Primary Chalkboard: freebies
Showing posts with label freebies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freebies. Show all posts

Encouraging Parent Involvement

Hi everyone! Happy (almost) fall! This was my first official week back to school with kids... but I spent it in bed. Yep. Sick the first week of school. Not fun.

Today my post is all about parents, specifically parents participating in their children's education. More and more I'm seeing the iPads or iPhones as babysitters. Ouch. There, I said it. I'm being harsh and definitely over exaggerating, but there is a little truth in it. However, there are still TONS of parents who want to work with their kids and are so eager for ideas of how to do this. So  for this post, I've pulled some of my favorite posts and pins that involve kids at home learning and exploring with parents.

At the end of this post, there is a page filled with QR codes that lead to some of these great posts. The goal is to encourage those iPad parents to interact more with their kids and to give those eager parents the resources they want/need. :)

I love this post about fun science experiments to do at home! What a great way to bond with your kids while getting them thinking and exploring.


This is a great post filled with tons of fun, interactive suggestions for at-home reading.

I love this post from my friend Valerie from All Students Can Shine about reading at home. This is a great resource for parents!


My friend Lisa from Growing Firsties also has an wonderful resource for parents. This is such a helpful resource for parents. Often they are reading with their kids or listening to them read, but they aren't sure how to make the best of it.


This post is full of activities to practice math skills. Math can be so fun and it starts with our attitudes toward math. Making math come alive can do wonders for kids! 


This idea is adorable for introducing subtraction to the younger kids:

This post is packed with fun ideas, games, and tools to make math enjoyable for your kids. Love this post!

Last year I posted ideas for practicing the alphabet at home. Here is a link to that post:

One of the questions I get most from parents is how to help their kids master those sight words. I'm hoping this resource can help! Earlier in the summer I also posted some ideas for practicing sight words in the summer. Since summer is pretty much ending, I thought I'd share this resource I made for the parents at my school a couple of years ago.  

(If you scroll down to the bottom of the summer post, you will see this sight word parent resource to download for free.)

I wanted to find a way to share these resources with parents. I put some of these blog posts together on a page with QR codes so parents could easily access them. I also made a bookmark version. Head on over to my blog if you'd like a copy of this. :)

Don't forget to check out all of these other wonderful Chalkie posts this month!

First Day of School Signs to Take a Picture With

The first day of school is so important. It sets the tone for the year. It’s also when parents decide if they can trust you to care for their babies! That's why I do my best to make a fun first impression! I leave lots of signs outside my door for the kids to pose with.

It sets the stage for the parents that before I even meet their child. Here is what it says about me:
  1. I have already prepared something fun and engaging to do while they wait to meet me!
  2. I care about the first day of school and I know it’s a big deal.
  3. I know photos are important and I’m available to take them.
  4. I’m accessible.
  5. (As they interact with me) I’m warm and open to listen and help.
  6. I’m willing to answer parent questions and sooth worried emotions.
I go out well before the bell rings and shake hands, answer questions, and of course take pictures. I think this first impression is the super important.
Plus, lets be honest, moms just want a cute Facebook and Instagram. She is already going to love you as all her pals comment on her cute kid and the cute sign they are holding.
You can download these "easy print"  signs Here
if you want to do something similar!
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I get a few printed on foam board at Staples for about $10 per board.
It saves your ink and the quality is unbelievable!Freebie to use for your back to school pictures


Integrated Learning for Deep Understanding

Hello again everyone!
It's Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching and today I'm sharing ways implement an integrated learning approach in your classroom.

There's a lot of attention on integrated learning as many schools are moving away from the traditional "single subject blocks" model, to a multi-subject, project-based model. 

Here's a quick video from Edutopia to explain the benefits of this approach for deeper learning.

Click for Introduction Video

 Project-based learning is perfect for this kind of approach because within each project there are multiple problems to solve, drawing from knowledge in various subject areas.

Our school had adopted Genius Hour as another way to facilitate project-based integrated learning. With this model, students spend 20% of their school time working on a project based on their own interests.

