Primary Chalkboard: February 2014

Is Your Library A.R. Ready for Read Across America Day?

Reorganizing my library at the beginning of the year was one of the best choices I made. At my old school, when I taught second grade, A.R. was offered, but wasn't a big push at my school. My new school has a big push for getting A.R. goals! Since I wasn't used to A.R., my classroom library was organized by Genre. This year, I reorganized it by AR reading level and it is making things work much smoother during my Readers Workshop and it is making my kiddos much more aware of their Good Fit books!
If your school doesn't do AR, this post will still benefit you!

Read Across America Day is a day to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday and childrens' amazing successes in reading. 'Accelerated Reading' is a program that is part of Renaissance Learning.
AR is throwing a little reading party called Read the Most From Coast to Coast!
We are going to read lots of AR books and take lots of AR quizzes in our pajamas on Friday!
Start with AR levels.
I used my own color coding system because I like things in ROY G. BIV order. :-)
Circle stickers will be your best friend!
0.5-1.0 Red
1.1-1.5 Orange
1.6-2.0 Yellow
2.1-2.5 Green
2.6-3.0 Blue
3.1-3.5 Pink
Anything past this, I double sticker and let my first graders know they are going to be very advance. If you are an intermediate teacher, you would maybe resort your levels!

Use It is a one stop shop for book information.
Enter the title or the ISBN number. You will get the reading lexile level, the AR book number, and how many AR points each book is worth.


Then sort them into their baskets!

And, as always, to keep them on track for comprehension, grab this freebie!

Thanks guys! 
(One of) Yours truly,
Jessica from Second Grade Nest
at my wonderful collaborative blog....

Read Across America Linky is Coming!!!!

Get your posts ready and come back to link up with us!!!

Products We Love & A Lucky Day Giveaway

Guess What?!  TPT is having a SALE!!!  Woooohooooo!

TPT is celebrating 3,000,000 Teachers Strong!  Wow!  What a milestone...and we are lucky to be a part of it.

Fonts from Kimberly Geswein

Sooooooo...since we love our followers a whole bunch!

And....We also love TpT a whole bunch...

We decided to share some TpT love with 3 winners so they can have a BLAST shopping during the TPT Sitewide Sale!

It could be your Lucky Day!!!

Introducing our...
Credits: Graphics from the Pond, Kimberly Geswein, Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah

3 Followers will each win a $20 gift certificate to TpT!

How fun is that? See? We DO love you!

What can you spend it on?  Hmmm, we can give you a few ideas.  Check out all of these amazing resources from our wonderful group of Primary Chalkboard authors.

Click right on the picture to take you to that product on Teachers Pay Teachers or click on the link below to learn more about it on their blog.

Click {HERE} for more information on Anna's blog.

Click {HERE} for more information on Stacy's blog.

Click {HERE} for more information on Corinna's blog.

Click {HERE} for more information on Lisa's blog.

BRAG don't NAG - Such a cute way to shout out great classroom behavior and watch it multipy
Click {HERE} for more information on Katie's blog.

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All of our stores will be on sale for Teachers Pay Teachers site wide sale!!  Stretch those dollars and hopefully add a few more to spend! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's a Math Showdown!!

Hey! Hey! Hey! Happy Friday, everyone!!! Hope you all have had a fabulous week! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops!

We have been working on the GRM (Gradual Release Model) and Place Value! Come see what the Showdown has been all about!

Click on the cowboys to take you to my blog and for a freebie or two so you can have a showdown in your classroom, too!! Be there or be square!!! 

Reading Stamina Tip

Happy Sunday, friends!! Thanks for stopping by the Chalkboard today!!!

Lisa from Growing Firsties here, with a post about Reading Workshop for you...

But, before I start, did you see Katie's Primary Chalkboard post the other day about saving your sanity on Valentine's Day? Love her tips!!

Also, be forewarned...her post is also MUCH prettier than mine! (She has a seeeeerious talent for graphics!)

But...hope you'll still like mine, too! :)

My topic today is Reading Workshop - more specifically Private Reading.

Well..that's what we call it for our first graders...we liked that the title is pretty blatant that it's reading done And...since it's immediately followed up by Partner Reading, when the kiddos come across something they'd like to share from their reading, they are motivated to plan for what they'd like to discuss and read during Partner Reading. (They use sticky notes for this planning.)

It helps that they place their chairs back to back, too. :)

I digress...

This particular tip is helpful for those friends that have a hard time staying engaged during Private Reading.

Not that I E.V.E.R. have students with troubles like that.

I'm sharing this for a friend.

On the left (green) side, kiddos put all their book box books. As they read each one, it goes onto the right (red) side.

Once they finish, if there's still time, they move the pile from the red side to the green side and start again.

Please forgive the I-forgot-to-take-a-pic-of-it-at-school-with-classroom-library-books sample above...I quickly made one with the THREE books available to me downstairs in the kitchen while my own kids were sleeping.

But you get the idea, right?

It works nicely, too, for students who really love that sense of accomplishment that one gets from moving stuff from to-do to done! Sooo, I invite EVERYone to try it and privately really ENcourage a few friends in particular.

Right now, my firsties are reading for 35 mn during Private Reading while I confer and meet with small groups. Partner Reading remains at around 8 minutes.

If you'd like to check out a few more posts about Reading Workshop...head on over and check these posts out...

