Monday, April 3, 2017

You Are Only a Kid Once



As a teacher, I often think back in my life to when I was the same age as my students.  What was I doing?  How did I learn?  What did I enjoy?  How can I replicate this in my classroom?

I have very fond memories from my elementary years.  I remember exploring in the woods with all of the neighborhoods until the sun went down.  We would always find cattails or frogs to bring back home.  I remember creating forts out of every blanket in the house with my brothers.  We would have to twist and turn the furniture to get it just right to hold the blanket in the perfect position.  I remember playing school with my best friends.  I, of course, always had to be the teacher.

Kids are growing up in a different way today.  While this can seem vastly different than my childhood, the foundation is really the same.  Kids are exploring, creating, and dreaming big.  Those three things are such an important aspect of childhood.  

When students are given the time to explore, they discover so many new things.  My favorite time to let kids explore during class is at science time.  We study weather.  This can be a really tricky concept for five and six year old kids.  How can it be sunny outside and cold at the same time?  Why doesn’t it rain every time it is cloudy?  If we can’t see the wind, how do we know it is there?  I spend time teaching my class about the tools we use to measure weather.  The students get to create their own wind flag and go outside and figure out what wind is and how a flag can show us that it is windy.  Students get to take a thermometer outside and see what happens to the temperature in the middle of winter with the sun shining.  My kids learn so much and start teaching one another when they are given the chance to explore.

My students are encouraged to create.  Students have had opportunity to code, film, build, paint, and more in my classroom.  They have created paths for robots to take using different coding techniques.  They have designed structures that would keep a little pig safe if the big bad wolf were to come knocking.   Through creating, they are able to teach their peers.  They make mistakes and keep working until they find a way to fix it. 

My students are encouraged to dream, and to dream BIG.  We recently used the Green Screen to compose a piece based off of the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”.  Students shared what they want to be when they grow up as they flew across a page of the Dr. Seuss book.  I have students in my class who want to be doctors, paleontologists, mommies, electrical engineers, policemen, and more.  When time allows, we pull out blocks, Legos, Lincoln logs, iPads, baby dolls, animals and paint and allow kids the freedom to explore these paths.  I was in awe when an aspiring engineer created a catapult out of Lincoln Logs.  My kids are encouraged to follow their dreams, no matter what that may be.  

Kids, regardless of when they were born, learn in the same ways.  They learn through exploration, through creating, and through dreaming big.  My hope is that my students leave my room at the end of the year inspired and not afraid of taking risks.  We are only a kid once, and I want my students to make the most of it.

This is me in Kindergarten!  Fun Fact:  I teach at the same school that I attended as a Kinder Student!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#EdCampWake

Well it has been quite a while since I posted anything on this blog!

I attended EdCamp this weekend, shoutout to #EdCampWake , and just loved it.

EdCamps are so unique in so many ways.  The people who attend are clearly excited and passionate about education, or else they wouldn't be wasting a Saturday to be there.  There are no presentations or lectures, it is all driven by what the attendees want to learn more about!

I attended 3 sessions:  Genius Hour, Technology for Young Learners, and Blogging.  Each of these sessions giving me valuable information and new ideas to use moving forward.

My take aways from each:

Genius Hour:  Kids are always wondering this and wondering that.  They need time to answer these "wonders".  Let your guard down, allow for a little chaos,  and you will be amazed at what your students can create, discover, and learn! 

My Next Step:  Create a WonderWall - put it up in my classroom.  Students add sticky notes whenever they wonder something.  Find a time (or perhaps 2 times!) before the end of the school year to let kids participate in a Genius Hour and find out some answers to these wonders!

Technology for Young Learners:  They can do it!  #KindersCan use all sorts of technology to help enhance their learning.  BrainPOP Jr., Seesaw, Green Screens, Draw & Tell, Shadow Puppet, Little Story Creator, Buncee - you name it, they can probably do it!  Don't be afraid to try something new with your kiddos, if it doesn't work, try it again, just in a different way!

My Next Step:  Look into BYOD for kinders!  Who is currently a BYOD class/school?  What suggestions would you have?  Any management tips?  If that doesn't work, start drafting a grant to get more technology for my little learners!

