, has been downright WINTRY this week, for goodness sake! As in...we made the trip to buy boots for my son 'cuz we hadn't pre-purchased them at the end of the season last year...grrrrrr, me!!!

Math is right after lunch for first graders at my school...and a near daily routine we have is "Ways to Make" also known as "Incredible Equations" (from Marcy Cook).

We use Everyday Math CCSS Edition in my district...this routine is a little add on to build automaticity...(and maybe to buy me a few mn to get the smartboard and/or doc cam ready...or to grab manipulatives out of my math cabinet).

Each day, as soon as the kids return to class from lunch, they automatically grab their whiteboards and begin writing equations for the Number of the Day...

The NOTD is the's the fifteenth of November, so they can make 15 (OR the # in the ones place...5).

On the 14th (or 13th, as the one on the upper right shows some switching it up), here are some samples...

At the beginning of the year, I kick this routine off with the book 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve we read we make number models/equations/number sentences for each page's problem.

In an effort to build fluency and focus, students know that I expect 5 or more equations within the first one or two mn...they are motivated and doing really well with this!!!

Once every week or so, we spend some random "filler" time generating number models together for a number where I demonstrate and encourage innovative thinking, such as multiple addends & well as tracking where you're at with each operation and problem solving accordingly...

For example, if you're trying to make 9 and you have 17 - is NOT a mistake, rather an opportunity to track and adjust...since 17 - 9 is 8, what do you need to do to get to 9? Add you can adjust your equation to be 17 - 9 + 1 = 9.

The students LOVE it!

In the event you'd like a half-page sized paper version instead of having the kiddos working on whiteboards you go!

Click the pic to download via Google Docs...
I'd have the kiddos add their equations at the bottom of the page and also to the back side...

For Daily Warm Up and during Word Work, we've been working hard to incorporate some Sight Word Math Practice...gotta love a little math and literacy integration, eh?! And...forcing them to read closely because the words used are look-alikes (his/has, no/not, etc.)

Sometimes I'll have printables set out at their table spots instead of the NOTD routine described above. 

My students LOVVVE the interactive nature of these printables and I lovvvve that my students can be independent while working on them...this buys me additional time to work with students one on one or in small groups!

Lately we've been using the Find, Tally & Graph pages from Set 1: Graphs & Patterns.

They're from this set, which you can read more about by clicking the pic above or below...

What kinds of helpful math routines do YOU incorporate in your neck of the woods?

Countdown to Turkey Time!

Happy almost Thanksgiving Break! 
Tammy and Christy here from Fluttering Through First Grade, officially counting down to turkey time. 

We're pretty sure you may be counting down too...
Us teachers have a tendency to do that. 

November is a quick month for us at school {Insert two teachers jumping for joy, maybe, *possibly* even screaming like school girls here}, but just enough time to share some of our favorite activities.
We love to bring the story of Thanksgiving to life with Dr. Jean's Thanksgiving bracelet. You can read about it {here}. We created a class read aloud poster and worksheet to go along with the bracelet. It's free by clicking the image above. Enjoy!
A class that cooks together, stays together. Right? Well, for the school year at least. 
We are one of the *lucky* classes who get to go to school the few days before Thanksgiving.
Are you *lucky* too?
It's the perfect opportunity to sharpen our annual cooking skills by baking with our class.
We pull up our sleeves and bake pumpkin bread turkeys with our favorite little turkeys.
This will be our 12th year baking for Thanksgiving. It quickly became an experience they remember for years to come. Plus, the pumpkin bread is kind of ridiculously moist and super delicious...just saying.
On the days that drag follow we decorate our turkey pumpkin breads to look like turkeys and take our class through the entire writing process about their baking experience.
We collect one pound coffee cans for this project, but have adapted it so you can use small bread loaf pans as well. We bake in our school oven, but have also asked parents to take them home to bake or have even stuffed our own ovens. 
Click the pic above to see it in our TpT Shop.
Ummm...We know. We love him too.
We make these every year for our parent volunteers. But, shhh...Please don't tell them. We haven't made them quite yet this year. We know, we'd better get cracking crafting!
Are you a crafter? 
Is that a silly question for a teacher?
If you answered, yes and yes,  hop on over to our blog {here}to see how to make him too.

Happy Thanksgiving sweet friends!

Gearing Up for Turkey and a FREEBIE!

Hey Guys! It's Leigh here from The Applicious Teacher. 

I am just popping in to share with you one of my FAVORITE crafts to do with the kiddos at this time of year! 

 It is one of those activities that you pull out year after year because it is so cute and the kiddos love it! I love it because it is SUPER DUPER EASY! 

 I am, of course, talking about the "Turkey Place-mat" How stinkin' cute is this?

To make, just print out and create tracers for the tail and the head. Then, on colored construction paper print out the beak and the giblet. Print out the eyes on plain white paper. 

Then, cut one tail for each of your kiddos and have them decorate. My sample shows sponge painting, but you could do hand prints, regular paint, shapes, or even have the kiddos write what they are thankful for. 

After the paint dries (usually a day) have the kiddos cut out and glue on the head, eyes, beak, and giblet. I like to send them to be laminated for durability. Your kiddos will love  pulling these out at your class feast, or for their Thanksgiving meal at home. 

Like this guy? You can grab all the templates to make him at my store for FREE! 

Also, want more turkey fun? Swing by my blog tonight for a chance to win some AMAZING Thanksgiving products!