Primary Chalkboard

Hooray for the 100th Day!

I'm so excited to be sharing some FUN, engaging 100th day ideas with you!  Can you believe it's close to the 100th day of school?!?  This year is flying by... it's Vicky here from Teaching and Much Moore and I hope I'm sharing some NEW ideas for you to try out.

Why not celebrate like ROYALTY this year?!?!  Here is a fun twist to the usual 100th day activities.  A few years ago I created a unit that revolved around the idea of celebrating this day like royalty!  Here are some things we did:

Now let  me tell you I'm definitely not afraid of BLING of any kind so I was all about this day!  The girls wore sashes and drew 100 tally marks on their sashes, the boys made shields and drew 100 tally marks on them.

I invited the girls to wear tiaras - a few brought some and I had crowns available for everyone else.

It's hard to celebrate without a snack so we made the number 100 very simply with pretzels and gummy lifesavers.

We also
* took 100 steps in our royal castle ( school ) to see where we ended up
* performed for the royal Queen ( me ) something we could do for 100  seconds
* wrote our 'royal signature' as many times as we could in 100 seconds

Of course the good old fashioned dress like you are 100 years old is an oldie but a goodie.  You can't go wrong with that one at all.
Here are some pics of that:

The kids get a kick out of the aging booth if you want to check out this app and take this photos.

 Celebrate the 101st day INSTEAD of the 100th day.  This was my awesome group of 2nd graders one year!  We had a ball: 
* we estimated how many Scooby Doo dog cookies were in a bucket
* drew 101 spots on our white t shirts with sharpie
* put 101 cheerios on a dog collar
* named ourselves a doggie name and put a dog license on our collar
* made the cute dog ears
*  Took a picture in front of a dog house
* rolled doggie dice to race to 101.

Here are a few ways you can decorate to get your students excited:

If you think you'd like to try a different type of 100th celebration you can find my packs below:

Enjoy xo, Vicky
{ instagram } { facebook } { blog }

Problem Solving Apps in the Classroom

I have a lot of students that take breaks in my room.  This means the iPads get quite a workout...with quite a few games.  I don't want my students playing Temple Run or Angry Birds all the time, so I like to have as many problem-solving apps as possible.  That's right, I try to get my kids to think a little bit when they're playing games.

First up-- MineCraft, Pocket Edition.  This game is pretty incredible and the kids eat it up.  It's an open world filled with opportunities to build and create.  Plus, kids communicate and interact through the game and with one another.  It's awesome.  I apologize if you don't like Minecraft.

Cargo Bridge.  The objective is to build and construct bridges that will hold people, animals, cargo, and more.  The fun comes when you get to test your bridges and realize you need to do just a little more work.

Tangrams.  A simple app of building and creating images with geometric shapes.  It's filled with multiple levels and the images kids create are spectacular.  It's great for all ages.

Casey's Contraptions:  Rube Goldberg would be proud of this app.  Simple and executed well, but the levels are very challenging for all the kids.  They have to think, test, rethink, and retest--sometimes over and over.  It's good.

Inventioneers is much like the previous app, using objects to complete tasks and find answers to problems.  My students have just started with some of the tasks and really have to work together to solve the tasks.

a-MAZE-ing: Part puzzle, part maze, with a little eye-spy mixed in for good measure.  Roxy's a-AMAZE-ing is a huge app with many obstacles and activities to complete.  It's massively great.

I first used Lightbot during Hour of Code.  Loved it and the idea of making kids think directionally within a game.  Same rules apply for the app--plus, the robot is cool.

Kodable is a variation of coding for kids.  It's tough and there are rules that have to be followed to be successful--but it's outstanding. I highly recommend it. Seeing kids pump their fist when they pass a level is pretty cool.

Enjoy this peak into my classroom and iPad world.  If you think I left a good problem solving app out, let me know.  I'd love to know what you use with your students!


Calendar Time in our Classroom

Hi teacher friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I wanted to stop by today and share with you about our Calendar Math routine. We follow Everyday Math and I really like that the program hits so many skills in a short amount of time. When I first started teaching 1st grade, I thought the point of calendar math was to teach calendar skills, ahha! But I was SO wrong. There is so much that can happen during these few minutes! My favorite way to complete calendar is on the Smartboard, but my district asks that we have our calendar activities displayed on a bulletin board. I'm going to be completely honest and say I took these pictures a few months ago, but our routine remains the same. :) I just never got around to blogging about it until today!

I change out our activities frequently, and we don't do them all everyday. My kiddos LOVE this time, and are always quick to remind me when we forget! Here are a few activities we have done in the past! :) 

I think the main reason my kiddos like calendar is because it is led by them! Calendar helper is definitely the most coveted job each week! I lead it for the first 3-4 weeks of the year...then I lead it WITH a student, and by October, they are doing it completely on their own! 

You can see my sweet little one holding the day's calendar card. Every Day Math has a different type of pattern each month, so I use these. We also add birthdays and important holidays at the beginning of the month. He has his friends tell what the card looks like and how they know. Then we discuss the pattern unit. For this month, you can see it's A-A-B. (Triangle, triangle, square.) This is a great opportunity to show that triangles can look many different ways! 

I have no idea the source of this song! I learned it years ago when I taught preschool and the kiddos love it! 

We keep track of the days in school 2 different ways. We use the post its and a 120 chart. I like using colored post-its because it's easy for them to see patterns, but you definitely don't have to!

This seems like such a simple task, but little ones need so much practice writing the date!

I purposefully set up my Word Wall next to our calendar wall. It is a quick reminder for me to make sure we review the words each day!

This is one activity that never changes. I think it is SO important and such a powerful number sense activity! I give them the sum (like 12) and they ALL must think of a way to make 12. We take about 45-60 seconds of think time so that everyone is engaged. After they come up with a number sentence, someone else comes up with a story problem to match. :)

Like I said, I change out the activities regularly so here are some other activities we might complete. :) You can click the picture to grab these printables in my TPT shop!

What do you do during calendar time? 

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. 

The Best of 2015

After taking December off to enjoy time with our families, Elementary Chalkboard is back and better than ever. To start of this year we are recapping the best posts on our blog. Click on the pictures below to take you to that blog post.

We hope that 2016 is full of love, happiness, good health, and much success for you!