Weather, Smart Boards & Giveaway

I wanted to title this post "Smart Board Giveaway" but didn't want to get your hopes up. We realize that we've been a little bit MIA lately, but it's been a crazy few weeks. After conferences we've been trying to get back in the swing of things, and trying to get ready for spring break at the same time. So we apologize, but promise to be back in full swing after Spring Break. We've got lots in the works, so make sure to stay tuned!

This last week we've begun our weather science unit with our firsties. This is such a fun topic for our kids, and with the crazy weather that we've had, it fits right in. We will have much more later, but here is a little reminder of some weather freebies we did last year.

Cloud Activity
Evaporation Lab
Rainbow Fact Families
Weather Vocab
Weather ABC Sort
Most of these are from our very first week on our blog, and it's so fun to see how our work has grown! :)

Onto our HUGE news that we received on Friday. Our PTC (parent teacher club) recently decided that they would be purchasing 4 Smart Boards for classrooms in our school. Rather than pick recipients randomly, anyone interested submitted a little "application" of why you wanted one, and what you would do with it. The big news... BOTH of us were chosen to get Smart Boards, something we've been seriously coveting, and pushing for. They will be purchased this spring, and we be installed this summer. Yayyyyy!! We are beyond excited for the new challenge of using this tool in our classrooms. Our district has also adopted new reading and math curriculum, both from McGraw-Hill and both with INCREDIBLE websites. We can't wait to dig right in! So, that's where you come in. We'd love any tips or advice about our Smart Boards, or anything that might help us out. So, leave us a comment with anything we need or should know, and we will pick 3 lucky winners to pick anything from our TpT Store. So don't forget to leave your comment by Saturday at 8:00pm pst, and we will announce the winners on Sunday. Have a great week!


  1. Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful resources! I am starting a weather unit after our spring break and I can't wait to use what you have shared! First Is a Fairytale

  2. Play, play, play. Get the software for your personal computer this summer and play around with creating things. There are great tutorials if you Google your question. I also am a big fan of the camera tool, which will let me take a picture of something on a website and paste it in a SB document.

    Also, if your kids will be working there independently be sure they install it low enough for them to reach, or get stairs built in front of the Board. You can also use pointers to reach the top if need be (the finger one works great). Teach them to recalibrate it (mine gets off at least 3 times a day)... they just push the question mark button, then click the top left (realign) and do "target practice" as we refer to it (push the center of an X in 9 different places on the board). This means when they're working on a game and it gets messed up they can usually fix the problem themselves. Mine K's do really well with it independently (though I only let 2 work there at a time). They LOOOOOVE it and I'm not sure how I'll ever teach without it if I go somewhere without! :)

  3. I totally agree with what Jen said. If you have any input on where they install the Smartboard, think, think, think! I didn't have any input and of course it is not in the place where I think is best! Maybe even prepare to have some delicious goodies baked or bought for when they come around to look at where they are going to install it. My Smartboard is a bit higher than I would like it so my shorter kids have a hard time reaching too high when playing games, etc. Congratulations on writing super applications!

  4. Sounds great! Congrats on your SmartBoard!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  5. I am jealous
    I want a smartboard so bad but I don't get mine till the end of the year!

    Have fun with it

    Ms. Patterson

  6. One of the cutest wats SMART boards are used in our school is for daily tasks. Teachers create seasonally themed items (one for each student) on the board and for attendance students simply walk up and "pop" their item to say they are here. For lunch count they move their items to the correct side of the SMART board, etc. Just be prepared to play!!!! SMART boards are so much fun but take practice for you and the kids to get used to. There are some great courses online to give you an orientation to the SMART board. I used smart It was very easy to follow and detailed for those who have no experience with the SMART boards. Good luck and have fun!!!!! I'm jealous of your new toys for sure!!!!

  7. We just got smartboards and I love smart exchange. You can get awesome lessons and even tpt has some freebies. Also you can use powerpoints and make your own smartlessons. We love using a koosh ball for test reviews.

  8. I will share some of my favorite tools that I use on my SB... one is the Smart Board printer that gets installed. It acts as a printer so that if you have a pdf or other document open, you can print the document directly to the SB software and it will open as a slide in the SB.

    They also have a magic pen tool. It is like the regular pen tool but if you write with this, the ink slowly disappears. If you draw a circle, it creates a spotlight, and if you draw a square it becomes a magnifying glass.

    The other thing I like is Smart Recorder. You can record how to solve a problem, how to access a website, etc. It shows a screen shot of everything you are doing on your computer.

