How do you get kindergarteners to start writing?

August 28, 2016

Ok, so the year is off to a good start. Your bulletin boards look great, all your cubbies are labeled, your parent letters have all been sent. Now you have to teach them to write���.. Today kindergarten is so much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. We often have kids coming to us that need so much more than the basics. With each year that goes by I find myself feeling more and more like a social worker, a mother, a counselor and that���s just to the parents!!!! If we want our student to be successful in school we need to make sure they leave us being able to read and write.  Let���s look at writing. How on earth do you get kids to write when they barely write their name? This is the challenge of kindergarten.  So let���s roll up our sleeves and figure it out. Kindergarten writing begins with drawing pictures and dictating.  If we begin to think about writing as thoughts on paper we begin to see drawings differently. Let the kids draw! Let them draw about themselves. Draw about their family, their favorite foods, what they did on the playground.   Let them be free, and...

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Are your kindergarten students ready?

August 19, 2016

It’s no secret I love kindergarten. Every year we get the pleasure of seeing these children come in to school in September as babies, and leave as first graders. It’s awesome to watch, I’m amazed every year at their growth. But I’m also amazed every September at how young they are, what little skills they have. So many just are not ready for kindergarten. But guess what? Ready or not here they come.One of the first skills we work on is fine motor skills. The kids are going to need to color, cut and write. Let’s talk about cutting. Yikes, every year it seems like I have more and more kids who literally don’t know how to hold a scissors, never mind cut a straight line. Over my career I have learned a few tricks to help kids cut. I’m happy to share with you.#1 Let them cut straws. Gather up some of the straws from the cafeteria and let them cut them. Straws are perfect for cutting because they are familiar to the kids and they are easy to hold. A straw stays still, no flopping over.  The kids love to make “candles” with the straws and put...

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Need new ideas about what to do with your I Pad?

August 15, 2016

So you just got some new I pads, now what? Are you looking for something new to do with your students?  What���s the best way to embrace new technology in the classroom? Have you heard about Boom Learning?  It. Is. So. Cool.  No more printing, cutting, or laminating. I love bright and shiny new laminated centers just as much as the next guy, but let���s face it, it can be a lot of work. Boom Learning is awesome. You can use it on your I pads, chrome books, laptops, pretty much anything that has a screen.  It is a new platform that uses teacher made resources for your students. The students access ���decks��� which are basically digital task cards. Boom will give you reports about how many the kids completed correctly and how fast they finished. Each child in your class can work on the same deck or on different decks. This is a perfect way to differentiate in the classroom. All the kids can be working on Boom and they can all be working on different levels. Because in 30 years of teaching I have never had a class where everyone is working on the same level. So...

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What’s a BEE BOT?

August 9, 2016

I love robots and so do my kids. Honestly, bring a robot out anywhere and everyone takes notice. If you don���t have a BEE BOT you should seriously consider buying one. They are sold on both Amazon and Lakeshore.  The sky���s the limit with BEEBOTs. I always say robotics is not something new to teach.  Bee Bots and robotics are simply a new way of teaching. Even your most reluctant student gets interested when you bring out the BEE BOT. My most challenging kids NEVER have behavioral issues during robotics. Hmm maybe we should spend some time thinking about that last sentence. No behavioral challenges when we use robots? Really? Really!                                            The kids are practicing complex thinking, and problem solving.  They are actively engaged, and did I mention no one has behavioral challenges. You had me at no behavioral challenges.                                      What is a BEE BOT? A BeeBot is a small robot that looks just like a little bee. It takes very simple...

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