Click for introduction video

However, you don't have to adopt a whole new program or educational movement - you can simply choose projects that focus on more than one subject at time. 
Here are a few small ways to start, and some free activities to try:

1. Integrating Literature and Math

Any form of literature can be used as a springboard to math. I tell students "Did you know there are math problems hiding within every story? They are there - and it's our job to find them!"
For example, after reading the story of the Three Little Pigs, generate math questions for the class to solve. 
Invite students to do the same once they get the idea. 
Adapt the questions to your students' level.

*If each little pig had one cookie, how many cookies would they have altogether? 1+1+1=3

*If each little pig had 3 cookies, how many cookies would they have altogether? 3+3+3=9 or 3x2=9.

*Why didn't the brick house fall down? 

The advantages of inviting this sort of thinking: 

-It reinforces the idea that math is meaningful and useful in daily life.

- It creates a habit of looking for math outside of math time, which means more practice outside of the classroom.

- It’s a wonderful way to challenge those higher level thinkers, since they are learning to generate their own questions.

-It’s involves questions that are student-generated, which leads to more overall engagement, especially in small group challenges.

Grab this free template to use with younger students to create and solve story problems:

2. Integrating Drawing & Writing

 Traditionally students write journal entries or stories, and then illustrate later -- but we flip that idea and draw first! 

Once they've finished drawing, they are so motivated to write - because they are writing about their own adorable creations. Start with a topic such as "Draw yourself as a super-hero". 
Once the pictures are done, it's time to describe  super powers or amazing adventures! 

With younger students I use step-by-step drawing templates, such as the ones below.
You can try it yourself with these free templates.

3. Integrating Math and Writing

Another way we build pictures to write about: using dice games; this integrates art, writing and math.
In the example below, students roll dice and draw parts of a monster as directed. Roll to see which head to start with, then roll again for eyes, nose, mouth and ears. I would challenge older students to create their own templates.

The monsters always turn out different, and we can change the math rule (ie. double the number or triple the number, etc.) to challenge advanced students. You can make your own template, or grab this free game HERE in the preview for the set. Once the monster is created, students are motivated to write about it on differentiated templates!

 As with Genius Hour projects, students are eager to participate actively in their own learning because it is personal and FUN.

4. Tech and Reading
 Shared Reading with EPIC online

One more tip that has been a game-changer in terms of integrating technology into my daily Shared Reading time: EPIC Childrens Literature collection online. 
This is a favorite in my class because of the popular choices, and students are learning computer skills while they read.  You can make a free teacher account and let students explore the fantastic collection; click here to take a look.   

Let's Connect!

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Take a look at the other great posts from this month!

Helping students keep track of their pencils!

I don’t know about you, but kids not having the supplies they need to do their work drives me CRAZY! Crazy, I tell you.  The problem is that I GIVE them everything they need. EVERYTHING and they lose it, eat it, leave it on the floor, claim, “It’s not mine!” and let their neighbor take it. So one kid has 6 pencils and another has none.

Enter Vodka.

Actually enter this brilliant idea! I flag my pencils with masking tape, write the child’s name on the pencil flag,  and reward the child for keeping track of their pencils until they are all used up.

No more lost pencils

So what are you waiting for? Grab some masking tape and let’s do this. Simply wrap tape around the pencil and fold the tape back in on itself. Trim the edge for a nice clean finish.  This is a great job for a parent volunteer. I have used many kinds of tape to make the flags. I have found that masking tape works best. It’s easy to work with, write on, and though it can rip, it is pretty durable! I keep about 100 at the ready all the time.

100 pencilsYou can hand out the awards in many ways. I like to give a child an award when they use up a pencil. You can also surprise the class with a pencil check. Anyone who still has their pencil gets a responsibility award.

reward them

Download now new

I am such a sucker for Valentine's Day stuff. The colors. The candy. The memories of trying to figure out what the choice of Garbage Pail Kids card meant from the boy I was crushing on... In my classroom, I definitely DOWNPLAY the love stuff with the holiday. I try to make it more of a friendship holiday - with pink, red, and hearts of course!

Just in case you are still looking for a quick Valentine's Day math activity, I made a short FREEBIE that includes 8 task cards for one step and two step word problems. It is perfectly aligned to the 2nd grade standards but could easily be used with some 1st graders and as a review for 3rd grade. You can pick it up for FREE by clicking here.