    Infinite cloner is awesome too! If you put this on for an object, you can drag an item over and it duplicates. You can do this as many times as you want.

  9. Remember to get the board installed as low as you can. I teach little ones and having it too high makes more than half the board inaccessible to them. Not something the first few people thought about and they ended up with great instruction height, but poor participation height.

  10. Thank you for sharing such wonderful weather resources. I can't wait to use them!! I know the students will love them!

  11. I'm sorry I know nothing about smart boards but I wanted to let you know that I LOVE your blog! I have a 5 year old autistic daughter whom I will be homeschooling next year due to the public school wanting her in a normal classroom setting instead of a special ed class. I have gotten so many ideas that will help her learn next year. Thank you for working so hard on your blog and in your classroom. ~Trinette

  12. Congrats on the Smartboards! My school won a grant and just got them installed two months ago. One thing I had to accept was that my students are better at using the Smartboard than I am. You just have to accept that and allow them to help you.

    The first day I let the children go up and just draw on it so they would get used to pressing hard enough (and so they would have so much fun with it).

    I agree about having it set up LOW. Mine is to high so I made my own pointer. I took a yardstick and attached one of those sticky chair leg protecters to it. I just stuck it flat against one side. We call this our "Smart Stick". This way my students can reach way up high on the Smartboard. I also have a small step stool that they can stand on.

    I have used some things from Smart Exchange, but learn how to change their items as fast as possible since they may not be just what you want.

    I LOVE the infinite cloner!

    I have purchased several things from TPT for the Smartboard that I LOVE!

    An Open Door

  13. I agree to make sure it is installed low. I have found that it's best to use small tennis balls (I found mine in the pet section of target or walmart) instead of pointers. The kids can grip them better and they are gentler than the pointers :)

  14. Mine is installed fairly low, but I still have two stools that I keep nearby. I use the McGraw Hill Connects cd-rom for math daily and really enjoy it. I also use the tumblebooks,, starfall, sites frequently. I've been slowly learning how to make some of my own games for lessons too. My students also love to write their spelling words on the Smartboard. Good luck!!

  15. Ive only used one during student teaching but I just loved exploring everything you could do.

    Ms. Rachel’s Room

  16. My SmartBoard was just installed a few days ago and I attended my SmartBoard training today so I am not much help! I did learn about the free website Smart Exchange though! Teachers make and share Smart Board lessons.

  17. One SUPER suggestion is to not have any time of real markers near the board... I would hate for someone not familiar with it (sub or volunteer) take a real marker to it!!! :) Also, the height is very important {like everyone has said ;))
    Have fun with your new board!!!
    ❤ Sandra
    Sweet Times in First

  18. Congratulations! What exciting news! I am sure you will have a lot of fun with it! I agree with what everything has said about location...I would've loved to have some say in that!


  19. I am sooooo envious!!!! I have been begging for a smartboard. Congrats!
    Finally in First

  20. Make sure they put the board where the children can also reach it. Play with it all the time. Teach your kids as you learn they never forget. have fun.

  21. What a great tool to have in the classroom for little learners you are going to love it!
    Just today alone....
    -kids checked in and slid their names into attendance
    -kids answered a survey question and recorded it into an interactive graph
    -we used a timer I downloaded off the internet to count down minutes until clean up
    -watched a movie on Scholastic Bookflix that tied in with author study
    -cloned square images and had kids move them around to represent numbers in tens and ones
    -choral read our poem of the week and circled all the words that had "ing" in them
    - can't say enough good things about www.jonniesmathpage So much fun for learners to do this on the smart board to boost math skills

    You are going to have a blast & watch the learning explode!

    Good luck-

  22. I just got mine this year and I love it!! I agree with the previous posts to make sure the kids can reach it comfortably. There are so many great sites out there that you just have to spend the time looking. My biggest advice would be to install the Notebook software on your home computer and just PLAY!! That's how I learned and now people come to me for advice!! You'll love it!

  23. What a great idea on how to give it out to teachers! Sorry no tips on how to use it... I want one! Check out my blog for a free Easter download and idea.

  24. You'll love your Smartboard and will wonder how you managed without one before! I have had my Smartboard for approx. 5 years and try to incorporate it into all my lessons. Once you've played around with it, you'll be fine!
    Re: height of board - mine was installed much too high for my first graders and the children were not allowed chairs to use, for health and safety reasons. It took two years of campaigning to get it lowered and then the kids had a ball!
    I keep a set of laminated rules displayed nearby, which include things like only two at a time, limited time, so others get a chance and also minor things that are easy to forget - clean hands before touching the board.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Wendy at Teacher's Toolkit