Sunday, August 6, 2017

Learn 365; A new way to transform your teaching

I had the opportunity to check out some new Learn 365 products and I am super excited to bring my ideas to ya'll to implement with these products in a primary classroom! Learn 365 is a new part of Oriental Trading; it is specifically geared toward teachers and out needs in our classroom.  How amazing is that!!!?! 

As you read this post, there are many clickable links.  Check them out, so you can grab these items for your classrooms too.

I want to start my post with these Cool Crazy Connectors. There are 6 different colors and 6 different shapes and 145 pieces come in the pack.  Initially in the school year I am going to use these in my morning tubs.  In kindergarten the students need something to do in the morning during arrival, so these connectors are a great way to get kids talking about shapes, colors and how to build different shapes.  Not to mention, these are just a fun way for kids to learn & play simultaneously.  When we get deeper into the year, I am going to use these in STEM challenges that the kids will go crazy for! 


The next item I want to show ya'll are these super cute, adorable Character Connecting Shapes.  These come with 50 animals per order! They can connect near their hands, stomach and even feet. There are many ways you can use these characters.  You can use them to teach patterns, colors, animals, balance and so much more.  Again at the beginning of the year, I will use these in my morning work tubs, but as the year goes on I will get more creative with their use!

I am super excited to use these bright colors index cards as sight word rings.  These cards come in packs of 100; I will attach two binder rings to the bottom of the cards and write one sight word on each card.  These are for initial sight word introduction as well as fluency practice small & whole group! eeeek, these are awesome and the kids are going to love them.

These crayons are going to be a prized possession in my classroom and I will definitely be ordering more than just this one pack.  I love that now I will have more options for every child in my class to draw a picture of themselves and have it resemble their own skin color. This is a must buy for all classrooms across the world!

This next item, I am super excited about! There is so much that I can use these for, obviously these will be great in morning bins, but really these are amazing for all common core shape standards.  Building shapes has always been the geometry standard I have struggled to fit into my lessons because I never had the supplies.  How amazing is this? Now we can talk about how the balls represent the vertex and the white lines are the sides of the shapes.  Students can build 2D & 3D shapes with this product.  I will be honest that because the product is brand new, at times it is difficult to get the straws into the holes in the colored balls, but after the kids use them more, i'm sure they will be fine!  

These Magnetic Building Blocks are another great way to incorporate geometry into any lesson.  I am going to challenge my kids to build something 3D with this building type.  The sticks have small magnets on the ends, and the balls are magnetic.  The solid shapes are plastic and not magnetic.  These can be used for identifying & building shapes.

This product is potentially the one I am most excited about.These alphabet dice are going to be the perfect addition to my guided reading lesson plans.  I will begin the year with using these for just letters and sounds, but then will move on to phoneme segmentation, nonsense words, magic e words, blends, digraphs.....the opportunities are endless. There are upper and lower case letters, as well as consonant dice (blue) and vowel dice (red).  I am super excited for these!

Last but not least, these large magnets are perfect for whole group demonstrations with counting, patterns, addition & subtraction.  I will use these on the board while my kids have the actual cube manipulatives.  Then, these can be used in a center activity for the same topics.  I love that there are 10 different colors!

Have you ever ordered from Oriental Trading or Learn 365 for classroom materials? Let me know!

I know that this experience has opened my eyes to the amazing products available at Learn 365 for my students and myself as their teacher!

You can go shopping with this link below:

Please Note:  Oriental trading sent me these items to review free of charge.  All opinions in this post are my own; I do not endorse products or companies that I don't believe in.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Leadership Skills that can be applied to REAL LIFE!

Leadership skills can be taught in the classroom but really need to be practiced is real life situations! That is exactly what I have done for two years in a row.  At my school we teach leadership skills like shaking an adults hand and introducing your self, like being proactive, like putting first things first and getting your work done before playing, but for two years now, I have attended NCTIES (a statewide technology conference) with my kindergarten teaching bestie.  NCTIES is the perfect place for kids to put their leadership to the test.

Back in October, my team Kindergarten Teacher Miss Carter and I, sat down with our technology facilitator, Miss Adams, and we brainstormed a project that would include our entire class, that would embody what we believe as educators and that would get the kids excited about learning!  We know what is best for kids and we ALWAYS remembered that if we are doing WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS, it is ALWAYS RIGHT!

This year we came up with a project that attached to our standard of re telling a story, that engaged our students in learning and STEAM challenges, and allowed our kinder kids to be creative and think outside the box!

We retold the story of The Three Little Pigs, but there was a twist and we created alternate endings to the story with recycled materials. Miss Carters class retold the story of Goldilocks & the 3 Bears. (Miss Carter's class completed this project in the same steps but with a different story) The kids got to be creative, and collaborate on their designs!

Step 1: Complete the drawings to retell the actual story of The Three Little Pigs.

Step 2: get brainstorming on the alternate endings and get to work! My students decided to create a gate to surround the first pigs house that had an alarm system, lock, camera and laser and water shooters to ward off the big bad wolf!  We also made an alligator & poisonous carrot garden that would protect the stick house from being blown down! The last part of our recreating the ending of the three little pigs was the ice cream & cupcakes that the first and second little pigs made to bring to the third little pigs house as a dessert to eat after eating wolf soup! Seriously SO MUCH creativity.  I am so proud of how my kids collaborated and respectfully communicated their ideas.

Step 3: Record ourselves retelling the story of The Three Little Pigs and express our ideas of alternate endings!

Step 4: Record ourselves playing musical instruments to put in the background of our final product to enhance our video.

And BAM! We have a collaborative project that we working through using our imaginations, attached our teaching standards, and allowed everyone to be a part of our final product! This experience will be a memory my kids will have for their entire life. 

This project was fun, and engaging for ALL students.  This project reminded students they have something to share, they can be successful and they can be a part of something GREAT!

Take a look at our Final Project! 

So after we finished our project, we brought it to NCTIES (a statewide technology conference) and got to bring all of our daily Leadership Skills that we practice to the conference and SHINE! And SHINE they DID! The support from previous administrators, from our tech facilitator and media coordinators past and present was so appreciated. 

Just a reminder: when you want to do a project and are feeling like its a huge undertaking....ask yourself one question: IS IT RIGHT FOR KIDS? and if your answer is yes, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

The experience of this project will be a memory forever!