Primary Chalkboard: August 2014

The Steps in a Guided Reading Lesson

Hello Chalkie Friends!!

My name is Jen Bengel from Out of This World Literacy. 

I am so stinking excited for my first official post as a blogging member of The Primary Chalkboard!!

Just a little about me:    

1. I have taught for 10 years: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, literacy coach, and now a full-time home school mama!

2. I am currently in Uganda with my entire family preparing to adopt our 4th child!

3. I LOVE the beach, running, reading, and being silly :)

I look forward to sharing lots of teaching ideas with y'all!

So, let's get started!!

It is getting to be that time in the school year again where many of us are finishing assessing students and are ready to pull small groups for guided reading instruction. 

If you are like me, you may struggle with exactly what is the best way to use this important time with students.  Over the years, I have tried so many different approaches, using a variety of note taking forms and lesson plan formats. 

I have found that there are 6 steps that have worked best for me to follow a successful guided reading instruction, regardless of the students’ instructional levels.

Step 1: Introduction (2-3 minutes)

Step 2: Reading the Text (10 minutes)

Step 3: Talking About the Text (5 minutes)

Step 4; Teaching Objective (5 minutes)

Step 5: Word Work (3-4 minutes)

Step 6: Assessment Assignment (Optional and completed independently)

To read more details about the 6 steps in a guided reading lesson that I follow, simply click here to read them on my teaching blog.

Best of luck to you all who are just getting your guided reading groups going.  They are such a great way to differentiate instruction and reach students where they are so that we can move them forward in their learning!!

Jen Bengel

Donors Choose... Choose YES

Hola, peeps!  Stacy here visiting from over at Funky Fresh Firsties with a quick post about Donors Choose.  Please tell me that you do Donors Choose projects in your classroom!  {pretty please}  If you said yes, congrats and you probably already know what great things can happen in your classroom b/c of the generosity of complete strangers!  If you haven't started yet...  out of fear of not knowing what to do, or what to ask for... or fear of how much time it will take...  well, have NO fear!  One of the first things I put in my store when I started this journey 2 years ago was a quick start guide to Donors Choose.  You can find it by clicking the picture below.
I hope that it will answer any questions you have, give you some pointers on getting funded quickly, and qualm any fears you might have.  Please feel free to stop by my Facebook page for more freebies, teacher humor, and ideas for primary teachers!  Hope y'all will have a great LONG holiday weekend!

Literacy K-2 with YouTube

Hi Everyone! 
I'm so excited to be posting for the Primary Chalkboard for the first time! I haven't started back at school yet, but I am already gathering supplies, lessons and ideas to keep those little ones busy and learning!

If you watched my video during our huge YouTube Party Giveaway a few weeks ago, then you'll know that I'm a big fan of using Symbaloo to keep myself organized! Today I'm sharing a post where I've listed my students' favorite literacy videos! 

I hope you'll hop over to Whimsy Workshop Teaching and check them out! I'd love to hear about your favorite online resources too!

Real World Math: Foreign Currency Conversion

Hey everybody!  My name is Terry from Terry's Teaching Tidbits.  I'm so excited to write my first post here at The Primary Chalkboard.

This morning, I will be waking up from a red eye to Dublin, Ireland.  I am so excited to spend a long weekend in the country of leprechauns and gold while I cheer on my alma mater, Penn State, in its football season opener against UCF.

Since I am across the Atlantic, I thought I would post about something international :)  I love teaching my students real world math scenarios, and traveling to a foreign country can truly test your mathematical skills.

I want to share an awesome blog post of mine on how to teach your students about foreign currency conversion and a fun freebie that you can use in your classroom.  Head on over to my blog to check it out!
I hope you like it!

Why Not Give Close Reads a Try This Year?

Hey guys! I am so excited to be posting today for Primary Chalkboard! I just started school a couple of weeks ago, and am teaching a new grade level, so I am super busy right now with so many different things. Sigh, summer, where did you go?!

One thing, though, I am not too busy for is to make sure I am implementing Close Reads in my classroom. I am actually teaching 6th grade ELA this year, but I am STILL Close Reading with my students. A while back I posted this tidbit about what to do when you finally decide to try Close Reads with your students, so I hope you will head on over to check it out on my blog, 2 Brainy Apples. I share some tips for getting started such as how often and when, what your students can read, how long does it take, questioning, and more! I would love to hear your experience with Close Reads, so please feel free to leave a comment!

