Primary Chalkboard: Family Activities
Showing posts with label Family Activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Activities. Show all posts

Family Response Journals - Reading, Writing, and Memories

Hi, Friends!  This is Autumn from The Primary Techie.  I am always excited to blog for the Primary Chalkboard.  Today I am going to share one of my favorite reading and writing tools: Family Response Journals.  These journals are for parents and kids to write letters back and forth.

I got this idea from my daughter's first grade teacher many years ago.  I absolutely loved writing her letters and knowing that she would get to read them during her school day.  My daughter is 16 now and I still have that journal.  It is one of my most treasured keepsakes because it is a record of our relationship and what was happening during that time in our lives.  I have done Family Response Journals with my first graders for the past eleven years.  Here are some of the tips and tricks I have learned to make them successful.

In the beginning of the year, we brainstorm a letter that we can all write about - "Dear Mom,  We are learning about bugs.  My favorite bug is a _______________.  What is your favorite bug?  Love, ________."  If kids can or want to write independently, they are encouraged to do so.  I write the "generic" letter on the board for beginning writers to copy.  After Christmas, I no longer model a letter on the board.  I just wander around and help students as needed.  We write in our journals on Monday.  Parents have all week to write back before sending them back to school on Friday.

Kids LOVE to get letters back from their parents!  Here are some tips I always share with my parents:
  • If you don't send the journals, they can't do it!  This is a really fun way to encourage reading and writing.  PLEASE write back to your child and send journals back to school! 
  • Remember that this is being read by a beginning reader!  Use your NICEST printing.  The kids gain reading practice with this activity.  Cursive makes this impossible with little guys.
  • Kids should write to someone in their house, so they can write back.  Sometimes my journals are missing for weeks because a student decided to write to his grandma and left the journal at her house. 

 To make the journals, I print covers on colored paper and laminate.  The back cover has a word bank with words kids commonly use in their journals.  I have two types of pages for the inside - primary lined for the kids to use and regular lines for parents.  I print kid lines on the front and parent lines on the back.  My journals have 34 pages in them.  We are usually done with them a couple weeks before school gets out.  I find this nice because the end of the year can be hectic and it is nice to have something DONE.  I use a binding machine to bind the book and E6000 to glue the binding comb shut.

These make great end of the year keepsakes.  They take about 20-30 minutes a week, but are wonderful reading and writing practice.

Click here to download journal pages for FREE!

Thanks for reading, Friends!  Until next time,

Summer Fun Ideas for Kids! Ideas to help you stay SANE and not break the bank!

Happy Summer Everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops! I am super excited for summer time! I really am. I love the leisure filled days and sleeping in. Well, I kinda sleep in. I have a little one whose internal clock wakes me up at 6:30 every.single. morning!! You may have one, too, right? Haha! And if you are like me, when you wake up you may have these little eyes peering at you asking you several things...

Can I have breakfast?
Can I have pizza?
Why aren't you waking up yet?
Can I watch TV? 
Why can't so and so come over today? 
Are we going to Disney?
What are we doing today? 

And if you are like me, which most of you are since you are followers of our fabulous teaching blog, we are teachers and have families!!!

The never ending question of, "What are we doing today?"

 Last I checked I was not activities director of a cruise ship.


Nor am I am clown in a circus to keep my children constantly entertained! Seriously... all humour aside, in these summer months I also realize that my children cannot stay home and eat bon bons with me on the couch a la Peg Bundy either (I loved her!)!

So no fear! I have a list of low cost (no breaking the bank here! A teacher's salary in the summer can only stretch so far! ) and relatively stress free ideas to keep your kids entertained this summer! 

1. Like bowling? AMF offers FREE bowling for kids. Kids get 3 free games every day during the summer months. It's super easy (click on the AMF link I provided for you!) as you just register your kids to get a special number. My kids go at least twice a week. You do have to rent the shoes but it's minimal. Even better is to get other friends who signed up to go with you! More entertainment! 

2. Dollar Movies: Regal Cinemas offers $1 movies on certain days of the week. You'll have to check your local area to see if your theater around you offers. You cannot beat a dollar! The movies are oldies but goodies! 

3. Do you have a builder in the family? Lowes offers free workshops for kids.  You have to pre-register your child before the event. I think this weekend, June 27th there is an Avengers workshop! Check it out and hurry! 

4. Feeling crafty? Michael's offers lots of classes in the summer for your little artists! They have some cute projects on their website and some of their projects involve some inexpensive materials or materials from your home! 

5. Support your local farmers and visit the farmers markets! My kids love to go. Now that it's summer, I love to go to the market. The prices are really inexpensive. I know it is hot but it is the best time to buy those fruits and veggies that my kids love! We bought a super juicy watermelon for $3! Look how yummy! Also wanted to share a tip on how I cut it! I cut it into "sticks"! Way easier for my kids to eat! It was a nice bedtime snack!

5. Visit your local library! It's more than just books! They have movies and CD's. If you look at their schedule they have story time and sometimes special events like puppet shows or zoos that come and do exhibitions for kids! All free! 

6. Explore your city! I will be honest and say that I have lived in my little town for most of my life and there are parks I have never visited so now may be my chance to go! Or maybe there is a place in your state you've always wanted to see! 

These are just a few ideas to share with you! I just learned of the bowling one last year and I was so excited about it! I hope that our list gave you some ideas! I am sure there are so many more we could add! If you'd like to add to our list, please list that in our comments! I hope you take this summer to enjoy the time with your families and create memories to last a lifetime! 

Check back with us for more great ideas! 

Take care! 

Lots of love,

First Grade and Flip Flops

Thankful Saturday!

Happy Saturday everyone! It's Leslie from First Grade and Flip Flops! 

SO excited to be blogging with you today! It's the month of November and it's a month that we all say what we are most thankful for-- well, really, we should be thankful every day, right? LOL! So here are some things I am thankful for!

I really do love this month in my classroom because I get to do some of my favourite activities with my first graders. One of them is the Disguise the Turkey project and the other is my Thankful Hearts project. Can I just say, heartwarming tears and hearts!!! I pass out hearts to all the families with a simple letter and families are to write what they are more thankful for in their child. Here are a few examples:

This is the one I did for my own son who is in first grade! xoxo

I always read them during writing block and call the kids up with me as I read the hearts. They beam and shine as they listen to the words their families write. All you need is a large heart (I used the large heart die cut from our Ellison machine) and attached the parent letter. Simple, easy and very heartwarming. Here is the letter I used if you'd like a copy:

Click on the pic to grab yours! 

I am also extremely thankful to work on a team that I call family! I love the girls I work with! They are truly my family. It totally makes coming to school so much fun! Some of us have come and gone but we have remained great friends and sisters. Do you work in a school like that? 

Then there's my family and boys. Love them to pieces. 

Thankful for these after school. I call them Brownie Crack. Seriously, you need to try these! Especially after a very trying day at school!

Lastly, thankful for the fabulous ladies of the Primary Chalkboard and our equally fabulous followers! Here is a freebie for you! I created it to help my students with l-blends. 

Click on the pic to grab your FREEBIE!

I hope that each and every day you find the little and big things to be thankful for! Have a great Saturday and hope you see you back here, on our blogs, and on our FB pages! 

Love to you!