Blogging:  Well, I am writing this post, so clearly this session had some influence on me.  I haven't been blogging.  I don't know how long I have even had this blog, but I rarely post, and posts have been more product posts than anything else.  My excuse:  "I don't have time to blog!".  Well, that isn't what it is about!  My new motto:  I need to make time to blog reflect.

My Next Step:  What am I doing in my classroom?  What went well? What could have gone better?  Blog about it!  Get my blog up and going again!  Add a variety of posts!  I have been encouraged to blog about my Flexible Seating in my classroom, so I will be adding that to the blog as soon as all the words come to me.  I am hoping that my blog will be used as a reflection tool on a monthly basis and that it can showcase the good, the bad, and the sometimes even ugly.

Why Blog?  How can a blog help you as an educator?  Find out what I experienced while at EdCamp that I can bring back into my classroom.

So, here I am, reflecting, on my experience at #EdCampWake.  I look forward to being back in the near future!!

Until next time!
Kelsey Cones






Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Seesaw Plus

If you are anything like me, you have been ooh-ing and aah-ing over Seesaw for the past year.  I have loved how the app has allowed my students to take charge of their learning and really show their thinking in unique ways.  It has been eye-opening for many parents and I couldn't pick a better app to use with my Kinders.

That being said, I am super stoked about Seesaw PLUS because now I really feel like the app is helpful for ME as a teacher in many new ways!

Learn how to get Seesaw Plus - the learning app FREE for your classroom.  Seesaw learning journal has been a game changer in my kindergarten classroom.  This iPad educational app will transform your classroom!

A few highlights for Seesaw PLUS:
  • Add skills - I can attach standards or skills to the items my kids upload, allowing parents to see exactly what the task was focusing on!
  • Rating system - I can rate students work on a scale of 1 - 4.  
  • Private notes - I can type in private notes for my teacher eyes only that I can pull up at conferences or use during PLTs with my grade level!
Image result for seesaw plus 

So I know you are wondering how to get Seesaw PLUS for yourself!  Well I have great news for you - you can get up to a 90 day FREE trial of Seesaw PLUS (Seesaw will always be free, PLUS has features you typically have to pay for).  Here is how:

  1. Update your app if you have not done so yet.
  2. Tap your profile icon. 
  3. Click the gear icon.
  4. Go to account Settings
  5. "Activate FREE 60 Day Trial!"
  6. Scan the code or click the link below for an ADDITIONAL 30 days!!!
Learn how to get Seesaw Plus - the learning app FREE for your classroom.  Seesaw learning journal has been a game changer in my kindergarten classroom.  This iPad educational app will transform your classroom!

You will not be charged for Seesaw Plus when your time runs out and you will not lose any work that was saved using Seesaw Plus.  I am telling you folks, this is a game changer!

Let me know if you have ANY questions!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dollar Deals!

[Dollar Deals!]  I can't believe it is already July!  Where has time gone?  I have pulled together some of my favorite back-to-school products and I am bringing them to you for just $1!  Over $20 in savings are coming your way this month!  6 of my "must-haves" for my kiddos are being marked down to $1.  I will mark a product down every 3 days.  This is your chance to save big & get things ready before the hectic start of the school year!  Dollar Deals will run from July 6 - July 23!

[Give-Away] Head over to facebook, llike this post & tag a friend or two!  Comment with the dollar deal product you are most eager to get your hands on.  I will pick a winner tomorrow at noon.  You and your friend(s) will get the product for FREE.

Here is a glimpse at the deals!



Guided Reading Sorts: Set 1 - 9 different sorts covering many of the early literacy skills for kindergarten.  I use these sets during guided reading (which is great, because not all my kiddos come in as readers) and then put them in my Daily 5 stations for the kiddos to use independently.

Humpty Dumpty Activity Pack -  Reader's Theater is HUGE in my room, especially at the beginning of the school year.  It gives kiddos the confidence that they can read (even when they can't) and focuses on so many of the early literacy skills.  It also gets my kiddos up and talking in front of their peers!  This contains a reader's theater play for your class along with many other activities centered around Humpty Dumpty!