2 Brainy Apples

Helping Students Keep Their Desks and Materials Organized

Hi everyone!  Just popping by with a quick tip for Back to School.  I just finished my fourth week with my 2nd grade students, and we are chugging along.  Funny how I always forget how much work it is to start over every year, and teach 24 new students all of my expectations!

No, BTS is hard work….HAARRRRD WORK!

One of the things I really stress in my classroom is organization and responsibility.  Students know when I ask them to come down to the carpet, that I will only tell them ONE time what it is they need to bring with them. If they don't hear me, or don't pay attention (which is more often the case), they know they need to ask a friend or use their observation skills to figure it out on their own.  

My students are called down to our whole group area using a 50 second Mario Bros. song that I downloaded from Rick Morris' behavior management website (see link at end of post). If they are not down to the rug 1) sitting on their backside 2) criss-cross applesauce 3) eyes, ears, and mouth ready to learn, and 4) with all of the materials I asked for, they will turn their behavior card.  In my opinion, 50 second is more than enough time to get everything they need, and walk down to the rug….that is…IF, they are organized! 

Showing students exactly HOW to stay organized has been super helpful in reducing the number of students who arrive late to lessons, or who just can't find that paper you gave them yesterday.

So, in the beginning of the year we do a few big, guided, "clean up" sessions of our desks and materials, each week.  The first time I asked students to "clean and organize" their desks, many of them looked just like they did before we started cleaning.  Ugh!

Obviously, some of my little darlings simply did not know what "organized" meant, or looked like.  So, I started taking pictures of exemplary models using my phone.  I walk around while students organize 3 areas: 

1) their pencil boxes, 

2) their classroom folder

 and 3) the inside of their desks.  

After I take the pics, I show them to my students under my docucam.  HUGE difference!  Students work really hard at keeping themselves organized because they want to be the example I show to the class (and I let them pick a small treat before we go home).  

RESULT: Pencil boxes look tidy.  Class folders contain all their papers (and said papers are neatly placed inside).  Desks are orderly.  

Looking for more information on Classroom Management?

Read more about Rick Morris and musical transitions HERE.

Check out My Classroom Management board on Pinterest HERE.

Thanks for stopping by,

Mrs. Rios Teaches

Pencil Management System

Howdy folks!  It's ME!  Mr. Greg from Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten!  People, I am so excited to be blogging on The Primary Chalkboard!  Seriously, I'm not worthy!

Today I'm sharing how I manage pencils in my kindergarten classroom.  It's a system that means I don't have to sharpen pencils during the week.  It saves me time (and saves me hand cramps!) and allows my kindergarteners to be responsible for their pencils and helps them solve problems!

Head over to my blog to see how we wrangle the pencils!   And share your pencil tips!

Back to School YouTube Party Winners Announcement!

All of us over at the Primary Chalkboard would like to thank everyone who participated in our super fun BTS You Tube Party and Giveaway!  We had a blast making those videos!  But most importantly, we sincerely hope you walked away with some great ideas and tips to help make this school year the best yet.

Ok, here is the fun part…..drum roll, please!  Time to announce the big winners!

Thanks again for playing, and keep checking back to see what is coming up on...

How-To: An Easy Way to Post Planner Information & Reminders

Greetings Everyone!
John Hughes here, from Created by MrHughes! I am SO excited to be a part of the primary chalkboard and represent all the upper grade teachers out there! WAHOO!

Today, I want to share a quick way to post your daily homework assignments for students to see. I just moved rooms this year so I had a bit of a dilemma! In my old classroom, I had a white board that was dedicated to the daily planner information. I choose to leave what I write for homework up ALL WEEK so that students who are absent can see what they need to do to catch up, OR, so that students CAN see that I really DID assign "that" assignment. 

In my new classroom, there just wasn't a board that I could use. I was really quite unhappy about it as this is part of my teaching routine and one that I don't want to change! (If you don't do planners, this is still a great way to write reminders of upcoming events for the week and such). 

As I was going through the treasures that were left by the previous retiring teacher, I found a box of old whiteboards that were cut from shower wall material. As I counted them out, I was pleased to see that I would have plenty of extra boards. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do.

-5 Whiteboards (or similar writing surfaces)
-3 Inch Mailbox Letters (I got mine at Wal-Mart for $3.00)
-Double-Sided Tape (You want heavy duty tape for this)
-Cupboards/Space to Hang Boards

First, you will need to mark each board with the day of the week. I only use the first letter (except for Thursday, which I use a TH).
(Monday was hung up before I took the picture- Opps!)

