- Class Dojo! I've blogged about using ClassDojo before, which you can read here. Since I have started using it, I've only had one negative thing said about it from a parent and all it was, was that her kiddo did not like seeing the negative icons on the report. True, having a blaring red thumbs down isn't the most fun thing to see, but the students and the parents need to know if the child is misbehaving. I don't draw attention to the negative, it's a quick "hey let's not do that", record it for the parents so they can discuss it if needed. Other than that, I have had nothing but positive reactions. Parents love being able to check in and see how their child's behavior is going during the day. Are they helpful? Do hey listen? Are they kind? Things like that. Another feature I used quite a lot last year is their messaging. It comes up like a text on my phone or ipad and it's an easy way to get quick notes from parents or to check in about certain parts of the day. If anything major ever happens I always call, but in the case of something minor it's been easier to let parents know what happened. It may look intimidating, but if you give it a chance, you will be very happy you did.
- GoNoodle! With moving to a full day this next year, I'm excited to use this website even more than I did last year. This site has great brain break videos to help students get the wiggles out, calm down after recess or before a test, and even ones to help with review. There are little monster champs that the class can choose and for every 10 videos, the champ grows a little. The kids loved seeing the change of each one. The site is free, but I signed up for their Plus videos so I can have the kids spell sight words with their bodies, and type in custom questions that match our curriculum. It's fantastic!
- B.U.I.L.D for Math by Elizabeth Hall - these monthly packets are wonderful. You can read about her post on them here and here. I've never done math stations or centers before until I saw these. She makes it so easy to divide up tubs and put these activities in but also put your own in as well. My students really liked the books. I never even thought about putting math books in with math centers but it totally makes sense since we use book in literacy stations! She has loads of great ideas. She has a subtraction chant, that really helped my students remember about subtraction.
- Math Journals! Oh wonderful interactive math journals, where have you been all my life? I first discovered Deedee Wills' math journals, which are great. They are all story problems that match up with the Common Core. You can download a freebie set of them to try out. I actually started to use these on Wednesdays for Calendar Math for Word Problem Wednesday or Work Out Wednesday. The other days I use Karen Jones' interactive math journals for kinders. I love how students cut out and paster (great for fine motor) and then paste them in to their journal. These don't take very long either, only about 10 minutes.
I'm taking a break from going into my classroom so I don't get tired of being there, but I know if I go in about a week before school starts, then I'll be able to get everything together and be ready for my new group of littles!