Using QR Codes at Parent Teacher Conferences

Welcome to the Primary Punchbowl!!  I'm Megan, from Mrs. Baker's Dozen.  I don't know about y'all, but Spring Break couldn't come quicker!  My kiddos are in crazy mode and all of those full moons last week did not help things a bit.

But before we can enjoy a week of relaxation, we have our Parent Teacher Conferences.  My to-do list is super long, y'all!  Cleaning, organizing, REPORT CARDS....whew.  And to put the icing on the cake, we put together an awesome display outside the classroom.  

Last semester, I interviewed the kiddos about their favorite things in school, created a QR code, and had students show their parents how to scan it using our classroom iPads.  This semester, we are solving the MYSTERIES of FIRST GRADE!  

My interviews will consist of these questions:  1.  What was the hardest mystery you've solved in first grade?   2.  What do you want to learn in second grade?

I did this interview with my daughter and created a QR code.  It turned out great!

Here's my steps to creating a QR code using Google Drive:

1. Video the interview.
2. Upload and email it yourself.
3. Upload it to Google Drive.
4. Click Shareable Link and mark the bubble that says anyone with this link can view.
5. Click done. Copy the link.
6. Go to a QR code generator website. I used QR Code Generator.  I signed up for free.
7. Paste the link in the box and click Create QR Code. Make sure it's on Static.  
8.  Download the image and print!!  It's a good idea to scan it before you print, just in case it doesn't work correctly. 

You can use these steps to create ANY kind of interview!  Students could interview each other or even another teacher.  You could video them giving their parents or grandparents a special message, the possibilities are endless!  

My newest product, Mystery Solvers: A QR Code Craftivity for Parent Teacher Conferences, includes a cute creativity, graphic organizers, and printables to extend this lesson of reviewing what we've learned in school so far.   Grab this FREEBIE to get you started!!

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Alouds to Support Social Thinking

Hi Friends! It's Nicole here from Why Pencils Have Erasers and I'm pumped to be blogging at The Punchbowl today.

In the primary classroom, read aloud is such an important part of our day. It is a time for exploring possibilities, building connections between every area of our content instruction, reviewing, previewing, and so much more. Read alouds encourage even our youngest students to question, discuss, build on prior knowledge, and expand their thinking. One of my favorite ways to use our daily read aloud time is to explore social thinking themes with my kiddos. Read below to find my top three can't-live-without-em picks for creating a thoughtful classroom community!

Now picture this: due to our restrictive scheduling, the only time I could build read aloud into our schedule this year was during snack. The me of September felt that surely, this could never work. How could I expect my kiddos to munch their goldfish, peel their clementines, and heck, even remember to eat all while thoughtfully considering the pages in front of them? Would this valuable time be squashed into nothing more than a 15 minute filler? Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only are my kids more focused and attentive than ever, they actually eat more without the distractions of talking with their table mates (cue: less nervous emails from parents worrying that Jack/Samantha/Liam/Elizabeth/Jonathan/Ellie's snack box didn't come home quite empty enough).

Now, their mouths might be full of seaweed when they ask me questions about certain characters, and occasionally someone spills their chocolate milk because, well, books are just so interesting, but our snack time conversations have become one of my favorite parts of the day. My first grade kiddos have proven that they really are quite skilled at multi-tasking, and I often watch in awe as they quickly take concepts from the books we read and apply them to classroom activities and interactions. So, proud teacher aside, here are my top three picks for building social thinking skills:

1. The Blanket Statement
I use Jo Ann Stover's book, If Everybody Did, each year to form our classroom rules. Not only is it hilarious, but it also gives my first graders a clear visual about why it actually is important to follow the rules. The best part? It provides an excellent point of reference for the ENTIRE YEAR in situations like:

"Isaac are you putting those legos in your mouth? Imagine if everybody did."
"Olivia, imagine if everybody used the markers like they were trying to stab them all the way through the table."
"Is that your snack trash on the floor, Naomi? Imagine if everybody did that!"

The possibilities are endless.

2. No More Interruptions
Julia Cook is essentially the Cesar Milan of social thinking. If you haven't yet purchased any of her books for your classroom, then I must insist you stop reading immediately and put that Amazon Prime account to good use. Though many of her titles play a key role in my social thinking instruction, I truly couldn't live without My Mouth Is A Volcano
Wouldn't it be amazing to have a way to thoughtfully, non-verbally, and without distraction remind students to raise their hands? This book provides the language for just that. I read this book during the first six weeks of school every year, then create the key principles into an anchor chart like this:
This hangs directly next to my easel in our class meeting area and for all those moments when someone calls out ("MRS. Z!" "THE ANSWER IS 12!" "I WENT ICE SKATING THIS WEEKEND!") I simply (and silently) point to the chart as a reminder. I don't have to stop instruction or publicly remind students to raise their hands. Students are assured that I always still want to hear what they have to say, and our lessons can continue on. Game. Set. Match.