I put a good amount of double-stick tape on the back. You don't want them falling off and breaking.
Decide where you want to hang the boards. Mine are pretty high up, but I am tall and can reach them easily. I love that the students CAN'T reach them!

This is what mine look like hanging up. It is simple, clean looking, and just big enough to write their daily homework and reminders on (I give VERY little homework).

Here is a day up-close:
I write the date, subject, and assignment. EASY-PEASY!

My administrator LOVES it because he can see what assignments I have been giving just by looking on my wall, and parents love it because they can pop in and see what we have been doing as well.

I hope this easy tip will inspire you create a space to share your assignments!
Cheers and have a great school year-
John, Created by MrHughes

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Tips For Cooking In The Classroom

Aloha everyone! It's Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.

Does the thought of "cooking" in your classroom send chills up your spine?  Many teachers shy away from cooking activities for many reasons.  It can be costly, messy, food allergies, no equipment and sometimes very time consuming.

Kids love eating and when you tell them they get to cook they go nuts! Here are some tips and tricks to make cooking fun and easy in your classroom.

Graphics by Melonheadz, Dancing Crayon and Graphics From The Pond

*Send home a letter in the beginning of the year telling parents you plan to cook in the classroom.  Ask for donations of bowls, mixing spoons, plastic cutting boards, any kitchen utensils you might need. Parents are always happy to donate instead of throwing their old items away or giving them to Goodwill.  You can also ask for dry food donations such as graham crackers if you know ahead of time what you plan on making.

*You can also pick up measuring cups, spoons and bowls at your local dollar store.

*Cooking does not mean you have to use heat!  I tell my students that cooking is preparing food to eat.
   Choose recipes that are easy and inexpensive for students to prepare.

*Check for any particular food allergies your kids have and plan your recipes accordingly.

*Plan for one cooking project per month.  I usually plan around a theme.

September/Back To School-Apples/Seeds/Fruit






March-Green/St. Patrick's Day



*Set up your project like a center and have other students at their desks doing a related activity.

*Put all of their recipes into a class/individual cookbook.

I always start the year making a fruit salad.  I ask all children to bring in a piece of fruit. Some do and some don't.  We seem to always have enough to share.  The students all cut the fruit they brought and if a friend doesn't bring in a piece they can help stir and serve.

I type out a recipe page for each recipe we make.  I am working on getting them all together into one cookbook.  It should be finished soon! I just updated my fruit salad recipe page.  Click on the picture to grab it in Google Docs.

Students read the recipe page and then color it.  They glue their recipes into their own personal
recipe book.  Simply take ten pieces of 9x12 construction paper and bind it together. They can add to it throughout the year and then take home all of their recipes.

If you would like a more detailed description of how I cook in my classroom click {HERE}.

I have a great Pinterest Board with tons of fun ideas for cooking with kids.

I hope you are inspired to try a few new recipes in your class this year.  
Have fun!!

Primary Chalkboard's BTS YouTube Party + Giveaway!

All of us at Primary Chalkboard wanted to do something BIG for back to school for you.

So, we decided to throw a party. Who doesn't LOVE a party? This isn't just any party. Get ready for this....

Yep. That's right. It's a YouTube party! Woo-hoo! We are so excited for you all to party with us. We've all made videos to share some of our favorite back to school tips and tricks.

 There are so many tips here -- organizational, DIY, helpful ideas-- lots of things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your back to school a little easier!  Take a break from reading blogs and see our tips come alive in our videos. Are you excited yet?

Well, time to get more excited. Yes, there's MORE!

We are having a huge GIVEAWAY!

Want to know what amazing prizes you can win? 

$100 Amazon Gift Card
$100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card
A fabulous Michael Kors bag (you know, the one you want but can't justify spending the money for)?

Ah-mazing. Now you're excited, right?

You can enter to win this right here!

Hold up now. There's MORE!

You can EVEN gain EXTRA entries in the giveaway by watching our videos and entering our SECRET WORDS into the Rafflecopter (but I know you were going to do that anyway, so... 2 birds, 1 stone).

We will be linking up 5-ish new videos every day this week... so you can come back, watch, and
enter every day!

You can come back every day this week to watch more fabulous videos and gain more entries!

Where do you start?  Click on the links below to watch the first videos. Don't forget to come back each time and enter the secret words into our rafflecopter.

Fran's Video is all about making those darling photo booth props!!!

Click her picture below!
We're kindly requesting that only the Chalkies link up to the InLinkz Link-Up below. All other links will be deleted.
Click below to see our other amazing videos!