Primary Chalkboard: March 2014

Things are Sprouting UP!!

Happy Sunday, all! It's Leslie here and I have learned a new fact today! Did you know that dirt is good for your soul??

As an non-outdoorsy person (it's true-- I don't like getting dirty, sweating, creepy crawly things, and bugs that attack you and bite you. I don't camp--when was the last time you saw an Asian person or family featured on a Gander mountain magazine camping? LOL! Half joking and half serious. Ha! ) I actually don't mind digging in the dirt and planting. I love to plant with my sweet boys and class. 

So, going back to dirt is good for you-- and your kids-- yes, it is because it offers them a chance to connect with their world and their environment, it gives them a chance to be toughen their immune system, and soil has some bacteria (good bacteria!) that help produce and activate those feel good chemicals in your brain--it's a natural anti-depressant! 

Every year around this time (I live in FL so it may be easier for me, but no worries! I got your back for  our friends who live in colder places!) is the time of year I focus on growth and life cycles! One of the projects I do is we plant seeds.  So easy to do! 

Last year I found this idea on using toilet paper rolls to start seeds. It's a great tie in to Earth day and it's a great way to recycle:

Click on the picture above for a more information or you can click here for a pictorial how to. 

One of the seeds I always like to plant are Radish Seeds. 

Now, why Radish seeds you ask? Well, number one, they aren't lima beans! LOL! I think we all do lima beans. Number two, they have a shorter germination period of 3-5 days for our little impatient children who want to see results! Here is a time lapse video of radish seeds growing  If you don't quite have a sunny place for your seeds to grow, you can also create a "greenhouse" for your little planters. I've just used a rotisserie chicken container and placed my toilet paper planters in there!

Tired of lima beans or want something more applicable to kids? Try green onions or carrots! Click on the pictures for more information. I think I might try the carrot top one this year. 

I also teach about worms during this time and how worms are beneficial to plants. We even make a worm farm! (I tell you, the things we do for our kids!) I buy some worms from my local fishing hut

and we study the worms and allow them to crawl around our observation trays. (Side note-- remember my saying, I don't like creepy crawly things! Worms would fit that category! Like Sophia from the Golden Girls says... "Picture this, a classroom in the near future...A teacher using chopsticks to get worms out of the container!" Using my Asian roots for something! LOL!). Most kids love this; some shy away from it but most love seeing their worms wriggle around and away from them.  Plus, there's some dirt there= dirt and worms!! Must be good for your soul then, too! The kids loved the worms so much, we made a worm farm to observe them! Here is one I think I will make when I get back. 

Click on the pic for directions! 

The one I made last year (PB= pre-blog) was just a terrarium with some soil and I put in egg shells and coffee grounds or anything worms would eat. It was soooo cool! The only downside is there were some worm casualties. No wonder they are called nightcrawlers. It is not fun to come into your room and find worms in the morning! 

So get those kiddos out in some dirt and feel good about it!

Lots of love to all of you!

Clip Art Addicts Unite...

Hola, peeps!  Stacy here from Funky Fresh Firsties.  I hope your weekend is off to a FAB start!  Stopping in to do a short post today and I wanted to share something that I do that makes hallway displays pop!  I have a crazy collection of clip art {we're teetering on a full blown addiction....shhhhh}.  I use my clip art to make classroom products obviously and I even use it to cute-sy up my newsletters, etc, but making my clip art into posters is one of my favorite things to do!  It is easy, fairly quick, I can get others to help, and I can use them over and over again! Here's my latest project with clip art posters:
We've been reading Lulu Walks the Dogs in class the last week or so and also working through my book companion.  The students complete character webs for each dog and I wanted to display those in a cute way.  I opened the PDF file on my laptop and projected it onto the SMART Board.  I used the zoom (+) button until the dog filled up the poster and taped the poster to the SMART board!
Then I traced the dog with a ball point pen fairly lightly.  It didn't need to be perfect because I would be outlining it more precisely later

Once I have the image (Cordelia the Dachshund in this case) traced... I go back with a FAB marker and outline carefully.  I love, love, really love the flip chart Sharpies!  I normally buy a few packs at the beginning of the school year at Really Good Stuff.
Yep, all outlined is so much better!  Now you can color it in or get the kids involved and let them help (if your OCD is minimal)... or enlist the help of parents, or husbands, or aides!  One of my favorite things to do is color the posters in with chalk.  I got some cheap chalk at IKEA on my last visit {swoon}.

A video of me coloring?  That's right... you're welcome! :)  In case you needed a tutorial!  Side note: it's hard to video yourself coloring with one hand...  this took some serious skill peeps!
Once you have your posters all finished... be sure to laminate for durability.  They look so amazing in the hallway with student work!  I like to try to add a 3-D type element to mine.... so this time I added yard between Lulu and all 3 dogs to look like a leash!

I made these to go along with the hallway display.  If you read Lulu Walks the Dogs and would like them... you can download them HERE!!!
Also, if you are in need of a book companion, you can find mine HERE!  I would HIGHLY recommend the Lulu books for 1st and 2nd graders!  Lulu and the Brontosaurus is amazing... and Lulu Walks the Dogs is also equally entertaining.  Grab both and watch your kiddos sit and listen in AMAZEMENT!
I hope that y'all will have a great weekend and that it will go by super SLOWLY!  You can keep up with my on FB over at Funky Fresh Firsties... let me know if you try the poster trick!!!  Talk to y'all soon!

Meet the New Chalkies! FREEBIES

Hello Primary Chalkboard Friends,

We are so excited over here because we have just welcomed 9 fantastic bloggers/friends into the Primary Chalkboard family!

Get ready, because they are so excited to share their experience, tips, and ideas with you!  Let's start right now.  Below you will find out a little about each new Chalkie, a link to one of their favorite products, AND a link to one of their spectacular FREEBIES! 

Greg's Favorites
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2nd Grade Common Core Daily Math Review/Morning Work- April, May, & June Bundle $

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We would love for you to leave our new friends some love in the comments below!