Primary Chalkboard: January 2014

L.O.V.E is in the Air...

Hi Friends.... Anna here from Simply Skilled in Second.  I am so excited to share a little bit of love with you today in anticipation of Valentine's Day that is very quickly approaching.  I am not sure about you...but WHOA...did January FLY by??!!  How in the world did that happen...Christmas feels like it was two days ago...I digress..Onto the LOVE I was telling you about...  I wanted to share one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Books with you today because the main character literally melts my heart.  He is so endearing, kind, and sweet and every time I read this book my heart goes pitter-patter :)  LOL

If you haven't heard of this story....RUN...or quickly get onto Amazon to pick it up..because you will ADORE it!  It is called Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli.  Click the book image below to see it on

And if you have a Smartboard, check out this link below to a video of Hector Elizondo reading this story aloud on Storyline Online.

After I read this story to my little ones, I always to a Character Traits lesson.  This book lends itself very well to this skills.  I usually begin with creating an anchor chart of all different character traits that Mr. Hatch possesses and write them on the chart.  Then I take two of the character traits from the chart and ask my students to "Prove It" that Mr. Hatch possessed these qualities by stating evidence from the book.  I write their ideas on the chart paper and we discuss them.  After we complete this lesson, my student make Mr. Hatch....Isn't he just the cutest!!??

Inside the heart that Mr. Hatch is holding are "chocolate" character traits!  The students write character traits and evidence on the "chocolate-shaped" paper for the inside of the heart.  They LOVE this activity and it makes an adorable bulletin board display. If you are interested in snatching up this Mr. Hatch creativity, head on over to my TPT Shop to pick it up.  Click the image below to get there.

In the afternoon, we spend some time handing out our valentines to each other and we write valentines to our family members.  This year, I am going to give them the option of using my new I Love You flip flap card to give to their parents.   If you would like this flip flap card, just click the image below for your freebie!

And if you want to have your little ones practice showin' a little love for Math...check out these awesome February Word Problems from Alyssa at Teaching and Tapas...

Or this fun Read and Write the Room Activity by Laura Martin...

That's all for now...

Sending lots of love your way for stopping by the Primary Chalkboard!


Got Technology? Try DonorsChoose!

Hi, everyone! It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!
So happy to share with you today!
When I began teaching, school technology consisted
of tape players & record players.
Yes, I said record players.
We had a computer lab, but it was used for the upper grades.
Quite frankly, the computers were a little scary looking, too.
See what I mean? Makes me shiver!

Well, times have certainly changed! These lovely taupe machines
have gone the way of the dinosaurs but they sure did leave a family legacy! 

Fast forward 20 years...
Today's computers are slim and light and much more attractive.
That is...if you are lucky enough to have them in your classroom. 

My school district believes in technology.
All principals have ipads, all teachers have MAC books,
and all schools have MAC carts and working computer labs.
But, most of the technology belongs to grades 2 and above.
That leaves the littles out somewhat.
In my classroom, we had 2 desktop computers at the beginning of the year.
I decided this was the year I wanted to add more technology!

Enter DonorsChoose!
Over the last couple of years, I've watched several of my blogger friends get classroom materials through a website called DonorsChoose.
Some of my friends have received thousands of dollars worth of supplies!
Primary Chalkboard's own Stacy from Funky, Fresh Firsties
has had 18 projects funded through DonorsChoose!!
Stacy has even written an easy-to-use guide for submitting a proposal.
You can find it on TpT for FREE right here!

I used Stacy's guide when I wrote my first proposal, and it was super helpful!
I learned lower priced projects fund faster because they don't overwhelm donors.
My first proposal was $358.

So, what did I ask for?

Well, at first I thought about iPads, but honestly, Kindle Fire HDXs are more than $100 cheaper, so...
My first proposal was for 1 Kindle Fire HDX 7, stylus, and protective cover.
I got the word out to parents and friends, posted the project on my facebook page and my class webpage, and sent out project updates each week.
Some of my parents and friends took advantage of the Disney matching code
for the first 7 days, and we funded our first Kindle rather quickly.

I have a goal of 6 Kindles for my classroom.
So far, we have funded and are using the first 3.
The fourth one is $119 away from funding,
and the 5th and 6th projects are ready to submit.
Our school secretary, who is in charge of our school website,
has agreed to put our last 3 projects on our school site.

 Opening Kindle #1

Opening Kindle #2

Here's the letter I sent to parents.
I wanted to make sure every parent was aware of our project.
I also wanted to ensure they knew EVERY dollar counted!
Click on the pic for a pdf copy.
You won't be able to edit it,
but hopefully, it will help you if you decide to submit a proposal.

Not only has DonorsChoose helped me provide technology for my classroom,
it has opened up another avenue of teachers supporting teachers.
I love it! I've even signed up to be a monthly donor! 

If you have ever thought of submitting a project to DonorsChoose, nows the time!!
What do you have to lose?
All projects are posted for 4 months, plenty of time to get needed donations.
Good luck on your projects, friends! Happy Wednesday!!

