Primary Chalkboard

Egg-stra Easter Eggs Lying Around? Use Them In Your Classroom!

Wow! I can't believe that's it's Easter Sunday tomorrow! This year is really flying by. This is a great time of year to start collecting tiny plastic eggs to use in your classroom for Spring Centers. Your students probably have a few lying around at home that you can ask parents for, you may have some from your own children, nephews or nieces, and there's got to be a few co-workers that can snag some for you!
Collecting them is easy, and turning them into fun centers is even easier! Here are some ideas that I found:

Here's how Janaye from Frogs and Cupcakes used her eggs for a great math center!
Little Bins for Little Hands, used their eggs to hide small objects that would make counting fun!

These eggs were used for matching rhyming and matching math facts. The possibilities are endless!

Other Ideas:
Building Compound Words
Reading Word Families
Blending Sounds 
Sorting by Color
Reading Questions Placed Inside of Eggs.
Sight Word Practice
Matching Parts of Speech
Matching Opposites

Check out more ideas that I pinned on the Primary Chalkboard Pinterest Page! 


Happy Easter to you all! Have fun creating new fun and colorful centers!! 

Mrs. O'Brien 

Bringing the World to Your Students with Virtual Field Trips

Oh, I am SO excited to be writing my first ever Primary Chalkboard blog post! I have been looking forward to this day ever since I was fortunate enough to become a Chalkie :) I hope you enjoy it!

We all know how beneficial field trips are. Students are able to experience, first hand, what they have been learning about in the classroom. Students are able to touch, feel, and see things they might not have an opportunity to otherwise. Well-planned field trips with close curriculum tie-ins help students mesh together the concepts they have been learning about with how it relates to the real world. Field trips, though, do take a lot of planning. They can be expensive. And sometimes the perfect place to go just isn't realistic. This is where virtual field trips come into play!

A virtual field trip can take students to a far off place and can be planned just days in advance. Virtual field trips enable students to travel through space or go back in time. And they're perfect for those teachable moments that just happen to spring up. Just visiting a website, though, doesn't constitute a virtual field trip. The same care and planning that goes into planning a real field trip must be done for an authentic virtual field trip. With advancements in technology and technology becoming more mainstream, virtual field trips have really changed over the years. 

You can have students work through a virtual field trip whole group, small group, with a partner, or individually, depending on your purpose and the level of your students. I have also asked parent volunteers to be the "chaperone" so they are there to help students along the way. One of the first virtual field trips I ever used was The First Thanksgiving. I love how this particular virtual field trip has the option for the text to be read aloud to students. There is a teacher's guide to help you plan out the field trip. 

Students can track the path of the Mayflower from England to America. Students can click on the blue dots and read (or listen) to significant events that occurred along the Pilgrims' journey.

Students can also take a virtual tour of the ship and learn about the various parts of the ship.

Students can pretend to be detectives on this virtual field trip where they investigate what really happened in 1621. 

Students can drag and drop the descriptions of myths to the picture it describe.

 There are several interactive pages students can read or listen to to learn more about the Native Americans or Pilgrims.

Here are a few other virtual field trips you might be interested in taking your students on :)

A virtual field trip can also be where your class connects with another class over Skype. Students can even work collaboratively with students in another part of the world on projects using Skype. It will take time and planning, but think of the rich experiences your students will have! I haven't done this yet, but can't wait to give it a try when I get back into the classroom!

Virtual field trips certainly can't replace the real thing, but when the destination isn't realistic, a virtual field trip can further enhance your unit of study and help your students make connections.

I am always looking for additional virtual field trips to add to my list. What is your favorite virtual field trip? Thanks for letting me share one of my favorite classroom activities!

Heather from 2 Brainy Apples

Got Spring Fever?!? We've got you covered!

Hi everyone...Vicky here from Teaching and Much Moore and I'm so giddy over being a part of this amazing group.  Well first off don't be mad...but I'm on spring break and yep I am on my second week of it.  It's been wonderful and PEACEful...and QUIET!!!  Most work days - some days at work aren't quite like that. I'm here to give you some tips and tricks to get you through spring fever in your classroom.  Your kiddos love you and have become comfortable with you and each other...they tend to ignore... forget the rules a bit this time of year.  So ~  I have some ideas up my sleeve to help a sista { or brother } out!
First off a few years back I posted an idea that came to me in the middle of the night... I called it the Fancy Desk.  This is what it looked like in it's early stages...

You can read all about it {here} The quick version is that I would randomly pick a student that was working quietly throughout the day to sit there.  It had fresh new markers/pencils and other goodies + a really cool seat cushion and all that fanciness.  I mean what student wouldn't want to hang out there for an hour?!?  I might change that student out throughout the day every hour or so and they LOVED it.
Maybe you don't have the space in your classroom for that ~  well how about a classroom reward incentive?  I just finished up my Smile Tiles this past week and they have been a hit!  Here's what teachers are doing with them...
They can earn these tiles that easily fit on a necklace that focus on: sitting quietly on the rug,  being quiet in the assembly, or hallway  being helpful, or a good friend  ,working hard in math  ,getting 100% on their spelling test and much 'moore'!  { Did you see what I did there?  LOL }
We are so lucky here at the Primary Chalkboard because we have so many great minds thinking and collaborating so I have some other fun ideas for you to check out as well:
Here are the links for you:
Another fun idea for whole class incentive:  Each month I pick a different foam sticker item to BUILD.  When everyone is working quietly I walk up to the board very quietly and 'add' a piece.  When it's all built we earn a class party, it looks something like this:
This month we will be building an easter egg with lots of fun decorations on it.
I hope these are helpful to you I'm sure this has never happened to you...

