Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Technology Gadgets for the Classroom

I am super excited to have 3 new tech items for my kindergarten classroom this year.  I received all three items this summer and had plenty of time to "play" with them before bringing them into my classroom.  Below you will find out the 3 items that will transform my classroom this year and how I plan on using them!

Technology is one of my favorite things to use in the classroom!  These three gadgets are great for school.  Check out some wireless tech tools and how an echo dot can be used in the classroom!  Number one is a must have for me!

1.  Amazon Echo Dot

  • This might be my favorite purchase.  I am so excited to introduce my students to Alexa.  I can't wait to use the Dot to play music, look up the weather, check math facts, spell sight words, and more!  I can hear it now: "Alexa, does 3+3=6?"!  So many possibilities!

2.  Wireless Mouse

  • Another exciting purchase for me!  I can't stand sitting at my computer or standing at the board when teaching, however, it is often necessary to navigate the screen, slides, websites, etc.  This wireless mouse will allow my students to be in front of the class & I can navigate from the back.  Students need to be the center of everything, I love how this will allow so much flexibility when teaching!

3.  Wireless Doorbell

  • School should be fun!  Wireless doorbells add a little fun into the day.  I can't wait to use this as an attention grabber and for transitions.  It will even add some extra excitement when our mystery readers arrive & ring the doorbell!  I purchased a doorbell with 2 different clickers, that way I can have one and my assistant can have one.  There are sooo many awesome tones as well - holidays, birthdays, songs, nursery rhymes, calming chimes, rings, etc.  I love the options!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Start Flexible Seating

Flexible Seating is a phrase that has been buzzing around the education world for quite some time now.  I LOVE seeing so many teachers getting their toes wet with this.  It has been a game-changer in my classroom over the past two years and I want to help you get started!  Here is my advice for starting flexible seating off at the beginning of the year!

Flexible seating has made a big impact on my kindergarten classroom environment over the past two years.  Check out these tips and ideas for getting started with flexible seating in your classroom!
  • Make a plan - flexible seating does not mean you have to get rid of all of your traditional seating  - it just means that students have options of where they sit.  What do you want flexible seating to look like in your classroom?  It looks different from classroom to classroom, start with what might work in your room.
  • Get rid of the idea of a seating chart - true flexible seating does not have a seating chart, no more assigned seats *only do this if you are going 100% flexible seating at all times*
  • Look at what you already have - do you have good tables and desks?  If so, figure out if you can lower some (by taking off legs) or if you can raise some (extending legs or with bed risers).  Do you have a counter or shelf that could be used as a standing desk?  Do you already have clipboards or whiteboards?  Start with what you have!
  • Ask for donations - you will be amazed at how generous people are!  You may get old bean bag chairs, couches, pillows, carpet squares, and more.  You can even start on Donors Choose and make a project there.  Don't try to buy it all yourself, trust me!
  • Get rid of some seating and add in your new seating. You can go all out or start with just one type of seating.  I introduced Wobble Chairs in my classroom and that was it at first.  The kids could work at that special table during the day when they were doing independent or center work.  This was a great way for me to see how flexible seating could work in my classroom and a great way for me to see how the kids would do with seating options that were not so traditional.
  • Introduce the seating to your students.  Model how you use that option.  Model how you don't use the option.  Have a student model the incorrect way and the correct way.  Allow that option to be available to students.  Put this in your lesson plans for the first week of school.  Teach it to your students!
  • Make sure the rules are clear (whatever rules you decide).  The two rules that I highly encourage are "Teachers have the right to move you at any time"  and "Pick a spot that works best for you".
  • Have fun!  Teaching is supposed to be fun - enjoy it, embrace it, and love it!  
Wondering what seating will be best for you?  Check out 18+ Flexible Seating Ideas for Your Classroom!

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

10+ STEM Bin Ideas for Kinders!

Me: "What is your favorite thing about school?"
Students: "STEM! (and recess!)"

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?
(affiliate links included)

I had a goal last year to bring more STEM into my classroom.  I looked over my classroom schedule and realized it was near impossible to fit this in and still teach enough ELA and math.  The kids went to STEM for specials once a week, but it was something they were really interested in.  I decided to do a DonorsChoose project to get some STEM items I could use in my classroom.  My plan was to use these as "morning work" when kids were entering school between 7:15 - 7:45.  I would also allow them to be options if we got Free Choice time on Friday's or other days.

These STEM bins were a huge hit.  They arrived late April and that was the first time all school year that no technology was used during free choice time!  This is what the kids want.  They want to build, create, test, and revamp!  I sat back and just watched their minds work.

Here are some items that are kindergarten tested & approved for STEM bins!

