Sunday, March 29, 2015

Who Wants To Go To Vegas?

 Can you picture it now?  YOU in LAS VEGAS? 

How about YOU in LAS VEGAS attending a one day session of the SDE conference?

Primary Chalkboard is giving away YOUR CHOICE of a 1 day session at SDE!

So, will it be Singapore Math, Differentiated Instruction, I Teach K, I Teach 1st, or the newly added I Teach 2nd? 

How fun is that?

BUT, that's not all, we're also including a $25 gift card to the SDE bookstore, CRYSTAL SPRINGS.

So, NOW can you picture YOURSELF in VEGAS?

Oh, you say you need money for airfare, hotel accommodations, or just some spending money while you are here?  Well, we've got that covered, too.  How about  
to help you out with that?!?!?

NOW, can you picture YOURSELF in VEGAS?

Here's how to enter for a chance to win.

Hop through our Facebook pages and collect a tip for your (possible) visit to Vegas.
Be sure to "like" each page as you hop through so that you can collect the tip.
Each tip will have a number on a playing card.
Add the numbers together and enter the sum  on the Rafflecopter on the Primary Chalkboard blog for a chance to win.
Be sure to add a comment and include #primarychalkboardsendmetovegas.

For an extra chance to win this, take a selfie, post it on IG with #primarychalkboardsendmetovegas 
Don't forget to tag us in your picture! @primarychalkboard

The winner will be picked in April!  
(evening of April 5th)

A HUGE thank you to SDE (Staff Development for Educators) for their kind and generous donation!

Head on over to my Facebook Page to start!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Aloha friends!  I have been meaning to sit down and write this post for a long time, but just haven't been ready to share.

I can't believe it has been 3 years since I started this blog.  I guess it began as an online diary of what was happening in my classroom and a way for me to connect with other teachers and bloggers. I can't believe the hours I spent setting it all up, but it has been such a wonderful and amazing journey!!
My first post -----> HERE

Over the years I have shared much about my two daughters.  They mean the world to me and of course like any mother I want only the best for them.

They have always helped me with my blog posts, crafts and model for me whenever possible.

My free time is spent with my girls as much as possible.  We have traveled numerous places and like me they have developed a love for it.  Anything new and exciting for them feels the same to me.

Have you noticed a trend in most of my posts about my girls.  It is usually just the three of us. I feel like for most of their growing life I have raised them on my own, physically and financially.  I have had a partner in all of this, but he has always taken a backseat to most things.  Through the years we have slowly drifted apart.  I am ambitious and want to take my kids to travel the world and learn everything we can.  Their dad is a sweet person who wouldn't harm anyone, but does not want to contribute financially to their upbringing.

This is a really difficult concept for me to understand.  I come from a family with a very strong work ethic.  My father came to the U.S. from Mexico and worked so hard to support our family and make sure we had what we needed to be successful.  He always told me how education was the key to getting what you need and want.  I fully agree.  He came from overwhelming poverty to a middle class existence by educating himself and our family.  He also worked steadily for 30 years with the same company.  I know he didn't love going to work, who does?  But he and my mom needed to work just like everyone else in society.

Working hard doesn't mean you work 24-7, it means you have priorities and when you start a family, I feel that should be your first priority.

Over the past few years we have really been living parallel lives under one roof.  I am always doing something and going somewhere.  Dropping my girls at dance or riding lessons, planning new adventures and trying to hold everything all together.

I have always been the bread winner in the family and that's not saying much as a teacher in Hawaii.  For some reason or another my partner has never been able to hold  a steady job.  There is always an excuse or reason he can't work.  It's always someone else's fault.  This past January he told me he was giving his two weeks notice at his job.  He just couldn't work there anymore, it was a dead end job etc... and that he was leaving to go work in California.

This is not the first time this has happened.  I was actually prepared for it and not surprised.  The sad thing is that he left and I was actually happy to not have him here.  Nothing was different except I had the bed all to myself, which was heaven!  He left without giving me rent money and just expected and knew that I would be fine with just the girls and taking care of everything.  Like me he had come to expect it and knew that he could just leave and not worry about us.

