Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot


Welcome to “The Chalkies” Turkey Trot! We hope you enjoy a jog through our blogs gobbling up freebies, ideas, and recipes for some holiday joy!

We have a new blog name!  We switched out the word "Primary" for "Elementary". We want to meet the needs of any teacher K-6. Our blog has been thoughtfully designed to help you find what YOU need for YOUR classroom level!

I love those grade level tabs {seen above} that help me grab what I need. This trot will also take you through the grade level blogs of your choice.

We hope you enjoy this little meal from appetizer to dessert!

I hope you enjoy our hop and have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday :)

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Name Tag ELA Centers

For those of you who have used my Name Tag Math Centers, I have a great surprise!  I have to started to create Name Tag Centers for ELA.  You can find them >>>HERE<<<.

Right now I have the following ELA Name Tag Centers:

  • simple, compound, and complex sentences
  • commas
***I am working on making them for additional skills as well.***


Name Tag Centers are a great way to have your kids moving around, working together, and review the skills you've taught in class.  With a partner, they rotate around to each name tag, solve a problem on their side, have their partner check their answer (which is located on their partner's side of the name tag), and either put a check or X in that answer box.  When they're finished, they total up their number of checks and Xs.  The player with the most correct answers is the winner.

My kids absolutely love these and they really enjoy the healthy competition!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Social Media in the Classroom

I’m in my 9th year of teaching and one thing that I’ve learned each year is just how much each year is absolutely nothing like the last. There’s no such thing as taking out “last year’s plans”, changing the date and coasting through the year. Education evolves constantly and I find it imperative for teachers to try and evolve with it.

This year I’ve made it a goal of mine to try new things in the classroom. Whether it’s lessons, technology, etc., I want to push myself in order to see what does and does not work with my class. One of my main focuses this year has been on using technology, specifically social media, to not only teach my students, but also to keep the parents in my class in the loop with what we’re doing.

In years past, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with communication. This often leads to lots of parent questions, confusion, and disconnection. With between 25 and 30 kids, it’s very easy to lose track of time and get bogged down with other things we’re doing. I want to share with you some of the amazing new social media and technology tools that I’m using in my classroom that have helped to make this one of the best years of my career.

I first heard of Periscope this summer at the Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Vegas. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an app that allows you to do a live broadcast and people can watch what you’re doing. They can’t talk back to you, but they can type comments that you can see and show they like what you’re doing by tapping the screen to send colorful hearts. The video is also available for 24 hours in case someone misses the live feed. It seemed like a great way to market TpT products and share ideas with other teachers, but as I got into the classroom in August, it dawned on me that I could use this with my kids. I created a class account, gave the name to the parents, and told them to follow me. By the second or third weke of class, there were a few moments in class where my kids were working so hard and I wanted those parents to see it. I quickly opened the Periscope app, selected the parents I wanted to see it (I’ll explain this in a bit) and within seconds, I had parents “watching” their kids work.

Over the last 2 months, I have been occasionally using Periscope to share experiences such as presentations, a Junior Great Books discussion, kids playing in PE, reminding them of the Book Fair, and even demonstrating how we do our Number Talks. I also did a live broadcast at Orientation Night for any parents who were unable to attend. I had several paresnts watching it from other states while they were on business trips. I finally found a way to include everybody even if they can’t physically be there. I have my Assistant Principal as a follower, too, which allows me to show what I’m doing in my classroom beyond just a few walkthroughs and formal observations. I have had so many positive comments from parents about how they feel like they can finally “see” what happens during the day, especially because their kids usually say that they did nothing at school. It also gets my students to be on their best behavior because they know their parents are watching!

How to Make it Private
One of my first concerns when I signed up for Periscope was ensuring the privacy of my students. I did some research before broadcasting and found that Periscope has an option where you can privately broadcast to specific followers. Here’s how you do it:
Periscope has really enhanced the level of communication that I have with parents in regards to curriculum. Allowing them “into” our classroom has become so much fun and opened so many more doors to discussing what’s happening at school with their child.

Facebook can be a difficult tool to use at school depending on your area due to privacy concerns. Many people do not feel comfortable being on Facebook and sharing information, but I have been on it since 2004 and it has become such an integral part of my life that I wanted to find a unique way to use it to help me with school. After a parent mentioned starting a class Facebook group to share information, I did a little more research on the site and realized that I could make a completely private, closed group in which people have to request to be added to the group and I have to approve them. This allows the information that is in there to be kept among just our class of parents.

