Primary Chalkboard

Classroom Management Ideas

Hi everyone,

I'm sharing a few classroom management tips today!

My favorite apps for classroom management are Too Noisy, Classroom Timer, and Classroom Team Selector. 
You can read all about them, along with a few others HERE.

I use a mystery walker and pick me sticks in my class and these work wonders!
You can read all about them HERE

mystery walker

My "Awesome Buttons" were a big hit in my class last year and I plan to use them again this year. You can read all about them HERE. Don't forget to grab them for FREE :)

My brain break cards have made a HUGE difference in my classroom. They are quick and very effective for helping kids get their wiggles out.

brain breaks
You can grab my brain break cards in my TPT store,
or you can get some in my Back To School pack.

You can also read all about brain breaks in this BLOG POST.

brain breaks

Finally, I will be using these transition cards and attention grabber cards with my new group of firsties. I have them all printed and laminated and I can't wait to take them with me to school in a couple of weeks!

transition cards

attention grabbers

brain breaks

I hope some of these ideas will help you with your classroom management.
Have a great school year,


On the Second Day of School FREEBIE

The first day of school is important. But the second day of school is important also, and it can be incredibly overwhelming. In fact, I am usually at least TWICE as stressed on the second day.

All of the forms you sent home on the first day will start coming back to you. Also many of your students will bring in their school and classroom supplies, if they didn't bring them the first day. There will also be a few parents who will insist on walking their kiddos down for the second day in a row. They will want to ask you questions about the previous day. Then, students who were excited about the first day of school may start acting out on the second day because they have come to the realization that summer REALLY is over. They may have to be coaxed into your room and out of the hallway. Along with getting to know and taking care of 24 +/- new little people, this can make the second day of school particularly challenging.

That is why I always make sure that I have a morning work activity that is SUPER engaging, so that I have a little extra time to take care of "business."

Click here to download a free "Second Day of School Book" that you can use with your own class! (Recommended for grades 1-3).

The First Day: 5 Tips for Success

Hi friends! This is Christina, from Miss DeCarbo's Sugar and Spice, and I am so happy to be blogging today on the Primary Chalkboard! It is crazy to believe that school is right.around.the.corner! I'm here today to offer five quick tips for your first day of school. I don't know about you, but when I was in college, I was given LITTLE instruction on what to do on that first day. However, over the years, I have picked up a few little tricks that work well for me.  Although these tips are simple, they are effective and can result in a smooth, FUN first day of school! Here we go!
*Crayon boxes were found at Wal-Mart for $1.00 each.* 
A big piece of advice is to worry about school supplies LATER in the morning. Your students may be coming into your classroom with a backpack filled with supplies. It can be tempting to want to get these supplies out of the backpack and tidied up and put away. However, "school supply sorting" is not what I would call the "calmest" part of the first day of school. We know that the first day sets the tone for the year, but I also believe that our first TASK sets the done for our DAY.  Therefore, I like to have kids leave their supplies in their backpacks and get busy! Before school starts, I buy 24 boxes of the 24 pack of crayons.  I start every child out with their own box of crayons from me. The boxes are tucked in their desks, waiting to be loved! On the first day, I invite my little babies to find their desk and enjoy a coloring page with their new crayons. So, instead of everyone sifting through backpacks to find their crayons, we start off our first five minutes of the day with a calm, quiet, and happy classroom hum! This allows me time to take attendance, lunch count, collect notes and first day paperwork, and greet/welcome each child before we officially begin our first day of school!
 I want to immediately start my students off with amazing habits! I use laminated calendar numbers that I adhere to the floor with packing tape. These little numbers become the students' "line up numbers." We spend time on the first day of school practicing how to line up in a calm, orderly fashion. We wait to be called by rows to line up, practice pushing in our chair, standing with our hands to our side, and walking quietly in the hall. Having a procedure in place for lining up is essential to developing smooth transitions within your day.