All About the Letters - ABC's are so important!  We want to figure out those letters early on so we can build off of it!  I love this pack for my kiddos.

Reading Comprehension Pack: Set 1 - Another must have in my classroom.  Some kids come in reading, others don't, regardless, many are still confusing letters and words or they can read but are not processing any of the content.  This SIMPLE comprehension pack hits on many of those early skills.  We do these together on the smart board and we also do these during guided reading.  Great practice!

Sound Houses BUNDLE - Letter sounds are so important.  We need them to read and write.  This hands on pack has kiddos sorting pictures based on their beginning sound.  Add velcro to tie in fine motor skills.  Worksheets are also completed so students can show what they have learned in a variety of ways.

Math Centers - Math by Myself: Unit 1 - My math block would not be the same without math centers.  These allow kids to independently practice the skills that we have worked on as a whole class.  So many hands on ways of practicing & I laminate everything to eliminate the "paper mess".

Get your deals now!! July 6 - July 22!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Luv Chicken Seats - Flexible Seating Option

Walking in to my classroom, you will find few children sitting in chairs and many children sitting in multiple other places - yoga balls, wobble stools, all over the floor, and more.  I LOVE flexible seating and feel like my kids really do their best when they pick the place that they can work best.

I just heard about Luv Chicken Booster Seats for kids and got one to try out in my classroom.  I have some photos & thoughts to share with you all! 

I even have a PROMO CODE that will get you $15 OFF a Luv Chicken Cushion!!!!

Luv Chicken cushions are fabulous for toddlers, on the go families, and classrooms.  See how I used this as a flexible seating option in my classroom.  Check out the PROMO CODE to see how you can save $15 off your Luv Chicken cushion!
So what is Luv Chicken?  "Luv Chicken Booster Cushions are fabulous booster seats for kids ages 2 - 7 years. The cushions are very stylish. They are created with colorful prints that are both fun and modern. Kids really love them! They are constructed of kid-safe (phthalate-free) coated cotton which makes them easy to wipe clean. They stay put with a grippy, non-slip bottom eliminating the need for clumsy buckles or ties. They also have a handle so kids can carry them anywhere - restaurants, theaters and grandma's house! They work great as floor cushions too!"

How did I like it?  I loved it.  I love anything that the kids can move with them and that they can clean up.  Here are some specific things I loved:
  • You can wipe them right up!  We are often eating in our classroom and kindergarten kiddos can be very messy - these can be wiped right off.  I am also thinking that would be fabulous for craft time!  The kids are able to wipe these off - anytime the kids can clean up is a plus for me!
  • The kids can carry them!  I stored my cushion in my library.  Kiddos know they can go over there and grab it if it is the option they would like to use.  It is lightweight and has an awesome handle - it makes carrying crayons and glue and books and everything else they shove in their hands SIMPLE!  A handle - so fabulous!'
Luv Chicken cushions are fabulous for toddlers, on the go families, and classrooms.  See how I used this as a flexible seating option in my classroom.  Check out the PROMO CODE to see how you can save $15 off your Luv Chicken cushion!
  • Its a comfy cushion and provides a little boost.  Our floors have been through many learners - not necessarily where I would like to sit.  Sitting on a cushion, yes please.  This is also great for my smaller kiddos who need to be a little higher to write at the table or see the board.  I love that it really does provide a boost - the kiddos don't sink down!
Luv Chicken cushions are fabulous for toddlers, on the go families, and classrooms.  See how I used this as a flexible seating option in my classroom.  Check out the PROMO CODE to see how you can save $15 off your Luv Chicken cushion!




Luv Chicken cushions are fabulous for toddlers, on the go families, and classrooms.  See how I used this as a flexible seating option in my classroom.  Check out the PROMO CODE to see how you can save $15 off your Luv Chicken cushion!


The good stuff - You can get $15 off with the promo code "KGREAT15".   The best place to purchase these fabulous cushions would be on Amazon.  You can't beat that deal!  Special discounts for orders of 6 or more.  Contact info@luv.chicken.com for more information!