Primary Chalkboard: October 2015

Get the most out of Partner Talk and teach your kids how to have effective Academic Conversations

Now that's a title for ya'...quite a mouthful right?!!?  Are your administrators training you in academic conversations or having you encourage your students to 'talk' more?  
It's Vicky here from Teaching and Much Moore sharing my thoughts on this.  My district implemented this a few years ago and I do believe I'm a better teacher for learning about it and using it.  At first it felt awkward and I was afraid I would 'lose' my class       ( especially those classes with tough behavior ).  But through the years and a grade change as well I have become so comfortable with it and it has become second nature to me.  More importantly it has become second nature to my students.  

In our district they were having us focus more on having the students respond to our direct teaching rather than giving them prompts which I think both are important.  It sounds funny but part of having the academic conversations includes teaching your students how to 'talk' to each other.  For instance when responding put part of the question back in the text.  
My friend Christina and fellow Chalkie has a wonderful resource that can help your students with this exact concept.  You can check it out { here }
I love this ~ especially as an introduction to the whole shift in getting little learners to talk more.

I created an anchor chart that reminds my students about key ideas: * building on others ideas means you are being a good listener
* repeat or paraphrasing is a great life skill and shows you are a good listener.
*asking questions is always important too

I think it's important to start small when introducing this and I always make sure that my students understand it's EQUALLY or even more important to be a good listener.  Listening and paying attention to their peer is very important so that they can respond properly.  One way to reinforce this is something my friend Tammy came up with called the TALKING STICK.  I'm sure it's been on the web before but she created these and we laminated them and gave them to our students.  When you have the talking stick it's your turn to talk and the one that doesn't have it just has to look at the person and listen.

I love how another awesome Chalkie friend Meg provides prompts in her pack on this very topic:

You can grab her pack { here }

This one is great because it's for older learners ~  Meg's pack offers prompts on a variety of high interest topics that is helpful to get the students practicing this all important skill.

The main idea here is to get your students to collaboratively talk to one another.  Sharing their ideas and responding to text helps them to sort out their own thinking processes.  Listening to another peer helps them form their own opinion on a topic, do they agree with their classmate on this topic or not and why?  They begin to form their own thoughts and opinions and they will learn to voice it in an appropriate way with lots of modeling by you and practice.  This is a very important 21st Century life skill for sure!

My academic conversation pack includes conversation disks which are similar to cards, it also includes conversation starters and a die to roll as well.  

If you are interested in my pack you can grab it { here }

Building their oral language skills and learning problem solving skills within their day is such an awesome ability to have in life.  Another important part of teaching this is THINK TIME.  It's important when modeling this to actually stop and be quiet in front of your students for a bit to show that you are using think time and that's perfectly fine.  We can't expect our students to learn this skill if they don't have proper think time to process how to respond etc.

Try this concept out in your class and tell us how it goes.  We can't wait to hear from you!
 xox, Vicky
Find me here:

A Heartfelt Halloween Read Aloud with Printable Freebie

Hello friends! Christina here, from Miss DeCarbo's Sugar and Spice. Today, I am excited to share an amazing children's book with you: When Hairy Met Tallie by Stacie Carroll. When I sat down to read this book, I knew it would be sweet, but I had no idea it would touch my heart SO much!  
This book is based on the true story of a beautiful little girl named Tallie, who looks and learns differently than other children. Within the book, Tallie is teased a great deal, and she feels very alone. Then, she meets Hairy, a life-sized skeleton that soon becomes her best friend. Hairy teaches Tallie that even though we all look different on the outside, we are all the same on the inside. The skeleton makes Tallie so happy, and she gains confidence in herself. She loves knowing that beneath our skin and hair, we are all alike on the inside - we all have a skeleton made out of bones and a big, red heart! 

This message, which is so important for ALL children of EVERY age to understand and learn, is so beautifully and simply written in this book. As teachers, we want so desperately to teach our kids how to accept and care for everyone in our school family. I believe this book does just that! 

Today, Stacie Carroll, the author of the book and mother of Tallie, is sharing this special message to children and schools all over! If you would like to learn more about Tallie's story and get a copy of the book to share with your students,  you can order it on her website:

Below is a little freebie page that you can use with your students after reading this book together. I hope you enjoy it! You can download it from Google Drive by clicking HERE or clicking on the picture below: 
Thank you for letting me share this precious children's book with you!
Have a wonderful Halloween week! 
Happy Learning,

Literature Journals

Aloha everyone it's Corinna from Surfin' Through Second!  Just a quick post today to share with you how I use literature journals to enhance reading skills in my classroom.

I stock up on composition books and use them quite a bit during our literacy time.

Essentially it's a place to keep everything together and students can go back and review lessons and skills learned. Here are a few examples of how we use them.

There are so many different ways you can use literature journals in your classroom.

