Today I’m linking up with the Teacher Idea Factory, on what we “think we can’t live without.” We’re a homeschooling family, so our set-up is a little different than a typical public school classroom, but having taught for 11 years in public schools, hopefully you will find some ideas helpful for kindergarten and first grade!
Cookie Sheets – we love the cookie sheets you can buy at the dollar store because they have so many uses! They are great to use as trays for setting out activities, such as Montessori-like “centers.” Another great bonus is that since they are magnetic, the alphabet and site words can easily be practiced. Have you seen the round versions in the Dollar Store? These are fun to use for practicing with the magnetic numbers. Children can set up the clock (pan) to show how the numbers appear on a clock.
Chalk – We play outside a lot, and sidewalk chalk is one of our favorites to use on the back patio. Not only do we draw, but sidewalk chalk is good for practicing numbers, shapes, and site words. In fact, check out this post on how we used sidewalk chalk for Site Word Hopscotch. For my youngest, we simply put letters in the boxes, to practice letter recognition. It’s easily adaptable for the classroom. When I taught first grade, we spent time outside the classroom door practicing our words.
Bob Books – Bob Books are a favorite resource in our house. My daughter is progressing through the boxes and I can see her fill with pride every time she finishes a “whole” book. Each set introduces new patterns and practices those skills. In fact, you might be interested in this post from Walking by the Way. She offers free activities to go along with some of the books from Set 1.
Starfall.com – We love this website and their resources! I used this site as a first grade teacher at times when I took my students to the computer lab. It’s chock-full of animated phonics activities and practice and progresses into older reading (including myths!). In addition, we use the Starfall Writing Journal (left over from my 1st grade teaching days) and my daughter loves writing stories. I don’t worry about punctuation or spelling for these…she just likes writing for fun (and picks it up on her own to do)!
Workboxes – We use a drawer system to organize what we are learning, based on Sue Patrick’s Workbox System. I have the double cart, so a set of drawers is for my 5 year old, and one set includes manipulatives for my preschooler. The drawers provide a great transition through activities, as each girl takes ownership over their drawers.
I’ll be posting more of what we put in the workboxes and the activities we do for kindergarten in the next few weeks, so be sure to become a follower of my blog to stay updated on what we are working on!
This post contains an affiliate link for the workbox system. We love that the drawers are removable and I like having both kids’s drawers in the same unit, but there are lot of workbox systems out there! See what works best for you!