Primary Chalkboard: November 2013

A Freebie and Surprise!

Hey y'all!
I'm Faith from 1st Grade Fantabulous and I have been looking forward to this blog post for awhile.  First off, I hope everyone had an incredible Thanksgiving!  Every year, I spend Thanksgiving with my entire family and when I say entire, I mean the cousins, grandparents, uncles, nieces, nephews… yeah, I know… you get the point.  Thanksgiving to me is the start of all the fun for the next month.  Speaking of which, if you know me I LOVE like really, really LOVE surprises.  Typically, surprises are the gifts my hubby and I are getting for our 6 nieces and nephews (Yep - 6 and of the 6 there are 2 sets of twins).  I have NO idea what to get the 3 year old girls and the 7 year old boys this year, so if you have any ideas, throw them in the comment section :)  I promise I'll read them.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Since I LOVE surprises, I have a surprise for you!  Have you ever been to shopping on Black Friday?  Well, my friends and I decided that since we know you will be loading up at the TPT sale in a few days and probably grabbing a few gifts for family this weekend that we would offer you a once in a lifetime experience - a Summer in December Hop.  All the products will be items you can use either in the summer or even in December.  I also have to tell y'all, I've gone through every item and it doesn't matter if you teach first grade or second grade, you will definitely be able to use everything at some point.  Oh yeah, and I almost forgot - ALL the items are FREE!!!!  It only lasts for two days so make sure you jump on it!  You just have to click on the button below and it will take you to my girl Katie.

Have a great time!  Oh, and since I know there are always a few friends that aren't on Facebook here's a freebie from me that is always a favorite over on my blog.

Happy Black Friday!
Faith :)

Nuts About Nouns and a Freebie too!

Well to be quite honest I am nuts about a lot of things and nous are just one of them! I am kind of nuts about teaching all forms of grammar period. It is concrete and a grammar lesson can happen by simply analyzing any sentence you come across.  You don’t need a worksheet!

In my ongoing effort to hit multiple standards during my lessons, I am doing a lot of “reading pauses”. During a pause I’ll pick a sentence, write it on the board and we look at it in depth.  We look for nouns. But we also look for verbs (action and helping), and then if possible I’ll talk about adverbs, adjectives, synonyms, antonyms, and phonics sounds we have covered. My students attention level seems more intense because we are dealing with these grammar components in the real reading we are doing.  It also make grammar real.
You all know enough about me by now to know that we are going to do art to reinforce these grammar concepts.  Here is our nouns tree. Each month it changes to reflect the season.

 I forgot to take a picture of the Acorn tree.  Darn it! That might have been because of what I call Friday Amnesia! I kind of lose my minds on Fridays! All I can think about is starting the weekend and I forget about anything else. Can you be happy without the picture above for just a few days? I promise to a picture Monday.
I have an entire series of Smart Art for nouns.
Here are the ones you might love for winter.  
Winter Nouns Teacher to the Core
The peppermint stick is big. Size matters when you are trying to compete for their mental attention.  Santa takes up a lot of their mental space in the coming weeks, but this pulls in the holiday joy and academic rigor. They may or may not get to do this project with a candy cane in their mouth… don’t tell the nutrition policeTPT
Are you looking for ways to help your “Littles” understand thankfulness in these coming days?  If so, download this little two page comprehension builder and enjoy!
Photo: The Facebook hop is still going if you have not jumped on yet!!! Grab  this 2 page freebie and more !
Download now  

Sending Love, Katie

Getting Their Attention

Happy Monday, friends! It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!
I'm so happy to spend my Monday with you!
Hopefully, you are out and enjoying a much needed break.
If not, hang tight! Help is on its way!

A few days ago, Nicole posted about behavior management,
and one of the things she wrote about was using music to transition.
Well, today I want to tell you a few ways we get attention and transition in my classroom. :)

I like to call my tools for getting attention Freeze Signals.
For instance, when the intercom comes on, we that's a freeze signal.
Most of my freeze signals, though, are just teacher/student chants.
Chants have been around for a long time.
I didn't invent them, but I sure do like using them.

 Here are a few of our faves:
Teacher Says: Macaroni and Cheese  -or-   32 Degrees
Students Say: Everybody Freeze

Teacher: And a Hush Came over the crowd
Students: (in a whisper) HUSSSHHH!

Teacher: Hocus Pocus
Students: Everybody focus

Teacher: Everybody in the House
Students: is as quiet as a mouse

After we use the Freeze Signals, everyone "should" stop everything and silently freeze. I say "should" because sometimes we lack self control.
That probably doesn't happen in your classroom. 

Even with our fun Freeze Signals, there were a few times during the day when we were having trouble getting ourselves together. Specifically, lining up.
Can you feel me??

So...I came up with a few Freeze Signals for particular times of day.
I'm sure someone thought of these before me, but I'd never seen them anywhere.