Just kidding!!!  But we all have days when it seems like the ENTIRE class is misbehaving.  Can I hear an AMEN?!!?  If that is happening in your classroom right now try one of the above asap..if that doesn't work have a night out and maybe a glass of wine. :o)  Happy Spring my friends!
Hugs, Vicky

Things are Sprouting UP!!

Happy Sunday, all! It's Leslie here and I have learned a new fact today! Did you know that dirt is good for your soul??

As an non-outdoorsy person (it's true-- I don't like getting dirty, sweating, creepy crawly things, and bugs that attack you and bite you. I don't camp--when was the last time you saw an Asian person or family featured on a Gander mountain magazine camping? LOL! Half joking and half serious. Ha! ) I actually don't mind digging in the dirt and planting. I love to plant with my sweet boys and class. 

So, going back to dirt is good for you-- and your kids-- yes, it is because it offers them a chance to connect with their world and their environment, it gives them a chance to be toughen their immune system, and soil has some bacteria (good bacteria!) that help produce and activate those feel good chemicals in your brain--it's a natural anti-depressant! 

Every year around this time (I live in FL so it may be easier for me, but no worries! I got your back for  our friends who live in colder places!) is the time of year I focus on growth and life cycles! One of the projects I do is we plant seeds.  So easy to do! 

Last year I found this idea on using toilet paper rolls to start seeds. It's a great tie in to Earth day and it's a great way to recycle:

Click on the picture above for a more information or you can click here for a pictorial how to. 

One of the seeds I always like to plant are Radish Seeds. 

Now, why Radish seeds you ask? Well, number one, they aren't lima beans! LOL! I think we all do lima beans. Number two, they have a shorter germination period of 3-5 days for our little impatient children who want to see results! Here is a time lapse video of radish seeds growing  If you don't quite have a sunny place for your seeds to grow, you can also create a "greenhouse" for your little planters. I've just used a rotisserie chicken container and placed my toilet paper planters in there!

Tired of lima beans or want something more applicable to kids? Try green onions or carrots! Click on the pictures for more information. I think I might try the carrot top one this year. 

I also teach about worms during this time and how worms are beneficial to plants. We even make a worm farm! (I tell you, the things we do for our kids!) I buy some worms from my local fishing hut

and we study the worms and allow them to crawl around our observation trays. (Side note-- remember my saying, I don't like creepy crawly things! Worms would fit that category! Like Sophia from the Golden Girls says... "Picture this, a classroom in the near future...A teacher using chopsticks to get worms out of the container!" Using my Asian roots for something! LOL!). Most kids love this; some shy away from it but most love seeing their worms wriggle around and away from them.  Plus, there's some dirt there= dirt and worms!! Must be good for your soul then, too! The kids loved the worms so much, we made a worm farm to observe them! Here is one I think I will make when I get back. 

Click on the pic for directions! 

The one I made last year (PB= pre-blog) was just a terrarium with some soil and I put in egg shells and coffee grounds or anything worms would eat. It was soooo cool! The only downside is there were some worm casualties. No wonder they are called nightcrawlers. It is not fun to come into your room and find worms in the morning! 

So get those kiddos out in some dirt and feel good about it!

Lots of love to all of you!

Clip Art Addicts Unite...

Hola, peeps!  Stacy here from Funky Fresh Firsties.  I hope your weekend is off to a FAB start!  Stopping in to do a short post today and I wanted to share something that I do that makes hallway displays pop!  I have a crazy collection of clip art {we're teetering on a full blown addiction....shhhhh}.  I use my clip art to make classroom products obviously and I even use it to cute-sy up my newsletters, etc, but making my clip art into posters is one of my favorite things to do!  It is easy, fairly quick, I can get others to help, and I can use them over and over again! Here's my latest project with clip art posters:
We've been reading Lulu Walks the Dogs in class the last week or so and also working through my book companion.  The students complete character webs for each dog and I wanted to display those in a cute way.  I opened the PDF file on my laptop and projected it onto the SMART Board.  I used the zoom (+) button until the dog filled up the poster and taped the poster to the SMART board!
Then I traced the dog with a ball point pen fairly lightly.  It didn't need to be perfect because I would be outlining it more precisely later

Once I have the image (Cordelia the Dachshund in this case) traced... I go back with a FAB marker and outline carefully.  I love, love, really love the flip chart Sharpies!  I normally buy a few packs at the beginning of the school year at Really Good Stuff.
Yep, all outlined is so much better!  Now you can color it in or get the kids involved and let them help (if your OCD is minimal)... or enlist the help of parents, or husbands, or aides!  One of my favorite things to do is color the posters in with chalk.  I got some cheap chalk at IKEA on my last visit {swoon}.

A video of me coloring?  That's right... you're welcome! :)  In case you needed a tutorial!  Side note: it's hard to video yourself coloring with one hand...  this took some serious skill peeps!
Once you have your posters all finished... be sure to laminate for durability.  They look so amazing in the hallway with student work!  I like to try to add a 3-D type element to mine.... so this time I added yard between Lulu and all 3 dogs to look like a leash!

I made these to go along with the hallway display.  If you read Lulu Walks the Dogs and would like them... you can download them HERE!!!
Also, if you are in need of a book companion, you can find mine HERE!  I would HIGHLY recommend the Lulu books for 1st and 2nd graders!  Lulu and the Brontosaurus is amazing... and Lulu Walks the Dogs is also equally entertaining.  Grab both and watch your kiddos sit and listen in AMAZEMENT!
I hope that y'all will have a great weekend and that it will go by super SLOWLY!  You can keep up with my on FB over at Funky Fresh Firsties... let me know if you try the poster trick!!!  Talk to y'all soon!