This was the sign that it was time for me to take a stand and end our 14 year relationship.  We are not married.  He never asked me to marry him and I have finally figured out why.  I think when a man asks you to marry him he is committing to be your partner for life.  He could never do that.  He was quite content to work as little as possible to get by and live off of what I provided.

I stayed with him  because I thought that is what you were supposed to do.   I wanted to preserve the whole "family" scenario as long as possible.  But my girls are now 13 and 11.  I don't want them to think that it's okay for them to support someone, who doesn't give back that support to them in return.  I want them to see that a relationship should be a partnership.

So the next stage of our lives has begun.  I am excited, nervous and hopeful.  I know I can take care of myself and the girls, but change is always hard.

So far my girls have been fabulous about this whole thing.  They understand where I am coming from and know that I will always be here for them no matter what.  I think they have always known that.

They still even let me dress them up and do goofy things for fun!! (even though my teen might not show it, lol)

We have so much to do together and I want them to be wonderful, positive years to grow and see all of what life has to offer!!  Mahalo to all my sweet friends and fans who have been so supportive over these last few months.  It truly means the world to me!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Who Needs A Little Extra TpT Cash?

Aloha friends! Have you heard?! TpT is having another of their fabulous Site Wide Sales!!

Hurray!!  I have quite a few items piling up in my cart and I can't wait to go shopping!

This is the perfect time to grab the items on your wishlist at a huge discount!  Everything in my store will be on sale!!

I want to make shopping a little easier for you, so I am giving away a $20 Gift Card to TpT!!
Just enter the Rafflecopter below, then check out all of my blogging buddies who are also having giveaways!  There are tons of chances to win!! I will pick a winner on Tuesday evening! 

Make sure you visit all of these blogs for a chance to win more prizes!

Out of This World Literacy

Chalk One Up for the Teacher

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Interactive Whiteboard

Aloha friends!! I hope you are enjoying your Monday even if you had to work today.

Many of you lucky teachers out there have the latest technologies in your classroom, specifically SMART Boards.  I have always been jealous of the wonderful ways teachers were using them in their classroom.  Our school does not have any in the classrooms and I don't believe they will be in the budget anytime soon.

Recently on my Twitter account I ran across a tweet from a company called IPEVO.  It was about their Interactive Whiteboard System and I started reading more.  It seemed like a great alternative to a SMART Board and the price was amazing!!

I contacted the company to find out more information about their system.  They were kind enough to send me the system to review and share what I thought of using it in my classroom.

I received the item very quickly and it was in such a small box I couldn't believe it.

I read the quick set up directions and ran the CD in my computer.  Once the software is loaded onto your computer, it's a snap to set up.

Basically you have 2 pieces.  The sensor cam and the wand.  You  can adjust your projector to where you would like to use it in your classroom.

Then you plug in the sensor and calibrate the system.  It literally takes me less than 3 minutes to set it up and calibrate it.  Here is a quick video showing you how easy it is.

I couldn't wait to test it out with my kids!

I used the website and we decided to play money bingo.  I had each of the kids come up and play.  They were so engaged and LOVED using it!

They were not at all afraid to use it got the hang of it very quickly.  You have to gently push on the pen and you can see a red light go on to show that it is working.  My class could easily move the coins around to count them and select their answers.

When I am done using it I can quickly unplug it and put it back in the box.

The great thing about this is that I can use it on any whiteboard.  If I were doing a presentation in the library or another classroom I could quickly set it up the same way.  

A few tips:
-It does need to be relatively close to your whiteboard, the farther out you have it the less accurate the calibration.
-I found that I did have to recalibrate it once or twice when the wand didn't seem to be working accurately.  Not sure why, but it only took me a minute to recalibrate.
-I would suggest purchasing the wand extension.  I found my kids had a hard time reaching up on some of the games or that they were blocking the sensor when they went up.

IPEVO Extension Wand for IS-01 Portable Interactive Whiteboard System

Overall I think this is a great system for the price! You really can't beat it, especially if your school has limited funds.  I plan to share it with my admin and staff.  I am sure there will be a few more around my school very soon! 