I have used our class Facebook page to share fun videos, pictures of the kids working, articles about education, reminders about upcoming events, etc. It’s also a great way for parents to communicate with each other and share pictures from our class events and field trips. It’s so quick and easy that I just love it so much more than having to send out an e-mail to everybody to get information across.

Class Dojo
This year I’m improving my level of communication about behavior by integrating Class Dojo into our daily routine. I have set up many different positive and negative awards in order to have documented information on behavior as well as an open line of communication with parents. Instead of having to spend lunch writing an e-mail about an incident that happened, I can log the incident into Class Dojo and the parents can see it. There’s also a feed similar to Facebook where you can share pictures and comments, as well as private and group messaging for quick and easy communication. I’m loving it! Our line in the hallway has never been so quiet since I use the app on my phone wherever we go in the school.

Khan Academy
Teaching Advanced Math this year in 5th grade has forced me to find new ways to get the difficult, higher level standards across to my students. I’ve used Khan Academy before to show students videos of how to do certain types of problems, but this year I’ve set myself up as a “coach” so that I can have my students on my account. This allows me to see what skills they are practicing and how they are progressing.

iXL is a great purchase by our school’s education foundation in which the students are able to practice any skill at any grade level, as well as search specifically by standard. There are so many practice problems and the students can get awards and see their progress. I like to use this for homework every so often and as a center for students to go to to reinforce skills we’ve already learned to maintain mastery.

Using a lot of technology can seem overwhelming and scary, but trust me, once you spend some time getting accustomed to it, it can be your best friend. The more you use the technology, the easier it gets and more fluid it becomes within your day. Some of the most positive outcomes I’ve experienced this year since incorporating the use of social media this year have been

· a higher level of connectedness from parents

· enthusiasm from parents, students, and MYSELF!

· Fewer parent concerns about lack of communication

· More responsibility placed on students

I can’t wait to see what other tools are available in the years to come. What are your favorite forms of technology and social media that YOU use in the classroom?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Terry's Top Ten Tuesday: Lunches I Pack During the School Week

During the school year, it's important to find ways to make healthy lunches that don't take a whole lot of time to make.  This week I'm going to share my favorite lunches that I pack for school days.

10.  Easy Mac - Yes, I admit.  I keep a stash of Easy Mac in my desk.  Don't hate me.  These are small to store, easy and quick to heat up, and take me back to my college days.
9.  Soup - I have a really cool soup cup that I used to heat up some chicken noodle soup when I just need something warm and hearty.
8.  Spaghetti - one of my favorite things to make during the week is spaghetti (either plain, with meatballs, or just with a meat sauce).  I usually put single portions into tupperware to quickly grab on my way to school.
7.  Pizza - whether it's a lean cuisine pizza or leftovers, pizza makes a great lunch to bring to school.
6.  Chicken and rice - a lot of my lunches consist of leftovers and I usually cook a lot at the beginning of the week and eat the leftovers for a few days.  I love to grill chicken and put it with either some brown rice or couscous.
5.  Tacos - just like I do with my chicken, I enjoy making tacos with some seasoned ground beef and cheese on flour soft tacos.  I don't like a whole bunch of ingredients so I make these very simple.
4.  Steak and broccoli - To get my iron fix, I love to grill a few steaks and keep the leftovers for lunch.  I pair it with some broccoli that I bake with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
3.  Sandwiches - I'm a plain Jane and love to make a nice simple turkey and American cheese sandwich to bring to work.  It fills me up but is super simple.
2.  Lean Cuisines - Lean Cuisine has done some serious product overhaul this year.  I have found some new AMAZING meals that are very few calories.  Here are some of my favorites:  Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, Cheese Tortellini, Cheddar Bacon Chicken with Broccoli, Chicken in Sweet BBQ sauce, and pretty much any type of pasta.

1.  Salad - my favorite healthy lunch is a salad.  It usually consists of romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, black olives, shredded carrots, cheddar cheese, croutons and a dressing of olive oil.  It's delicious and easy to make!
I would love to see what lunches YOU pack for the school week, particularly those that are healthy options.  I am going to be working on eating healthier, so many of my options above are going to be packed even less.

Please link up with me and share your top 10 favorite lunches to pack for the school week here:   An InLinkz Link-up

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Civil War Interactive Notebook

Teaching the Civil War was not always fun for me.  History was not a strong suit of mine as a student, but I have really learned to appreciate and enjoy both learning and teaching Social Studies over the last few years.

This year I'm working on creating a resource for helping my students take notes while using our Social Studies textbook.  The book we use is Timelinks by Macmillan/McGraw Hill.  I recently created an interactive notebook for our first unit on The Civil War.