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

2.  Legos
STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

7. K'NEX
STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

8.  Trucky 3
STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

STEM bins have become a daily activity in my kindergarten classroom.  The kids love the hands-on learning that they can do.  They create projects and use their imagination.  I am so glad that I have been able to integrate STEM into the schedule at my elementary school.  My kindergarten students love #1 and even convinced their first grade teachers to get it!  What is your favorite?

I can't wait to make these more than just buckets in my class this upcoming year.  I hope to integrate these STEM bins into all of my subject areas! What is your favorite STEM activity?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Best Books for the First Week of School

I love the first few weeks of school.  The students always seem so well behaved, eager to learn, and are soaking in everything!  My favorite thing to do during the first week of school is to read LOTS of books.  These are a few books that I consider must-reads for the first week of school!

This list of read-alouds is great for the first week of school with your kindergarten students!  These books and activities will help fill your school day when you head back to school.  My kids favorite is definitely number 2!


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  • The Kissing Hand - Follow-up Activity: Create a chart with all the students feelings about coming to school 
  • No, David! - Follow-up Activity:  Sort different behaviors into either a No, David or Yes, David column (ex: throwing a ball inside vs. throwing trash away)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  Follow-up Activity: Create a large display in your classroom with a coconut tree - have students add their names to it.  Have students create individual trees where they stamp their names onto the tree.
  • First Day Jitters  Follow-up Activity:  Make Jitter Juice!  Mix green punch with some sprite & serve to your students!
  • The Rainbow Fish - Follow-up Activity:  Create a chart showing ways to be kind to one another, create an act of kindness jar & place pebbles in the jar for each act of kindness you see - reward the class when they fill the jar up!
  • The Book with No Pictures - Follow-up Activity:  Make a slime -call it Blork or Bluurf - have your students play with it before filling out a chart talking about how blork/bluurf  smells, feels, looks, and sounds.
  • My Mouth is a Volcano - Follow-up Activity:  Practice different noise levels for your classroom - practice whisper voices, silent voices, partner voices, group voices, etc.
  • Kindergarten Rocks - Paint actual rocks - place them in areas around the outside of your school to brighten peoples day!
  • Chrysanthemum - Follow-up Activity:  Have students count how many letters are in their name - create a class graph!
  • The Night Before Kindergarten - Follow-up Activity:  Have a former student come in and answer any questions your students may have about kindergarten!
What are your go-to books for the first weeks of school?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ideas for Flipgrid in a Kindergarten Classroom

I love summertime.  It gives me time to relax and learn about new tools for the classroom.  This summer I learned about Flipgrid.  Flipgrid is this really awesome platform where you create video grids around a question or a topic.  It then can be shared with your students, colleagues, PLN, etc.  Those people upload video responses.  You can then respond to responses and so on.  It is GREAT!

So, with all these new tools and platforms, I always want to know how it would work with my kinders.  I know that my kids are capable of doing anything they put their mind to, however, there are some technology tools out there that really are not very kinder friendly.  This one, Flipgrid, is!

I have found a new technology tool that I love for my classroom.  Flipgrid is a digital video message board that you can use with other teachers, your students, or globally.  Check out these ideas for how to use flipgrid in your kindergarten or elementary classroom!  I will definitely be doing 1-3!

Here are some ways to use Flipgrid in your Kindergarten or elementary classroom!


  • Book Reviews - Students upload a review of a book they read (you can even create a separate topic for each genre if you would like: non-fiction, poetry, fantasy, etc....that would be good for upper grades!)
  • Weather Reports - One of our big science standards is to understand weather and how it changes over time.  My kids will submit reports on the weather.  I hope to collaborate with classrooms across the country or globe to have them submit weather reports as well.  My kids could really see how weather is different all over the world!
  • Culture Reports - One of our big social studies standards if to understand how cultures are the same and how they are different.  I hope to have people from my PLN and classrooms around the globe add videos to a Culture Grid.  Topics will include food, clothes, traditions, etc.  We can then look through videos and learn about many cultures!
  • Genius Hour Pitches - Use this as a place for your kids to pitch their ideas for genius hour
  • PBL - Use Flipgrid as a place for students to reflect on PBL
  • Math Word Problems - I am going to let me my kids be the teachers!  They will submit a response where they state a word problem they create.  Students can then access the grid and solve their classmates word problems.
  • Writing Process - Create a grid with a topic for each part of the writing process - have students check in after each step!
  • Individual Portfolios - Create a topic for each individual student.  Let that serve as a digital portfolio for that student.  They can share any work on their individual Flipgrid topic that they would like - writing samples, word problems, counting, book responses, etc.
How are you going to use Flipgrid in your classroom?