I also like to attach a kinesthetic learning activity to our hallway expectations. We use marshmallows to understand how to walk in the hallways! Marshmallows do not have feed, hands, or even mouths! They are! Shhh......!!! 
I give each child a marshmallow and we explore this concept through a class discussion. Then, students practice "walking like a marshmallow" through the halls of the school. This marshmallow hallway activity and printable can be found in my Back to School First Week Fun product in my TpT store.
 We have to hook our students right from Day 1! I want my students to fall in love with coming to school. I want them to anticipate what crazy idea or activity their teacher will come up with next. I want them to LOVE learning! One of my favorite activities for the first day of school is Magic Dough! Students use play dough to "solve" the mystery - Will they have a great school year? This activity is fun, engaging, and keeps kids social!
A first day would not be complete without a lesson on kindness to our peers. Using the book, Chrysanthemum, we pass a smooth heart around the circle. I explain that our hearts are smooth if no one has ever said anything bad to us. However, unkind words can cause wrinkles in our hearts! My students sit in a circle and pass this red heart around. When the heart reaches them, they have to crumble a piece of the heart to signify someone has used unkind words or actions. The heart is now "hurt" and very wrinkled.  We try to smooth the heart out, but we discover that even when we apologize for something we have done, the wrinkle never fully goes away. Students learn that in all situations,we need to be kind and respectful so that we never put wrinkles in anyone else's hearts. 
Another quick but effective first day of school activity is the "I feel..." assessment. Students simply answer the sentence "I feel..." The teacher gives no help at all. I then collect the papers to look through that night. It is always incredible to see the amount of information I can collect about students' writing abilities through that one simple sentence! *TIP & TRICK: Keep the "I feel..." papers to pass back on the last day of school. Students LOVE seeing how much they have grown!

I hope these five little tips gave you some ideas to think about for your first day of school. The marshmallow activity, "I feel assessment," and the "Magic Dough" activity, along with other ideas and lessons, come from my Back to School Pack. You can check that out here. Thank you so much for joining me for these five quick tips. I hope everyone has a fantastic and fun first day of school! 
Christina DeCarbo

Back to School Planning: Teaching with Themes Throughout the Year

Hi everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops! Hard to believe that back to school is in full swing for some of our teacher friends! I still have a few weeks left but it doesn't mean that I am not in school mode! I have been busy planning and getting ready for the year by prepping beginning of the year homework, information packets, making a new decor set, and the list goes on and on! 

This meme is the story of my life! 

One of the things I want to share with you is how I plan during the year. Of course I teach to our curriculum maps. That is a must! They are always in my plan book and I refer (and agonize and sometimes have an adult beverage just to sift through some of those tough standards I have to teach!!) to them constantly as I am planning weekly. It takes me at least 2 hours or more just to plan some weeks because our curriculum (like yours) is so. packed

One aspect of planning that I do is that I love to teach with a weekly theme in mind. It's not all the time (sometimes, I go with the theme of our weekly story) but it really helps to give me direction as far as gathering materials for my instruction. I tie in the standard to the theme (if I have one) to help make my planning and instruction go more smoothly-- plus, the kids love knowing what we're learning about. 

For example, we had an Olivia week where we learned all about Olivia. It happened to be that that was our story in our reading series. So I placed books about Olivia, books about pigs, all their literacy centers were pig or Olivia based (and skill targeted), and they had an activity where they had an art gallery walk just like Olivia in the story. 

I usually plan by seasons and if you were to take a look at my file cabinets (well, I rather you wouldn't as they are a HOT MESS! ha!) and my teaching tubs, I have them set up and prepared by what I teach by season. Here are just some examples:

Sometimes we get to it and sometimes not; you know how that goes! Our days are so packed with standards, curriculum, and pacing-- that sometimes we can't always fit it in! I do want to note that although I did list some holidays, our district has gotten very strict with mentioning anything of the sort. Who knew that Santa was another bad "S" word? LOL!! In all seriousness,  just to be on the safe side, check with your district to see what their policy is. For example, this year we weren't allowed to do anything Grinch related even though I could have tied it in with all the standards we were teaching that week (in ELA). I was very sad

This is just a sample of what I've taught throughout the years and if you have other ideas that you'd like to add to the list, we'd love to hear them!! 

And I've got a little {FREEBIE} for you to download, print, and keep in your plan book! It might come in handy when you are planning. 

I hope that this helps you with your planning as your school year begins! I know that it really helps me! Don't forget to check back with us for more fantastic ideas to help you with back to school! 

Take care!! :-)

Lots of love,

Parent Input Freebie

Hello, Hello!!!

It's Lisa from Growing Firsties dropping by today to talk a bit about getting Parent Input.

Over the last few years I've been pretty jazzed about Growth Mindset. You may have already seen this recent Primary Chalkboard post or this Growing Firsties post.

Smile if you like getting input from your students' parents at the beginning of the year about their child's learning style and personality. (Did ya smile? Hope so!)

Back in April, when I started thinking about my new crop of students, I started thinking about how I could get different input from parents...mindset-based input.