The notes go along with 5 lessons from Unit 1 in our book which also can be used with many other textbooks as well as curriculum.  Having an organized way to build my students' note is a priority not only for preparing for regular assessments, but it will be a great resource for them to have at the end of the year before our state assessments.  Below are images of each lesson's organizers:

My students have done a great job so far with organizing these notes and it has been a great way to keep all of their information in one place.  If you want to check out this resource further, go HERE.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bill of Rights

This week I introduced the Bill of Rights to my students and they created fantastic posters to illustrate the first 10 Amendments.  Check out the video below to see what we did.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How I'm Using Periscope in My Classroom

Hey everybody!  I've been trying out Periscope for my TpT store and marketing, but I recently started using Periscope in my CLASSROOM this week!!  How?!  Watch the video below, and I'll tell you about it.  I LOVE it and so do some of the parents in my class.  I can't wait to try out some more!

Terry's Top 10 Tuesday: Essential Agreements in the Classroom

Welcome back to Terry's Top 10 Tuesday!  Since last week was my first week of school, I wanted to share with you the top 10 essential agreements that I create in my classroom with my kids on the first day.  This helps us to create the learning environment that we want to have and maintain ownership in these agreements.  We don't  use the word DON'T.  We only write what we will do in our classroom.  Once we create the agreements, everybody signs them.
10.  Stay organized
9.  Help others
8.  Work hard and try your best
7.  Respect materials
6.  Have a positive attitude
5.  Listen and follow directions
4.  Complete all assignments on time
3.  Raise your hand to speak
2.  Stay on task
1.  Respect others 

I would love to see the essential agreements that you use!

Share your top 10 Essential Agreements in your Classroom and Link Up with me here:  An InLinkz Link-up

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What I'm Doing on the 3rd Day of School

Hey everybody!  I wanted to share my plans for tomorrow, which is Day 3 of the new school year.  It's a quick video with a summary of my plans as well as a recap of how today's lesson on writing with the 5 senses worked out.  I even share an example from one of my students' brainstorming pages!

On the menu:  more writing with the 5 senses, introducing math (place value), and starting Daily 5.  Eeek!!!  I still have a lot to learn about this.

Check it out here:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What I'm Doing on the 1st and 2nd Day of School

Are you trying to plan out your first few days of school?  I'm going to share with you what I'm planning to do so that you can see if there's anything you may like that you can implement as well.

Check out my video on what I'm doing on the first day of school.

You can also view my video of what I'm doing on Day 2 by watching the video below:

Here are links to the products and activities discussed in the video above:
5th Grade Math Assessment Mega Bundle
Back to School Math Activities - 5th 
5 Senses Writing Activity

I hope you enjoy and have a great Day 2!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Terry's Top 10 Tuesday: Things to Set Up in Your Classroom for theFirst Day of School

It's that time again!  It's time for Terry's Top 10 Tuesday :)  I'm so excited because this week's top 10 is occurring during my first week of school with students!  Monday was the day we meet our students and their parents, and tomorrow is the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!  Eeeeek!

In preparation, I am going to share with you the op 10 things to set up in your classroom for the first day of school.  This is my way of doing my big "classroom reveal".

10.  Cute Lighting!
I am not a fan of fluorescent lights.  They wash out my skin and give an icky ambiance to the room.  I LOVE soft lighting that is also bright enough so that students can see clearly.

9.  School supplies
I love to have these organized and out of the way.  Students keep most of their supplies in our community area and personal supplies in a pencil pouch.

8.  Classroom Library
I'm still working on a better system for my library, but I currently have books sorted by genre as well as popular authors.

7.  An organized way to collect forms
Parents need visuals.  Tape each form onto an envelope and hang it on the board so that they get everything in the correct place.

6.  Desk formations
There is almost an art to this.  This year I have 30 students, so I have to get creative!
***disregard the mess. My kids brought their supplies last night.***
5.  Teacher desk area
I do not like clutter, so I try to keep this space as organized as possible.

4.  Carpet area
I love to do mini-lessons here where we are all comfy and cozy.

3.  Hallway Bulletin Board
This year I'm doing my Instagram theme again. :)

2.  The insides of your cabinets
My motto this year is:  If I didn't use it in the last 2 years, it's out of here!

1.  Whiteboard
I try to keep this space for homework and any small pieces of information during our lessons while keeping the majority of our work on the Promethean board.

What areas do you focus on setting up for the First Day of School?

Link up with me here:  An InLinkz Link-up