Primary Chalkboard

First Day of School Signs to Take a Picture With

The first day of school is so important. It sets the tone for the year. It’s also when parents decide if they can trust you to care for their babies! That's why I do my best to make a fun first impression! I leave lots of signs outside my door for the kids to pose with.

It sets the stage for the parents that before I even meet their child. Here is what it says about me:
  1. I have already prepared something fun and engaging to do while they wait to meet me!
  2. I care about the first day of school and I know it’s a big deal.
  3. I know photos are important and I’m available to take them.
  4. I’m accessible.
  5. (As they interact with me) I’m warm and open to listen and help.
  6. I’m willing to answer parent questions and sooth worried emotions.
I go out well before the bell rings and shake hands, answer questions, and of course take pictures. I think this first impression is the super important.
Plus, lets be honest, moms just want a cute Facebook and Instagram. She is already going to love you as all her pals comment on her cute kid and the cute sign they are holding.
You can download these "easy print"  signs Here
if you want to do something similar!
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I get a few printed on foam board at Staples for about $10 per board.
It saves your ink and the quality is unbelievable!Freebie to use for your back to school pictures


Executive Brain Function in the Primary Classroom

Friends~Executive Brain Function!  I know, I totally thought what in the world is that when I heard it the first time too!  But, as teachers we are masters of this and don't know it.  

Let's back up a bit. Many of you don't know that last school year,  I made a MAJOR change in my career and moved to a brand-new Brain Based charter school Bradford Preparatory School! (No building in place=pulling a wagon to school each day until our mobile units were placed on site after a month of school!)  Also, moved to first grade after 8 years in 2nd grade.  So a new school and new grade and a totally new out look on education! 

It was a CRAZY school year but it turned out to be the very best thing I have ever done!!!

Back to EF!  Once the school year ended,  I was asked to compile some information about Executive Function and what a Brain Based classroom looks like. I have spent my summer reading and meeting with one of the founder's of the school.  What did I discover?  I have been tapping into EF in my classroom for years and never knew it.  I just knew that certain things worked. 

Below is a great introduction video of what Executive Function is and how it relates to our primary classrooms.  
I love how this video talks about EF being like an air traffic controller in the brain.  When I watched this,  I totally began to have a different outlook on how students function in the classroom and how I should react to their behaviors.  

It is easy to see students that are struggling with behavior as making that "CHOICE" but truly much of it is about their delay in brain development. 

That is true for students struggling with learning concepts or staying organized.  Things that would drive me crazy like messy desks or forgetfulness,  I am finding are just delays in their EF development.  

So, exactly what is Executive Function? 
In a nutshell, EF is 
~Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears 
Not an easy task for many learners!

 How does it relate to our classrooms? 
 I am going to bullet the functions for you and also show how you are already helping to support EF in your classroom! 
~Goal Setting
~Planning & Strategizing
~Sequencing and Ordering
~Task Initiation
~Working Memory
~Time Management
~Task Persistence
~Emotional Regulation
Goal Setting: Hello??? Our Data Binders and Behavior Plans
Planning and Strategizing: Student Conferences Classroom Jobs and Morning Meeting
Sequencing and Ordering: Music/Chants, Visual Cards and Posters, Classroom Schedules, and Color Coded Groups
Task Initiation: Must Do Activities and Daily 5 Choice
Working Memory: Chants/Songs, Visuals, and Review
Time Management: Visuals, Timers, Posted Times, and a Predictable Schedule
Task Persistence: Routines and Class Pledges
Emotional Regulation: Behavior Expectations, Whole Brain Rules, Cool Down Areas, Character Ed, Brain Breaks and Fidgets

Below are some of the resources that I have been reading and watching to help you on your journey.  
I am totally not an expert but I am loving the new light EF is shining on me as a teacher. 


I sure hope this post gets you thinking about your students and how you are already doing AWESOME things in your classroom to support their Brain Development.  I also hope this post sparks your interest a bit and drives you to research ways that you can make your EF in your classroom even better.  (That is where I am at right now!) 

Intermediate Back to School Tips and eBook FREEBIE

Summer is coming to an end and it's time to start setting those alarm clocks again!  Whether you've already headed back to school or are getting ready to in the next few weeks, the members of The Primary Chalkboard have been hard at work compiling helpful Back to School tips and a FREE eBook!  Below is our Intermediate eBook and our K-2 friends have also created a Primary eBook.  Now you have several resources ready to print and use from day one.  Check them out and have a WONDERFUL school year!

Here are some tips!!

I hope you liked our tips and eBook!

- The Intermediate Chalkies

Primary BTS Tips and eBook FREEBIE

Hi primary teachers! Primary Chalkboard has something special for you! 
(Don't worry, intermediate teachers. Your gift will come tomorrow.)
Our primary bloggers came together to create one back to school tip AND have included a one-page freebie in our eBook. This eBook is a NO PREP printable pack with 25 pages to use during your first few weeks back!

Check out our tips for back to school! 

And click HERE to grab our eBook! 
This comes with 25 print and go pages just for you!

We all hope that you love it! 

Your Primary Chalkies