3. Grow Your Brain
If my classroom had a slogan, it would be 'grow your brain'. Why do we work hard during math partners? To grow our brains. Why build our Read to Self stamina? To grow our brains. Why practice building, rebuilding, and otherwise reciting all those trickster words? (I'm looking at you, was.) You guessed it, brain growing.

JoAnn Deak's book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain provides students with a scientific, but easy-to-follow explanation about why making mistakes, bring brave, working hard, and trying new things all help to stretch, strengthen, and grow your brain to help you be your best self. I find myself using this book as a tool to encourage students in almost every part of our school day as a way to provide positive reinforcement, motivation, or encouragement. In fact, many of my students report going home with a 'tight head' from all their brain growing. I always count that as a win.

What are your favorite read alouds to build social thinking skills? I can't wait to hear about them! My Amazon Prime account thanks you in advance…

Thanks for stopping by!


Favorite Black History Books for Primary

Hi, friends! It's Erin, from Very Perry Classroom! Today, I am sharing some of my favorite books to read to primary students during studies on Black History.... 

Andrea, a Punchie from Always Kindergarten, shared some of her favorites with me... We both love the "Ordinary People Change the World" series, and how kid-friendly does this one about Rosa Parks look?? Click the book cover to check it out on Amazon. 

Another favorite is Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King. I have this in Big Book form, and the kids really like the information presented in it. It's a great one to read as informational text, and to help with writing projects in January. 
For students in second grade and older, I really like this one about Ruby Bridges:
I remember being in the teacher education program in college, and we had many choices of a historical figure to create a lesson on. I chose to create a lesson on Ruby Bridges, using this book, and have loved her story since. It's a little too advanced for my kinders, but I have read it to second graders, and they LOVED it. 

On Epic! Books, I found a book that I have fallen in love with. It is called "Let Freedom Sing."
I love the way it explains the Civil Rights using dates and events in terms that students will be able to understand. 

Finally, I have a pack I created to do with students. I use the information about each historical figure as a close read, use the graphic organizers as a shared writing organizer, and then work with students in small groups for more independent writing. 

I love that there are both male and female figures to discuss as a class, and students are very engaged in the text. 
You can find my pack here

I hope you have a wonderful February! 


Glue Sponges

Hey guys! I'm Melinda from Tales of the Sassy Teacher. 

 Today I thought I would talk to you about that pesky sticky stuff known as glue. Don't you hate hearing, "My glue stick is dried up!" or " I can't get the glue out of this bottle. It is clogged!" My personal favorite is, "Mrs. King, I have lost my glue stick lid."  Well have you tried or heard about glue sponges! Excuse me for a moment while I shout!!!!


Okay now that,  that is over let me tell you about how you can make them and what the benefit to having these amazing boxes are in your classroom.

Okay here is the materials needed:

Yep! That's it! These 3 products will change your life. Now I have them them put together is lots of ways but I am going to tell you what I do! 

Step 1: Pour a whole bottle of glue on the bottom of the bowl.

Step 2: Lay the sponge on top of glue.

Step 3: Pour a HALF a bottle of glue on top and seal the lid.

Step 4: Let the sponge sit for a week or two to allow the glue to soak in.

Now I will say this: Make sure that you pick your sponges first so that you can find the perfect container. I had to cut mine so a couple of my sponges. Also, spray them with water at least once a week. I was doing every other day but it didn't seem to be necessary with the amount of glue I use. 

Now you may be asking what is so special about these sponges, why should I use them, and how did you find out about it?

Let's take this a question at a time.

1. What is so special about these sponges?
Before I answer that question, think about your classroom. Do you hear these phrases? "My glue stick is dried up. I can't find the glue lid. The glue bottle won't work." These phrases made me crazy!!!!! Crazy I tell ya!! So what is so special. They are easy to store and can make glue life easier. 

2. Why should I use them?
Simple: NO MORE COMPLAINING ABOUT STICKS AND BOTTLES!  You can't beat that peace in your classroom. 

3. How did you find out?
Well after all those whines and cries. I had to find something different. I searched the internet for alternatives to glue sticks and bottles. A video popped up in my search about glue sponges. WHAT???? GLUE SPONGES!!!! I was super excited and had to watch. That video changed my life. Just watch the link below. 

My glue sponges have lasted all year except for this little guy.

This little fellow ended up with mold. I was shocked! Well, here is a tip that I missed and you will DEFINITELY need to use!!! In your spray bottle of water, add a small amount of mouthwash. I KNOW RIGHT!!! This will help your sponge not get my sponge's problem. LOL! 

Well I hope this will help you to push until your last day! Maybe you will consider it next year. They will truly change your life. 