-Recording Literature Circle Activities
-Recording Text Evidence
-Answering Text or Teacher Questions
-Enrichment Activities

I also have students cut and paste interactive activities from our reading series or items I have created or purchased.

Do you use literature or interactive journals in your classroom? Feel free to share how you use them!

Social Media in the Classroom

Hello everybody!  This is Terry here from Terry's Teaching Tidbits.  I'm so excited to be back on the Primary Chalkboard blog to share some great new ideas with you that I've been trying out in my classroom.

This year I have decided to step up my communication with parents in an effort to keep them more informed and aware of what is going on the classroom.  The results?  This has been the BEST year that I've ever had in the classroom.  The parents in my class have never been more kind, helpful, and reassured that what we're doing is going to be rigorous, fun, and educational.  On top of that, I, myself, have been more involved and motivated.  It's a win-win!

To become more communicative, I've been using the following types of Social Media/technology in my classroom:

  1. Periscope
  2. Facebook
  3. Class Dojo
  4. Kahn Academy
  5. iXL
To find out more detail about how I'm using each of these in my classroom, head over to my {BLOG POST}.  

Word to the wise:  Don't be scared!  There are ways to use technology and social media without violating privacy.  I talk about this with Periscope and Facebook.

We live in a digital world now, so join me in adapting to our changing society and using it in a positive manner to help our students, parents, and ourselves stay motivated and involved in the classroom.

EEEEEK! Bats and Spiders.. OH MY!

Hi Friends..Anna here with Simply Skilled in Second.  I hope this post finds you well.  Now that we are deep into October, I wanted to let you know what I have my students do during our Daily 5 rotations in my Work on Writing station.

Introducing..... BATS!!!!

bats research

So... I LOVE having the students do different types of research projects in class during the month of October.  This month lends itself well with so many opportunities for having some fun learning and researching about creepy crawlies and things that fly in the night with Halloween coming up.
So in order to fit EVERYTHING in... I like to add research projects to my work on writing station.
During the month of October, my students will complete 3 - 4 different research projects at my Work on Writing Station.  My students always have a MUST DO and a CAN DO activity when they get to our Work on Writing Station.   This month they will focus on BATS, using EITHER.. my 
All About Bats  Bat-Shaped Interactive Notebook OR they can complete my Bats Flip Flap Book™

bats research

I add a variety of different non-fiction books, texts, and passages at the Work on Writing Station for them to read and complete their research.  Giving them a choice on which activity to complete is exciting for them!

The next project they will work on during their rotation to Work on Writing is Spider research using my Spiders Flip Flap Book™

spider research

spiders flip flap book
spider research
I also leave one of my ipads at the Work on Writing Center set up so they can watch this video as well.

During Halloween week I also have my students complete my  Halloween Writing Fun Interactive Notebook activity and when they are finished, they glue them in their Interactive Writing Notebooks.  My Haunted House Halloween Shaped Booklet is what I use to differentiate my  Work on Writing station. A few of my students will not be able to handle 3-4 different projects in the month, so in order to differentiate, I will give those students my Haunted House Halloween Shaped Booklet.  This booklet has a page for spider research, bat research, writing an expository paragraph, a making words activity, and a few other activities.  So this booklet is a PERFECT way to differentiate my Work on Writing Station for my kiddos :)

halloween interactive notebook

So... I just wanted to share a few of my Research-Based Projects that are at my Work on Writing Center for the month of October.  If you are interested in any of these resources, click the images below to check them out in my TPT Shop!

bats researchbats research
spider researchwriting templates

 halloween interactive notebook

Thanks so much for dropping by today!


Halloween Lanterns-Easy Tutorial!

Happy Friday, friends!
It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!
We've been busy getting our room ready for spooky season!
We've made bats, and spiders, and some fun Halloween lanterns!
We chose jacks, ghosts, and Frankensteins for our lanterns.
Here's a peek at our lantern making!

 You will need:
*construction paper- 
9" x 12" orange, green, or white 
black strips long enough to cut handles
*black markers or crayons (if you want faces)
*tape or staples

Here are the steps:
Step 1:  Place a piece of 9" x 12" construction paper on the table lengthwise. Draw a face in the middle of the page. We made jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and Frankensteins. If you don't want faces, skip this step. 

Step 2: Fold the paper in half lengthwise.

Step 3: Use a ruler and draw a straight line about 1/2" inch from the top of the unfolded edge. Pic below.

Step 4: Cut straight lines from the folded edge to the pencil line on the unfolded edge.

Step 5: Open the paper.  It should look like the pic below. I had kids write their names on it then. 

Step 6: Roll the paper into a tube. Pic below.
Tape or staple the ends. You could glue but taping allows you to keep working. 

Once taped, the lanterns will look like this.

They turn out so cute!

Click here for my original post for jack-o-lanterns on vines.

 I hope you're having fall weather in your neighborhood!
Love the feeling of fall!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!