A Kindergarten Smorgasboard Five For Friday!

Happy Friday!  If you’re off today I hope you are enjoying your day off.  If you have to work today, I hope you enjoyed the day with your students!  
It’s time for my Five For Friday!  
Today I want so share some super cool products and gadgets that I have been fortunate enough to receive for my classroom (with the understanding I’d do a review on my blog…and just so ya know, these  are my opinions and no one influence my thoughts on these products….like anyone could influence me!  LOL)
First up, is this amazing little device that I was introduced to at the Indiana Blogger Meet Up!  It’s called a Boogie Board.  They are LCD screens that you can write on with a stylus or finger.  When you finish, you hit the button and the screen is cleared.  My kids LOVE these.  At center time, they beg for these.  I really need a few more of them because the 2 we have are in high demand!  What I love about the Boogie Boards is that they are so versatile.  We use them for write the room, for sight words, for add and subtract.  At the beginning of the year they will be great for name writing and letter writing.    I definitely give this the Kindergarten Smorgasboard Seal of Approval.  A classroom must have!
These fun toys are available on Amazon and at the official website of Boogie Boards:  Improv Electronics!

Next up is some life changing software.  Let me be the first to say that I loathe report card time.  The testing and assessment and paperwork is so….well….I’d rather be teaching.  Add on top of that our report card software is less than user friendly and so cumbersome…..again…can’t I just teach?  
Then I was contacted by my friends at ESGI.  They have online assessment software that made report card time so much easier and less stressful.  I had all of my assessments done in one day.  People, ONE DAY!  Not a week like normal.  ONE DAY!  How did I do it?   I used the ESGI software to assess my students.  There are pre-made tests that are incredible and if those don’t work for you, you create your own!  I created a sight word assessment on my own.  It was a little challenging to figure out how to create a test but after some trial and error, I was able to make a test in just a few minutes!    Here’s a cool feature:   when you finish an assessment, a graph pops up showing how well the child did.  My ‘staches were so into those graphs.  They quickly realized that the more green on the graph the better they were doing.  It was motivating for them to see an instant reflection of what they knew in a way that they could understand.  And you can even print off the results and send them home to parents!    Another Kindergarten Smorgasboard Seal Of Approval.  It really does make a teacher’s life easier!!!  I can’t imagine doing report cards without this software now.  

Click the picture to check it out!
And finally…these fun little stools!

I have two boys in my room who are crazy ADHD.  I mean they wear me out with their hyperactivity.  I was doing some research on ways to help them (and keep my sanity) and ran across these stools.  These are called Hokki Stools.  They are activity stools that allow my ADHD boys to fidget and move in ways that don’t distract and disrupt the class.  I love sitting at my guided reading table and watching the kids sitting on them and rocking back and forth just enough to embrace their need to squirm but not bothering anyone.  I’ve also seen them wrap their feet about the stool and sway and work away.  The great thing about these is that they are stable so we don’t tumble over (we’ve had a few falls in the beginning but now we are Hokki Stool experts!).  Another seal of approval.  They’ve helped my boys keep their focus and cut down on their disruptions.  Did it solve the problem?  Of course not.  But it helps them cope and be successful and that’s all that matters to me.  
Hokki Stools even work for big kids like Mr. Greg.  I sit on sometimes when doing read alouds or writing on our writing chart…it’s super fun!  
Visit the Hokki Stools website to learn more!   You can also find them on Amazon!  
And just some math tubs fun!
In case you aren’t my Facebook friend (AND WHY NOT?!?!?!) I have a new “official Kindergarten Smorgasboard Portrait!”  My TBFF The Hartman Sparkle snapped this picture for me.  Actually, I made her come to my classroom each day for a week and take pictures.  This is the one that made the cut.  Who can spot all of my favorite things?!?!

And not it’s time for Fabulous Friends Friday!
Today I am featuring my Fabulous Friend Nikki from Mrs. Thigpen’s Kindergarten!
Mrs. Thigpen's Kindergarten

She says:

“I have been teaching for 11 years and I still am learning. Being able to blog about what I do and read about other teacher’s daily lives has helped me to reflect on my teaching skills. Collaborating with other teachers, not only in my school, but across the country (due to blogging) has made a huge impact on me and my classroom. What what I do without all of you?? :)”

Check out her blog for great ideas, tips and fun activities for the classroom!!!

And guess what? She is giving away her Middle Sounds Mayhem Pack!

And I am going to give away my new Among The Animals Research Journal Creation!  
To win these two awesome creations, leave a comment and share your favorite beginning, middle, or ending sounds activity!  Leave a comment!  I’ll choose a winner tomorrow!!

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