Friday, September 22, 2017

4 easy steps to getting your kindergarten kids logged into Google Classroom....FASTER

Trust me, I've been there.  You're so excited to get started on Google Classroom, you have amazing resources you want to share, your admin wants you to use it......... but the kids take FOREVER to log in.  #thestruggleisreal!!!

I have good news for you! I have also struggled with this same issue and I have some solutions you can use TOMORROW!!!

Tip #1
Use a QR code. Half the battle of getting your kids logged in, is getting them TO Google Classroom. Make it easy for you and easy for your kids use a QR code. All you need to do is add a free QR reader app to your device. ( You can download at the app store). Then create a QR code with QR code generator and boom your kids are where they need to be. Here's a link to a QR generator site.

Tip #2
Give them a Driver's License.  Type their name and log in information onto a card and keep it handy. I  keep my kids cards in a plasctic bag with their headphones. (Hint: make lots of copies!!!!) You get bonus points if you put the QR code right on the driver's license.   Click here. to get my logging in guide with free driver's license( it's editable!!!)

Tip #3
Make sure you use the correct font. Want to confuse a kindergartener? Show them the letter a or the letter g. Even our most competent kinders need a minute to learn what these letters are. No wonder it takes them 20 minutes to log in. Make sure you make it easy for your kids. Write their login in info in the same font. Most keyboards are in Calibri. Look closely at your keyboard, if it's all in capital like a laptop then use all capital. If it's all in lowercase like a chromebook then use lowercase.

Tip #4

Color code! The keyboard can be a confusing miss mash of letters with seemily no order. Give the kids a little help. Place a small sticker, or card at each row to color code the row.

Then make sure you color their login card to match. It honestly takes the sting out of looking for through the entire keyboard.

As teachers you know there are still going to be kids who will need a little extra help, but we need to perserverve. Our kids will be using keyboards their whole lives and it's our job to help them learn how to navigate it. Trust me, the first and second grade teachers will LOVE you if your kids show up next year able to log in. ( You might just get a thank you coffee the first week). You can grab my free complete guide to logging in here.

Need a little keyboard practice? Grab my keyboard resource here.

Grab my FREE complete kit for helping kids log in faster here.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Make learning fun with an all time favorite!

What's the one activity that always brings a smile.......Play doh! Who doesn't love play dough? I've never been able to resist grabbing some and giving it a squish. Kids are no different. They just love play doh and who could blame them? 

Play dough is my "go to" activity the first few weeks of the year. When we have "meet the teacher" or open house, I always have a small container on each desk so the kids can start playing while I chat with the parents. It's a true life saver. 
So let's use this strong attraction to sneak in a little learning. At the beginning of the year I love using these fun cards.  

I can easily differntiate for all my levels.  I use the simple "practice"  cards for those kids who need a little extra support. Click here for a free set of my practice cards

Using the play doh helps build finger strenght, and dexterity skills.  These skills are so important as our kids learn to write, draw, and use scissors.
I can let the kids explore letters, numbers, and shapes.  

I love using these because at the beginning of the year my kids need a lot of time exploring materials and at the same time I need them to  become familiar with the expectations of center time. Play dough is the perfect way to transition into a more academic center. (Just what my boss is looking for). So I make sure I add a "student objective" sheet so my intentions and goals are clear. 

Let's face it, play doh looks beautiful the first week, but you let the kids have freedom with playdoh and it won't be long before the play doh is one big grayish greenish mixed up mess. And although I have no problem with them mixing the colors, there is nothing like bright vibrant clay.

So my answer is, make it yourself. I have tried lots of play doh recipes but I've discovered the secret ingredient ....... Cream of Tartar. No, you won't find it on your fish sticks! You'll find this perfect little item in the spice aisle. If you are a baker, you might know Cream of Tartar if you've ever made an Angle Food cake. But there is something about this magic little ingredient that keeps the play dough smooth and the consistency just right. 

If you'd like a copy of my favorite play doh recipe and a set of play doh practice cards click here.

I hope you are having a great back to school season. Remember to take care of yourself. Teaching little humans is hard work! So treat yourself to take out pizza Friday night so you can relax. 
You can see more about this center here.