November 19, 2014

Chalkboard Boxes

Hi everyone!!  I am finally back!  It has been a crazy busy school year so far.  My goal was to begin blogging again MUCH sooner, but I just have not gotten around to it.  I have been dealing with some pain that at first I thought was carpal tunnel, but after many tests, an ER visit, and many doctor appointments (and an MRI to rule out brain tumor and MS), I am in the process of getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I have an appointment on December 12, so maybe I will finally find out what is going on with me!!
 Back in August (I know, I know - I am waaayyyy late), I was in the playroom with my little girl Bella and we were practicing writing letters on her chalkboard wall.  I was looking for some ideas on Pinterest and found a great idea to write the word in chalk, and then have the child use a paint brush and water to trace over it.  I really liked that idea (and so did Bella!), so I was thinking about ways I can use that with my students.  I wanted to think of a way we can do something like this without taking up too much transition time, since I only have 45 minutes with them in my classroom to work on their IEP goals.  After thinking for a couple minutes, a light bulb went off in my head...Chalkboard BOXES!  I use them to practice letter writing, as well as sight words with students that have already mastered letter writing/formation.  Here is what they look like:

Bella and I went to the local dollar store and we picked up these:
*Plastic storage containers
*1 box of sidewalk chalk (24 pack)
*2 Microfiber towels
*Little paint brushes (like the kind used for watercolor paints)
Then we went to Walmart and picked up chalkboard spray paint.  We also needed to get a spray primer for the plastic lids.  I bought little plastic "party" (shot) cups as well.  Then  I got to work!

I FIRST sprayed the primer (it's a must!) onto the lids.  Then I sprayed the chalkboard paint. 
I let them dry for the rest of the day in my garage, so the paint could settle.
Once they were all dried and ready to go, I assembled them.
I put 4 crayons in each of the 6 boxes.  Then I put the paint brush and cup.  Then I cut the 2 microfiber towels into 3 pieces each and put one in each box.
In the classroom I use these mostly with sight word practice.  I introduce the sight word.  We read it together.  Then they use their fingers to trace it in the air (we call it air pencils), and saying each letter out loud while they do it.  Then they write it on the lid of the chalk board box.  Once they write the word, they trace over it with the water in the cup and the paint brush.  Then we continue with our other activities.  The board wipes pretty clean, especially when you use water on the eraser.  My kiddos LOVE these!

For younger students, you can write the letter or word (or even their names!) on the boards for them a bunch of times, and they can practice it by tracing it with the paint brush and water.
We also use these with our spelling word lists.
Let me know some ways you will use these boxes in your classroom!
 Well I hope you are all having an amazing fall.  I can't believe next week is Thanksgiving!  I am going to post a freebie tomorrow for a Thanksgiving craft, so be sure to check it out!

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