For those of you who may find it still too steep a price, I would suggest writing a Donor's Choose grant.  The price is right and I can see a project like this getting funded very quickly.

You can check out the IPEVO site here---> IPEVO

I am so excited to be able to have this in my classroom.  How do you use interactive systems in your classroom?  I want to hear all of your fabulous ideas!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

New Wonders Resources

Aloha sweet friends and Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope your week was a good one.

I am home today and so happy to have a 3 day weekend!  This past week at school was busy, but I was glad to finally have  a full week to teach.

Our class in on Unit 4 Week 2 of our Wonders curriculum.  We worked on those tricky words with the /er/ vowel sounds.

I gave them some extra practice with words sorts and some fun games at our Daily 5 rotations.

This week's stories focused on Earth Changes which was perfect since we have just finished up our Rock and Minerals unit.

During my guided reading groups I used the story in the anthology for my high groups.

We read and reread the story together and then they read it on their own. I had  them answer the questions at the end in their reading notebooks to check their comprehension.

For my lower groups I used the leveled readers.

We work on fluency by reading the stories several times.  I then created a short quiz to give them at the end.  The questions are definitely lower level, but these groups really need practice just reading and finding information. 

Just click on the picture to download it.

I find that this is easier to check up on students than giving them the lengthy weekly assessments. This takes just a few minutes and I can get an idea of how they are doing.  My struggling readers are also more successful with these quick quizzes.

I will try to add these freebies here on my page as I continue to make them for my classroom.

If you are looking for more Wonders Resources I have Spelling Lists, Grammar Centers and Morning Work that all correlate to each unit.

I have just finished some centers for Unit 5.  They have a fun Super Hero theme.

I can't wait to get these all printed out for my class. I know they will love them!

My daughters and I are planning a little Valentine BBQ tonight with burgers and brownies (their choice).  It should be lots of fun hanging out with my two favorite Valentines. Hope you get to spend some time today with your favorite Valentine too!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Terrific Tessellations

Aloha friends!  I hope you are enjoying your weekend and relaxing to get ready for the busy weeks and holidays ahead.

I am trying to balance out my hectic life and still share what has been happening in our class. My husband left for California on Wednesday for two weeks.  That means mommy is cooking for the next two weeks.  Luckily my daughters like peanut butter and jelly and macaroni and cheese (Annie's from a box).

My youngest Diva tried out for a production of Alice In Wonderland and is part of the ensemble.  She has rehearsals now on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons for the next two months. I am so proud of her, but it does involve so much time!  She normally goes to her dance studio on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  My oldest daughter takes riding lessons on Thursdays.  So basically the only night I am not driving somewhere is on Tuesdays!

Ahhh, I remember the days when I used to just go to the beach after school to surf.  I may have to change my blog name to Driving My Daughters Around Through Second ;)

With all of this busy-ness  I still want to share what's happening in my classroom.

Last week I taught an art lesson on M.C. Escher.  I love his amazing art work and it is a fun way to get kids thinking about patterns in art.

I shared a few of his famous pictures- just Google or check out his website.  Some of the students who saw the Night of the Museum Secret of The Tomb remembered seeing one of his pictures in the movie.

We talked about how his artwork is like a puzzle and then we talked about what Tessellations were.  We looked at a few examples and then I had the kids create their own using pattern blocks.

They were so into it.  They could work alone or with a partner.  I helped them to make sure that each piece could fit in and continue on and on.  When they had created their pattern I gave them a shape template (I kept them from Everyday Math).  They recreated their pattern on their papers.  

They worked on them for over an hour! I had to stop them and tell them they could work on it throughout the week.

This week I gave them an easier task.  They got to use these fun shapes that I picked up on Amazon.

The shapes are so fun and they thought it was a piece of cake compared to last weeks lesson! Again I had to stop them and tell them they could continue and finish next week.

I can't wait to see them all colored in. I plan to make a bulletin board display with all of them.  This is such a great activity for kids at this level and higher.  They really have to push themselves to think out of the box a bit and once they see the patterns they get so excited.

I am off to another rehearsal. I guess I should buy some groceries while I'm out.  I think tacos for dinner sounds like a good idea.  I'm pretty sure I can't mess that up :)