Getting Ready for the Hall
Teacher: Stand Up Tall
Students: We're Ready for the hall

Settling down in the line for lunch
Teacher: Hawaiian Punch
Students: We're Ready for lunch

One thing about Attention Getters.
I start the year teaching one a day for about the first two weeks.
I want them to overlearn each one.

THEN-very important-I make sure I don't overuse any of them.
If we want them to be effective, we can't use them to the point where the kids get tired of them.

Throughout the year, I add more attention getters.
January is a great time to turn "Macaroni and Cheese" into "32 Degrees." You get the idea.

At the end of the post I've linked you to free Attention Getter resources from TpT and TN. Hope you can use!

Bells, Chimes, and Other Pleasant Sounds
One of the easiest ways to get kiddos' attention is to use pleasant sounds in the classroom.
Here are some we use.

Hand bells and Call bells are very inexpensive and get the job done without being obnoxious.
Just ring the bell a few times when you need the kiddos to listen.  

We ring a call bell 3 times when we are ready to move to another station during Reading and Math Workshop.
Our daily helpers get to ring the bells.
Very Effective!
This Hand Bell costs about $6.35 from Amazon. The picture will take you there.
 This Call Bell is about $5.30 from Amazon.

You can do the same thing with wind chimes.
I currently don't have any wind chimes in my room,
but I know some teachers who couldn't live without their chimes.
One teacher I know sounds the chimes when she is ready for the kids to come to the carpet.
Again, a pleasant signal to get the kiddos moving.

This set of chimes is around $12 from Amazon.

Sometimes we just need a Whistle!
Oh, the Whistle! I have a train whistle. It is called "The Last Resort."
When the kids hear the train whistle, they know I mean business.
We are too loud or way off task and we need to get ourselves under control.
We don't mess around when we hear the train whistle.
This train whistle costs about $5.49 from Amazon.

Attention Getters from TN and TpT.

I truly believe in Attention Getters!
If you haven't tried them, give them a shot!
AND-Whatever Attention Getters/Freeze Signals you choose,
make sure YOU are happy with them.
When the teacher is happy, the classroom runs much more smoothly! :)

Have a relaxing and blessed Thanksgiving, friends!

The Common Core State Standards and Math!

Hi Everyone!  This is Deb from Fabulously First!  Hoping you are Happy, Healthy, and thinking of what you are going to prepare for your BIG Thanksgiving Dinner next week.

The Common Core State Standards are here. Some say they are here to stay and some say they are only here temporarily.  Whatever you think we must teach on!  The Common Core State Standards provide a clear understanding of what is expected of our students to learn.  They are designed to be rigorous (a word we hear often) and bring relevance to the real world.  They were designed to reflect what knowledge our students will need to have to have success in college and in a working environment.

Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards.  The math standards are supposed to allow teachers to focus on fewer topics and be able to dig deeper into the concepts to make sure our students master them.  They also want our students to apply them to real world situations. 

I know that we all have a favorite subject to teach and mine is math.  Not that I don't love teaching reading, social studies, and science, I just love teaching math a little bit more. 

To support those of you who are working extra hard I have a great product for you that my boys and girls use every single day.  I have them on metal rings around the room for my kiddos to grab and use if they need to. I love having this product in my room and love that we are working on being independent in the classroom and building our stamina to be independent.  Whew! I forget too quickly by the time first grade is over how much they don't know when they arrive to first grade at the beginning of the school year.  

Love these two little girls!

See, None of them dislike the camera!

Click the image above to take a look!

Please leave feedback and let me know what you think!

Thank you for visiting today and all of us here at Primary Chalkboard wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a well deserved time with family and friends. 

Gettin' our Math On!

Hi Friends.... Anna here from Simply Skilled in Second.  I wanted to share with you what my class has been working on in math lately.

Two years ago, my district adopted a math program called Primary Mathematics, basically it is Singapore Math.  It is actually the program that the CCSS were derived from.  I have been teaching second grade for 20 years so learning a WHOLE NEW PHILOSOPHY on math instruction has been say the least.  But I have to say that now that I have worked with Singapore Math for two years, I really believe we are on to something here!!  I would not have expected my second graders to be able to regroup with addition and subtraction so early in the year a couple of years ago....but my mind has been changed!

We start off early in the year with understanding what makes up a number (part, part, whole) and we jump right into number bonds.  Then we move right along to adding a two digit number to a single digit number using the decomposition method.  I really helps them to understand what each digit stands for and how to easily add them together using this method.

Here we are at the end of November and my little kiddos are adding triple digit numbers with regrouping using the decomposition method...and my challenge group {I do Guided Math} is adding 4 and 5 digit numbers with grouping in EACH column using this method as well....pretty cool..huh?

Here are a couple of pics of their work from this week....

It is pretty impressive what they can do so early in the year!

As I mentioned above, I do Guided Math in my classroom.  This is the first year that I have implemented it and it is AMAZING!  I cannot believe I haven't done this before!  It is awesome!

I am not going to go into a ton of detail about Guided Math in this post, but I just wanted to show you a couple of pics of what my "other" little ones are doing while I am with a group.  

