Yahoo!! I am officially on summer break and can’t wait to share with you, the 10 Things that made my Kindergarten year Awesome!! After 4 years in Kindergarten, I have found 10 things that I use on an almost-daily basis and helped to make my year this year, amazing and awesome! Now one thing that I want to impart to you is that these are things that I love and use and work in MY classroom. You may agree or disagree…either way, I hope you find something here today that will make your school year awesome!

10 Things for an Awesome School Year - kindergartenchaos.com
  1. Book Bins from Really Good Stuff – I bought 4 bundles of 12 black, book bins for my classroom library last school year and they have held up perfectly! None of them have cracked or chipped and that says a lot, considering lots of little hands and bodies surround them on a daily basis! The bins also help to keep my library books well-organized and easy for my Kindergartners to find the books they want! I know a few other teachers who have purchased bins from the dollar store or other places and they have not held up as well as these bins. Definitely a winner in my book! (You can check out how I organized my library HERE)
Really Good Stuff Book Bins for Classroom Library
Organized Classroom Library
kindergarten classroom library

2. Home-Made Microwave Playdough – This is a MUST-HAVE for every Kindergarten, or even primary classroom! I start my school year off with play-doh and use it all year long for a variety of stations, and even free time! And since play-doh can be expensive in large amounts, I make my own in 10 minutes, using the microwave and WITHOUT Cream of Tartar. Here‘s the recipe, plus a bunch of ideas for using it in the classroom!

IMG_4047
IMG_3935
Playdough Subtraction - kindergartenchaos.com

3. KleenSlates – If you haven’t heard of these boards…go check them OUT!! I found out about these boards 2 years ago at the National Kindergarten Conference and immediately fell in love with them! Why? I love that the design includes a marker with eraser top, that then clips right onto the board, plus includes a special micro-fiber towel also attached to the board. These have made my small groups, so much more manageable. I keep these boards in a crate, under my teacher table and then there is no searching for markers or erasers. I also love the fact that there is a pocket on the reverse side, so you can slide in your own products or templates, for students to use like a dry erase pocket.

Kleen Slates in the Classroom - kindergartenchaos.com
IMG_3941

4. Giant Clothespins turned Anchor Chart Clips 

How to hang anchor charts in the classroom

So these ‘giant’ clothespins were a game changer in my room this year. I have become queen of anchor charts, but where do I hang all of them? I first tried using regular clothespins and hot glue and it was an epic fail!!

Sorting anchor chart - kindergarten chaos

I could only hang one chart at a time and quite frequently, the hot glue and thumbtack separated…causing falling anchor charts. 🙁 So I purchased some large clothespins from the Target dollar-spot and a few chalkboard ones from Amazon and created some heavy-duty, sturdy ones, that were capable of holding 5-6 anchor charts at a time!! WIN! You can check out how I made these clips HERE and can also purchase your own jumbo clothespins HERE!

DIY Anchor Chart Holder

5. Post It Chart Paper – This is a purchase that is worth its weight in teacher gold!!

Giant Post It Chart Paper

I love having the same size chart paper for all of my anchor charts, plus it’s a bonus that it has the sticky post-it strip, in case I want to stick it on my focus wall. I think I used 3 tablets for the whole school year. If you can swing it financially, or your school can purchase it, I say do it!!

Using Pencils Anchor Chart

6. Hands-On Math Games – This year I was lucky enough to have a $600 Donors Choose project funded and it was all for hands-on math games!

IMG_3484

This changed my math time tremendously!! I selected games that aligned with most of the Kindergarten standards and introduced and modeled them, when we focused on each standard. My students loved them and it really helped to strengthen their math skills, while working independently and in partner/small groups.

Iphone Pictures 1-30-16 1059
IMG_4927
Iphone Pictures 1-30-16 1057
glue sponge supplies.jpg
Credit: The Kindergarten Smorgasboard

7. Glue Sponges (Tutorial from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard) – While I have known of glue sponges, since Mr.Greg first introduced them on his blog, I was a little apprehensive and not completely sold on the concept…yet. 😉 I loved my glue sticks, but really detested lost lids, and broken and dried out sticks. I finally took the plunge this Spring and immediately understood why so many people have embraced this cool idea!! This is another game-changer for your classroom. Head over to The Kindergarten Smorgasboard HERE to read all about them and to watch Mr.Greg’s YouTube video on how he creates these fabulous sponges!

8. GoNoodle – So who HASN’T heard of GoNoodle?! If you have been living under an educational rock, then please…come out and jump on the GoNoodle train! This year I committed to using GoNoodle every day and it made a difference! Kids need movement and music is the great equalizer, so combine the two with GoNoodle and your classroom will never be the same! My class this year loved KooKoo Kangaroo, KidzBop, Maximo, and MegaMathMarathon on GoNoodle Plus. Your account is free and it is so easy to navigate.

GN_Flower_Logo_Green

I came up with some ‘extra’ ideas for using GoNoodle in the classroom and was even able to use it as a classroom management tool! Head over to this blog post HERE to find out more! Okay…one more thing. Did you know that you can add your favorite YouTube videos to GoNoodle, so you always have them available?! 🙂

Adding YouTube Videos to GoNoodle - kindergartenchaos.com
GoNoodle Channels
GoNoodle Add Your Own YouTube Video
Adding Your Own YouTube Video to GoNoodle
Grabbing a YouTube Video Web Address
Add a Video to Your GoNoodle
Add your own videos to GoNoodle

Watch my first ever YouTube tutorial video HERE on adding YouTube videos to your GoNoodle account!