Book Box Organization

General Update on RW (includes a few freebies)

Smiles to you! Lisa

Valentine's Day Sanity

Hello party people! Are you POOPed after today's Valentine Fun??? I just blogged {here} about 5 Tips and a freebie to save your sanity next year!  Why not make Valentine's Day even more fun, exciting, calm, and academic next year? How can something be exciting and calm? Better click {here} to see.   

Behavior Management {An Idea to Try Out Next Year}

Hey peeps... Stacy here from over at Funky Fresh Firsties with a short post today.  Can you believe that we are already half way done with February?  I am already counting down the days until summer {don't judge}.
I wanna chat today about behavior management in my first grade room.  I love that all teachers have a strength... it's really cool to watch that play out in a school setting.  I feel like my strength happens to be classroom management.  Some days teaching 1st grade feels a lot like herding cats... but it's nice to know that I am a good "herder" overall!  This is my 12th year and I have found that flexibility is key.  What worked last year might not be that great this year.  Last year I used Class Dojo and my kiddos ATE IT UP!  They would beg me to bring up the screen on the SMART board each day.  You can read more about Class Dojo from my guest post for Rachel Lynette at Minds in Bloom HERE.
This year though.. my firsties don't really dig it quite so much.  What has worked is a very visual behavior management tool that goes with us around the school and is also displayed  in the classroom!  
This is at the front of the classroom right next to the SMART board.  Each child has a magnet with their number on it {These come from Tea and Coffee... mine are lime and teal.}  This allows them to see exactly where they are for the day... and also allows for redemption.  I have found that redemption, or the idea that they can get back in my good graces, is a very powerful motivator this year.  I also make them move their magnets which also seems to be pretty powerful.  If they make it to the top of the chart... they are rewarded with 10 minutes of iPad time or computer time.  
When we travel in the hallways for our special classes or to/from lunch... we take our behavior stick that is painted with the same colors and each child has a clothespin with their name clipped.  I can quickly move them up or down depending on hallway behavior.  
 This also makes them accountable to other adults in the building (their lunch monitor, specials teacher, special education teacher, etc.).  To make the stick, you paint it with the colors you choose with acrylic paint and VOILA!  The green section in the middle should be the biggest section though!  I also separated my sections with mustache washi tape and sealed it with mod podge for extra durability.

I think the key is truly being flexible and finding what works for your kiddos.  I teach in a very disadvantaged area for sure and I think the key to my success with these children is that I am in... ALL the way in.  I know their family situations and it motivates me b/c of how I grew up.  I love these children and they know it.  I hug each and every one before I put them on the buses... regardless of what kind of day they had.  They also know that when they walk in the next day, they have a clean slate.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I do not yell.  Ever.  The logic behind that is... I know what many of them are going home to.  They are used to being yelled at.  Have they ever seen me upset?  Absolutely.  Do they know when I am disappointed?  Yes.  I tell them at the beginning of the year that we are a family and I truly mean it.  Each one of us plays a part and we all have a job to do.  We share each other's joy and pain.
I hope that you will have a great week with your kiddos.  I think Friday is supposed to be a full moon and Valentines Day {remember when I said herding cats earlier?}.  One last thing... I am going to be giving away a set of clothespins from Tea and Coffee to one of you!!!  Here's how to enter: leave a comment with your best behavior management tip.  I will let one of my little humans pick a name on Valentines Day!  Good luck!!!

President's Day FUN, FREEBIE, & a Giveaway!

Hi Friends....  Anna here from Simply Skilled in Second.  I hope this post finds you all well...and WARM.  I don't know about your neck of the woods, but it is COLD and SNOWY in New York this past week!  I had two snow days this week alone!  I am going to be going to school until July if this keeps up!

Anywhooo....I thought I would share some of the things that I do to celebrate President's Day with my kiddos.  I love President's Day and teaching about Lincoln and Washington.  Leading up to President's Day, I always take about fifteen minutes at the end of two days and read these books to my kiddos.  If you haven't seen these books by National Geographic Kids you are missing out!  They are incredible books that are easy to read but have a wealth of information that is easy for children to understand.  I actually purchased six copies of each book and I have my students use them for their research.  Half the class researches Lincoln and half the class researches Washington and then we switch off.

I also show a few videos on my Smartboard about the presidents to my little ones as well.  Click the pictures to see the video links.

After we read our mentor-texts and watch our videos, I always make an Anchor Chart about each president where we add important information and facts about each of their lives.

I love creating projects with my class and they love it too.  I also think the parents appreciate seeing longer more detailed projects relating to a topic as well.  Here are a few pictures of my little ones working on their President's Day Lapbook.

Here is an image of my bulletin board display!   I titled it
"We are FLIPPING" over President's Day."
Every day I would see different children stop at my bulletin board and start reading the different flip flap books in the lapbook.  You can't help but stop and touch it when I looks so interesting :)

And if you are interested in doing the whole lapbook with your students, click the image below... are a few little freebies for you...

This one is from me :)

Feel like trying to win some AMAZING President's Day Resources???  Complete the Rafflecopter Below for your chance to WIN!!!!!!

Here are the prizes you can win....

This is from Anna - Simply Skilled in Second
This is from Faith - First Grade Fantabulous
This is from Jessica - First Grade Nest

Thanks so much for stopping by!