Place Value Snowman Freebie

Hi there friends. I have a little freebie for you this week! We have been working on place value and of course it's the middle of winter so were enjoying snowmen as well !
Place Value is fun to think about with this  Snowman Smart Art Freebie (4)

I wrote out my 3 day math lesson plans on my blog so head on over there to read all about it and grab your freebie.  This activity incorporates the learning strategies of personal response, sense of audience, 100% group work participation, engaging in place value in a meaningful way, and the sentence frame supports writing in math and scaffolds your English language learners.  What more could anyone want? Oh a cute classroom! This helps with that too! Click my button to head over my blog.

A Trip To Chinatown

Aloha friends or should I say Kung Hee Fat Choy?  It's Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.

Depending on what part of the country or world you are in this Chinese New Year greeting may be pronounced differently.  Here is Hawaii Kung Hee Fat Choy means "May Prosperity Be With You".

January 31st marks the official beginning of Chinese New Year.  Here in Honolulu we have our own little Chinatown.  I took my girls on a trip there this week to pick ups some items for my class and to get ready for our Chinese New Year parade next Friday.

These lions guard the entrance to a little market area in Chinatown.  

It is the year of the Horse, so there were a variety of decorations with a horse figure.

The Chinese zodiac has 12 animals. That each represent a year in the 12 year cycle.

Red and Gold decor is found throughout Chinatown.  Chinese families decorate their doors and windows with these bright colors.

Eating a fresh, whole fish on the Lunar New Year is good luck.

We ran across these guys on our trip through the market.  I don't think Bull Frog is on the menu for Chinese New Year!  My daughters begged me to buy them one as a pet.  Ummm, no thank you.

We stopped at the Chinese bakery and grabbed some Chinese Buns.  These had hotdogs in them, mine was filled with BBQ pork.  Yumm!

This is a sticky rice pudding called Gau.  Eating it during the new year is supposed to bring good luck.

These sesame balls are also a traditional food.  They are called Jien Duy.  They are usually filled with a sweet bean paste, but this one was filled with sweet coconut.  This is what I always eat on my trips to Chinatown. They are delicious!

We picked up some fun trinkets as well.  Drums and cymbals are great noise makers for Chinese New Year parades. 

 I picked up some packs of red envelopes to give to my students.  These are called Lai See.  Traditionally they are filled with crisp new money (bills) to be given from Seniors to Juniors.  Meaning an adult to a child, an employer to an employee, married couples to single friends.

Mine will not be filled with money.  I picked up a bag of Chinese candy to fill mine.

Our last purchase was our own lion puppet.  In a traditional lion dance you feed the lion money to bring you luck in the new year.

We had lots of fun on our trip and came away with some great items for this week.

In class we made these great dragons from Teach Kids Art.  We will attach a wooden dowel to the neck to carry them in our parade.

We will also be using some activities from this wonderful pack. 

Katie Knight created this unit and has a great post on Chinese New Year as well. {Click Here}

I will leave you with a little freebie that I made for my class.  Perfect for my early finishers.

Click on the picture to grab this freebie in my TpT store.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you gained a few new ideas for Chinese New Year!


100th Day Celebration Hooray!!

It's Wednesday here at the Primary Chalkboard! So you know what that means!

You know we all say it! LOL! It's Leslie from 

First Grade and Flip Flops

and I'm here to offer you some ideas for your 100th Day! I guess for some of you, that may not happen til May the way I see these snow days popping up! Good and bad, I guess! I live in Florida where we have hurricane days that occur (thankfully) very few and far between. Too bad we don't have days for it's too dang hot! LOL!

Our 100th day falls on January 31st and we have a WHOLE day planned of fun 100 themed activities. Some favourite are:

Dress up as a 100 year old lady!  And have the kids dress up as 100 year old little people!!

This was the first year we did it... Not too old looking and I couldn't let the hair thing go. But check out those sporty knee highs! 

This was last year. I took the plunge and powdered my hair! Took forever to wash out but the kids loved it!!! The kids in our classes even dressed up! 

Sweet Stacy from Funky Fresh Firsties made this adorable shirt (you can check out her blog to see how you can buy one!) and  used the Aging Booth her kiddos and the adorable pack she created! They were so cute!

And see how this 

helped transform darling Tammy from Fluttering in First Grade into a 100 year old! (She looks adorable!!! Don't listen to her post!!!)

 Make 100th Day Snacks! Who doesn't love food! Check out Corinna's post from Surfin' Through Second Grade's snack idea and her fabulous idea of 100 ways to make 100!! Clever! And there are some recipe ideas, too, for a trail mix. 

Rock it out with 100th Day Glasses!

Cute kid, not included but you can download the glasses here from Scholastic! 

We make a headband:

I tried to upload a tracer for the headband but the paper was too long. Honestly, you know what I used? A Burger King crown! Yup! Just make sure there are 10 points on the crown (I used a small piece of sentence strip to make a headband. Some kids will not need it). I cut out colourful strip and each kid placed 10 somethings on each strip: 10 fingerprints, 10 stamps, 10 hole punches, whatever. Then you staple them to the points and you have a crown! Ok, jesters hat, but they love it!!! 

I am looking to add some new ideas into our 100th day repertoire and my Chalkie sisters came to the rescue! Please check out their blogs and links! 

I hope you were able to get some ideas for your 100th day and if it already passed, well, hopefully saved for next year! Have a great week and check back with us for more ideas!