'Cuz, at the very beginning of the year, before I reallllly know my students, it's helpful to know which students may...

need extra organizational help

be reluctant to try something new

are reading at the beginning of the year benchmark, but it was lots of hard work to get there

benefit from close support to learn routines

For some students, the above characteristics are pretty easy to see...but in others, the ones who stay under the radar a bit, not so much.

Sarah has a GREAT post about her parent input form - you can read it by clicking {right here}.

I like to hit the ground running as much as possible, so this is the Parent Input Form I developed.
Growing Firsties Primary Chalkboard

Here's a bit of a closer look:
Growing Firsties Primary Chalkboard

You can download it by clicking either of the above pictures. It's a zipped (compressed) file because one of the formats is EDITABLE. can make it work for YOU and YOUR context. :) I hope you find it helpful!!!

Chalkies LOVE Back to School TPT Sale

It's that special time again! Time for the HUGE annual Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale! 

A special thank you to Mrs. Jones' Kindergarten for making our super cute sale button!

We are so excited to share with you some NEW awesome products from our stores! Click on any of the links below to visit our personal blogs and see what we've been up to! :)

An InLinkz Link-up

When you are checking out on August 3rd & 4th don't forget to enter the Promotional Code: BTS15 for additional savings! 
Also, remember to leave feedback so that you can TPT Credits towards future purchases!

Establishing Your Morning Routine and Classroom Jobs

Hi everyone! It's that time of year again. Summer is winding down and we are all starting to think about going back to school. Some of you are already there! Am I alone when I say that the first week usually makes me want to pull my hair out? Well today I'm going to talk about setting up your morning routine so your kids know exactly what to do when they walk in the room. Hopefully this will help keep a few more stands on hair on your head. ;)

My first couple years, I really struggled with this. Most kids learned our routines and knew exactly what to do. Others knew what to do, but got side tracked. Still others weren't sure. I realized it wasn't them It was me. When our students are struggling in the classroom, we always need to look at what we are doing that isn't getting through to them. I realized that I taught routines and even modeled them, but some of my students still needed a visual reminder. Most days were the same, but Mondays and Fridays were different because Friday was turn in homework day and Monday they had to check their job chart. Some mornings I had morning work, but other mornings I wanted them to read a book. I wasn't being consistent. So I created these posters for my class:

Each morning, I chose the posters I wanted for that day and put them on my magnetic white board. They took up a lot of space, but I was able to remove them when the bell rang and our day began so it didn't matter. I kept them easily accessible so I could grab them each morning. The following year, I started out my year strong by introducing these posters on day one. I told my students that they could count on these visuals to be there each morning so they knew exactly what to do. I started with just one poster: Hang up your backpack. Then as I introduced more routines, I added that poster up the next morning. Here are some tips on using these posters:

1. Start on Day 1 with just one poster. Introduce the morning routine posters. 
2. Each day, add a poster as you introduce new routines. 
3. Model and practice as you introduce a new poster.
3. After the bell rings and everyone is seated, go over the posters that you have on the board. Check to make sure everyone has completed each routine before taking down that poster. Give them time to do it if they hadn't already. 
4. After all have been introduced, modeled, and practice, spend a few more days or a week (however long it takes) going over each poster to make sure everyone has done them. Do this after everyone is seated. Take down a poster and ask, "Did you hang up your backpack?" If everyone has done it, move on to the next one.
5. Spend time practicing your morning routine at the end of the day so checking these each day becomes a habit. Mix it up so they get used to the fact that sometimes certain posters will not be there. (For example, my homework poster was only there on Fridays.)
6. For those students who need a little extra help, give them a mini-version (pictured below) to keep laminated on their desk. They can check off as they go using a white board marker. If needed, provide a timer to show them how much time they have. 

You can download these by clicking HERE

One of my routines on Mondays is to check the job chart. I change out jobs each week. I don't need to keep a checklist of jobs because I just move the jobs one over each week. 

There are two different ways to set this up:

Jobs on the inside and faces of students on the outside:

OR jobs on the outside and student names inside:

Come by my blog to read and see more about how I use this job chart.

Another clever idea for job charts:
A coworker many year ago used to have two kids doing each job at a time. The first student was the "expert" and the 2nd was "job training." The next week the job trainee would become the expert and teach the next person how to do the job. That means every other week you were learning a new job and every other week you were an expert. I loved that system! 

I hope you all have a great first week back.  I hope this post helps with some of those routines! :)