Valentine Book - Hugs from Pearl

Hi friends! Sarah from Mrs. B's First Grade here! I am here today to talk to you about one of my favorite Valentine's Day books and give you some freebies for a follow up activity!
Book Study
I am a HUGE fan of finding quality literature to both read and teach with in my classroom. Hugs from Pearl by Paul Schmid is a perfect book to read during this time of year...and really any other time! In the book Pearl, a porcupine, loves to give hugs. Her friends loved to receive hugs from her, but they hurt a little. Her teacher kept a box of band-aids handy to help with this. So, Pearl decided to do something about it. She tried a few things but finally created a rose dress out of a pillowcase. It worked as the perfect protector for her friends!
Book Study
Reading this book to your class can be the starting point for some great discussions. Some talking points include:
  • What was Pearl's problem?
  • What solutions to solve her problem did Pearl come up with?
  • Would you have thought of any other solutions for Pearl?
  • What kind of friends did Pearl have? Were they kind?
One of the most obvious talking points is the question if you would hug Pearl or not. When I read this book to my class, we took this question a little further!

First, I had my students fill out the sheet below. It got them thinking about if they would hug Pearl and why or why not. Just click the picture to download it!
Book Study
Click to download!
Book Study
After my students finished thinking about whether or not they would hug Pearl, we made a class graph using the data. The graph was a perfect talking point to discuss the book but also to get in some key math vocabulary including more than, less than, most, least, equal, and in all. To grab my headings to create your own chart, just click below to download!
Book Study
Click to download!
Have you read this book to your class? I would love to hear about activities you have done with it!

Candy Hearts Science Lab

Happy Valentine's week, friends!  It's Elisabeth from Literacy and Lattes here to share a some of the Valentine's fun that will be happening in my classroom this week.  You're probably already planning on sorting candy hearts, right?  Keep the fun going with these little science labs. 

You'll need candy hearts, 4 cups, vinegar, salt, baking soda, water and a spoon for mixing. 

Fill one cup with water and a tablespoon-ish of salt.  One with water and about a tablespoon of vinegar and another with water and tablespoon of baking soda.  The fourth cup is filled with only water. 

Add a candy heart to each of the cups.  We decided to make sure we used the same color in each for the "most accurate" results. Little scientists are very serious about making sure their research is carried out appropriately!  ;)  Don't forget to write your hypothesis and predict what will happen to each of the hearts. 

Let your hearts soak for about 15 - 20 minutes and observe what happens. 

Right away you can see some good bubble action as the air makes it's way out of the candy. 

While we wait, we wanted to answer the age old question: Do the different colors of candy hearts actually taste different?

We did a very scientific blind taste test.  Cover your eyes and hold out your hand so your partner can give you a candy heart.  Eat it and guess the color.  Then you partner confirms the actual color.  You can find this taste test freebie here

Revisit your hearts and document your results. 

I actually got different results using two different brands of candy hearts, which was surprising. 

With Necco Sweathearts pictured here, all four hearts basically dissolved and turned the water blue.  In the salt water cup, you could see little pieces of the red words floating at the top of the water, along with the little cluster of dissolved sugar.  

salt water                                                 vinegar water

water                                                   baking soda water

After we looked at and compared the four cups, we scooped out the hearts and compared them to the control (un-soaked heart).

Using a different brand of candy hearts (I have no idea which kind since I didn't save the bag) at school, we got some different results. 

Salt water dissolved some, the heart in vinegar water didn't even change the color of the water...
and baking soda water was floating!!  I'd love to tell you I understand the difference between the two kinds of hearts, but I have no idea!

You can grab my lab booklet here. 

I hope you have a "wicked cool" Valentine's Day with your kiddos!


Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Practicing Place Value!

Hi friends! Jessica here from Tech and Teachability! I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the year. It has been so relaxing for me and I've been able to get a lot of things mapped out and ready for the year. 2016 is going to be amazing!

Have you seen this little gem floating around Social Media? It's so inspiring and I just love to give a shout out to all my fabulous punchies and fellow teachers out there!

Today I just wanted to share a simple little activity I created for my kiddos to kind of sum up our unit on place value and regrouping. Plus it's super adorable!

I needed a review activity for our Numbers to 120 unit and I needed to update the hallway because I am neither confirming nor denying that there may or may not have still had Christmas themed stuff out there. (Maybe, who can tell right?) So I made this! 

With this activity the kids can create a snowman by choosing a two or three snowball snowman, a scarf, and two or three buttons. Each addition has a value of tens or ones. They add them all together and show the total value of their snowman! 

I've included a recording page and a page to hang in the hallway with the snowman. 

Click HERE to grab this! 

I also created a QR code scavenger hunt scoot for early finishers to begin once they finished with this little activity. It was a review of all the topics we learned in the unit. 

I know you just love my photography skills. I'm the next Ansel Adams. 

Recording Page 
This one is more Annie Leibovitz, right? 

I tape the cards all over the room in different areas. 
They scan the codes, read the clue, and then they have to go off and find the answer! And NO the cards aren't in order! 

Please check it out HERE and let me know what you think! 

I hope everyone has a fabulous February!

Happy Teaching!

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