Since we are working on decomposition and addition of numbers, I have my Math Stations set up with various activities that support this skill.

As a THANK YOU for stopping by, I have attached a FREEBIE for you that can get you started with addition and subtraction with and without regrouping using the decomposition method.

Click this image below to download a 20 PAGE freebie to get you started!

And if you are interested in some of my Penguin Math Stations that I utilize during our Guided Math Stations, click the image below to check it out in my TPT Shop :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Happy Math"ing"  :)

Behavior Management Tips for Tough Times!

Whew!  This week has been tough!  The kids knew that Thanksgiving Break was right around the corner, and they were pumped up, let me tell you.  This time of year can be draining, and the temptation to lighten up in the discipline department because of exhaustion, or just pressure to address the next Common Core standard, can derail even the best of classrooms.  Here are 2 tips I use to get me through the entire year.  I hope you find them to be helpful.

1)  Be Relentlessly Consistent:  The teacher down the hall recently retired.  Sad. She is, not was, a model teacher.  She is, not was, the very essence of what a great teacher is all about! She has been incredibly inspirational, and I have learned many things from her.  But the most important lesson that I have learned from her is to "Be Consistent."  If I have appropriately explained my expectations about any part of our day, and my students do not fulfill those expectations, then we review the expectations orally, and then spend time practicing them again.  I do this without fail each and every time.  All. Year. Long.  

Sometimes, I have to admit it is a real drag to be "Relentlessly Consistent."  Like when it's lunch time, and I'm starving, and the kids decide to go berserk during line-up. I just want to leave quickly, and drop them off at the cafeteria, so bad!  But, I don't.  I send them back to their seats.  We review our class expectations for lining up.  Then, we spend time practicing.  I cruelly call attention to the other second grade classes who are walking past our classroom on their way to lunch. You get the gist.  If any of you have done the Daily Five, you probably can relate to this method of "perfect practice."  In our class we say, "Perfect practice.  Every time.  All the time."  It really does work. Yes, yes, I know it's controlling, and very Type A.   I have already accepted that "the shoe fits," in this case.  But, I also tell my students, "I will only control you until you are able to control yourselves."  

I should clarify that the expectation is not that my students will attain "perfection" or be "perfect" - That would be unfair, and too much to ask of anyone.  But, I do expect my students to practice everything the way it was taught.  When they slip up, and they do, I gently guide them back to the routines and procedures that make learning possible.  

(P.S.  The retired teacher mentioned above, now volunteers in my classroom once a week, and makes comments about how much she loves being in my classroom, and how on-task my students are.  I could just about fly over the moon after hearing those words from her.)

2) Devise systems to keep students focused, motivated, and safe.   A couple of my favorite classroom management tricks are:

Musical transitions:  LOVE! If you have not visited Rick Morris' website, New Management, go now.  He has tons of classroom management tips, including music that he uses to transition students from one activity to another.  My students' favorite is the tune for "Mario Bros."  It is 50 seconds long.  Each student knows 1) I will only give instructions one time, and 2) they must be in their place, with the proper materials, ready to learn, by the end of that tune.  If not, my students change their behavior cards (clips), and pay back any wasted time during their recess (where we will model and practice quick transitions, organize materials, whatever the obstacle may be) Transitions in my room are usually very efficient and smooth, and this tool has helped me move towards my goal of reducing unnecessary "teacher talk."

Behavior Cards: These cards are a critical part of of my day-to-day management.  They are fun, differentiated, and extremely effective!  The basic idea? Students get a card that has 5, 10, or 20 boxes.  Now, it is personal, and must be appropriate for each child.  When students are on task - they earn stamps or "punches" in their cards. When their card is full, they receive some type of reward.  

 You can read more about this, and try my Christmas/Winter Differentiated Behavior Cards for FREE by clicking the image below.  Hurry this freebie expires November 25th!

These cute Christmas/Winter themed behavior cards can be used to motivate and reward a wide range of students. $

Nicole from
Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade

Balanced Math and a couple of FREEBIES!!!

Our school has definitely embraced balanced math rotations this year and I love it.  It has been going really well and my students absolutely love it!

This is how we do it in my room...
I have 3 math groups(high-cameras, medium-high-tickets, and low-popcorns).
There are three rotations(guided math, independent math, and math games).
Here is a picture of my rotation and groups schedule for balanced math.  I just had to make sure it went with my movie themed room!

You can grab the posters HERE!

I see each group for 15 minutes everyday.  I start with the low group doing guided math with me.  At the end of their guided math lesson I can explain the individual work to them.  I start the high group with individual work because they don't need guidance from me to get it done. 

I start the math period with a whole group review(5 min).  We complete math morning work(10 min). We do a whole group mini lesson (10 min).  We do rotations(45 min).  We do more whole group time, closing, and review(20 min).

And now some more FREEBIES that are not even on TPT!  I have used these during my math rotations this year!!!  Enjoy!!!

1-Number Quantities on a Ten Frame

2-Math tasks

3-French Fry Fact Family

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